The streams, rivers and lakes of Estonia have not just provided Estonians with sustenance – they have provided avenues for travel, a backdrop for their legends and peerless beauty.
With close to 1,500 lakes, the waters of Estonia are considered one of the country's most valuable natural resources. They have been part of everyday life and culture. Many of Estonia's numerous waterbodies are to this day used for canoeing, sailing, water sports or as a venue for taking a voyage on a historical ship, such as those that sail on Lake Võrtsjärv or the Emajõgi River.
This extraordinary number of lakes cover nearly 6% of Estonia. The country hosts the fifth-largest lake in Europe – Lake Peipus – by the shores of which are situation Estonia's unique Russian village communities of traditional Old Orthodox Believers. The lake is also one of the locations named in the Estonian National Epic Kalevipoeg, and along its shore is Estonia's longest sandy beach – measuring over 30km in length.
On the other end of the spectrum is what may quite possibly be Estonia's most famous small lake, Kaali. This little lake fills Estonia's best-known meteorite crater.