EE3: National Route No. 3 (EuroVelo 11)

[EE3] – National Route No. 3 / Nationale Estnische Fahrradroute Nr. 3



Valga border checkpoint (0.0 km) – downtown Valga (2.4) – Lüllemäe (24) – Vana-Antsla (41) – Urvaste (47) – Sihva (69) – Otepää (77) – Palupera (89) – Elva (102) – Nõo (112) – Tartu (129) – Kõrveküla (135) – Vara (148) – Varnja (170) – Alatskivi (186) – Kallaste (193) – Omedu (210) – Mustvee (219) – Ulvi (232) – Avinurme (242) – Tudulinna (257) – Kauksi (269) – Alajõe (281) – Iisaku (294) – Kurtna lakeland (321) – Jõhvi (338) – Toila (349) – Sillamäe (366) – Sinimäe (373) – Narva-Jõesuu (388) – Narva (402).
Route No. 3
A segment of this cycling route, that between Valga and Tartu, is part of EuroVelo Route No. 11 extending from Athens to the North Cape. The more eye-catching areas are Karula National Park in the vicinity of Lüllemäe; Otepää Highlands, the main tourist magnet in South Estonia; and the summer vacationers’ town Elva. There are two gravel road sections between Lüllemäe and Otepää, totalling 17 km. It is worthwhile to take a longer stop in the region of Otepää to bike on the numerous routes (No. 261 – 265, currently not furnished with signposts). If you prefer gravel and forest paths to asphalt roads you can cycle from Otepää to Elva along the Tartu Bicycle Marathon track (Route 266, length 62 km).The university city of Tartu also deserves a longer stay for sightseeing. Next we make for Lake Peipsi. A diversion to the lakeshore villages of Varnja and Kolkja involves 11 km of gravel roads, yet the peculiar milieu of these Russian Old Orthodox villagers makes it a memorable interlude. Scenes of village life can also be caught at the approach to Mustvee. After Mustvee the route turns away from the lake. The remaining distance to Rannapungerja offers pleasurable roads with little traffic, including 7 km of gravel cover.

Turning towards Peipsi again, we enter the cutest coastal areas of the lake. On beautiful summer days we can enjoy the pleasures of the beach and tender nights by the lakeside.

Next we pass through Iisaku; absolutely advisable is a diversion to Kuremäe Convent before we reach the landscape conservation area of Kurtna. The region is highly attractive yet the roads have suffered from poor maintenance at the hands of the local roadmasters. Here and there, noisy party-throwers may prove an annoyance.

Jõhvi has little to offer as a town; after reaching the northern coast the route coincides with Route 1 until Narva. The places of interest on this stretch are the park of Toila-Oru, the high limestone bluff, the Stalinist-style industrial town of Sillamäe, the former holiday resort Narva-Jõesuu and the border city of Narva.
Slightly uncomfortable for the cyclist is an approximately 5-km stretch of gravel and dirt roads from Voka to the Tallinn-Narva highway; as well, the highway has to be used for three shorter stretches.

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