The wild side of Estonia

Source: Remo Savisaar

The wild side of Estonia

Written by:

Piret Saar

Estonian landscape is as diverse as the birds and animals that call it a home with every passing season presenting the country in a new light. Deserted beaches, deep forests, picturesque lakes and rivers, and mysterious swamps hide a hidden and vibrant life of birds, seals and bears.

Estonia is a real treat for busy city dwellers looking to stretch out their limbs and breathe in a lung-full of the world's cleanest air*. About 50% of Estonia's territory is covered with forest. This makes Estonia a great place for hiking and exploring the well-kept wildlife which is by now extinct in most other European countries. The winter snow that carpets the country in winter is ideal for animal tracking and makes the wildlife that lives in Estonia's forests far more noticeable. Even when viewed from a distance, the majestic moose is a sight to behold against the white backdrop of the frosty season.

Estonia is great for exploring the well-kept wildlife which is by now extinct in most other European countries.

In spring, western Estonia becomes a popular birdwatching destination, attracting curious binocular-equipped visitors from around the world standing around the coastline and forests observing the millions of birds who stop over on their journeys. Known as the fifth season, the high water in spring not only transforms the country's karst landscapes, but also those of Soomaa national park where you sometimes need a canoe not just to navigate your way through the forests and along the roads, but even to get into your own house.

No place in Estonia looks the same throughout the year. Summer transforms the winter wonderland into a lush summer paradise and is the perfect time for hiking and camping, canoeing and swimming in the country's coastal and inland waters. The many wild lakes, rivers and endless sandy seashores provide a wild twist to your traditional beach holiday.

Estonia has among the largest density of large predators in Europe including brown bears, lynxes and wolves. If you are attentive you might find traces and footprints in the forest, and if you're extremely lucky you may even meet one of them. If luck is simply not enough, then you can also join a group of bear trackers and spend a night in a bear watching hide. Now, that's wild!

(*Reference to WHO 2011 report)

Photos by: Remo Savisaar, Toomas Tuul

Last updated : 22.04.2021

In category: Activities & Adventure, Nature & Wildlife