The primeval hills and valleys of Estonia

Source: Sven Zacek

The primeval hills and valleys of Estonia

 Estonians tend to live near the sea on flat terrain, but they definitely know how to enjoy the hills and valleys of their nation. Estonian hillsides and lowlands offer everyone spectacular views of surrounding landscapes or fantastic opportunities for deep, internal, introspection.

Estonia is a rather flat country with no staggering peaks or valleys but boasts quite a few scenic hills. Western Estonia and Estonia's many islands tend to be especially low, reaching only a couple dozen meters above sea level, but the country has an absolute height of about 50 m above sea level in most places. With around 40% of Estonia located between 50–100 m above sea level, a rather small portion – just 10% – reaches a little higher than 100 m.

From hills

Those seeking out the country's hills and valleys should head to South Estonia. A visit to Otepää, Karula, or Haanja – the region sometimes jokingly referred to by locals as "the Estonian mountains", are beautiful spots to take in nature; or a hike at one of Estonia's two highest spots. Suur Munamägi (the Great Egg Hill, 318 m) in the Haanja highlands, or Vällamägi in Võru County (304 m).
The viewing tower of Suur Munamägi offers a great view of the Haanja highlands, and Vällamägi's spiritually inspiring hiking trail gives a sense of pristine and holiness in its primeval woods – Vällamägi is an ancient sacred grove. A short jaunt away, the hilly landscape of Karula National park, filled of countless lakes, is another breath-taking view.

Scenic landscapes

South Estonia is a popular landscape for painters and artists to draw inspiration from.  

Photo by: Visit Estonia

To valleys

However, the true beauty of nature lies in its duality, hilled reaches come with the splendour of valleys. As with the nation's hills, the most beautiful valleys of Estonia can be found in the South. The "dramatic" nature of the Rõuge primeval valley, the beauty of Ööbikuorg (Nightingale Valley), or the Kütiorg hiking trails (Hunter Valley) and the Hinni canyon are all, definitely, worth a visit.
Additionally; canoers, fishermen, hikers and lovers of silence will find another paradise in the primeval valley of the Võhandu river. Up to 30 m deep in some places, it shows off Devonian sandstone banks and rich meadows of flowers and butterflies. Likewise, the primeval valley of Ahja river, home to the magical place of Taevaskoja, and the banks of Suur Emajõgi (the Great Mother River) are quiet, peaceful places to reconnect with your roots and find stillness.

Discovering secret corners on Estonia

Many natural landscapes are only accessable from a boat.

Photo by: Visit Estonia

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Last updated : 01.03.2019