Earth : Europe : Baltic states : Estonia : Otepää
It is the most well-known winter sports centre in the Baltics and the Winter Capital of Estonia.
Otepää got its name, which in Estonian means "bear's head" after the shape of the castle hill - which reminds of a bear's head. It's also where in 1224, Bishop Hermann started building the first known brick castle in Estonia, The Stone Fort.
In summer you can hike along the paths of the Otepää Nature Park, see the landscape of rolling hills and lakes, romantic winding village roads and small rivers. Beautiful views open from observation towers on top of Tehvandi and Harimägi hills. You can also take part in different sports or simply have a good time at lake Pühajärve, which is a jewel among Estonian lakes. Each summer the "Saku Suverull" takes place - a summer competition for the world's best skiers.
If you don't like crowds and sports then it's always possible to go on hiking trips through the surrounding the picturesque landscapes, and you could try an Estonian hot smoke sauna and bathing in an icy lake afterwards.
In wintertime Otepää is a winter sports paradise for skiers, snowmobile riders and for anyone who enjoys the snow: there are slalom slopes equipped with elevators and lots of cross-country tracks. It's also where FIS World Cup Otepää Competition (cross-country skiing) and an ice-fishing competition "Golden Fish" draw the crowds.