The Stunning Soomaa National Park: Estonia’s Wilderness Gem

Nestled in the heart of Estonia, Soomaa National Park is an exquisite embodiment of unspoiled natural beauty. Meaning ‘Land of Bogs’ in Estonian, it is an ecological haven, boasting a diverse landscape brimming with sprawling wetlands, tranquil rivers, forest expanses, and enchanting meadows.

The Birth of a National Park

Established in 1993, shortly after Estonia regained independence from the Soviet Union, Soomaa National Park covers an area of 390 square kilometres, making it the second-largest national park in Estonia. The park was created to protect the unique ecosystems and wildlife in the region, and to preserve the traditional land use patterns of regional inhabitants.

Nature’s Diversity

Home to a captivating array of ecosystems and wildlife, Soomaa National Park takes pride in its five vast bogs, framed by flooded meadows, and forested areas dominated by birch and spruce trees. These ecosystem’s juxtaposition offers a rich habitat for a plethora of species. The park presents its tourists with the opportunity to spot creatures including beavers, otters, elks, European brown bears, lynxes, and a diverse array of bird species.

The Fifth Season

Soomaa National Park is distinctively recognized for its peculiar phenomenon – the ‘Fifth Season’. This intriguing natural event, which occurs during the Spring thaw, results in massive flooding, transforming the park into a stunning water wonderland. Many areas become accessible only by boat, providing an unforgettable, ethereal experience for visitors. It’s during this season when locals and tourists practice ‘haabjaskõit’, a unique sailing tradition on the Begging Bowl, a historical dugout canoe carved from a single tree trunk.

Trekking and Adventure

For those with a thirst for exploration, Soomaa offers a network of exciting hiking trails. Ranging from shorter routes, like the 1.8km Tõramaa trail, to the more challenging 5km Riisa, visitors are rewarded with breathtaking vistas and encounters with untouched wilderness. The park is also equipped with camping sites and fireplaces for overnight stays under the stars.

Conservation and Preservation

Soomaa National Park also operates as a custodian of local cultural heritage. The Visitor Centre houses various exhibits about local history and wildlife, acting as an educational hub for guests. These initiatives preserve vital histories and foster awareness of the cultural significance connected to this region.

A Winter Paradise

Winter in Soomaa unveils a snowy paradise, where cross-country skiing becomes a popular pastime. The captivating landscapes touched by frost combine with stark, serene silence, only interrupted by the occasional rustle of wildlife. It is a season that beams with tranquility and untouched natural grandeur.


Brimming with natural allure, Soomaa National Park is more than a captivating tourist destination. It is a wholesome emblem of Estonia’s commitment to environmental preservation and shows respect for rich cultural heritage tied to the land. With every season giving a unique nod to its landscapes and a profound sense of tranquility, a visit to the Soomaa National Park is an unforgettable experience.

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