hiking estonia

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hiking estonia

Introduction to Hiking in Estonia

Estonia – a Baltic gem – offers amazing natural landscapes for all levels of hikers. Explore the forests, wetlands and coastal routes! Bog hikes and forest trails provide stunning views of the wilderness. Join a guided tour or visit a national park information center to find out the best trails for your abilities. Popular hiking areas include Soomaa National Park, Lahemaa National Park and Matsalu National Park.

Don’t miss the Estonian Coastal Trail – 640 km long – from Narva-Jõesuu to Ikla! Admire medieval towns and tranquil beaches along this breathtaking hike. Remember to have good-quality footwear – many trails are rugged and damp! Get set to explore nature’s playground – Estonia’s hiking trails are worth it!

Best Hiking Trails in Estonia

In Estonia, nature lovers and adventure seekers are spoilt for choice with the abundance of hiking trails available. Discovering the Best Hiking Trails in Estonia can be an enthralling experience, immersed in the beauty of nature’s untouched wilderness. Let’s explore some of the finest hikes in Estonia that offer a mixture of panoramic views and diverse terrains.

  • Viru Bog Trail – A unique boardwalk that traverses through a wetland panorama complete with streams and wildlife sightings.
  • Oandu-Ikla Hiking Trail – A 60 km trail starting from Lahemaa National Park, providing an immersive experience of Estonia’s diverse landscapes.
  • Soomaa National Park Nature Trail – Known as the Land of the Fifth Season due to annual floods, this trail offers a unique wilderness experience.
  • Matsalu National Park – Hike through the coastal wetlands and migratory bird paradise as you soak in the picturesque views of the coastline and forests around you.
  • Vilsandi National Park Trail – A remote and rugged trail, Vilsandi National Park offers an unparalleled experience of Estonia’s rugged coastal terrains and marine biodiversity.

Estonia’s hiking trails are best known for their unique and diverse terrain that offers a medley of experiences for nature enthusiasts. Hikers can encounter pristine bogs, virgin forests, and picture-perfect coastal landscapes throughout their journey.

Pro Tip: Before starting any hike, it’s important to check the weather forecast and carry adequate equipment, including a map and a compass. Additionally, visitors must respect the fragile ecosystem and abide by the national park’s rules and regulations. If you’re looking for a walk on the wild side, Lahemaa National Park has you covered – just watch out for the bears and wolves (and the occasional enthusiastic tourist).

Lahemaa National Park

Nestled amongst lush forests and pristine coastlines, this national park is ideal for nature lovers. Boasting diverse flora and fauna, there are trails to explore ancient settlements and waterfalls.

Lahemaa’s natural beauty is from its untouched geographical location. Plus, settlers left relics like farmhouses and manor houses.

Venture on a Historical Manors Trail to peek at the aristocratic life of the past. Or, take a Viru Bog Trail trek to see rare plants.

Legend has it, seafarers used Jagala waterfall as a marker for voyages. There are hidden gems in Lahemaa National Park; ready to be discovered! Get lost in Soomla National Park and come back with an amazing story.

Soomaa National Park

Soomaa National Park is located in southwestern Estonia. It is a wetland complex, one of the largest in Europe, covering over 390 sq km.

You can explore trails of raised bog and rivers such as Navesti, Raudna, Halliste, and Lemmjõgi. When spring melt or heavy rainfall occurs, the park turns into a flooded area where you can canoe in the floodwaters.

Observation towers let you spot wildlife like moose, wolves, and boars. Plus, traditional workshops for wool felting and woodcarving are available.

For an unforgettable experience, try these activities:

  1. Canoeing with a guide in floods.
  2. Visiting Kuresoo Bog’s nature trail for cloudberries.
  3. Joining a traditional workshop for wool-skimming or wood-carving.

Discover some of Estonia’s wildest untouched landscapes at Soomaa. Or, explore Piusa Caves Nature Reserve for a cave-in.

Piusa Caves Nature Reserve

Head to Estonia and explore the Piusa Caves Nature Reserve – the ultimate hiking destination! The reserve boasts limestone caves, deep grottos, underground streams and waterfalls. On your hike, see Finland’s iconic bat population and protected plant species.

The caves are a reminder of Estonia’s Ice Age history. In WWI, local smugglers used them as a shelter. To experience these historical features, get your hiking gear ready!

Why stay indoors for your workout when you can take it outdoors to Otepää Nature Park? Climb to the top and feel like a mountain goat!

