Baltic Forest Hiking - Haanja upland

Haanja Upland

Loogamäe – Vana-Vastseliina: 54 km, Day 16 – 18

The best view of the 50 km wide landscape of Haanja Upland opens from the Suur Munamägi viewing tower. Suur Munamägi reaches 318 m above sea level, and it is the highest peak in the Baltic states. Forest Trail leads through minor rural roads here, along farmsteads. Forests in this region alternate with agricultural land.

Highlights: Haanja Nature Park – diverse landscapes and beautiful nature, Suur Munamägi viewing tower, Cafe at the highest peak in the Baltic states, Tradition of smoke sauna – UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, Nopri farm – local dairy producer, Vastseliina Bishop’s Castle Ruins and Pilgrim’s House, National Geographic yellow frames in the villages of Haanja and Vana-Vastseliina.

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MSection 16. Loogamäe‒Haanja (Suur Munamägi).

On the way to the highest point in the Baltic States – Suur Munamägi Hill

Having crossed the border of Latvia and Estonia via a small local road, the Forest Trail follows a country road, passes solitary farmsteads and villages, then drifts upward the west slope of Haanja Upland until reaching Suur Munamägi (‘Great Egg Hill’ in Estonian). This is the highest peak on the entire route from Riga to Tallinn. Feel free to linger here for a while to enjoy the Haanja scenery and the local cuisine.

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ESection 17. Haanja (Suur Munamägi)‒Tsiistre.

On the winding roads of Haanja Upland

The Forest Trail leads down from the highest point of the Haanja Upland, circles around the southern part of Lake Vaskna, and continues down small country roads surrounded by solitary homesteads and small clusters of farms. The hills along the route are covered in trees, but areas on the gentler slopes have been cultivated. As the village of Tsiistre draws closer, the landscape shows the presence of agricultural land, which turn into fields of gold by the end of the summer.

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ESection 18. Tsiistre‒Vana-Vastseliina.

Along the ancient pilgrim paths to Vana-Vastseliina

During this section, the Forest Trail passes through the northern part of the Haanja Upland and descends to Vana-Vastseliina, an ancient pilgrimage destination in the Piusa River valley. On its high bank the ruins of the bishop’s castle are quite a sight