Best berry and mushroom picking spots in Estonia

Source: Aron Urb, Visit Estonia

Best berry and mushroom picking spots in Estonia

There's nothing more satisfying or delicious than picking your own produce. Today, Estonia is still mostly covered in forests, so you'll definitely find plenty of local tips for best berry picking and mushrooming spots. Before you head out, here's a list suggestions on what to look for.

The most popular berries to pick in the summer include the bilberry (Nordic wild blueberry), cranberry, cowberry, wild strawberry, wild raspberry and cloudberry.

When it comes to mushrooms, Estonia has so much to offer. The majority have some symbiotic relationship with species of trees. In Estonia, chanterelles are inarguably the most sought after as they have a very distinctive appearance. These yellow mushrooms go great with a creamy mushroom sauce enjoyed with pasta, potatoes and grains. You are most likely to find chanterelles in South Estonia and Saaremaa island.

Other local favourites include the milk mushroom, boletus, and russula. The rufous milkcap (Lactarius rufus) grows near pine and birch trees and can be found in Lääne-Virumaa, Põlva County, and Harju County. Its close relative, the milk cap (Lactarius scrobiculatus) is located in Jõgeva, Tartu, and Lääne-Virumaa County. Likewise, you can find the species Lactarius deliciosus known as the saffron milk cap or the red pine mushroom in Ida-Virumaa, Harju, and Võru County. The parasol mushroom (Macrolepiota procera) is common in Harju, Pärnu, and Tartu County while the Russula can be found in Lääne, Jõgeva, and Võru County.

Although Estonian forests are generally safe and peaceful, going into the forest alone can feel daunting. Thankfully there are a number of mushroom picking tours where you can spot and pick your dinner with an expert guide.

  • North Estonia

Around 60 species of mushroom are found at Oandu nature trail

Lake Paukjärv Nature Trail  is best know for bilberries, cowberries and chanterelles.

  • South Estonia

The first world cranberry picking championship was held at Emajõe Suursoo Nature Reserve, so this is the ideal destination for any cranberry fans out there. 
Järvselja Primeval Forest Nature Study Trail is great for nutrient-rich bilberries.

You might also want to pay a visit to the scenic Vapramäe-Vellavere-Vitipalu hiking trail.

  • Islands

Estonia's largest island Saaremaa is especially well known for its prime mushroom and berry destinations.

Guided tours

Estonian State Forest Management Centre has compiled a useful list of best mushroom and berry picking spots nearby camping areas across the country.

Words of Caution

For those who are ready to go out and find some berries and mushrooms for themselves, we have some 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. Using an insect repellent effective against both mosquitos and ticks is highly recommended during the summer season between May and October. To avoid getting bitten, cover up your ankles and any other areas in contact with the tall grass.

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, make sure to do your homework on picking and preparing different types of mushrooms...or just stick with berry picking.

What to Avoid

The training grounds of the Estonian Defence Forces are marked with striped signposts featuring arrows pointing towards the restricted area.

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