Lahemaa National Park
Lahemaa enchants at the northernmost tip of Estonia with its mystical Nordic charm.
Only the Gulf of Finland separates this region in Estonia, which offers more Scandinavia than the Baltic States, from Finland. The fascinating natural panorama of the Baltic Sea is omnipresent. Glittering coastlines, deep forests, picturesque moors and stony beaches create a picture-perfect landscape. Several small uninhabited islands are in front of the rugged coast with its numerous bays. In the hinterland there are deep pine forests with a species-rich fauna.
In the land of the quiet tones
The National Park on the Gulf of Finland was established in 1971 and is located about 70 km east of Tallinn.
The four peninsulas of the national park protrude like fingers into the Baltic Sea. Vösu and Loksa are the bigger places. There are seven nature trails on an area of around 72,000 hectares. Hiking trails and wooden plank walkways lead through magical nature.
In the interior there are moors, lakes and wooded moraine hills with a species-rich fauna. Bears, foxes, moose and lynx have found their home here. Meanwhile, lovingly restored manor houses, ancient windmills and pretty farms enrich the small villages, which have retained their original charm.
The landscape is peppered with boulders from the last Ice Age – as if a giant had scattered them. At the extreme tip of the Käsmu Peninsula, the idyll experiences its climax – it is probably the most peaceful place in the world. The perfect calm is only penetrated by the screaming of the seagulls, sometimes also by conversations of some hikers.
Cultural heritage between “Glückshügel” and “Teufelsinsel”
With the enchanting peninsulas of Juminda, Pärispea, Käsmu and Vergi, Lahemaa is a natural paradise. Where a touch of history meets a mystical moor landscape, culture and nature are also in harmony. It is worth making a stop in the historic manor houses of the national park. The Palmse manor complex is a popular starting point for historical explorations. History buffs, romantics as well as adventurous people appreciate the varied events at this wonderful place. The Sagadi manor and the Vihula manor complex also provide impressive insights into the life of Baltic-German landlords. A detour to the charming fishing village of Altja is no less popular. In the thatched village tavern “Altja Körts”, guests enjoy regional specialties.
There is something else that makes Lahemaa special: This is the cradle of Estonian culture. Many local folk dances come from this region. The Viru Folk Festival is held in Lahemaa National Park every August.
Glacial valley of the Ahja
Geographical classification of the Ahja glacial valley
The glacial valley of the Ahja River is located in the southeast of the Baltic Republic of Estonia between the towns of Tartu and Võru. Central European valleys are called glacial valleys, which were created in the Ice Age by meltwater flowing off the edge of the ice. The area of the 95 km long Ahja, designated as a nature reserve, begins at the Saesaare hydroelectric power station. There is a natural, wild glacial valley that can be explored by hikers. The popular destination can be visited in summer as well as in snowy winter.
The Ahja glacial valley is surrounded by thick coniferous forests. Fascinating, huge sandstone formations, which are affectionately called “heavenly houses”, adorn the course of the river. A particularly impressive sandstone rock is called “Väike Taevaskoda” and is 190 meters long and 13 meters high. The red shimmering rock “Suur Taevaskoda” with a gigantic height of 24 meters also amazes. In addition to the intact vegetation and the geological peculiarities of the glacial valley, the animal world also feels like it is in paradise. Bird species such as dippers and kingfishers, which are easy to observe, have found their home here. Rich fish species such as pike, ruff or rainbow trout cavort in the clear water.
Destination for vacationers and study travelers
In summer you can go hiking on the well-established network of hiking trails or paddle or canoe down the river. Estonians and newcomers share the enthusiasm for this natural beauty of the Ahja glacial valley. In winter, when temperatures can drop to – 30 ° C, there is the possibility of snowshoeing. Geology students who deal with the formation of valleys and rock formations will find a perfect research object here in Estonia. Study travelers interested in flora and fauna will also benefit from a trip to this unspoilt region of Estonia.
On a long leg to Tall Hermann
Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is an interesting destination for a city trip or study trip in all seasons. The Domberg combines cultural sights with views over the city and the countryside.
Nobility and clergy
The long leg, “Pikk jalg”, leads up to Toompea. Here are some of the most beautiful sights in Tallinn. It’s a leisurely stroll from Rathausplatz up to the former residence of the nobility and clergy. The pink lock is immediately noticeable. So that the Russian governor could live appropriately, Katharina had large parts of the old castle demolished and the baroque palace built.
From the old castle only the walls and the defense tower, the Lange Hermann, are preserved. Since the independence of Estonia, the national flag has been waving again from the top platform. Parliament meets in the castle today. Opposite is the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, with its five onion domes, a symbol of tsarist power. Two mosaics can be admired above the main portal. The interior is also richly decorated with icons and mosaics. St. Mary’s Cathedral was the church of the Baltic nobility. You can see old grave slabs and, as a special feature, the old family coats of arms. A stroll through the winding streets leads past the old aristocratic houses. Nicely restored, it houses many embassies from different countries.
Look into the Middle Ages
Narrow cobblestone streets lead to small squares and interesting shops. The view extends far over the city from the various viewing platforms. Below the Domberg lies medieval Tallinn with houses from the Hanseatic era, church towers and the city wall. The Baltic Sea shimmers in the background.