The Võro language ("võro kiil") is the main language spoken but Estonian is universally spoken as well. Russian and English are also understood by many people. Despite the picturesque location on the shore of the lake, Võru does not inhibit much of a medieval history. The central landmark is the cosy house-museum of Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald, the collector of the Estonian epic poetry and one of the founders of Estonian literature. From 1944 to 1953, the Estonian Forest Brothers (anti-Soviet partisans) were most active in Võru County.
There is a railway line and station, but passenger trains do not go here.
From Valga there are apparently only two buses a day, slowly and taking about two hours.
Bus schedules are easily available online – read more under Estonia#Get around.
Route #2 passes through Võru, and it is 80 km to Tartu.
Võru is small and all is attractions can be explored on foot.
- 1 Kreutzwald House Museum, Kreutzwaldi 31, ☏ . Apr–Sep W–Su 10–18:00, Oct–Mar W–Su 10–17:00. The founder of Estonian literature, Friedrich Kreutzwald, was born in a peasant family near Rakvere, and studied medicine at the University of Tartu. He practised medicine for 44 years in Võru, simultaneously writing about the situation of the Estonian peasantry and collecting Estonian folklore. The most famous work of Kreutzwald was the collection of the Estonian epic poetry, Kalevipoeg. In addition, Kreutzwald was actively creating a single Estonian language (in exchange for dissimilar northern and southern adverbs) and introducing it into public life.
Even if you are unfamiliar with the person and works of Kreutzwald, going to the museum will be interesting. In addition to the household – the main house with interiors, a bathhouse, and a barn – there is a historical and literary side to it. To the left of the entrance there is a detailed and very informative exposition on the life of the writer, with information in Estonian and Russian languages. In one of the sheds, a collection of publications of Kalevipoeg and illustrations can be found. All very cosy and feels somewhat at home. The presenters will be happy to talk with you in a variety of languages, including English. €2 (2013).
- 2 The Church of Catharina (Katariina kirik), Jüri 9. This Lutheran Church was built in 1788-93 with the support of the Catherine II. The architectural style was probably chosen with her help, because the church strikingly resembles the Latvian monuments of the Baroque style. Pay attention to the multi-tiered clock tower. On the square in front of the church stands a stone memorial for those killed on an Estonia ferry. Impressive due to a hand stretching out of the stone for help.
- 3 The Church of Catherine (Ekaterina kirik), Lembitu 1. Same time, similar origins. All churches of Võru were sponsored by Catherine II, taking care of the integration of the Baltic states into the Russian Empire. This church contains a high and narrow drum stuck in the middle of the nave resembles an inedible mushroom. However, the church looks a little disproportionate.
- 4 Museum of Võrumaa, Katariina allee 11, ☏ . Apr–Sep W–Su 10–18:00, Oct–Mar W–Su 10–17:00. An ordinary museum of local lore, with an interesting ethnographic exposition devoted to the Seto] settlements near Võru. If you do not have time to go to 1 Obinitsa, at least go here. €2 (2013).
- 5 Suspension bridge (Roosisaarele viiv rippsild), Tamula / Roosisaare sild (in the northern part of the city). This modern construction has become a main attraction, maybe due to the lack of other sights. The bridge leads through the swamp to the opposite shore, where there was a settlement during the Stone Age. Pleasantly swaying under the feet, and at night beautifully highlighted.
- 6 Eduard Tamm Memorial. Born 16 May 1879 in Narva and deceased 18 May 1941 in Võru. He was an Estonian composer, who laid the foundation for the original wind instrument.
Also, see South Estonia#See for destinations close to Võru for day trips and such.
Võru has a small but enjoyable beach.
- 1 Kohvik Muffin, Vabaduse 7, ☏ . M–Th 10–19:00, F 10–22:00, Sa 11–22:00. Confectionery café in a cosy wooden house. Free WiFi.
- 2 Mõisa Ait Pubi, Jüri 20c, ☏ . Su–Th 11–22:00, F–Sa 11–24:00. Hot dishes: €6-8 (2013).
- 3 Õlle 17, Jüri 17, ☏ . 12–22:00. A characteristic and cosy Estonian pub, located in a wooden house with a creaky floor and slightly sagging porch. It has the subtitle Irish Pub, which is unsusual, as is the availability of billiards. A lot of Irish beers. Main courses: €7-8 (2013).
- 4 Ränduri Pubi, Jüri 36, ☏ . 08–00:00. The pub is more urban than Õlle 17. The house is made of stone, but the interior is wooden. Hot dishes: €5-8 (2013).
- 5 Võru kohvik, Jüri 22, ☏ . M–F 07:45–18:00, Sa 10–15:00. Regular but cute cafeteria along the main street. One kind of a soup and five hot dishes, every day different. Also, it has a huge range of baked goods. Main course: €3-4 (2014).
- 6 Hesburger, Jüri 83, email@example.com. M–Su 09–22:00. Finnish fast food chain.
- 7 Peetri Pizza, Jüri 85, ☏ . M–Tu 10–20:00, Th–Su 10–22:00. Budget but proper pizzeria.
Try also one of the above mentioned Pubis.
- Obinitsa – Part of the settlements of the ethnic Seto minority in the border region of Estonia and Russia.
- Sangaste and the nearby Sangaste Castle, about 40 km northwest.
- Otepää – A small town set in the hills of south Estonia and best known winter sports centre in the Baltics, and the Winter Capital of Estonia. Surrounded by lakes, hills and ski jump towers.
- Karula National Park – The hilly landscapes of Southern Estonia. Estonian’s smallest national park on the way to/from Valga.
- Valga – A town on the border with Latvia, where it literally grows into the Latvian town of Valka.