Estoniais famous for its pristine wilderness and virgin nature reserves – they are without question among the reasons why Estonia welcomes millions of tourists each year. The fact that a tightly packed, diverse community lives alongside Estonia’s natural environment is the very thing that makes it special. Within half an hour’s drive of the city centre you can suddenly find yourself in the fairy-tale stillness of virgin forest.
Over 10% of Estonia’s land territory is designated a protected area which includes nature reserves, landscape reserves and five national parks which are free and easy to access, unspoilt and offer numerous holiday accommodation options.
Try visiting Soomaa on their “fifth season” and have a canoeing trip or follow the many hiking and study trails on foot.
See hundreds of birds on a bird watching trip to Matsalu National Park or Vilsandi National Park; enjoy camping in Karula or Lahemaa National Park. To get a really eco- friendly experience we would advise you to contact the network of local responsible ecotourism operators in Estonia
Estonia’s many tourism farms have also gone eco. Guests in these environments of wood, reeds, linen, and cotton are fed with locally grown organic foods combined with classically healthy activities such as hikes in the forest and bogs, fishing trips on lakes and rivers or horseback riding.
Those who enjoy luxurious treatments should pay visit to Estonia’s eco spa- manors. Vihula Manor eco-SPA’s new ecological spa concept combines heritage, nature and luxury with contemporary comfort and modern technologies. Pädaste Manor was recognised as one of 10 finest eastern European spas by the Traveller Spa Guide 2010 by Condé Nast.
In 2001 the Estonian Eco Tourism Society in co-operation with the Estonian Rural Tourism association launched the system of eco labelling of tourism products called "Estonia - the Natural Way".
EHE-labelis a quality label to label tourism products in compliance with the principles of eco tourism. It should promote the principles of eco tourism among tourism enterprises, consumers and the public.
Another quality label is known in Estonia is the Green Key - an international eco-label for environmentally conscious businesses which demonstrates the service/product to be nature friendly and ecological. In addition to Estonia, you may see the Green Key label used in Denmark, Sweden, Greenland, France and Lithuania, mostly in hotels/accommodation facilities. Green Key carries an idea of sustainable tourism and is meant to be assigned to tourism enterprises. Applying for the Green Key is voluntary for all companies and the label is valid for one year.
It’s the food. You can become acquainted with Estonia’s wholesome, distinctive cuisine in city coffee houses or gourmet restaurants in historical manor- houses tucked away in the depths of primeval forest. Estonia’s local cuisine uses the world’s finest and most wholesome ingredients and organic farming - a method which is growing in popularity in Europe, has for many years been the normal way of life in ruralEstonia.
Eco is in fashion! Literally – the garments created by the Estonian designer Reet Aus bring an utterly unique chic to the international stage; her elegant collections, born of an ecological mindset and recycled materials, have attracted a great deal of attention across Europe. Even the Hollywood actress Lucy Liu has been spotted buying her design.