Viljandi is a gorgeous Southern Estonian town and also the capital of Viljandi County. The city is flanked by the Viljandi Lake on its northwestern part and is surrounded by beautiful nature. Viljandi is also the Estonian folk music center and famous as the White Rose City.
It even celebrated the White Rose ay festival as the city hall in the midsummer time has around 720 blooming white roses. You can easily reach Viljandi by bus or car from Tallinn, Parnu, Tartu, and Valga. If you wish to travel by train, Elron provides several services in a day from Tallinn to Viljandi.
The gorgeous Viljandi landmarks make it a beautiful tourist destination. The quaint little town is wrapped in the flavors of history with various antique remnants, castles, appealing wooden architecture, and also offers mesmerizing natural beauty with the scenic lake views and lush green nature parks.
It is also renowned among the tourists due to its summer festivals and fairs among which Viljandi Folk Music Festival is the grand one.
Therefore, if you are willing to this beautiful Estonian town, the Viljandi travel guide is here to help you with the best places to visit in Viljandi and things to do in Viljandi.
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Top 7 BEST Things to do in Viljandi (Estonia)
This is a famous tourist attraction in Viljandi and its prime heritage destination. The castle dates back to the period of 1224. It used to be Livonia’s most powerful castle replacing the 9th-century Estonian hill fort.
The castle area was fortified further as during that time Viljandi used to be the higher administrative unit. However, things were worsened when the castle got demolished badly in the Polish-Swedish war that took place in the era of the 17th century.
Since then the ruined structure remained until the date and had no renovation work. It has its first excavation in 1878 to 79. Recently the ruins of the palace have become a significant sightseeing area featuring a lush green park and an open-air stage. The castle offers panoramic views of Lake Viljandi from its ruined structures atop the hill.
Viljandi Rope Bridge
The 1879 rope bridge in Viljandi built by Riga Company Felser & co is one of the adventurous things to do in Viljandi. It stretches for a distance of more than 50 meters perched over a valley having 15meters depth. It was the present, given by the Lord of Tarvastu, Karl Von Mensenkampf to Viljandi.
The initial position of the rope bridge was over the Tarvastu moat while the present suspension bridge over the valley is the biggest attraction for the tourists to visit the famous Viljandi castle.
The entire journey from the rope bridge to the ancient castle ruins is highly fascinating and offers breathtaking views of the valleys and surroundings.
Viljandi sightseeing is incomplete without a visit to its gorgeous lake, visiting this lake in one of the best things to do in Viljandi. The lake stretches over a length of 4.6km, a breadth of 450meter and a depth of 11 meters.
It sprawls over a total area of 1.55 sq.km. It is formed by multiple streams flowing through it like Uueveski, Valuoja, and Raudna, and so on.
The scenic views of the lake are like a painted beauty featuring crystal clear blue lake water surrounded by green vegetation and a stunning 13.5 km hiking trail offering breathtaking views of Viljandi town.
The lake also has a beach shore area that offers you an array of activities in Viljandi like swinging, sliding, rock climbing, exploring Tarzan trails, and multiple adventure activities for all age groups. It also features a playground and a seating area to rejuvenate amidst nature’s lap.
This is another biggest heritage attraction in Viljandi, giving you an insight into its history and culture. The current location of the museum is an old pharmacy building divided into two floors.
It showcases you the history and lifestyle of the 20th-century era through different exhibits, models, pictures, and archaeological specimens.
You can get to see through the exhibits how Viljandi people used to live their life in the 19th and 20th century period through the folk costumes; specimens of stuffed animals; and also an exhibit model of the early Viljandi castle. It is a must-visit destination for all, especially for the people having an interest in history.
St. John’s Lutheran Church
The beautiful medieval church is worth visiting on your Viljandi tour. The actual construction of the church dates back to the era of 1300 but after the Livonian war and Northern war half of its structures got demolished. Therefore, the present form of the church is a reconstruction, which was done in 1767.
It follows a pseudo-gothic architecture featuring pale grey walls and an altar made of stone. J.G. Muhlenhausen constructed the altar of the church while J.A. Stein created the church organ in 1804.
It features the communion table created by Aivar Oja; the wall carpets by Prof. Anu Raud and the church stained glass windows by Renee Aua. The church also houses the memorial dedicated to General H.H. von Fersen adjacent to its altar.
It is a famous art museum in Viljandi that pays tribute to the artworks of renowned Estonian artist, Paul Kondas. The museum was established in 2003 lying close to St. John’s church and Viljandi Castle.
It displays six major exhibition halls housing a series of paintings by Paul Kondas and also other famous contemporary arts from the naïve artists of Estonia.
One of the famous paintings of this museum by Paul Kondas is ‘Strawberry Eaters.’ Based on that painting, the Viljandi government has planted seven large concrete strawberries that have their tails pointing towards the Kondas art museum. Visit this museum to visualize some innovative artworks.
Estonian traditional music center
Viljandi, being the center of Estonian folk music, is famous for having the Estonian traditional music center. It promotes classical folk music and also provides degree courses in it that follows the curriculum of the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy.
It is the main center of all Estonian music schools as well as the folk singers, groups and bands. The music center is currently located at the Viljandi castle hills and is famous for hosting Viljandi’s biggest annual event- the ‘Viljandi Folk Music Festival.’
The music festival is organized in the last week of July every year featuring more than 100 concerts and 20,000+ visitors.