Estonia Adventure Travel Guide: Ideas and Inspiration
PureTravel Says: “Estonia is a land of varied landscapes and topography, especially if you consider the 1,400 lakes and numerous river and bogs. If you like fishing or any other sort of adventurous trips, such as trekking or hiking, then consider Estonia. Prices in Estonia are cheaper than Western Europe and you’ll be taken back to a simpler time. Visit the Old Town in the capital city of Tallinn and visit to one of the bird sanctuaries.”
Horse Riding - It is possible to take single or multiple day rides in Estonia, with some rides going on some of the outer islands (there’s over 1,500 to choose from). Some of the islands are smaller than a hectare in size, however. Additionally, it’s feasible to take a ride just outside of Tallinn if you’ve only got a day to spare, taking in the cultural city and old town at night. You can book horse-riding tours in Estonia near Parnu, though you’ll need extra time to get here and back if you fly in and out of Tallinn.
Walking & Trekking - Estonia has fantastic trekking and walking and is suitable for all abilities with the highest elevation around 320 meters. The plateau-like landscape, with an average height of around 50 meters, has nearly 1,500 lakes, some offering great hikes. Some of the best trekking takes place in the numerous national parks, including Lahemaa National Park. Many walking tours take place in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. The Soomaa National Park in southwest Estonia has five bogs, all of which are watered by the Parnu River.
Mountain Biking - The biggest hill in Estonia is Suur Munamagi (or “Big Egg Hill”), just shy of 320 meters tall in Voru County. You can go biking in this area, however do stay on marked roads, as there are bogs, ponds and lakes to content with.
A great way to explore Tallinn is by bike on an organized guided tour, which run regularly. The trips take small numbers and you’ll see everything from the Kadriorg Park, the Maarjamae Memorial and the Old Town.
Fishing - Estonia is the land of lakes and fishing is possible from the largest Lake Peipus (Peipsi) to the Vohandu, Poltsamaa and Parnu Rivers. Some native and introduced fish to Estonia include the Burbot, Largemouth Bass, Weatherfish, European Smelt, Perch, Minnow, Coho Salmon, and Bitterling among many others. Before fishing, however, you’ll have to pick up a permit in Tallinn at the Tallinna Kalaspordi Klubi. Some rivers are closed when the salmon are spawning. You can rent boats in Lahemaa National Park.
Animals & Birds - Estonia has an abundance of wildlife and birdlife in its large expanses of forest and woodland. Animals that roam the forest include boars, bears, moose, lynx, and some wolves, said to be around the two hundred mark. The Kaina Bay Bird Reserve, the Matsalu Nature Reserve and the Lahemaa and Soommaa National Parks has amazing birds such as the stork and eagle, goose, a variety of woodpeckers, owls, cuckoos, doves, cranes, terns, gulls, kestrels and even falcons.
Tallinn - The lively city of Tallinn has been on partygoers radars for several years, but did you know that the city also boasts quaint cobbled streets, medieval architecture and 14th century churches? And to complete the hat trick, Tallinn is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tallinn’s culture knows no bounds as the local art scene gathers pace and the eclectic cafes and boutiques are to die for. Don't miss;
- Tallinn’s superbly preserved Old Town: medieval walls shelter 14th and 15th century buildings, church spires pierce the sky and cobblestoned streets entice you to explore.
- Atop a 170 feet tall limestone hill lays the impressive Toompea Hill Fortress which dates back to the 10th century.
- Hang out in the central Raekoja Plats square which is in the beating heart of the Old City and is lined with quaint cafes and local restaurants - this is the perfect location for a spot of people watching!
- Don’t miss the thought-provoking Museum of Occupations which details Estonian life under both Soviet and Nazi occupation.
- Tallinn is unique in that it’s the only one of Baltic capitals to boast several sandy beaches including the Pirita Marina and Beach which hosted the yachting leg of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games.
When To Go
Summer temperatures in Estonia reach around 18C. The winters can be cold, with February having the coldest temperature of –4C on average. The springtime has less precipitation than autumn.
- If you’re going out on your own, be mindful of the bogs. Like quicksand, once you start to go under, it’s very hard to escape.
- Never go into wild alone and always have a guide booked through your tour operator.
- The climate can often be cool and wet so ensure you bring raingear and warm clothing to layer up. Try a breathable layer and then layers of fleece and a windproof jacket.
- Tour of Old Town in Tallinn
- Walks through Tallinn
- Bird watching
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
- Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn
- Struve Geodetic Arc
1st of January: New Year's Day
24th of February: Independence Day
Moveable Friday during spring: Good Friday
Moveable Sunday during spring: Easter Sunday
1st of May: May Day
Moveable day during late spring: Whitsun
23rd of June: Victory Day
24th of June: Midsummer Day
20th of August: Day of Restoration of Independence
24th of December – 26th of December: Christmas
By Julie Bowman