Spring and summer

In spring, enjoy the waking up of nature, later but more intense than in more southern parts of Europe. Watch the leaves pop out in birches practically overnight, see daffodils and tulips slowly win the subdued, gloomy colours of winter.

Climb to the top of one of Otepää’s three observation towers to marvel the landscape. Don’t forget your camera—here you can take nature pictures really worth showing to people at home. We’ll tell you where the towers are and give you a map to guide you.

Or maybe you’re looking for adventure? Want to push yourself to the edge? Otepää Adventure Park will be your thing. They have several courses, one more demanding than the other. There are also special courses for children. You will climb cliffs, jump from one tree to another in a way you never thought you’d be capable of, cross log bridges wanting to escape from under your feet and finish the experience flying across the air at 30 metres’ height.

If you prefer calmer pastimes, Pühajärve beach is just right for you. It has been awarded the Blue Flag from year to year, meaning that the water is pure, the sand is clean, there are lifeguards and a wide range of amenities. There are a couple of cafés and snack bars, showers, toilets, dressing cabins, children’s water slide. You can also rent rowing boats, canoes, pedal boats and small sailboats rather like optimist dinghies.

From Villa Ottilia it is only about a 15 minutes’ walk to the beach through the forest. Let us show you how to get there, what to do and how warm the water is today.

Otepää Golf’s 18-hole course is built on the steep hills a bit outside of town. If you’re used to playing on pretty even terrain, this will be a whole new experience to you. All the services you’d expect are there, up to a high-end restaurant. We can book a tee time for you and show you how to get there.

Rent a bike! It’s a far better way to see the world than from inside a car. We’ll rent you a recently serviced 18-gear all-terrain bike and give you hints where you might want to go. You can choose to ride on the many kilometres of asphalt roads or challenge yourself on forest paths. We’ll be happy to tell you more and give you excellent bike route maps.

Signposted nature trails begin practically outside our gate. Villa Ottilia is located within Otepää Nature Park, with paths winding to the signposted routes round Apteekrimägi (Apothecary’s Hill—yes, there’s a story behind the name) and Lake Pühajärv (The Holy Lake—yes, another legend or two). There are huts with BBQ facilities along the route, even the firewood is provided, and lots of places where you can take a dip into the lake. Just bring your own meat or sausages and swimming gear.

Interested in history? Otepää has a lot to offer in the way of Estonian history. There’s a local history museum and the Estonian Flag Museum. Did you know that Estonia’s blue-black-white flag was raised for the first time in history in Otepää in 1884? Or that Europe’s oldest known firearm, dating back to the 13th century, was discovered in Otepää’s hill fort? Climb the hill and you’ll still see the ruins.

If you want to explore south Estonia by car, we have planned many interesting day trips for you, including lots of things to see. Towns, sights, places, just ask us. The routes take from a few hours to a whole day, you choose.

Let us guide you to Taevaskoda, in Estonian folklore “the place where heaven touches the earth”, and its beautiful sandstone outcrops that are one of Estonia’s best known natural attractions. Or the Devil’s Grave, or exciting caves with thousands of bats, or the centuries-old Orthodox villages along the shores of Lake Peipus. Or a place so close to Russia you can literally throw a stone across the border.

What’s best, all this service is free of charge to you.

One place you absolutely shouldn’t miss is Tartu. Otepää is only a little over 40 km from this second-largest city in the country and it’s really easy to get there to experience this small but interesting university town filled with European history.

There’s a saying in Estonia “the money of Tallinn and the spirit of Tartu”. Tartu, over the centuries also known by its Russian name Yuryev and its German name Dorpat, is a historic, yet lively and friendly university town with a casual, international feeling. You need to feel it yourself. We’ll guide you to its best sights, most interesting museums, best restaurants and shopping.

Get two countries at the price of one! Latvia is an interesting day trip destination less than 50 km from us. Even a short trip to this neighbouring country will add an exotic flavour to your visit to us. When you come to the border town of Valga/Valka, where the border runs right through the town, you just turn a corner and you’re in Latvia. When you cross the border, everything changes: language, landscape, people. If you start early in the morning, one day is enough even for a day trip to the capital Riga. Because both countries are in the Schengen area, you don’t even notice the border (but do carry your passport with you, it might be spot checked further down the road). Valka, Valmiera, Cesis, Turaida Castle and Sigulda with its almost alpine funicular are even closer. Routes and hints—naturally—from us.

So, what can you do in Otepää in autumn and winter?