Like most Estonian towns, Pärnu, Viljandi, and Narva are filled with seasonal color. All three cities can be reached by train or bus from Tallinn in under two and a half hours. Take a day to walk around and soak in the autumn vibes or slow down and spend a few nights traveling at your own tempo. Check out the colors along Pärnu's coastal meadow hiking trail, in the park surrounding the Viljandi Castle ruins, and along the Narva River promenade.
Where can you find the very best autumn scenery?
The answer is short and simple: in nature.
Estonia's ancient wetlands and primeval forests are stunning in autumn. Many of the top hiking trails that pass through them have observation towers for taking in beautiful views of the surrounding landscape. A day trip from Tallinn will give you the chance to breathe in the crisp, fresh air of autumn, disconnect from your daily routine, and recharge in nature. True nature lovers should visit a bog at sunrise for an otherworldly experience.
Estonia's national parks
Estonia may be compact, but each of its six national parks has its own unique identity — coastal meadows in the west, rolling hills in the south, expansive wetlands, and pockets of old-growth forest. Pack your hiking boots, grab your camera, and embark on an unforgettable journey into the wilderness. Best of all, you may feel like you've gone to the ends of the Earth, but in reality, you're only around the corner from civilization and all the amenities you need for a comfortable holiday.
Bears, birds, and bogshoes!
Did you know Estonia has the highest population density of brown bears in Europe? They are at their most active in autumn, foraging for food to help them fatten up before a long winter's sleep. Autumn is one of the best times to go bear watching as the foliage is less dense, making it easier to spot the bears as they roam the forest. Alutaguse National Park is one of the best places to look for bears.
Birds are also on the move during the autumn months. Seabirds fly south for the winter, stopping to rest on many of Estonia's 2,222 islands and inlets along the coast. Two of the country's best birdwatching spots are Vilsandi National Park on Saaremaa's west coast and Matsalu National Park on the Estonian mainland. Vilsandi is characterized by water — most of the park is made up of tiny islands surrounded by the Baltic Sea. Matsalu is known for its coastal meadows, a unique environment created by centuries of livestock grazing.