TOP free campsites

Source: Sven Zacek

TOP free campsites

If your idea of a perfect holiday includes hiking through national parks, exploring nature reserves and sleeping under the stars, then Estonia is definitely a destination for you. The landscapes are welcoming, even for beginners and families, with a moderate climate and lack of poisonous animals. There are some impressive hiking trails to check out, the longest of which is 820 km, and stretches across the whole country. Along the way are campsites, some with wooden cabins free to use for resting your feet, making lunch or spending the night.

Lahemaa National Park and RMK Oandu Nature Centre

Lääne-Viru maakond, Oandu küla

Lahemaa National Park was founded in 1971 and was designed to preserve, research, and introduce the nature, cultural heritage, biodiversity, landscapes, national culture, and nature conservation of Northern Estonia. Lahemaa is one of Europe's most important forest protection areas. The Oandu Nature Centre introduces the nature of Lahemaa National Park, as well as the opportunities it offers for exploring nature, as well as the use and cultivation of forests and timber throughout the ages. From the courtyard of the nature centre, you can reach the Oandu nature trail and the Võsu-Oandu hiking trail. You can also use the connecting trails to reach Koprarada (Beaver Trail) and the Altja study trail.

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Aegviidu-Kõrvemaa recreation area and Nature Centre / Information point

Harju maakond, Aegviidu alev

The old folk saying about this lovely area, known locally as the ‘Estonian Switzerland’ states that the devil made the ground wrinkle in Kõrvemaa. The landscape is characterised by its ‘mountains’, swamps, swamp lakes, and forests. The ‘mountains’ are actually steep eskers formed by melting permafrost. The largest bogs are Koitjärve, Kõnnu Suursoo, Võhma, and Kakerdaja. There are about a hundred lakes, bogs, and ponds. Come for a hike, ride a bicycle, ski, or walk. The camping areas and campfire sites are perfect for nature photographers, bird and animal watchers, and berry and mushroom pickers. The Visitor Centre shares information about holiday options and hiking trails. You can also visit exhibitions, watch nature films, and participate in study programmes.

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Hiking trail in the Meenikunno bog

Põlva maakond, Nohipalo küla

Cabins for hikers, an observation tower and a boardwalk attract many nature lovers to the Meenikunno bog. It is a beautiful recreation area. While walking down the boardwalk, you can see the most common bog plants: leather leaf, bog rosemary, crowberry, Marsh Labrador tea, and tussock cottongrass; at the edge of the bog, dwarf birches can also be found. There are also a number of different species of peat moss of various colours. The bravest hikers can try drinking bog water (it has an interesting taste!) from the overgrown ditch near the edge of the bog. Good to know: A new boardwalk has been constructed for the Meenikunno hiking trail extending from Päikeseloojangu forest cabin to Lake Suur Soojärv. The boardwalk is pram and wheelchair accessible.

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Peipsiveere Nature Reserve

Tartu maakond, Kavastu küla

Protected since 1981, the main assets of Peipsiveere, formerly known as Emajõe-Suursoo Nature Reserve, are its diverse wet habitats and the large bog in the delta of a river. The bog covers approximately 25,000 ha, 7,000 ha of which gets flooded. The site is one of the Natura 2000 Special Areas of Conservation and Special Protection Areas, and it is the fifth largest Estonian bog and the largest bog in the delta of a river in Estonia. On the 3 km long Emajõgi River study trail with a boardwalk, starting from the Kantsi tavern building, camping and campfires are allowed only in the designated and marked places. The area is ideal for birdwatching and fishing.

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Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve and Ilmatsalu fish ponds

Tartu maakond, Ilmatsalu küla

Established in 1994, Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve is one of Estonia's largest protected areas. It is also one of the Natura 2000 protected areas. The lowland is unique thanks to its biodiversity, mire communities, and rivers which provide protection to protected birds and their habitats. You can access the area from next to the Ilmatsalu fish ponds, where the 'Linnutee' hiking trail of Ilmatsalu-Kärevere also starts. There is a bird observation tower, a classroom, a campfire site, and picnic grounds. The hiking trail and the surrounding area of the fish ponds are some of the most important stopping places for migrating waterfowl. Up to 200 bird species can be seen there, many of which are endangered.