Otepää Nature Park

Otepää Nature Park in southern Estonia is a must-visit for outdoor enthusiasts! It boasts rolling hills, picturesque valleys, and some of the best hiking trails in the country. The Väike Munamägi trail leads hikers to the highest peak in the area. From there, you’ll be able to see as far as Russia on a clear day. Or, take the Pühajärve ringtee around Lake Pühajärv and discover the park’s scenic spots.

What makes Otepää special is its ancient history. It has been inhabited for thousands of years and contains numerous archaeological sites and historic landmarks. So, go ahead and put on your hiking boots. Pack a lunch, and explore the unique culture and landscapes of Otepää Nature Park!

Matsalu National Park

This national park lies on the Estonian west coast. It contains a coastal area, wetlands, and forests – a variety of habitats. Birders can spot many bird species, plus elk and deer. The trails offer marvelous sights of untouched nature.

The park’s trails are over 200 km long. Short nature walks and longer hikes through mudflats and wetlands are available. The 7-km Penijõe-Kakerdaja bog trail is the most sought-after. It has a boardwalk with wooden paths through thick bog vegetation.

Matsalu welcomes thousands of migrating birds each year. Plus, there’s a museum in the nearby farmstead with exhibitions on local fauna.

Pro Tip: Wear suitable clothing and waterproof boots on the muddy trails. You can enjoy the views of Estonia’s trails whatever the season.

Seasons for Hiking in Estonia

In Estonia, hiking trails are available throughout the year. The country’s diverse landscapes provide a unique experience in every season.

  • Spring (March to May): The snow melts, and the forests come alive with greenery. The temperature is mild, and the trails are covered with colorful wildflowers.
  • Summer (June to August): The perfect time for hiking in Estonia is during the summer months. The days are long, and the weather is warm and sunny. The nights are short, and the skies never entirely darken.
  • Autumn (September to November): The trees change color, and the leaves fall to the ground. The air is crisp, and the landscapes are painted with red, yellow, and orange hues.
  • Winter (December to February): The trails are covered with snow, and the forests become a winter wonderland. The temperature drops and creates an opportunity for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice-fishing.

Estonia’s unique location provides a balance between nature and technology. With thousands of kilometers of trails, hikers can discover Estonia’s hidden gems, untouched wilderness, and unspoiled beaches throughout the year.

The ancient custom of welcoming the first day of May, Võidupüha (Victory Day), is still celebrated in Estonia today. In the early morning, people hike to the hilltops, and the Estonian flag is raised ceremoniously. This day has special significance, as it marks the beginning of the hiking season.

Spring has arrived in Estonia, which means it’s time to swap out your snow boots for hiking shoes… or just wear both and confuse everyone.


As winter fades away and the warmer climate of spring arrives, Estonia is alive with vibrant beauty. Hikers can explore the country’s natural playground and enjoy many promises of the season.

Witness wildflowers blooming and foliage coming to life. April brings muddy trails, but also streams and waterfalls in full splendor. Trek through forests and woodlands with fresh air invigorating the senses. Watch migratory birds return, and explore nature reserves like Matsalu National Park and Lahemaa National Park.

Weekdays are quieter, so visitors can fully immerse in nature without crowds. Go for walks around city parks or longer hikes in remote locations like Soomaa national park or Valaste waterfall trail. Spring is ideal for unique experiences with fewer tourists and lower accommodation rates.

Head to lesser-known regions like Haanja or Kõrvemaa Nature Reserve stretches. Discover different flora present nowhere else in Estonia. Or try night hiking – starting just before dark – for a remarkable perspective on nocturnal animals.

Plan ahead and carry provisions. Springtime hiking can be unpredictable with temperatures dropping suddenly and rainy spells. Brace yourself for the heat of summer – and start hiking up a mountain!


The sun blazing over Estonia in summer creates the perfect conditions for hikers. Temperatures of 18-27°C make it comfy for adventures. Long daylight hours give more time to explore. Wildflowers bloom in lush forests, and Lahemaa National Park offers picturesque waterfalls and cliffs.

For a unique summer experience, head to the coast – Pärnu beach, Matsalu Bay or Käsmu peninsula. Or, explore Southern Estonian towns like Otepää or Võru for less crowded forests.

One traveler’s experience of summer hiking? “I felt liberated in Soomaa National Park between May and July! Mirrored reflections of trees on nearby swamp waters, wild berries all around me – it was almost surreal.”

So, as autumn comes, grab your hiking boots and get lost in the beauty of Estonian forests.


Leaves start to drift and the temp drops. Autumnal Estonia is made for hiking. The views are a riot of reds, oranges, and yellows. Plus, less crowds compared to summer.

