Canoes are the best way to explore during the fifth season.Source: Caspar Aru, Visit Viljandi

Experience Estonia's fifth season

With so much to do in Estonia, there's even an extra season to do it.

Paddle a canoe through the forest and float over a grassy meadow.

The time of early spring floods is known as the fifth season in Soomaa. As there isn't enough room in the area's river basins for the melting snow, water floods the meadows and the forests. You can observe the flooding from atop one of the park's observation towers. Better yet, rent a canoe and explore the region from the water. 

Facts about Estonia's extra season

Always call the park's visitor center before planning a trip.

When is it?

The fifth season usually happens at the end of March or the beginning of April. However, the rivers of Soomaa National Park can overflow their banks whenever there is heavy rain or an early thaw.

Where does the fifth season occur?

Estonia's fifth season phenomenon takes place in Soomaa National Park because four rivers flow through the park and the landscape is made up of low-lying meadows and bogs.

What is the weather like?

The weather can be changeable in early spring, from sunshine to cold or even light snow. Sometimes, the weather warms enough to cause flooding, but temperatures drop, and everything freezes.

Read on if you want to see it for yourself!

Source: Visit Estonia

Traditional transportation on Soomaa's waterways

A wooden dugout canoe—called haabjas in Estonian—exemplifies how Soomaa's ancient traditions have survived to the present day. While dugout canoes have been used worldwide for millennia, the Soomaa-style dugout canoe is part of the indigenous culture of Estonia and Finno-Ugric culture at large due to its specific traditional construction. Since the flooding of the Soomaa region is so consistent, these construction techniques never fell into disuse. UNESCO added it to its List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2021.

Hire a guide to learn the local lore of Soomaa National Park

Gateways to Soomaa National Park

The park can easily be reached on a day trip from Pärnu or Viljandi. Combine a visit to Soomaa with a city break in one of these charming cities.

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