A Road Trip Through Forests and Wetlands: The Best of Estonia

Soomaa National Park
Soomaa National Park | © UltraView Admin/Flickr
Kasparas Asmonaitis

Estonia is an extremely green country and home to many popular national parks where you can hike in majestic forests, walk around mystical wetlands, and simply relax in peaceful nature and free your mind. If you are a fan of nature, this road trip is exactly what you are looking for.


Total distance (approximate): 580 km (360 miles)

Total driving time (approximate): 8 hours

Recommended number of days traveling: 5+ days

Best for: Families and nature fans

Day 1: Matsalu National Park

Distance: 117 km (72 miles) from Tallinn

Travel time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Matsalu National Park is one of the best places in Europe for birdwatching and there are over 250 birds species recorded in the park. Birdwatching towers are built throughout the park for visitors’ convenience. Nature in the park is typical flat Estonian fields with some stunning forests and rivers. There is also the Baltic Sea along the western part of the park, making Matsalu one of the top destinations in Estonia.

Matsalu National Park

Day 2: Soomaa National Park

Distance: 148 km (91 miles)

Travel time: 1 hour 50 minutes

Soomaa National Park is full of wetlands and rivers, so be prepared to walk in bogs, come across some beavers on a special Beaver Trail, and even do some kayaking. Some guided tours even offer kayaking trips during the night under the full moon, which is definitely an exciting way to experience Estonian nature. Soomaa National Park is a must-visit for people who love nature, especially wetlands and forests.

Soomaa National Park

Day 3: Emajõe-Suursoo Nature Reserve

Distance: 162 km (100 miles)

Travel time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Emajõe-Suursoo Nature Reserve is the best place to see the beautiful marshlands of Estonia. The area of those marshlands reaches 25,000 hectares, making it the biggest delta marshlands in the country. On top of that, Emajõe-Suursoo Nature Reserve is located near the magical Lake Peipus, so the visitors can enjoy the stunning scenery of the lake and see many different water habitats.

Lake Peipus

Day 4: Puhatu Nature Reserve

Distance: 160 km (100 miles)

Travel time: 2 hours 20 minutes

The 2-hour journey to Puhatu Nature Reserve should not take long, because most of the time you will be driving through the wilderness by Lake Peipus. In terms of the reserve, it is rich with flora and fauna – there are over 21 protected species of plants in Puhatu Nature Reserve, and it is also home to many mammals and birds. The visitors can walk on a special study trail surrounded by bogs and forests and accompanied by three different kinds of eagles that live in the reserve. It is definitely a must-visit place if you want to fully grasp the beauty of Estonian nature.

Puhatu Nature Preserve

Day 5: Lahemaa National Park

Distance: 147 km (92 miles)

Travel time: 2 hours

Finish your road trip through Estonian nature in Lahemaa National Park, where you can encounter many different mammals, including moose, beavers, and lynxes. Lahemaa National Park is extremely versatile, so visitors can choose if they want to hike in mystical Estonian forests, walk on a trail surrounded by bogs and wetlands, spend a day relaxing by the Baltic Sea on sandy beaches or visit the biggest waterfall in Estonia, Jagala Falls.

Jagala Fallas
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