Lahemaa National Park is a beaut. Coastal trails with birch trees and bog paths. Kõrvemaa Nature Reserve has heathlands and forests to explore.

Tartu’s River Ahja valley has a kaleidoscope of autumn hues. Plus, ancient Roman forts for panoramic views.

1545 marks the first time Autumn was observed. It’s since been celebrated as a season of harvest and change.

Hiking in Estonia during winter? Think ‘Survivor: Arctic Edition’ – without the reward. Just frostbitten toes and a sense of accomplishment.


As the weather gets colder, Estonia turns into a winter wonderland! Hiking enthusiasts can explore the snowy wilderness. It’s essential to wear layers, waterproof boots, and safety items like an ice axe or crampons. Enjoy sights like frozen waterfalls, snow-covered trees, and icy lakes. For a surreal experience, hike at night under the moonlight. You may even spot animals like foxes or deer! For the best experience, join a guided tour. Tour operators provide packages for all levels of hikers. With the right preparation, anyone can have an unforgettable adventure in Estonia’s countryside during wintertime. Better pack your raincoat and sunscreen – in Estonia, you never know what season it’ll be tomorrow!

Preparing for a Hike in Estonia

Preparing for a Memorable Hiking Adventure in Estonia

In Estonia, hiking is an excellent way to explore the unspoiled nature and hidden treasures. To make the most out of your hiking adventure, it’s vital to prepare adequately before you hit the trails.

  • Choose the Right Trail: Estonia has an extensive network of trails for beginner and experienced hikers. Choose a trail that aligns with your fitness level and experience.
  • Dress Appropriately: Estonia’s weather can be unpredictable, and dressing for the occasion is crucial. Wear breathable layers, comfortable footwear, and waterproof gear.
  • Stay Safe: Before embarking on your journey, inform someone of your plans, carry a map, and follow trail markers. Stay on the designated trails to avoid getting lost.
  • Pack Essentials: Keep yourself hydrated by carrying ample water, pack snacks and first aid kit. Don’t litter the environment, and carry a bag to dispose of your trash properly.

While on the trails, you may encounter wildlife. Avoid approaching animals, especially those with young ones. Additionally, some trails may have dangerous cliffs or steep slopes. Stay alert and keep a safe distance from these areas.

Did you know that Estonia has over 3000 km of marked hiking trails? (Source: Visit Estonia)

Don’t forget to pack your sense of adventure and a sturdy pair of boots, because Hiking Estonia is not for the faint-hearted.

Packing list

Pack for an enjoyable hike in Estonia! Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Clothing: Breathable, moisture-wicking fabrics are musts. Hiking boots, rain gear and warm accessories like hats, gloves and scarves are key.
  2. First Aid Kit: Bandages, pain relievers and insect repellent, sunscreen and allergy medicine – it’s a must!
  3. Navigation Tools: Map, GPS device, compass and whistle – no one wants to get lost.
  4. Water and Snacks: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and keep energy snacks like nuts and trail mix handy.
  5. Electronic Devices: Capture stunning views with a camera, but don’t forget to bring extra batteries or power banks.

Remember: the weather in Estonia can change quickly, so pack appropriately and adjust your backpack straps for better support and weight distribution. By following these pointers, you’ll be ready for a successful hike!

Clothing and gear considerations

When hiking in Estonia, clothing and equipment are key. Here are a few must-haves:

  • Sturdy, waterproof shoes with good grip for wet and muddy trails.
  • Layer up – start with a moisture-wicking base layer, then add a fleece or wool garment, and a windbreaker or raincoat depending on the weather.
  • Bring plenty of H2O (min. 2L per person) and energy snacks.
  • Map, compass, GPS, first aid kit, insect repellent, sunscreen – all important.
  • Respect nature and be aware of your environment.

Do your research before setting out – trail length, difficulty level, opening hours, weather forecasts. It’s a must! If you find yourself in a sticky situation (like neck-deep in a bog!), safety is the priority. And if a bear meets you on the trail? Make sure you’re not the slowest one in the group.

Safety tips

As you embark on your hiking journey in Estonia, remember to prioritize safety! Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Stay hydrated and fed.
  • Dress for the weather.
  • Have a map and compass – and know how to use them.
  • Tell somebody your plans beforehand.

Be aware of the potential hazards too. Wildlife or tough terrain may be lurking. Keep your eyes peeled and be mindful of your surroundings.

Did you know that Estonia has over 1,500 islands? It’s a gorgeous country full of surprises. Just make sure to put safety first when you explore. Enjoy the chocolaty surprise of Estonia’s hiking trails!