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Neljateeristi nature trail

Hiiu maakond, Mägipe küla

Neljateeristi nature trail runs along the northern coast of Kõpu Peninsula. It is possible to examine the communities characteristic to Kõpu there. Möirasoo is a little coastal spring fen, where it is possible to see the yew tree that is under protection. Mägipe boulder and Süllasoo Jaanikivi stone on the beach date back to the Ice Age. There is a unique fishing hut on the beach. It takes approximately 1 hour to complete the trail and in dry season, it can be completed without wellies. The trail has been equipped with signposts and information boards. Near the trail, you will find the Kalurikoda forest hut, which has a fireplace, benches, and a table. There is a camping area and a campfire site next to the hut.

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RMK Lake Rae Hiking Trail and Camping Site

Pärnu maakond, Laiksaare küla

Lake Rae Hiking Trail and Camping Site is a calm and peaceful resting place in the middle of forests. In addition to swimming and fishing, you can admire the varied landscapes and walk the 1.7 km hiking trail that runs along the shore of Lake Rae where one can see signs of activity from kingfishers and beavers. There is a fish ladder built in 2003 near the rest area, which allows the fish to swim from the Ura River to Lake Rae. There are also three bonfire places, firewood in a shed, a village swing, toilets, and bins in the camping site. Take note! The viewing platform at the end of the hiking trail is damaged and currently closed off.

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Struve Geodetic Arc in Kaarepere on Aruküla hill

Jõgeva maakond, Kaarepere küla

The Struve Geodetic Arc is a survey circuit created by astronomer and surveyor Friedrich Georg Wilhelm Struve to specify the size and shape of the Earth and to produce accurate topographic maps, consisting of 265 measuring points and extending from the Arctic Ocean to the Black Sea. One of the triangulation points is located in Kaarepere on Aruküla hill. The point is marked with an information board and in the immediate vicinity, there is the Kaarepere disc golf course, a barbecue and picnic area, and a pleasant village swing.In 2005, the Struve Arc was entered into the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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Selli-Sillaotsa study trail

Tartu maakond, Valmaotsa küla

The versatile Selli-Sillaotsa study trail, which winds through bogs, forests, and gravel roads, is located in the Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve. The beginning of the study trail runs through a pine forest to the edge of the Laeva Bog, where you will find the 12 m high Suuretüki observation tower offering great views. The trail continues along a boardwalk (the width of the boardwalk covered with netting is 47 cm) and along a dirt track through a bog of different levels of development, which is also known for its good cranberry picking spots. 3.5 km of the trail runs in the forest and swamp and 1.2 km on a gravel road. The trail has 11 information boards, two toilets, and two shelters. The length of the trail is 4.7 km.

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Mehikoorma footpath and beach promenade

Põlva maakond, Mehikoorma alevik

In the area between Mehikoorma Port and the lighthouse, a circular footpath with three different solutions has been built at different heights, so that visitors could enjoy the charms of Lake Peipus and get acquainted with the natural environment there. The roads are arranged so that the user can travel approximately 1.3 kilometres continuously, starting and ending at the same place. The versatile trail includes raised wooden footpaths, low boardwalks on moist lakeside soils, and a paved cycle and pedestrian track next to the port water area. On broader platforms, it is possible to have a picnic or stay longer to observe the surrounding nature.

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Taagepera hiking trail

Valga maakond, Taagepera küla

The total length of Taagepera hiking trail is 5.4 km. The trail begins and ends at the Taagepera campfire site and partly runs along the shores of the Õhne River. The trail can also be completed in smaller circles – 1.6 km and 4.0 km long. There are wooden signposts and information boards at the hiking trail, capfire site is suitable also for camping. The main sights of the hiking trail include the Taagepera Castle with the Castle Park, Taagepera Church and the Cemetery, the graveyard of barons, the Musukivi rock, the sacrificial stone, the underground cemetery, and the Õhne River. A truly inspiring hike full of history, architecture, and ancient nature!

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Kaljupealse campfire site

Põlva maakond, Jaanikeste küla

The Kaljupealse campfire site is located on the banks of the Võhandu River, in a beautiful pine forest. The riverside and high banks offer a beautiful view of the Võhandu River and sand outcrops. The campfire site has a roofed table and benches, a roofed grill, and firewood. The place is ideal for campers, fishing enthusiasts, and as a resting point for guests coming here with boats. Along the high sandy shores, through a beautiful pine forest, there is an unmarked hiking trail where you can enjoy beautiful views of nature or pick berries and mushrooms.

