This meant a stable place to stay awhile, good news for Chad’s new business, and – importantly – a new part of Europe ripe for exploration.
Even before the good news, as soon as we arrived in Estonia to apply, I started digging around on maps and photo sites. What nearby places did I want to explore? What northern cities or natural parks called to me?
My bucket list is fast-growing. And if you’re thinking about heading north yourself, here are seven places near the top of it:
For Estonians, this is the place to go for a beach vacation. For me, its biggest draw is the coastal meadow hiking trail–a raised trail through woods, lagoons, and meadows. It’s also less than two hours from Tallinn by bus, making it a very easy place to visit.
Panga Cliffs, Estonia
Google anything to do with nature in Estonia and these cliffs are likely to show up. The cliffs are beautiful and they’ve got a spooky, sordid history, since they were formerly a place where people were ritualistically sacrificed to the sea. Sunset is supposedly epic.
The beaches of Latvia
Miles of clean, mostly empty white-sand beaches? Yes, please. I’m told Latvia’s shoreline is a pretty one, with many stretches relatively rarely visited. Pine forests often stretch alongside the quiet sand.
They call it the nature capital of the world – and right now it’s only a two-hour ferry ride away. This will probably be my birthday trip destination.
This nature trail is high up on my Estonia to-do list for its caves, springs, and thick forest landscape.
Jotunheimen National Park, Norway
This national park has 250+ mountains that nearly reach the 2,000-meter mark. All I needed was a few photos to push this up up up on my list.
This famous Norwegian waterfall is just too damn pretty to skip.
Now, to you: What’s on your northern European bucket list?