Cultural and Natural Attractions Along Hiking Trails

Discover the realm of natural glory and cultural significance that lies along the charming hiking trails. Be enthralled by the breath-taking vistas, the magnificence of forests, and the wonders of ancient architecture.

Along the hiking trails, hikers can behold the striking charisma of natural landmarks, such as the stunning waterfalls, the towering cliffs, and the mesmerizing valleys. They can also witness the rich cultural heritage of the land through the ancient ruins, iconic castles, and centuries-old churches.

  • Spectacular scenic beauty of waterfalls, cliffs, and valleys
  • Fascinating blend of cultural heritage through the ancient ruins, castles, and churches
  • Unique opportunities to experience the pure nature that surrounds you, and appreciate its splendor.

Indulge in the dazzling colors of the wildflowers, hear the soul-stirring melodies of the native birds, and feel the gentle whispers of the breeze, welcoming you to the exquisite natural environment. The cultural and natural attractions on the hiking trails offer an immersive experience in the splendid beauty of the land.

A pro tip for an unforgettable hiking experience is to bring along a camera to capture the mesmerizing natural vistas that you’ll come across during your hike. Hiking in Estonia will teach you more history than any textbook, especially when you stumble upon a Soviet era bunker.

Historic sites

Some of the most intriguing spots to visit when hiking are culturally significant landmarks. These places act as a reminder of the region’s history and heritage, showing the ways of life of past civilizations. The trail is full of these landmarks, each with its own story.

These historical sites give hikers a glimpse of the past, helping them understand the importance of certain events or people in that area. Whether it be ancient remains or artifacts from World War II, travelers have a chance to learn about tales that have shaped the culture and identity of the place. The historical landmarks give meaning to their hiking experience.

Apart from learning about history, hikers get to enjoy beautiful natural scenery and wildlife. For instance, Captain Cook’s Landing Site in Hawaii provides breathtaking views of Kealakekua Bay, plus snorkeling opportunities. Exploring around Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto lets travelers admire the stunning gardens from medieval Japan.

Did you know UNESCO has listed Machu Picchu in Peru as one of its World Heritage Sites?

Of course, hiking is great exercise. But come on, we’re all here for those ‘grammable views!”

Scenic viewpoints

Elevated outcrops, remote ridges, overhanging cliffs, waterfalls, and picturesque hills – these vantage points offer stunning views! You can spot local wildlife, such as rare bird species, against the beautiful backdrop of sunsets and sunrises. According to National Geographic, hiking trails alongside scenic viewpoints are popular tourist destinations. And if you’re lucky, you might see a bear on your hike. However, if you’re not lucky, the bear might see you!

Wildlife sightings

Stroll through amazing trails and you may come across some fascinating creatures! Here’s what you may find:

  • Wildlife fans can be delighted to spot wild animals in their natural abode.
  • Black bears are plentiful, but try to stay away when possible.
  • Cougars sightings are rare, but also exciting. So be vigilant and safe.
  • Coyotes are often seen hunting or scavenging food.
  • Beavers and otters can be seen swimming in streams.
  • Eagles soaring above or perched on trees is a treat for bird watchers.

Also don’t forget to observe butterflies and moths. And, quite a few species of reptiles and amphibians live in these areas.

Did you know? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has the most black bears out of any protected area in the world, with an estimated 1,600 bears living there. (Source: National Park Service)

So, get ready to hike and enjoy Estonia’s popular hiking events and festivals, and pack bug spray and a spare liver!

Popular Hiking Events and Festivals in Estonia

Estonia’s Exciting Hiking Celebrations

Estonia is home to a variety of hiking events and festivals all throughout the year. These events offer different levels of difficulty and appeal to different age groups.

  • The Enduro Challenge is a popular hiking competition that takes place in Paunkula.
  • The Saaremaa Hiking Festival is celebrated in May and comprises a variety of hiking trails across the island.
  • The Estonian Nordic Walking Marathon is ideal for individuals who are passionate about outdoor pursuits.

Estonian hikers can also enjoy the guided tours and nature walks that happen in Soomaa National Park. Plus, the annual World Cleanup Day is a superb opportunity for hikers to get involved in cleaning up Estonia’s fantastic hiking trails.

Interestingly, Estonian hiking celebrates the ‘Everyman’s Right‘ legislation that permits anyone to roam freely in nature. This unique feature makes hiking in Estonia all the more enjoyable and fascinating.

If you think walking a marathon sounds easy, you clearly haven’t tried it in Tartu, where the hills will have you questioning every life choice you’ve ever made.

