Another story goes that once upon a time there was a fisherman who caught a maiden. Taken by her pure charm, the fisherman decided to become her spouse with many wonderful years to follow. As they were rowing along the river one day, the man repeatedly said to his loved one: "I have never told you where I found you." Then maiden finally replied: "You found me from this river," and turned the boat, both disappearing into the river. Maidens are known in Estonian folk tales to be able to present themselves as fishes, otters and swans. So better keep your wits about you.
The mist and lights naturally occurring in the marshes are told to make some people lose their mind. Eksitaja ("Misleader") is a daughter of the marsh spirit. Also known as will-o'-the-wisp, the atmospheric lights are marvelled by people at night. It is believed that a will-o'-the-wisp marks the location of a treasure hidden so deep in the ground that it can only be found when guided to the lights. A challenge accepted?
Where to eat and sleep?
An exciting part of a visit to Soomaa is definitely the relaxing rest after a day in the fresh air. Here you will find a number of forest houses, such as Riisa ranch, Põnka holiday farm and Klaara-Manni holiday house. Make sure to ask for warm, home cooked food sourced from the local fields and forests. After a hearty feast, it's definitely a good time to jump into a hot sauna and then cool yourself off outside. Feel steam evaporate from your body as you breathe as one with the night forest.
Bog walking has to be one of the funnest activities in Estonia. Bogshoes have been used to walk on wetlands throughout the times, allowing access to many places where it is hard or even impossible to reach by foot. Bog shoeing is also one of these universal activities that you can practice all through the year, as Estonia's wilderness sheds its coat in every coming season.
Soomaa's many lakes are also perfect for a refreshing swim. While the temperatures might be slightly colder than in the rest of the country, the water is definitely purer and is known to do wonders for the skin. If you happen to shop around in Estonia's design and cosmetic stores, you're bound to find what look like little bottles of magic. Bottled marsh water and peat masks are often described as the secret of eternal youth.
Brown bears, wolves, elks and wild boars are just some of the many animals living side by side with Soomaa's large spirit population. Howling with the wolves and bear watching are both "must do" experiences to tick off your bucket list for life.
More destinations for nature lovers:
Lahemaa national park
Kõrvemaa nature reserve
Matsalu national park
Vilsandi national park