Poor little Estonia

It doesn’t receive the attention it deserves. Time and time again it astounded me. Historical remnants dot the landscape, within a short driving distance to each other. Humble remnants that remain untouched, and neglected landmarks easily explored in solitude. Estonia – the land saved from tourist-trap-ass-wipes demanding entry fee.
My route

▣  Highly recommend       Boring but safe      Shit. Boring, strenuous & dangerous       Incomplete

Hrs estimated duration
Hrs actual riding

What I thought’d happen
Chilled out ride across the country stopping at a few lame touristy places

What actually happened
Blown away by every single place I discovered.


I left around midday from Tallin, the sun on my back and a cool breeze rustling my hair. My first stop was to see a Russian missile hanger in Türisalu, half an hour to the west of Tallinn. Unfortunately, I get lazy sometimes and don’t plug destinations into my maps properly. This is an example of why you shouldn’t do that. When I arrived I couldn’t find the place and nobody I found spoke English (oh, poor me). Anyway, you’ll just have to imagine what its like. Here’s a link describing it in further detail.


I continued around the coast to Paldiski, a little town with a lighthouse and all sorts of cool stuff. I took one of the dirt tracks around the island and THAT was fucking awesome. The dirt/gravel roads wind through thick undergrowth, around the coast, and finally through giant wind farms. It was tough with all of my gear on the back, but I can imagine it would be super fun to speed around on an unweighted dirt bike. There are tons of small dirt mounds, whizz up and down these at super high speeds and you could essentially fly through the air. Weeeeeeeeee.
Paldiski dirt tracks


I drove another 30 minutes or so and arrived at Rummu, a creepy town with a sinking abandoned prison on the outskirts.

The town itself is more just a cluster of run down apartment buildings. The atmosphere is intense. By chance I took a wrong turn and rode through the backstreets. A blind black cat with pale blue eyes crept across the road in front of me, turning it’s head slowly in my direction, sending chills down my spine. Freakyyyyy.

The abandoned prison is EPIC. Not only is it abandoned (ooooooooh), it is sinking in crystal clear water. AND not only is it sinking, it is sinking in a lake caused by the giant alien mound/crator/quarry next to it. WHAT THE FUCKKK. Estonia you have blown my mind. This place is one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. Words can’t even describe.

Sinking prison in Rummu
Rummu sinking prison

Riisipere Mansion

Driving through Estonia is convenient as hell, there are tons of things to see in close proximity to each other – some only 15 minutes apart. After Rummu you could (as I did) drive further south to an abandoned mansion in Riisipere. Unfortunately it looks as though they have plans to renovate – but it if you get there soon, it was pretty cool. I think there’s something special about unrestored buildings. It’s almost easier to imagine events that might have happened and feel the length of time that has passed.


I drove on to the west coast to the city Haapsalu, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I thought I’d be able to find a cheap hostel easily but it turns out it’s just the summer playground for Estonia’s fat cats.

Haapsalu itself is actually a really beautiful town. It is picture perfect, unlike the pockets of rubble in Tallinn. The cobblestone roads are perfectly bumpy and the houses are crisp, newly painted weatherboard. But the cheapest, most dodgy accommodation I could find was 30E. To put this in perspective, I paid 10E a night in Tallin for a place with a pool and a sauna.

Haapsalu is surrounded by forest so I did consider camping. And then I realised I couldn’t be fucked. Strange that. So I drove on.

I continued through the forest, on my way stumbling upon the crumbling Ungru manor ruin. Built by count Ewald Adam Gustav Paul Constantin von Ungern-Sternberg (seriously what a name) it was a replica of Merseburg castle in Germany. When the count visited Merseburg he fell in love with the daughter of the castle’s owner. When he proposed to her, the young lady claimed to be so fond of her father’s castle that she wanted to live there for the rest of her life. After that the count promised to build exactly the same castle. Having received a promise from the lady to marry him as soon as the castle is ready, he hurried back home, where in 1893 construction begun.

Unfortunately just as the castle was complete the beloved lady died. The count himself then fell ill and he died as well. According to his wish he was brought back to Haapsalu and carried into the manor, where he spent, though already dead, his only night.

This is why relationships suck.

Ungru manor


Still on the lookout for cheap accomodation I drove to Pärnu, the third largest city in Estonia. And I was right. I found Launa hostel and stayed there for 10E. Similar to Haapsalu, Pärnu is a summer holiday destination for Estonians. It has a beautiful beach though and I sat there and watched an incredible sunset mark the end of a pretty damn good day.
Pärnu beach

What I learned today:

  1. Estonia isn’t a shit hole
  2. Not having to pay to see tourist attractions is awesome

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