We stopped by Vihula Manor at the very beginning of September, when the weather in Estonia was still sunny and beautiful. We were spending the summer and the cranes flying south.. It was a wonderful weekend in a wonderful place.
To tell you what this place is all about, it’s worth telling a bit of its history! After all, the estate is over 800 years old!
Vihula Manor is one of the oldest manors in the Laahemaa Conservation Area. The first mention of the manor dates back to the 15th century, but of the 27 surviving buildings, most date back to the 19th century.
The earliest written source that refers to Vihula – Vyoll as it was then known – is dated 1501 and places ownership in the hands of a Danish baron named Hans von Lode.
The earliest written source that refers to Vihula – Vyoll as it was then known – is dated 1501 and places ownership in the hands of a Danish baron named Hans von Lode. The Danish von Lodes were the oldest noble family in Estonia.
In the Estonian Knighthood, Archive survives a 16th-century document signed by the Bishop of Reval, as Tallinn was then known, confirming that the family’s ancestor, the Danish knight Odvard von Lode, accompanied King Canute VI of Denmark on his crusade against the pagan Estonians in 1197 and in return for his services to the Danish crown was granted large areas of land in northern Estonia.
Most probably Odvard von Lode has received the area around Vihula and established a manor already at the end of the 12th century and the history of Vihula Manor goes back more than 300 years prior to the first written source from 1501.
In 1531 the Weckebrod family became the owners of Vihula. In 1605 Ewert Weckebrod left Vihula to his daughter Brita who had married to Melchior von Helffreich. The Helffreich family, which descended from Württemberg in Germany, owned the manor for more than two centuries.
During the Great Nordic War (1700-1721) in September 1703 the manor and its surroundings were devastated and burnt. There is no information when it was rebuilt after the war. The oldest preserved building in the manor is the so-called Tagamõis (Back Manor). It was built in the second half of the 18th century. At that time this was the only stone building. All the other buildings were made of wood.At the beginning of the 19th century, the economic situation of the owners was very difficult. They fell into debts and as a result, the manor was sold on an auction in 1809. On the 23rd of February 1810, Alexander von Schubert became the owner of Vihula. Vihula was built up as it appears nowadays during the time of the von Schuberts. The historicist main building was completed in the 1880s, but mostly the buildings were built 1820-1840. After WWI Vihula Manor was nationalized and was a state-owned estate between the two world wars. The von Schubert family remained at the estate until 1939 when the family left Estonia.
The manor complex is 2008-2012 undergoing a complete and total restoration. The aim of the restoration is to preserve the historical heritage and protect the nature as much as possible and at the same time to give a modern functionality to the buildings and the area.
Vihula Manor is named the best historic hotel in Europe. The historic 4* Superior Vihula Manor was awarded the distinguished title of the “Historic Hotel of Europe 2020” at the prestigious European Hotel Awards gala, which is a great honor for the local tourism landscape. The European Hotel Awards (EHA) gala is an event held to recognize excellence in the hospitality sector. The annual awards are handed out by the magazine Référence Hôteliers Restaurateurs to single out the best of the best in the industry.
This is such a difficult but interesting history of Vihula Manor!
We thoroughly enjoyed our entire weekend here. After all, in addition to a large area with a mill, there is a mini golf, a pond with boats, a spa center with a pool and saunas, restaurants and much more…. I will say right away that two days was not enough for us!
The greenhouse with vegetables, the garden with fruit trees, flowers and interesting plants are worth it. Only here you can spend several hours walking and taking pictures!
The main building of the estate. This is where some of the rooms, the restaurant and the reception are located! By the way, the rooms are scattered throughout the estate. We stayed in an old barn, where the massage part of the spa is now located.
The territory here is really amazing! The manor also owns 50 hectares of picturesque countryside!
The pond by the way is actually part of the river, and the islets are created by nature and ennobled with bridges, like in Venice!
You can look at these green lawns forever.
Flowers, fruits and herbs are used at the manor to make various delicious things: teas, cookies, dried fruits, jams. You can try them here, or buy them as souvenirs to take home and give as gifts!
As I mentioned above, there is a miniature golf course here. And it is one of the biggest and most interesting in the whole of Estonia!
There are 3 restaurants on the manor. Vihula Manor Wine Cellar, Water Mill Cafe and Kaval-Ants Tavern. We didn’t visit the first one, the second one we drank mint tea with cookies, and I will tell you about the third one now!
The restaurant is the Kaval-Ants Tavern, or medieval inn. It is an old atmospheric tavern. The food here is “homemade”, very tasty and adequately priced! It is definitely worth a visit if you like simple and caloric dishes! Just book a table in advance (especially on weekends), there are not always seats. Not only hotel guests come to dinner, but also locals from different towns within a radius of 30 km!
The manor also has a distillery, but now it serves as a conference hall, a place where interesting international meetings, presentations and tastings (mostly of alcohol) are held. But there is a working watermill, where lives a black cat named “Snowball” ))
Photo with alcohol – a collection of the best Estonian vodka! It is carefully collected and shown to the guests ) There is even a small collection of Russian vodka.
By the way, the cost of the cheapest room in the hotel is very democratic (in my opinion). Only 69 € (breakfast buffet – included), and it is 4*! As always I advise you to book on Booking.com
The manor has its own mini farm with animals: sheep, goats, chickens and rabbits! Ideal for those who come with children!
And that very mill in a picturesque daisy meadow!
At the end of the day, just before we left, we saw hundreds of cranes flying south!!!! It was the first time I’d ever seen that. It was amazing.
Vihula Manor, judging by the photos, is beautiful in any season. And my dream now is to come back here in snowy winter and golden fall!
Thanks as always for reading!