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ecoDestinations - Estonia
Tere tulemast (Welcome)!
Estonia is a small country, situated on the Baltic coast between Russia, Finland, Latvia and Sweden. Estonian territory is about same as the Netherlands, but the population (1.4 million) is eleven times less, which means that there is lot of space for nature. About 50% of country is covered by forests and woods, and is home to eagles, wolves, brown bears and lynx. People of Estonia often call themselves the "forest people", and have lived on these lands since Stone Age.
There is also a strong connection to the sea, as Estonian has a long and curvy coastline and over 1,500 islands. Estonia's birdlife is one of the richest in Europe, placing Estonia among most popular birdwatching destinations. Estonia is a flat and wet country, with about one quarter of territory made up of different kinds of wetlands, marshes, costal lagoons, fens and peat-bogs. Estonian rivers are mostly unregulated and flow naturally meandering between meadows. Flooded meadows are widespread, providing habitat for corncrake, storks and other birds. Wooded meados can be called Estonian national landscapes, and these park-like landscapes are especially rich in species.
Aivar Ruukel, Estonian Ecotourism Association
Estonian Ecotourism Association
The Estonian Ecotourism Association (ESTECAS) was established in 1996 as a result of a 2-year rural development project "Kodukant." ESTECAS is a non-governmental and non-profit membership organisation that connects individuals, organisations and authorities for ecotourism development in Estonia. To achieve this aim, ESTECAS has the following objectives: to develop ecotourism strategies, action plans, and industry standards suitable to the Estonian context; to promote the ideas of ecotourism and sustainable tourism; to collect, organize, publish and provide the information and know-how of ecotourism... Learn more about ESTECAS
Estonia ecoDestinations Stories
Estonia’s Land of Bogs and Beachside Pärnu
The best time to visit Soomaa is during what locals call the ‘fifth season’, a springtime phenomenon during which water levels can rise up to five meters higher than normal and flood an area of 175 square kilometres. Villagers from nearby Tõramaa and Riisa look forward to this Soomaa signature event with great anticipation, navigating the flooded landscape by modern boat and by haabjas, traditional dugout Estonian canoes. Visitors can engage in a number of unique activities made possible by this fleeting and truly Estonian season, including learning how to build a haabja and paddling one through the swamplands. more...
Estonia’s Land of Bogs and Beachside Pärnu
The brown bear population in Estonia is 600 and rising. Their primary “home” is in Alutaguse, the large forested region that includes a national park and a bog in Northeastern Estonia, close to the Russian border. Alutaguse is the central location in Estonia for watching all large carnivores including the wolf, lynx and bear. NaTourEst, a travel company specializing in professional and leisure trips to observe nature in Estonia, offers brown beard tracking and watching, as well as brown beard photography tours. more...
Photo: Sven Zace
Estonian Nature Tours: Birdwatching in Estonia
Although not widely discovered yet, Estonia is ideal country for observing one of the most spectacular natural shows – massive bird migration. This smallest and northernmost Baltic country lies on the crossroad of the Eastern Atlantic migratory flyway: Estonia is locked between the Finnish Gulf, eastern coast of Baltic Sea and Lake Peipsi near the Russian border. In this respect, geographically the Estonian waters and coastline are the natural stepping-stones, the most natural flyway between breeding and wintering areas for millions of Arctic waterbirds, making birdwatching in Estonia fabulous at this time of year. more...
There’s Soomaa-ch to Discover in the European Ecotourism Hotspot of Estonia
Aivar Ruukel has made quite a name for himself in ecotourism, particularly in his native Estonia, where he grew up in the midst of the country’s largest pristine wilderness: Soomaa. Roughly translated as ‘Land of Bogs,’ the area is, in Ruukel’s words, “a vast complex of raised bogs, wet alluvial forests with fens, transition mires and unregulated rivers with flood-plain and wooded meadows.” Lesser spotted eagles, golden eagles, black storks, corn crakes, brown bears, wolves and lynx all call it home and, understandably, it is now a leading destination for wildlife and nature enthusiasts. more...
Photo: Arne Ader
Estonian Nature Tours: Botanical Tours in Estonia
Estonia is the smallest and least populous of the three Baltic States which achieved independence from the former Soviet Union in 1991. It is a land of great natural beauty, but still comparatively little known as a wildlife destination. However, the abundance of natural habitats is reflected in a very impressive avifauna which matches that of any other country in northern Europe. more...
Photo: Valeri Stserbatyh
Mammal Watching in Estonia’s Forests and Woodlands
One of the most important and endangered type of forests in Estonia is Western Taiga. Western Taiga is a complex forest habitat type, ranging from dry pine forest (Pinus sylvestris) to damp spruce forests (Picea abies). Some stands in such forests may be quite young, having regenerated after a forest fire that occurred over hundred years ago, while others are significantly more mature. more...
>> Interested in sharing your stories? Contact us at: ecoDestinations[at]ecotourism.org!