For us, part of travel means getting outside of city limits to see a country’s natural beauty. That’s exactly why we were excited when we saw that Lahemaa National Park is located a short hour drive east of Tallinn.

So, we quickly booked a day trip to Lahemaa National Park and boy are we glad that we did. Our tour of Lahemaa National Park was the highlight of our two weeks in Estonia. Even though our visit fell during the chilly month of November, it was well worth it to face the cold and see the stunning beauty of the Estonian wilderness.

About Lahemaa National Park

Lahemaa National Park is an Estonian National Park located about a 1 hour drive east from Tallinn, Estonia. Lahemaa features picturesque beaches on the Baltic Sea, lush green forests, unusual red, raised bogs, and even a waterfall.

One of Europe’s most important forest conservation areas, Lahemaa National Park covers covers 725 km².  Along the coast, Lahemaa includes four peninsulas (Juminda, Pärispea, Käsmu and Vergi) giving the national park the appearance of fingers jutting out from the coast.

Lahemaa National Park is an easy hour long drive east from Tallinn. We’d recommend booking a tour (which includes transportation to and from Tallinn) to make sure you get the most out of the park, but you could also rent a car and drive yourself. All the sights we visited had parking lots to leave your car at while you explore.

What To See in Lahemaa National Park

One of the best things about Lahemaa National Park is that there is so much to see. Here are some of the best sights in the park that our guide took us to see during our tour of the park.

Jägala Waterfall

Jägala Waterfall on a cloudy day in Lahemaa National Park

Jägala Waterfall is an 8 meter high waterfall located along the Jägala River. At more than 50 meters wide, it’s the widest waterfall in all of Estonia.

You’ll notice that the water has a rusty color to it. This is because of the organic matter that decomposes in the water and gives it that color.

It wasn’t quite cold enough when we saw it, but apparently during winter the whole waterfall freezes! 

Viru Bog

Viru Bog in Lahemaa National Park

Viru Bog is one of the easiest bogs to visit in Estonia. This is because they’ve built a boardwalk that takes you right through the center of the bog!

The bog has a reddish color to the water that we have never seen anywhere else…it’s kind of spooky and almost looks like blood. You can see just how red the water is in the picture below (which isn’t edited at all!)

Red water in Viru Bog in Lahemaa National Park

The forest area surrounding the bog is just as beautiful. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground during our visit, but we could still see the incredible array of plant life.

Mushrooms growing in the snow in Lahemaa National Park in Estonia

It’s really quiet and peaceful in the woods, but don’t stay for too long! Our guide showed us a plant that is supposed to cause hallucinations if you are around it for too long.

We only did a short portion of the trail during our visit, but the entire trail is 6 km long if you want to do a lap around the bog.

Viru Bog Viewing Tower

Viru Bog Viewing Tower in Lahemaa National Park

If you follow the trail in Viru Bog, it will lead you to the Viru Bog Viewing Tower. You can’t miss this three-story wooden tower–it stands out like a sore thumb. It’s free to climb the tower and take in the views. There was even a school group there when we visited.

View of Viru Bog from the Viewing Tower in Lahemaa National Park

Climb to the top and it offers panoramic views of the bog. One of the coolest things that our guide pointed out is the difference in tree heights. In the area immediately surrounding the tower, the bog is deeper so the trees are smaller. Further out, you can see the perimeter of taller trees.

Baltic Sea Coastline

A red boat sits on land next to the Baltic Sea Coast in Lahemaa National Park

After a brief stop into a small village for lunch, we headed for the coast of the Baltic Sea. It was interesting seeing how much the terrain of the coastline varies. Some sections were rocky and jagged, others were sandy and pristine.

We followed the little paths leading along the coastline for a while (we even crossed over a suspension pedestrian bridge). But, Lahemaa National Park has so much coastline that it’s almost impossible to explore it all by foot.

Lahemaa National Park has four peninsulas

What’s really cool is that the coastline is made up of four small peninsulas. They almost look like fingers jutting out from the mainland.

Estonian Swing

Wooden Estonian Swing Set

Estonians do swinging a little different than we do it in the U.S…We got the opportunity to learn just how fun Estonian swinging is firsthand.

Basically, you just stand on the swing and hold on for dear life. It goes pretty fast and high up. At one point, this swing had our feet higher than our heads!

Sagadi Manor

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Sagadi Manor is a hotel, restaurant, and museum located in a historic mansion. During our tour we learned about the history of the manor, including stories about its previous tenants.

Inside the manor is the museum, which costs a few euros to enter. It’s free to look around the grounds though, which is exactly what we did.

Final Thoughts

If you’re planning a trip to Tallinn, Estonia, don’t miss out on Lahemaa National Park. It offers visitors a glimpse into the terrains and history of Estonia. Plus, it’s a great way to burn a few calories while hiking along the well-maintained trails.

Here’s a few final tips that we have for your visit to Lahemaa National Park:

  • Book a tour guide. The park has so much to see and you’ll probably miss some things if you go alone.
  • Dress for cold weather. The weather in the park seems colder than the weather in Tallinn. There was even snow on the ground when we were there in November.
  • Wear shoes that can get wet. The trails can get a little muddy and boggy at certain points. Wear a pair of rain boots if you have them or sneakers that you can wash later.
  • Bring a camera! This sights that you’ll see in this park are so beautiful. You’ll definitely want to capture them to show to your friends and family.

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