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Destination Details

Valga, Estonia

 

Valga is the southern-most town in Estonia and despite its small size, the town straddles two countries, boasting two languages and cultures. Valga also has a rich history and a versatile cultural scene. Valga town is a pearl waiting to be discovered.

In the south, Estonia shares a border with Latvia and here Valga town is split in half, the northern side, `Valga’, belongs to Estonia and `Valka’, on the southern side, belongs to Latvia. For years, this created a complicated situation where members of one family, even living on the same street, may have had different citizenships and had to go through customs and border guards in order to visit each other.

Fortunately, after both countries joined the Schengen zone, border points were removed and Valga-Valka is fast overcoming the separation issues. Two different currencies (Euro in Estonia and Lat's in Latvia), languages and cultures still remain, making the town an interesting holiday destination. Where else could you stand, one foot in one country, holding “jäätis” (ice cream in Estonian) in your left hand and other foot in another country, holding “saldejums” (ice cream in Latvian) in your right hand?

Recent years have strengthened the relationship between Valga and Valka, the two halves of the same town, and there are several projects to encourage Valga-Valka to evolve into a complete town again. Perhaps the best example of this kind of co-operation between the two `halves’ is the beautiful scenic 5km walking track by Pedeli river. Much loved by morning runners with a small park area, a family-friendly beach, playgrounds, rollerblading and cycling roads.

A pro-active and positive approach to sports is fast becoming a trademark of Valga: in addition to the Pedeli river tracks, the 12km Valga-Sooru track suits beginners as well as more experienced athletes. Estonia’s first lady Evelin IlvesExternal link, herself a rollerblading enthusiast, has claimed it to be the best rollerblading track in Estonia and it is also ideal for family cycling, walking and running.

If you'd like to explore Estonian history,go and visit Valga Military Theme Park – it's a museum dedicated to Valga’s war history. Each year in August, the museum organises an educational military festival in Valga with parades, demonstrations and re-enactments of historic was scenes.

During autumn, the main events in Valga are the St.Michael’s day fair, Mihklilaat, in October, and Art Month in November – both with workshops, exhibitions and fun events, and most of them free.

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