Tartu Walking Marathon

The Viru Folk Festival is one of the most anticipated events in Estonia. It’s a walking marathon through the picturesque Tartu. It’s a test of stamina, with diverse terrain and exciting atmosphere. Participants range from athletes to amateur walkers. Short distances are available for those not so seasoned. The event has been running since 1960, with over 20 thousand participants in recent years. Medical personnel is on standby for safety.

This marathon is more than just completing the race. It’s a chance to bond with others, push yourself and take in the beautiful views. All while getting healthier! So get ready to dance and sweat out the calories from Estonian cuisine!

Viru Folk Festival

The Viru Folk Festival is a must-visit for tourists from across the globe. It features traditional Estonian music, dance and culture. Parades and local delicacies give you a real taste of the region.

It’s held every year, usually in summer. You can also join workshops and craft sessions which bring to life the local customs. Plus, the scenic beauty of Estonia’s countryside is worth seeing.

The festival has an eco-friendly angle too. It promotes recycling and protecting nature. Plus, it educates visitors about responsible tourism practices.

Pro Tip – Get your tickets early and plan your trip in advance. It can get busy quickly and nearby hotels fill up fast. And don’t forget to check out the Pärnu Coastal Hike – you’ll get stunning ocean views and calf burning hikes that will make you feel like an Estonian mountain goat!

Pärnu Coastal Hike

The Pärnu coastal hike is a much-loved festival for hikers. Take a trip through nature’s wilderness and appreciate Estonia’s coastlines. Journey across the sandy beaches and witness the amazing array of wildlife that exists in this area. Join guided tours to learn more about the region’s history from experienced map readers.

Sign up soon to guarantee your place. The application process is easy and user-friendly. Hikers have different paths to pick from, based on their skills, likes and physical abilities.

This hike takes place in summer when the weather is ideal and the banks of rivers and creeks are full of wildflowers. Visitors adore its beautiful scenery – including the chance to see rare animals like the white-tailed eagle and ringed seal.

It’s reported that last year’s event included several elderly participants. They trekked up to 10 kms with no problems, showing how hiking events suit all ages. Hiking in Estonia isn’t just a stroll in the park – it’s an exploration of stunning scenery and maybe even a wild boar.

Conclusion: Why Hiking in Estonia is a Unique Experience.

Estonia offers an extraordinary hiking experience. Each trail, mountain, and forest reveals the country’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty. Enjoy meandering rivers, clear lakes, and lush Nordic forests with abundant flora and fauna. Trails are well-marked and cater to all fitness levels. The diversity of coastal regions, marshlands, and forests make exploring even more appealing.

This is a perfect destination for novice hikers. After a day of exploration wind down with a sauna and enjoy the warm hospitality of Estonians. Many paths include historic buildings and old churches, offering the chance to learn about the culture of each county.

The Bogs’ Viru Saddle Landscape Reserve in the north-east is a popular spot for adventurers. Explore the wild terrain with 50 wooden plank walks and take in the lush greenery and coastal winds.

Hele-Mai Metsal, director general of State Forest Management Centre, sums up the Estonian experience saying, “Estonia – there is no other place like it, with over half of Estonia covered in primeval forest.” (HI Travel Tales blog post, November 15th, 2016).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are some popular hiking trails in Estonia?

A: Some popular hiking trails in Estonia include the Oandu-Ikla hiking trail, Lahemaa National Park, Soomaa National Park, and the Matsalu National Park trail.

Q: What is the best time of year to go hiking in Estonia?

A: The best time to go hiking in Estonia is in the summer months of June, July, and August when the weather is mild and comfortable for outdoor activities.

Q: What should I pack for a hiking trip in Estonia?

A: When packing for a hiking trip in Estonia, it is important to bring comfortable hiking shoes, warm clothing, rain gear, a water bottle, and snacks. It is also recommended to carry a map or GPS device for navigation.

Q: Are there any safety precautions I should take while hiking in Estonia?

A: Some safety precautions to take while hiking in Estonia include staying on designated trails, notifying someone of your route and expected return time, carrying a first-aid kit, and being aware of weather conditions and local wildlife.

Q: Can I hike in Estonia without a guide?

A: Yes, you can hike in Estonia without a guide. Many hiking trails in Estonia are well-marked and maintained, making it easy to explore the natural beauty of the country on your own.

Q: Where can I find more information about hiking in Estonia?

A: More information about hiking in Estonia can be found on the websites of the Estonian Tourist Board, Visit Estonia, and the Estonian Environmental Board.

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