From the bird paradise of Matsalu National Park to the mystical Alutaguse, each national park offers a unique combination of breathtaking nature, rare wildlife and unforgettable adventures.
From migratory birds and seals to flying squirrels and brown bears – the six impressive national parks and protected areas that cover almost a fifth of Estonia’s territory are a paradise for wildlife. These natural oases are impressive not only for their biodiversity, but also for their varied vegetation. For nature lovers, hikers as well as professional and amateur ornithologists, Estonia’s national parks and protected areas offer a diverse experience.
Six natural jewels to be discovered
Lahemaa National Park in northern Estonia is not only the largest and oldest in the country, but also a stunning mosaic of Baltic coastline, dense forests and historical treasures. In addition to its role as an important European forest reserve, the park is also a living history book of the German-Baltic past. The magnificent manor houses of Palmse, Sagadi and Vihula estates are a feast for every history lover. Complementing this journey into the past are the fascinating limestone cliffs, an unexpected geological highlight.
Matsalu National Park on the west coast attracts ornithologists from all over the world. Especially in spring, the park is transformed into a vibrant birdwatcher’s paradise when thousands of storks, geese and ducks fly in for a rest between the Arctic and Western Europe. The experience is only made more beautiful by the colorful pastures and meadows that are home to a kaleidoscope of wildflowers.
Soomaa National Park fascinates visitors with an Estonian peculiarity: the “fifth season.” During this transitional period between winter and spring, adventurers can explore spectacular floodplains in traditional wooden canoes. This time of year offers unparalleled photo opportunities and a unique insight into Estonian culture and traditions.
Vilsandi National Park is an island wonderland consisting of some 150 small islets. In addition to the fascinating bird and seal life, the islands also offer a journey back in time to the history of the earth with numerous fossil finds. Adventurers can paddle from island to island in a kayak and should not miss the spectacular summer sunsets that turn the sky into a colorful painting.
In Karula National Park, 40 crystal-clear lakes await water sports enthusiasts and hikers, nestled in a rolling landscape that spans 11,000 acres. Anglers appreciate the waters for their abundance of fish, while culture enthusiasts can discover the old farms and mysterious stone mounds as witnesses to a rich Estonian history.
The newest addition to Estonia’s national parks, Alutaguse delights with its vast coniferous forests and marshes as a haven for rare species. Observation towers provide breathtaking panoramic views of the diverse wildlife. A network of nature trails and marked walking paths guide visitors through this wonderfully diverse ecosystem, from majestic old growth forests to mysterious marshes.
Conservation jewels Away from the national parks
Not only are Estonia’s national parks spectacular, the country is also home to a wealth of other protected areas that are no less impressive. The Kõrvemaa Protected Area stands out for its forest landscapes and characteristic bogs that exude a primeval beauty. It is an El Dorado for hikers, who can delve into the secrets of Estonian nature on the well-developed network of hiking trails.
Equally remarkable is the estuary on Lake Peipus, Europe’s fifth largest lake. This area is a unique habitat for a variety of plants and animals and offers impressive panoramic views over the vast lake. For anglers, birdwatchers and nature photographers, this area is an undiscovered paradise.
Estonia’s national parks and protected areas are not only a treat for the senses, but also a living testimony to Estonia’s deep commitment to nature conservation and biodiversity preservation. Any visit to these exceptional areas is not only recommended, but also an experience that will be long remembered.
More information and inspiration about new products in Estonia can be found here: https://www.visitestonia.com/
Funded by the European Union.
Estonia is the authentic choice for those who want to experience a country at their own pace and experience a deeper connection with its nature, history, traditions and local life. Traveling Estonia means having all the time in the world: Past and future collide at every turn. Ancient traditions meet digital creativity. Endless, deep forests and thousands of islands invite you to roam extensively. Everything is slow here, except the WiFi. This small nation with an open mind and open spaces gives its visitors the time they need to connect with the country’s roots and create meaningful moments. Visit Estonia. It’s about time.