Estonia has over 200 natural rivers and close to 1,500 lakes that offer captivating views. By the rivers and lakes, one can enjoy the wilderness, have a picnic or go fishing. You can spend an active holiday canoeing, sailing and enjoying water sports or board historical ships on the Emajõgi River or Lake Võrtsjärv.
Estonia’s natural rivers can be considered one of our most valuable natural resources – only a few riverbeds have been reshaped by the man. Rivers are fed by springs and the brownish but clean waters of bogs.
Waterfalls and rapids, unique wetlands and the ’fifth season’
Be sure to visit the rivers in northern Estonia, where they form picturesque rapids and small waterfalls while flowing over the Baltic Klint. The most powerful of them is the 8 metre high Jägala, and the highest is the 30-metre Valaste falls. The falls are the most impressive during the spring floods and in winter, when there are ice formations and caves.
The most scenic of southern Estonia’s rivers are the Piusa, Ahja and Estonia’s longest, the 162-km Võhandu, all three of which have exposed Devonian sandstone outcrops in sections.
To the south and west, the rivers are mainly slower-flowing. The mouths of the Emajõgi and Kasari have wetland areas of international importance for migratory and nesting birds.
In Soomaa National Park, the rivers do not manage to cope with the amount of melting snow. The result is an annual flood – called the “fifth season” – when canoes can be paddled along roads, through forests and sometimes even in yards.
Europe’s 5th biggest lake with its unique coastal villages
Estonia has an extraordinary number of lakes: they cover nearly 6% of the country. Lake Peipus is the fifth largest in Europe. Besides lakes, Estonia has thousands of small bodies of water and picturesque bog lakes. There is also a small lake in Estonia’s best known meteorite crater, Kaali and shallow brackish coastal bodies of water are very special lakes, too.
On the north shore of Lake Peipus you can enjoy the privacy of the longest sandy beach in Estonia - measuring over 30 km. Along the eastern shore of the lake, take time to visit the unique villages of the Old Believers, a traditional Russian community.
Come and discover Estonia’s rivers and lakes!