Experiences in Soomaa National Park

Experiences in Soomaa National Park

The Soomaa National Park is a wetland area in the Pärnu and Viljandi County (Estonia).

Experiences in Soomaa National Park

The Soomaa National Park is a wetland area in the Pärnu and Viljandi County (Estonia). Soomaa National Park protects the largest peat bog in Estonia, as well as a network of rivers and extensive wetlands around it. By the way in Estonian, the word “soomaa” literally means “land of mires”. This place is considered one of Europe’s most amazing wilderness areas. So we recommend you to see it on foot and on water. But before we talk about what to do in the Soomaa National Park, let’s understand why the “bogs” are unique.

Why are Peat Bogs so special?

Peat bogs are the result of an accumulation of sphagnum moss. As the moss dies and deposits layer after layer, it becomes peat.

The bog in Soomaa National Park grows only 1 mm every year. In some areas the thickness of peat reach 8 meters, which means it took 8000 years to accumulate all that moss.

Plants growing in peat bogs are highly adapted and specialized. The bog is fed with rain water and is constantly waterlogged. Sphagnum moss also makes its environment acidic. That’s a good way to eliminate competition from other plants. Moreover, peat bog water is very poor in nutrients. Most plants would never survive in such conditions!

At first, all you see is an endless carpet of moss but if you look closer, you notice thousands and thousands of tiny carnivorous plants. Believe us, you’ll not see it anywhere else. Peat bogs are amazing environments!

Ok! So what should I do in the Soomaa National Park?

Take part in different tours in Soomaa National Park to experience self-guided or guided canoe trips, bog walking, cross-country skiing, beaver-watching, botanical excursions, and much more. 

Soomaa also has its own unique “fifth season”. And you have a chance to see it this year. From late March into April, winter meltwater can raise rivers up to 5 meters, creating a remarkable water world. So visitors can row above submerged roads or paddle among woodland trees. When canoeing around in the high water, it is not rare for curious adventurers to end up in the yard of a local farm or glide across a road with the road signs sticking out of the water, showing the way in these unusual circumstances.

The main wildlife highlight here – and perhaps the park – is the evidence of Soomaa’s beaver population, their presence everywhere in the gnawed bases of fallen trunks strewn along the trail. If you wanna get closer to these woodland engineers, get a canoa trip. Nevertheless, canoeing in Soomaa is not an extreme sport filled with adrenaline, but rather a pleasant glide through the fields and forests, occasionally pushing yourself forward with the oar. The water is so calm that it is a flawless mirror of the trees around and the sky. The canoeing on it’s own is delightful!

Soomaa map

Sooma National Park

The water is so calm that it is a flawless mirror of the trees around and the sky. The canoeing on it’s own is delightful!

Soomaa is part of the network of European wilderness. Did you know?

If you’re a bird lover, so don’t miss the opportunity to join bird watching tour. Birds living in Soomaa include grouse and golden eagle. Mash edges are the playgrounds of the capercaillies, while open mash fields are filled with the cooing of black grouses. You can find woodpeckers and many owls in more humid forests.

You can take a walk along the Lemmjogi River Spit Forest Trail. There the woody wildness is broken up by a floodplain meadow bordering the Raudna river, as well as the meeting point of the Raudna and Lemmjõgi rivers. Nature is very picturesque!

Raudna and Lemmjogi

Raudna and Lemmjogi

We enjoyed nature of Soomaa National Park, what's next?

A nighttime canoe trip on the bog is also a memorable experience. What’s so different from the canoe ride in daytime? The night canoeing is more wildlife watching-oriented. And the atmosphere is really completely different as the light is declining and the air gets colder. The quietness of the place is unbelievable. Seeing animals is a matter of luck but just for this experience of paddling in the dark, it’s well worth going for the tour! It’s not often that you can see wild animals from up close in its natural environment, it’s a moment that will remain in my memory for a very long time.

If the Estonian love of sauna was ever in dispute, it has been successfully championed by Soomaa National Park.  A forest ramble simply wouldn’t be complete without access to several varieties of sauna.

National park boasts a smoke-sauna, finnish sauna with hot tub and “sweat lodge”. Just imagine! Surrounding the sauna, a flower meadow shimmers under a half moon, and the air is heavy with the scent of wildflowers amid utter silence. There’s no doubt about it – this bog is beautiful! 

Moreover the park’s trump card is their famous floating sauna. The only one of its kind, the sauna floats along the River Raudna near Basecamp Karuskose. You can’t miss it!

Soomaa combines perfectly with a visit to Parnu – a seaside resort that sits just outside the park. Whether you a nature and culture lover, enjoy small town atmosphere, want to spoil yourself in a SPA, listen to beautiful concerts, or simply love the seaside, sailing, bike treks, or long walks – you will find it all in Pärnu!

You don't have to search too hard to find peace and silence in Europe!

Just a quick flight and short drive are enough for you to find yourself in the middle of forests, fields and bogs, away from the tedious hustle and bustle of the city. We’ll be happy to organize for you an expedition around Estonian biggest and wildest bog. Canoe along meandering rivers and flooded meadows. Heat up the traditional smoke sauna and show you the best hiking trails in Soomaa National Park. And much more exciting experiences! In addition, Jerulite can sort your accommodations, food needs, transportation essentials, and more. In short, just add Experiences in Soomaa National Park to your travel trip in Baltic States!