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Koiva Heritage Culture Trail

Valga maakond, Tsirgumäe küla

Completed in autumn 2010, this 60 km long cycling track and walking trail showcases cultural sites along the banks of the Koiva River, which runs along the border of Estonia and Latvia in Valga County - formerly part of Livonia. It begins at the Tellingumäe car park and has a recreational area and information boards with maps at the point it crosses the border between the two countries. Signs along the way will keep you from getting lost, even when exploring sites off the main track. The information boards provide information in Estonian, Latvian and English. The same car park is also the starting point for another, 18 km long cycling track.

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Erastvere manor park

Põlva maakond, Erastvere küla

Erastvere is one of the oldest settlements near Põlva. There is an old manor park with the tallest lime-tree in Estonia, with the height of 35 m. A chapel of the noble German family von Ungern-Sternberg which is built on the foundation of the former Church of Mary and called after the last family member born in Estonia – Gerhard – is located in the middle of the park. The park also includes the fascinating Lake Erastvere which offers good opportunities to bathe, camp and spend a good time. The Ahja River starts from the north-eastern part of Lake Erastvere.

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Ähijärve nature trail

Võru maakond, Ähijärve küla

The 3.5 km Ähijärve nature study trail starts at Karula Nature Centre, where there is a nice playground for children and a nature trail. The network of roads around Lake Ähijärv was once very dense and different from what we can see now. Ähijärve nature trail will take you to roads once used by many people and you can imagine what they looked like: a road on the pasture, Ähijärve shore path, footpath, forest roads, winter roads, horse roads. The southern part of Ähijärve area is covered with Peräjärve-Labassaare forests. Standing on the shore of the lake, you can see the southernmost tops of the Karula Upland – Lossi, Korgemägi and Plaagi hill to the west across the lake.

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Lake Pühajärv hiking trail

Valga maakond, Otepää linn

The hiking trail that encircles Lake Pühajärv starts near the centre of Otepää Nature Park. The 12 km trail takes you on a voyage of discovery around one of the most unique and beautiful lakes in Estonia.Covering the whole track takes from 3–6 hours. There are rest areas and barbecue sites along the way. Part of the track (approximately 2.2 km) runs along the Pühajärve–Kääriku exercise track by the Otepää–Kääriku highway. You can cover the track by foot or bike. Cyclists must bear in mind that there are parts of the track on which you will have to push your bike instead of riding it. The RMK Kiigemäe and Koolirand campfire sites are located on the trail. There, you can make a fire and camp.

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Tuhkana beach and recreation area

Saare maakond, Murika küla

Tuhkana beach, in Northern Saaremaa, is one of the best places for swimming in Saaremaa. With a sandy shore 500 metres wide - the beach is unlike others in South Saaremaa in that you don't have to walk far to reach its deep waters. With the beaches' roaring waves - made more powerful with the strong north wind, or the beaches' volleyball court, there is something for everyone. A boardwalk, from the parking lot to the beach, running through the neighbouring pine forest is a good chance for a walk; and the beaches other surrounding forests give visitors the opportunity to pick mushrooms and berries before taking a break at the RMK recreation area's picnic table, information stand and outhouse.

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Nõva Nature Reserve, RMK Recreation Area, and Visitor Centre

Lääne maakond, Peraküla

The Nõva Recreation Area and Nature Reserve on the lowland of West-Estonia was established to protect the coastal landscapes and plant communities. It covers vast bog plains, forest massifs, and sand beaches. The lakes around Peraküla village are surrounded by 5-metre high coastal dunes. White water lilies and the great fen-sedge grow on the lakes. The coastal area enchants beachgoers and surfers. The forests and bogs are full of berries and mushrooms. There is an information point, camping spots, and places for making bonfires in the recreation area. The Nõva Visitor Centre in the Nõva RMK Recreation Area provides information about the area's sights and advice on choosing the hiking routes.

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Last updated : 16.05.2018

In category: For the green traveler, Nature & Wildlife