Located in the coast of North Estonia, it is a loved destination among nature lovers and campers: high hills, wild forests, lakes and rivers, beautiful wild bogs and plenty of rare animals, birds and plants give you a chance to experience Estonian nature at it’s best.
Kõrvemaa region does not have clear borders, as locals define it one way and official books may give a bit more specific coordinates. However, it reaches from the Harjumaa plateau and Finnish bay (Soome laht) in North-East to Pandivere upland and Navesti river in the South-West and covers more than 3000 square kilometres.
During autumn and spring, rivers run wild here – both on the ground as well as underground. Kõrvemaa (Rebala) karst area with it’s deep, empty river beds and underground water caves is a fascinating exploration ground for dry summer months.
Most people come to Kõrvemaa for it’s unique and beautiful landscapes – hills, valleys, eskers, bogs, lakes... Ice marginal formations and glaciolacustrine plains are the main characteristics of Kõrvemaa nature, often covered with bogs and to a lesser extent, fens. Enjoy the paths and wooden trails in local bogs and forests or climb the hills and go hiking on sandy roads in the wilderness if you are a more experienced camper.
Legend tells that Kalevipoeg (main character named Kalev’s Son from Estonian national epic “Kalevipoeg”, a gigantic man) was ploughing his land here when wolves attacked and killed his white horse. Grave of the horse is now called Valgemägi (White Mountain) hill and is the highest point of Kõrvemaa with its 107m of height. Bumpy landscapes, in the other hand, are a result of the unfinished plough.
There are over 100 different lakes in Kõrvemaa, some wild and some maintained by local municipals. Two water reservoirs, Soodla and Paunküla, are known for their scenic atmosphere and have earned themselves a place in Estonian literature, too. Soodla river is a favourite among fishers and forests surrounding Paunküla are an ideal destination, if you like picking wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, ceps, milk mushrooms and porcinis.
Valgejõgi river has plenty of turns, beaver dams and little rapids: rent a canoe or a kayak and enjoy your adventure! Beginners are recommended to ask for “easier” tracks, while more experienced paddlers can test their skills and endurance in longer trips and enjoy 2 or 3 days on the water, paddling through the wilderness right to the sea and neighbouring islands.
Watch tower on top of Valgemägi hill is the best place to head to when you want to get an overview of the best of Kõrvemaa – view is light green and calm in spring, vibrant and colourful in autumn.
Flora and fauna:
Local flora and fauna are as fascinating as the landscapes – Kõrvemaa is a natural inhabitancy for many rare and protected species. During recent years, 23 different species of orchids have been found here and many rare birds come here to breed, golden eagle, lesser spotted eagle and black stark among them. Quiet forest meadows are a bellowed ground for grouses wedding dance: elaborate courtship displays with drumming, fights, wing-fluttering and tail rattling take place at dusks and dawns during spring.
Many photographers and nature enthusiasts head to Kõrvemaa during autumn: even if you can’t capture lynxes, bears or wolves, colourful bogs and forests are still providing you with more than enough enchanting material.
Admire the view from Simisalu watch tower, climb hills of Venemäe and walk on the wooden paths across Kõnnu bog: nothing can take away the daily stress like wild nature, rich animal kingdom and versatile landscapes.
For a true Estonian experience, rent a local sauna for the night and allow yourself to be treated with a traditional meal in local tourist farms or simply enjoy being part of the nature on RMP “self service” camping grounds. There is something for everyone!
Discovering Kõrvemaa on your own:
- Drop by the RMK information centre in Aegviidu – maps, information about local events, nature and active holiday services.
- Ski- and holiday centre in Valgehobusemäe offers accommodation and food, they also maintain lighted hiking trails and have a rental for canoes, bikes and so on.
- Camping- and skiing centre in Kõrvemaa offers different camping- and adventure services and rent equipment as well as provide guides. You can also book your accommodation and food in advance.