Introducing Lahemaa National Park
Estonia’s largest rahvuspark (national park), Lahemaa is 725 sq km of unspoiled, rural Estonia with picturesque coastal and inland scenery, making it the perfect country retreat from the nearby capital. A microcosm of Estonia’s natural charms, the park takes in a stretch of deeply indented coast with several peninsulas and bays, plus 475 sq km of pine-fresh hinterland encompassing forest, lakes, rivers and peat bogs, and areas of historical and cultural interest. Visitors are well looked after: there are cosy guesthouses, restored manors, remote camp sites and an extensive network of forest trails for walkers, cyclists and even neo-knights on horseback.
The landscape is mostly flat or gently rolling, with the highest point just 115m above sea level. Stone fields, areas of very thin topsoil called alvars and large rocks called erratic boulders (brought from Scandinavia by glacial action) are all typically Estonian.
Almost 840 plant species have been found in the park, including 34 rare ones. There are 50 mammal species, among them brown bear, lynx and wolf (none of which you’re likely to see without specialist help). Some 222 types of birds nest here – including mute swans, black storks, black-throated divers and cranes – and 24 species of fish have been sighted. Salmon and trout spawn in the rivers.
In winter the park is transformed into a magical wonderland of snowy shores, frozen seas and sparkling black trees.