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Cozy Estonian weekends in the cold season

By Jana Belugina

Winter in Estonia can be quite freezing and this is the time to discover new activities to keep cozy. When it's cold and windy outside, and you're tired after the working week and pre-Christmas fuss, your body demands relaxation and warmth. Famous for its outstanding spa services and cute-little capital Kuressaare, Saaremaa Island is the perfect winter gateway in Estonia.

Every good trip starts with the road. Driving from Tallinn to Virtsu port will take about an hour's drive through picturesque villages and forests. On the ferry, enjoy half an hour at the second deck bar, watching the mainland move away while having a cup of hot cocoa. The ferry arrives at Muhu Island, (which is so small that it is usually passes unnoticed) where the breathtaking isthmus connects it with Saaremaa.

This passage is only 3.6 km long, having two lines running in both directions. An unbelievable experience, especially in the winter when the asphalt colored waves are high and the one behind the wheel gets the feeling of sliding through a stormy sea.

Another half hour of comfortable driving and you'll reach Kuressaare. This is the Mecca for those fond of spa procedures, good food, top quality service and fresh air. Hundreds of different hotels and water centers are there to satisfy even the pickiest customer. However, two of the most famous and oldest spa hotels are recommended for those special winter moments.

The newest, The Grand Rose Spa ,opened two years ago. This is probably the most romantic hotel in all Estonia. Roses are the obsession of the designer and they are incorporated into everything. It is considered that just the view of rose blossoms give an incomparable feeling of joy and makes the heart beat faster. A stay in this hotel will give the illusion of summers gone by and evokes memories of walks in the rose gardens. Royal rooms and luxurious Spa and Sauna Center create a complete for relaxation satisfying all hopes and desires.   

Another recommedned destination is the most well-known one. Georg Ots Spa or GO Spa for short.  This is a large and modern enjoyment center. Spacious rooms and a lobby bar with huge fireplaces create unbelievably cozy evenings. Nothing can be better for a winter's evening than wrapping up in a soft blanket next to the fire and having an after-dinner chat with a glass of mulled wine. The wellness and water center of this complex deserves special attention. Where else it is possible to enjoy a hot Jacuzzi with a glass of fresh-juice, while watching the stormy sea just a few meters and a glass wall away. You can also get the fabulous feeling of swimming under the snow flakes in the outdoor pool right after the sauna.

Both hotels have outstanding restaurants as well as body and soul pampering procedures. Once you go into one of these hotels however, there won't be any desire to leave. There are quite few points of interest within walking distance of each of hotel. But you should leave this for a warmer time of year and relax indoors.