Mushroom foraging in Estonia in the autumnSource: Ken Mürk

Autumn foraging in Estonia

The forests overflow with mushrooms and berries from the beginning of July until the end of October. Here's where to go.

Estonia is half covered by forests, and foraging is important to traditional Estonian cuisine.

From the beginning of July until the end of October, the forests overflow with mushrooms, nuts, herbs and berries, which can all be found on menus across Estonia.

A highlight of any visit to Estonia during these months is a tour of the forests accompanied by an expert guide who will know the best foraging spots and share tips on identifying the best produce. RMK has also created a list of campsites near good foraging grounds.

Take a workshop to learn how to prepare the food you find, or visit one of the many fine-dining restaurants where chefs use this rich seasonal produce to reflect the beautiful landscape. Read on for ways to enjoy the delicious flavors of autumn in Estonia.


The most popular berries to pick in Estonia are the bilberry (a Nordic wild blueberry), cowberry, cranberry, wild strawberry, wild raspberry, and cloudberry. The best place for cranberry picking is in South Estonia, where the first World Cranberry Picking championship was held in the autumn of 2010 in the Emajõe Suursoo Nature Reserve.

Visit northwest Estonia to gather many different varieties of berries. Visitors can discover the wilderness of Estonia while searching for fruits to forage. Best at the end of summer, guided tours educate visitors on how Estonians have used the forest for food throughout history by leading them to lovely berry-picking spots.

Handful of cranberries during an autumn foraging trip

Source: Priidu Saart


For those foraging for mushrooms, the most popular variety is chanterelles. Noted for their distinctive appearance, these yellow mushrooms are most commonly cooked in a creamy sauce served with pasta or grains. Other local favorites are the milk mushroom, boletus, and russula. Although the forests across Estonia are abundant with edible mushrooms, looks can be deceiving, so it is recommended that an expert join you to ensure that the mushrooms are selected safely.

Soomaa National Park—Estonia's second largest national park—is highly recommended for mushroom lovers. Visitors can tour the forest with an expert guide who will teach them about different kinds of mushrooms and highlight which ones are safe to eat. The tours also touch upon preservation techniques, such as pickling, drying, salting, and marinating, showing how to best use them in cooking.

Mushroom picking during autumn in Estonia

Source: Ken Mürk

Foraging tours around Estonia

Going into the forest alone can feel daunting. Thankfully there are mushroom- and berry-picking tours where you can go with an expert guide.

Saaremaa's wild bounty

To experience Estonia away from the mainland, Saaremaa—the largest island—is known for its prime mushroom and berry-picking locations. Nicknamed “SPA-remaa” due to its high density of spas per capita, the island is a great place to experience the foraging traditions as part of a wellness retreat. The spa treatments here often use natural ingredients, such as red algae sourced straight from the beaches of Saaremaa. 

Foraging allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in Saaremaa’s landscape, using this to connect with the island's forests. The Koigi Bog Hiking Trail combines a journey through Saaremaa’s bogs with a cranberry-picking trail and is best experienced in the autumn months. 

Where to go mushroom and berry picking

Here are a few places you can try foraging for wild delicacies.

Dining with flavors from nature

Learn about the foods you can find in the forest, and then end the day with a meal featuring all these wonderful wild ingredients.

Fine dining on foraged foods

During harvest season, Estonia celebrates fresh produce and nature through its gastronomy.

In addition to visiting the forest, one of the best ways to experience its flavors is by dining out. A new generation of Estonian chefs is pioneering a rapidly emerging fine-dining scene, transforming foraged produce into innovative, modern cuisine. These chefs use centuries-old techniques, traditional, seasonal ingredients, and contemporary European methods to create a fusion cooking style.

A particular stand out is NOA, which makes dishes with fresh and seasonal ingredients. Combined with their signature cocktail list and views of the sea and the Tallinn skyline, this is one of Estonia’s dining highlights. For a more rural experience, Ööbiku Gastronomy Farm Restaurant serves a unique 5-course meal created from local farm and seasonal forest produce. Located just a 50-minute drive from Tallinn, Ööbiku offers a special dining experience in a picturesque setting. All guests will have the same menu, curated by owner and head chef Ants Uustalu, and will be served drinks specially selected to match the meal.

Final words of advice

What to bring

If you do decide to venture out into the wild without a local guide, make sure you bring a raincoat, waterproof shoes, a fully charged phone with a compass app, and a power bank for backup. Between May and October, it is highly recommended that you use an insect repellent effective against both mosquitos and ticks. To avoid getting bitten, cover your legs and ankles and wear a hat.

What to pick... and not to pick

While Estonian forests are abundant with edible and delicious mushrooms, looks can be deceiving. Unless you are experienced in mushrooming, do your homework on picking and preparing different types of mushrooms...or just stick with berry picking.

In the unlikely event that you get lost, call 112 for assistance.

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