Did you know that over half of Estonia’s land is covered by forests? That’s actually a lot, compared to the rest of Europe. If you have traveled in Estonia outside of the bigger cities then you probably know what I’m talking about.
Matter of fact Estonians are often referred to as forest people. There are many theories behind that. But it’s true that most of Estonians feel connected to the forest, and to nature in general.
So, when you are traveling in Estonia I highly encourage you to get out of towns and do some hiking in Estonian forests. Who knows, maybe you’ll find some Estonian in you as well. Plus it’s super easy since all the distances in Estonia are so short.
Or even if you don’t experience some kind of magical connection it’s still worth it because of the views. And some exercise in a fresh air is always good, right?
Depending on where you are located there are many possibilities to do some hiking in Estonian forests. One of the most popular trails, yet still relatively uncrowded, are RMK hiking routes. You don’t have to hike the whole route at once, instead you can do section(s) that suits best for you.
To access the trailheads you can take a train (recommended if you are biking) or a bus from all of the larger towns. The trails have lots of camping places to choose from if you are planning a multi-day hike. Most places also have firewood and water (usually needs treatment). You can find more information about the trails here (just click on one of the routes).
Photo Essay of Hiking in Estonian Forests
No doubt the best way to experience it you’d have to hike the trails yourself. But since I’m a nice guy I thought I’ll leave here some appetizers from my recent biking trip on those trails (Ikla-Oandu route).
I did a 4-day bike-hike (total about 230 km) starting from Pärnu and finished it in Lelle where I took a train back home. Here are some moments I managed to capture: