The Lahemaa National Park is one of the most diverse nature conservation areas in the world. It´s simply amazing how much you can do visiting this park.
When people think about traveling in Estonia, the first thing that comes to mind is a cold place in Eastern Europe or even not much information about it. However, we decided to visit this country for some days, rent a car and find the best locations in the region for outdoor activities.
We landed in Estonia´s capital: Tallinn, a beautiful and diverse city with influences from Western Europe, the old Soviet Union and the Scandinavian countries, as well as home to one of the most traditional and charming Old Towns in Europe. Tallinn´s mix of tradition and future makes it a great place to start a road trip around the Baltic countries or to be your base during your trip around Northern Estonia.
- Renting a car in Estonia is very inexpensive and the best way to discover the region. A great investment if you are looking for a mix of outdoor and city activities.
Tallinn is the Silicon Valley of Europe. The home of Skype and many other startups has great alternative and modern restaurants and cafes, which combine modernity with the medieval atmosphere at the Old Town. A walk in the “new town” is a must during your visit in Tallinn.
Lahemaa National Park: Estonia´s landscape variety in a single location
Roads in Estonia are comparable to the ones in the Netherlands, Sweden or Finland. While taking the highway will get you to your destination faster, a good alternative is taking side roads or the road next to the coastline. You can see some of Estonia´s natural wonders and stop for a photo or two. Still, if I had to name a place where you can find all the biodiversity in Estonia in a single location my answer would be the Lahemaa National Park.
This 700 km² natural park is home to some of the most scenic landscapes in Estonia and a destination where a day trip might get short.
- Before starting your trip, pay a visit to the Tourist Information Center in Palmse. Their friendly staff will give you some information, maps and tips on where to go and what to do, based on what you are looking for and the time you have.
- There are parking spots all around the park making short hikes and spontaneous stops very easy.
- Bring some snacks and lots of liquid for hiking, since there are not many supermarkets in the area.
Moving around the national park is very easy with a car or a bicycle and more experienced hikers can even hike through the whole park in several days. This park is home to hundreds of species and plants and is the best chance to see the diversity of natural life Estonia offers.
With dense forest all around the area, a beautiful coastline in Käsmu and probably the most beautiful bog in the world,the Viru Bog, Lahemaa National Park is definitely a place worth a visit and not just for a couple of hours.
Our route started at the Tourist Information Office in Palmse and went all around the national park in a circle. Driving around the park makes your trip more comfortable in rainy or cold seasons. However, the best way to explore the park is by bicycle. Spots like the Beaver Trail and the scenic views of Käsmu are very easy to reach and with hiking trails of 1 or 2 hours, these are obligatory stops during your visit to the park.
Trails at the coastline will show you incredible views of Estonia´s green forests ending at the Baltic Sea and huge rock formations where you get the impression of being in a giant´s world at the edge of the world.
On the other side of the park Viru Bog is one of the biggest highlights of not only the park but all of Estonia. A place where you can spend a whole day wandering long trails along the bog. In the middle of the trail there is a platform view where you can have a better impression of how beautiful this place is.
Insider Tip: There are spots on the northern side of the park, where camping is allowed converting your day trip into an outdoor adventure in the middle of the nature.
Popular places like Viru Bog can get quite full in high season. Try to get there by the end of the day or very early in the morning and enjoy this amazing place for yourself.
Looking for postcard photos at the west side
While Lahemaa National Park is the highlight of Estonia, an alternative is going in the opposite direction along the coastline. This is the most beautiful option if you are traveling around the Baltic countries and want to get a last view of Estonia´s amazing coastline before heading to Latvia.
Only 15 minutes from Tallinn you will find the probably most underrated spot in the whole country. Turisalu Cliff has a dark past and it´s known as a place for young suicides. However, this 30m cliff is probably one of the most impressive locations in Estonia and the Nordic countries. With an amazing view of the Baltic Sea and a small trail taking you to a beach, the image of this location needs to change in the next years and become one of the best places to watch a sunset and one of the most beautiful views in Estonia.
Along the way west you will also find spots like the Keila Waterfall, another hiking trail following the Keila river with some views of a small but beautiful waterfall in the middle of a forest. A good day trip during your stay in Tallinn.
Estonia surprised me. Its excellent alternatives for travelers looking for outdoor and adventure experiences outside the capital makes Northern Estonia the perfect getaway trip as well as a destination to escape the stressful daily life. Estonia turns a short road trip into an adventure, where diversity of landscapes and connection with nature make the perfect combination for an incredible experience.
Want to see aerial views of Viru Bog, Turisalu Cliff or Käsmu? Check out our video of Estonia and see this beautiful country from a completely different perspective!
If you also want to learn more about Estonia, don´t forget to check out their official website and get some information of what to do, where to stay and to go.