Tartu and a Weekend in an Estonian Manor House

Kissing Students in Tartu

Tartu rates highly in the quirky stakes. Wandering around the Old Town you can find Oscar Wilde chatting with an Estonian writer, students kissing in front of the Town Hall and a naked father and his adult sized infant son. Granted, the Father and Son statue is more creepy than quirky.

Oscar Wilde in TartuCreepy Father & Son Statue

Also on the curious side is Soup Town. Not far from the city centre, Soup Town (Supilinn) is where many of the streets are named after fruits and vegetables. Make your way along Potato, Pea and Melon streets to get a look at the pre-war wooden architecture. Visit before gentrification takes hold.

Tartu Main Square

Tartu is quiet in the summer months when most of the student population is holidaying in Parnu and other parts of the country. It’s missing that youthful feel the students bring and I was happy to only be visiting for the day.

Tartu University Mural

Driving in Estonia

Driving along the plains back up north we pass pine and birch forests then take a winding road through the wheat fields. We stop and ask a young cyclist for directions. She looks confused when I ask for Kau Manor. I thought my pronunciation was probably off, as it normally is, but as she pointed behind me I realised we had stopped directly in front of the manor house.

Kau Manor - Famous Estonian Manor House

Within minutes of checking in I find myself swinging in a hammock strung between two of the leafy trees which had blocked my view of the manor. Discovering the wifi signal reached my newly claimed bed, I didn’t have much reason to leave until dinner.

New blog title: Life in a Hammock

Not long ago there were more than 1000 manor houses in Estonia. That number has dropped to around 400 and sadly only around 100 are in use. Still, that’s an impressive number of manor houses, more than you’ll find in most European countries.

Many of these stately homes have been converted into luxury accommodation and restaurants. Some are open to the public or can be visited on tours. They all have a fascinating history. Kau Manor was once the home of a Baltic German explorer and navigator who travelled the world discovering new lands.

Historic Estonian Manor House

While it would be nice to laze around the manor all weekend, you could also head to Tallinn for the afternoon. There are so many great things to do in Tallinn it would be hard for me to resist stopping by.

Visit Tallinn ASAP

If you prefer to spend your time in nature, the Jagala Waterfall is idyllic and less than an hour away.

Waterfalls in Estonia

Stay at Kau Manor

I received a complimentary weekend stay at Kau Manor but if you would like to book you can get more information here. I suggest booking one of the rooms in the manor itself which are larger and with more character than the coach house rooms.

Kau Manor Reading RoomSleep in an Estonian Manor House

You can dine in the manor’s restaurant where they specialise in using local Estonian produce prepared in a modern way. The food was delicious! Also don’t miss the cooked to order breakfast. It’s all about the food as always.

Seafood Bites at Eight Legs RestaurantSeasonal Veggies

Breakfast First Course at Kau ManorMmm, Scrambled Eggs

Kau Manor is one of the best manor houses near Tallinn but if you’re looking for one elsewhere in the country see this full list of manor houses in Estonia.

About Andrea

Andrea Anastasakis is the founder and author of road trip blog Rear View Mirror. She is currently driving her Fiat 500 around Europe. Follow her travel adventures on Instagram.


  1. Great post Andrea. I am now looking forward to my visit next week.

  2. This has me ready to plan my next visit to Estonia! I’ve heard good things about Tartu, but that’s good to know about the missing student vibe in summer. Will plan accordingly 🙂

    • You must have so many places on your list now. 🙂 Tartu is very cute. I liked it, it was a little quiet that’s all but I’m sure it’s back to normal now. I wonder if that’s why I wasn’t so crazy about Riga, maybe it’s livelier at different times of the year.

  3. I visited Tartu last October, in the most breathtaking autumn ever and it was an excellent place for a city break! Students definitely add up to the atmosphere of the city, I actually can’t imagine it without them 🙂 You should return when the academic year starts! 🙂

    • I really want to go back! I’ve heard so many great things about Tartu, that it’s a fun, bustling city with great bars etc and I’m sure that’s the case just not in August. I still liked it though, it’s a cool place to chill for a while. I can see that autumn in Estonia would be amazing and winter too probably. 🙂

  4. Love the photos, especially of the food porn! 😉 I’ll have to check out that list of Estonian manor houses for our potential Baltic road trip in November. Great ideas here!