Matsalu National Park

Matsalu National Park, located in Western Estonia, is a paradise for bird watchers. Millions of migratory birds fly through every year or stay to nest.

The best birdwatching time is from April to mid-May and then again from September to the end of October. But birds aren't the only winged creatures there—the wetlands attract a variety of butterfly and dragonfly species.

In addition to its mainland area, Matsalu also includes 50 islands and shoals. The land slowly rose from the sea after the Ice Age, and the people who settled on the coast made a living from cattle breeding, forming a meadow-rich landscape. Continued cattle grazing preserves the area's biodiversity, as the local species depend on these open grasslands.

One of the most exciting sights of the park is Northern Europe's largest flood meadow, a significant nesting area for the corn crake. Climb a birdwatching tower, and listen to the melodic songs of warblers coming from the reeds at the mouth of the Kasari River. You can get closer by taking an organized boat excursion or canoe trip. Botanists will enjoy seeking out the various orchid species growing in Matsalu.

To preserve the cultural heritage of the Matsalu region, old haystacks and fishing huts with thatched roofs have been restored to tell the life story of Estonians in the past.

The Visitor Centre of Matsalu National Park is housed in Penijõe Manor. Its permanent exhibition gives an overview of the nature, history and cultural heritage of the park with a 20-minute slideshow called "A year in Matsalu: Life in Matsalu from winter to winter."

Matsalu has received a quality label from the European Union of Protected Areas (EUROPARC Federation), which recognizes the sustainable development of nature tourism in the region.

What to do:

Information on search results display in Article 12 of the Terms of Use.