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Welcome to Wild Estonia Weekly

Estonia may only be roughly the size of The Netherlands, but it has the lowest population density in Europe. Instead of being characterised by urban and rural development, approximately half of the country is covered by mixed boreal and taiga forest. Around 25% of the landscape is peatland such as fens and raised bogs, while more than 10% of the land is under environmental protection. Over 1000 lakes dot the landscape and around 1500 islands skirt the coastline.

With this amount AND diversity of wild places it’s not surprising to hear that Estonia is a haven for wildlife that can no longer be seen in many other parts of Europe. In fact, it is estimated that in Estonia alone there are around 500 brown bears, 200 wolves and hundreds of lynx. It is also home to grey seals and Europe’s only species of flying squirrel. Large populations of roe deer, elk and beaver can be found here and every year millions of migratory birds such as long-tailed duck and barnacle goose visit Estonia’s coastline, wetlands and fields. Read about BBC Wildlife Magazine’s recent visit to Estonia here.

We are amazed by the wild wonders of Estonia and this is why we bring you Wild Estonia Weekly. Meet the team of Wild Estonia Weekly - Geoffrey Longhurst, Elleriin Sillaots and Aivar Ruukel


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Get Wild in Estonia this Month

  • Make the most of the cool temperatures and fresh snow! Try snow-shoeing in forests and across frozen marshlands with 360.ee or retked.ee or soomaa.com and search for the tracks of local carnivores and their prey.
  • With a thick covering of fresh snow across the land, now is the best time to take a romantic horse drawn sleigh ride with someone special. Here is list a 12 places around the country that have been recommended to Wild Estonia Weekly by locals.
  • Buy some wild and natural Christmas gifts hand-made by local craftspeople from local timber and yarns.
  • Estonians are certainly wild about folk dancing, and for good reason too. Estonian folk dance is lively and fun, even when the thermometer drops below zero. This Sat 18th of December, hundreds of local dancers both young and old will be bringing an extra dose of warmth to Tartu Town Square for the 2nd annual Winter Folk Dance Party.

Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides in Estonia

Wild Focus

Tracking wolves in their forest hunting grounds is certainly one sort of wild winter experience that is possible in Estonia. However, wild experiences can occasionally also be found while driving along a highway...particularly in the midst of a cyclone! Last Thursday afternoon, Estonia was quickly covered with a very thick blanket of snow thanks to cyclone Monika. This sudden deep snow made many roads impassable and even began to bury cars that had stopped to wait for the storm to pass. This photo was taken on the highway between Tallinn and St Petersburg. Source: http://www.facebook.com/simpleexpress.

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Stuck in Snow in Padaorg

We certainly don’t recommend driving during or immediately after such large snow falls. However, once the storm has passed we do think that it is a great time to strap on some snow-shoes or skis and be the first to discover how the landscape and trees have changed with a fresh cover of white. It is certainly also a magical time to explore the countryside by horse and sleigh. In the next few weeks we will introduce you to some of the best ski trails in Estonia, while some of the best horse and sleigh experiences can be found via the Google Map

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