Trips on the water are organised pretty much everywhere in Estonia. Service providers will help beginners, ensure that the necessary equipment is available and show people sights that might otherwise go unseen.
Exciting places to go canoeing and boating
Soomaa National Park is where you’ll experience the ’fifth season’ – the period in spring after the snow has melted (and sometimes at other times of year as well as a result of heavy rain) when the whole area floods. You can canoe or kayak through the forest and along the roads, and occasionally even right up to and in the front doors of waterlogged houses! You can also experience what it’s like to go boating on high water on the majority of Estonia’s larger rivers.
Estonia’s rivers are normally slow-flowing, but when spring arrives and the snow melts quite a few in the north and south of the country become white water hotspots perfect for rafting.
Boating or canoeing on the Võhandu, Ahja and Piusa rivers in southern Estonia, you will find yourself dwarfed in places by the more than 300 million-year-old Devonian-era sandstone outcrops.
A wide range of aquatic events are organised in Estonia for those more experienced: both the Võhandu River marathon and the Türi-Tori descent will put you to the test.
In addition to modern plastic canoes, you can try the ancient Estonian canoe known as the haabjas, worked from the single trunk of an aspen tree. The best place for this is Soomaa, where canoe-building camps are held in summer. You can also make the most of the chance to travel on historical ships and boats.
Recommendations for water travellers
Pull your oars in and sit in silence – you’ll likely see not only water birds but also deer, elk and maybe even a bear! You can try fishing for your dinner, too!
When setting out, make sure you have a spare set of clothes with you in a waterproof bag. Virtually every river in Estonia has obstacles that need to be navigated (including tree trunks and beaver dams) so for your own safety make sure you always wear your life vest.
Ask your trip organiser about canoeing or boating at night so you can listen to the nocturnal sounds of nature. Don’t be surprised if a beaver goes diving close to your boat!