Nature travel tips from Lucas and Anna of Rugged Roadtrips


Nature travel tips from Lucas and Anna of Rugged Roadtrips

Anna Riedel-Jahn and Lucas T. Jahn are the couple behind Rugged Roadtrips. They travel the world in search of remote, off-road adventures, documenting them along the way.

In July 2020, they visited Estonia for three weeks and travelled 4,000 kilometres around the country. Their trip took them from Tallinn and Lahemaa National Park in the North to Tartu and Suur Munamägi mountain in the South. They visited Pärnu, the western islands Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, as well as border town Narva and Lake Peipus in the East, and many places in between.

They have produced a stunning Estonia travel documentary about their experiences and compiled an impressive 420-page travel guide. So, as Estonia aficionados, what tips and stories do they have to share?

Getting around and camping

Although Estonia does have an extensive train and bus network, Anna and Lucas’ recommended mode of transport for experiencing nature at your own pace is a rental car. “The country isn’t vast, but in rural areas and natural parks, there’s no bus that goes there or maybe once a day,” tells Lucas. With a rental car, you have freedom and can even drive onto ferries to visit the islands.

And what about the experience of camping in Estonia? Anna and Lucas call it “Probably the easiest we’ve ever had.” They explain, “The RMK infrastructure is insanely well done for tent campers. Every campsite is free and many have facilities, dry toilets, garbage cans, even free firewood and cabins you can use.” On top of that, the Estonian State Forestry Management Centre (RMK) also maintains hundreds of public trails.

Unforgettable landscapes

For a couple who has seen and filmed so many diverse locations, there was one that truly captivated them: “For us, the bogs really set Estonia apart from all other countries we’ve visited so far. We’ve never seen a proper bog landscape anywhere else. It was really interesting because they’re so quiet.”

Anna and Lucas’ favourite bog is Kakerdaja, which is easily accessible during a day trip from Tallinn. It has one of the largest bog lakes in the country, which is perfect for a refreshing summer swim.

Estonian landscapes: Hiiumaa

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Estonia bucket list

Lucas and Anna’s full bucket list for Estonia is included in their travel guide, but their first tip is to explore Tallinn by day and night. “Each time we return, we wander around the Old Town,” says Anna.

Another must-see are bogs. Lucas urges, “If you go to Estonia, and have the chance to go outside Tallinn, visit a bog.”

Kakerdaja bog

Photo by:

A once-in-a-lifetime experience for Lucas was also a five-kilometre hike through portions of the Baltic Sea to reach Vilsandi Island and National Park on foot. “It’s a very special, unusual hike. I’m not aware of many hiking trails where you hike through the sea for that long,” he recalls.

Most memorable experiences

Another of their most memorable moments, in addition to the Vilsandi hike, was stumbling upon old war-time military bunkers in the forest on Hiiumaa island. Anna explains, “Those were very loud places in the past, but now you’re in a really calm forest and birds are tweeting. Inside the bunkers, it’s so quiet.”

A more humourous experience took place during a night of bear-watching in northeastern Estonia, a region home to half of the country’s roughly 800 brown bears. After settling into the observation hut and silently staring into the bushes for hours, Lucas spotted a pair of brown ears. “I called out a bear, and everyone came running, but it turned out to be a boar. The boar spent the entire night around the hut. Everybody was laughing at me, pointing out the ‘bear’ whenever it appeared.” Luckily, Lucas and Anna did spot at least three genuine bears as well, which you can watch in their documentary.

Estonian brown bear

Photo by: Jürgen Voolaid, Visit Estonia

Future plans

The couple agrees that this trip won’t be their last. “We saw what Estonia has to offer in the summer. But we haven’t been there in spring and autumn, and there are some really cool things happening, like the migration of millions of birds. We’d like to see more.”

Feeling inspired to plan your own nature roadtrip around Estonia? Check out Lucas and Anna’s Estonia travel guide, which includes a three-week suggested itinerary, and all of our nature tips and resources.

Last updated : 24.05.2021

In category: Nature & Wildlife