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OFF the BEATEN TRACK
 
Abruka

This tiny island is a mecca for naturalists. It's a beautiful, rugged spot, populated by a few dozen hardy souls and about as many deer. The main attraction is the botanical-zoological reservation, open in summer, which offers classes, horse riding, meals and rustic farmhouse accommodation.Abruka lies 6km (4mi) from Roomassare, off Saaremaa's southern coast. It's accessible by boat in summer, though during the dead of winter you can reach it by walking across the frozen strait.

 
Pühtitsa Convent

This beautiful 19th century nunnery has something to offer ascetics and those who like to spin a good after dinner yarn. The first group will appreciate the strict vegetarian diet and the daily religious services. The latter will enjoy staying overnight in the convent dormitories and bragging about 'sleeping with 80 nuns and novices'. The merely hopeful might be cheered by the fact that the convent is on the site of ancient pagan worship.Thousands of pilgrims make the trek each year to the Russian Orthodox convent, which is located in the village of Kuremäe in north-eastern Estonia. One bus runs daily between Kuremäe and Tallinn.

 
Soomaa National Park

If you've always dreamed of paddling through a bog looking for witches, this is the place for you. According to local lore, witches have enjoyed the isolation of the bogs for centuries. The only way to explore the park is by canoe or haabja, a traditional Finnish boat carved out of a single aspen tree. You can fish and camp in the park, and there are haabja-building courses available that have you test your very own log in the bog. The park is located in the south-western corner of Estonia; its headquarters are at Viljandi, accessible by bus or train from Tallinn.


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