South Estonia – A Hidden Gem in Europe

Travellers and diginomads looking for hidden gems – it is time to head to Estonia, more precisely to Southern Estonia, located on the outskirts of Northern Europe, next to Russia and Latvia. Near Lake Peipus, one of the largest inland water bodies in Europe, there is a very special region where different cultures and worlds meet. But it’s hidden treasures reveal themselves only to those with curious eyes!

The Haanja Upland, together with Suur Munamägi, the highest peak in the Baltics, rises 300 metres above sea level and marks the birthplace of Estonia, where the natives have lived for thousands of years. According to archaeologists, the traces of human settlement found in the village of Meremäe in Setomaa date back 8,400 years. For many explorers and conquerors, the area was part of the mystical and distant north, Ultima Thule, located beyond the borders of the known world. For the Vikings, however, the place marked a transit corridor, or Austrvegr, the Eastern Route, on their commute to the Byzantine Empire in the south. 

More important than the material wealth of Southern Estonia are its vibrant communities, which continue to carry on the traditions of their ancestors. The real treasures of Southern Estonia are its preserved local language, culture, and intangible heritage. The UNESCO list of intangible cultural heritage includes the smoke sauna traditions of Vana-Võromaa, as well as the Seto leelo – the unique folk singing tradition of the Seto. Tartu, which is considered the capital of Southern Estonia and has been an internationally known university town since 1632, will be the European Capital of Culture in 2024. 

Discover a hidden remote work region of Northern Europe. See you in South Estonia!

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