Estonia: Nature & Wildlife
Estonia has been given the nickname the country of a thousand lakes and hosts more than 1,500 islands. One-third of the forests that cover Estonia are protected and in total, 18% of Estonia’s land territory and 30% of the sea territory are protected. These areas include five national parks as well as nature reserves and landscape reserves.
Lahemaa National Park is the first and largest national park in Estonia. Located on the northern coast of Estonia and with four peninsulas within its territory, the park’s name translates to the Land of Bays. Established in 1971, Lahemaa was the first park in the former Soviet Union. Much of the area has remained untouched by humans making it an incredibly important conservation area in Europe.
Soomaa National Park is located in central Estonia and was designated in 1993. It has been nicknamed the Wilderness Capital of Estonia because it has remained relatively untouched thus providing habitats for many mammals. There are large bogs, forests and flooded meadows within the park and Soomaa is a member of the international PAN Parks network.
Matsalu National Park was established in 1957. A birdwatcher’s paradise, the park is located on an important stopover site for birds on the route from the Arctic to western Europe. The park consists of Matsalu Bay, large coastal meadows and fifty islands and islets. The meadows provide a feeding ground for migrating birds making Matsalu Estonia’s best known national park.
Vilsandi National Park grew from being a bird reserve in 1910 to a national park in 1957. The park is made up of the sea and more than 150 islands, islets and rocks that provide habitats for several seabirds. Visandi National Park’s landscape also hosts one of the largest nesting sites for grey seals in the country.
Finally, Karula National Park, established in 1993, makes up nearly a third of the Karula Upland. It is Estonia’s smallest park and consists of 38 lakes, providing homes for several animals and bird species. A great deal of the park is natural landscapes, however, there are many cultural spots as Karula has been inhabited by humans for thousands of years.
Estonia Travel Information
At Goway we believe that a well-informed traveller is a safer traveller. With this in mind, we have compiled an easy to navigate travel information section dedicated to Estonia.
Learn about the history and culture of Estonia, the must-try food and drink, and what to pack in your suitcase. Read about Estonia's nature and wildlife, weather and geography, along with 'Country Quickfacts' compiled by our travel experts. Our globetrotting tips, as well as our visa and health information will help ensure you're properly prepared for a safe and enjoyable trip. The only way you could possibly learn more is by embarking on your journey and discovering Estonia for yourself. Start exploring… book one of our Estonia tours today!
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