By Henrik Jeppesen.
On the list of the biggest cities and towns of Estonia, Viljandi is in the 6th spot. Size doesn’t matter when it comes to the best cities, however. Having visited all top 10 cities and towns based on the 2018 population stats, I would rank Viljandi as the second-best city. Primarily due to its stunning castle park, Park Hotell Viljandi and Lake Viljandi, where I went on a lovely boat trip on a Saturday afternoon.
Park Hotell Viljandi
The best hotel in the town is also among the better hotels in entire Estonia. Park Hotell Viljandi is centrally located in the hotel of the town, yet quiet and comfortable. The hotel has an impressive 9.2/10 guest satisfaction score on Booking.com at the time of this article, as well as a 4.5/5 ranking on TripAdvisor.
Their rates are reasonably priced starting at around 80 Euros per night. Park Hotell Viljandi has 37 rooms total as well as a café and Restaurant Ormisson, where I enjoyed a nice meal in the evening. The restaurant had attention to details on the food. For example, they use salmon of the Faroe Islands, instead of for example Norwegian salmon, which tends to be a lot cheaper and often not of the same quality as far as I’m aware. I stayed in a park view room with a comfortable bed, TV, working desk, complimentary WiFi access and a big rain shower in the bathroom. The lobby is beautiful (photo below), and the staff there is friendly.
For me, hotels are not about stars. Estonian Hotel and Restaurant Association has awarded Park Hotell Viljandi four stars, but for me, it was better than several five-star hotels I have stayed. I really enjoyed the modern, attractive design, in comparison with a lot of five-stars hotels with a classical, often outdated design. There are cheaper places to stay in Viljandi, but doing my research, it was clear there wasn’t any other hotel matching Park Hotell Viljandi’s quality of accommodation in the town.
Viljandi is one of the destinations I would highly recommend to experience in Estonia together with Tallinn, Pärnu, Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. You can visit on a day trip, but staying overnight is ideal to do a boat trip on Lake Viljandi and spend a good amount of time in the castle park. Thanks to Park Hotell Viljandi for the lovely experience!
The main attraction of the town, the castle park, is worth spending a lot of time in, walking around. It has beautiful ruins of the Viljandi Order Castle with a history back to 1224 and stunning views of the lake. Even though we spent one night, I felt I would have like to spend an even longer time walking around the park. It’s really lovely and romantic.
Boat trip on Lake Viljandi
Lake Viljandi is a well-known lake in Estonia due to a song about a boatman of Viljandi. A boat service located close to Park Hotell Viljandi makes it possible to rent a boat cheaply to enjoy a nice time on the lake. Definitely, a highly recommended experience when visiting Viljandi. It’s beautiful, peaceful and romantic, just like the hotel and castle park is.