Visitors are most attracted by the Soomaa floods or the fifth season, which follows the thawing of snow and heavy rains. During this period, all low-lying forests, roads and even yards are flooded and people can only get around by boat.
Soomaa National Park stands out in Europe thanks to its wilderness – there are 5 large bogs, native forests and flooded meadows. Traditional land use has turned the areas around its meandering rivers into biologically diverse floodplains and wooded meadows. Because of its large untouched areas, Soomaa (Land of Bogs) is a member of the international PAN Parks network and has been nicknamed the Wilderness Capital of Estonia.
The lack of human activity makes Soomaa a sanctuary for both large and small mammals. Moose, roe deer, wild boars, lynxes, wolves and bears live in its woods; beavers help design its watery landscape.
The bird species living in Soomaa include the Willow Grouse (Lagopus lagopus) and Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos); the courting grounds of the Wood Grouse (Tetrao urogallus) can be found around the edges of bogs, and in spring you can hear the cooing of the Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) from the open areas of the bog. The damp forests hide many species of owls and woodpeckers. Floodplains offer a home to waders (Charadriiformes), Corn Crakes (Crex crex) and Great Snipes (Gallinago media).
The history of human habitation in Soomaa reaches back to the Stone Age. The traditional dugout, a single log canoe made of aspen, is a testament to these ancient times. The art of making dugouts is still taught in Soomaa.
The visitor centre of Soomaa National Park is located in Tõramaa. During the flood it is accessible by car only from Kõpu. The best way of exploring Soomaa is on a bog hike or canoe trip. To get the best possible experience from the national park, visit it during the fifth season.
Listen to the sounds of Soomaa National Park: