Soomaa National Park
The national park, situated in South West Estonia, has been created to protect large raised bogs, flood plain grasslands, paludified forests and meandering rivers.
Established: 8 December 1993.
The territory of the national park is mostly covered with large mires, separated from each other by the rivers of the Pärnu River basin — the Navesti, Halliste, Raudna and Lemmjõgi rivers.
On the eastern margin of the national park lie the highest dunes on the Estonian mainland, situated some 50 kilometres off the contemporary coastline.
Flora and fauna
Soomaa is home to, and a breeding zone for, rare European mammals including roe deer, elk, wild boars, beavers, lynx, wolves and brown bears. Soomaa bog is also a breeding ground for several rare bird species, including golden eagles, black storks, black grouse and capercaillies. It is a habitat for some rare orchids as well.
What makes Soomaa unique is the so called "fifth season" - the spring flood, which can raise the water level five metres above the low-water level! Everywhere floods - meadows, fields, forests, roads and sometimes even houses.
The visiting centre of the Soomaa National Park is located in Tõramaa.
There are no fees to enter a national park. No fees for using walking trails and other infrastructure as well.
Canoeing is one of the best ways to explore the watery wilderness of Soomaa and several canoe tour companies operate in the area.
You can also follow the many hiking and study trails on foot.
There is an excellent walk through the forest to a raised bog, where there is a boardwalk and viewing platform. Some of the bog pools have ladders if it's warm enough for a swim. Access from near the park centre (58.450764, 25.059223) where you can get a map etc.
Canoeing is one popular activity and a good way to get to know Soomaa national park. Guided canoe trips are available, and rental of canoes as well.
The official Estonian tourism website provides an extensive list of options for accommodation.