LAHEMAA NATIONAL PARK
The Lahemaa National Park is located at 60 km from Tallinn. Starting your trip to the Park from Tallinn we recommend some stops on the way in order to discover some unique spots.
The first must-see stop along the coast is the 31-metre high Türisalu cliff, a promontory into the Gulf of Finland that provides an incomparable view of the sea. Its limestone cliffs were sculpted by the ancient Neva River that is thought to have flowed millions of years ago through what it is now the Gulf of Finland This stretch of coast is highly characteristic of northern Estonia. The road follows the cliff for some distance on its way to Keila-Joa, named after a six-metre high waterfall on the Keila River. The falls are among Estonia’s most imposing and can be up to 70 metres wide during high water in spring and autumn. Upstream from the waterfall are two pedestrian bridges where Russian newlyweds fasten padlocks engraved with their names then throw the key into the river as a symbol of their everlasting matrimony. Military enthusiasts will enjoy the former military garrison town of Paldiski with its classic Soviet architecture, which had its glory days during the post-war Soviet era. Nature’s attractions include the Pakri limestone bank, soon to be the site of one of Estonia’s biggest wind farms. A short hop over the sea are the Pakri islands accessible in a day trip by boat and offering pleasant walks and hikes. Continuing along the coast are the fortified stone ruins of Padise Monastery, originally established in the 14th century and the only one of its kind in the Nordic countries. From the monks to Estonia’s biggest and oldest brewery at Saku. The old brewing facility houses a museum featuring antique equipment used for making beer. Samples of the company’s beers are available for tasting. Tuhala, Estonia’s largest area of karst, is the next stop, with its world famous “Tuhala Witch’s Well”, one of the most unique natural phenomenons in Europe. When underground rivers fill after heavy rain the 2.4-metre deep Witch’s Well starts “boiling”, spouting a gusher of water above ground at 100 litres/second. Legend says that it happens when the witches down in the well are flailing themselves with branches. En-route to Lahemaa, Estonia’s largest national park, are Estonia’s oldest stone barrows, part of a burial site thought to date back to the 8th or 7th century BC and now on the shoulder of the busy highway. The route also passes close to Estonia’s highest natural waterfall, Jägala Falls. More than 50 metres across, the water drops eight metres into a limestone ‘bowl’, eroded over thousands of years. Mid way between Tallinn and Narva are the seaside ruins of Toolse castle. Estonia’s northernmost medieval fort was established in 1417 to protect the local port from pirates. Also at Toolse is the Toolse Ostrich Farm, with guided tours of the farm to see the ostriches, rabbits and reindeer. Lahemaa National Park (‘land of bays’), established in 1971, is made up of four peninsulas and numerous islets, jutting into the Gulf of Finland. Lahemaa’s forests, marshlands and coastal areas are home to around 200 bird species and approximately 900 different plants. A number of interesting and historic manor houses can also be found in this region. 500 years after it was first founded Vihula Manor re-opened as Vihula Manor Country Club & Spa. Sagadi Manor has both a manor house and forest museum and the 18th Century Palmse Manor offers tours through the restored mansion. Visitors can also enjoy its wooded park, swan lake and garden. The Lahemaa area also features idyllic fishing villages. One of these, Altja village, is a typically traditional coastal settlement. Another local attraction, Käsmu, the “captains’ village”, was once the site of a nautical school and is now home to a maritime museum. The traditional fishing village of Viinistu has its own Art Museum, housed in a former fish processing plant, with a permanent exhibition of classical and modern Estonian art.
For more information about Lahemaa National Park please visit the page www.lahemaa.ee
Source: Estonia Tourist Board – Visit Estonia
Here’s a sampling of major yearly recurring events in the region:
Folk Music Festival Viru Folk (Käsmu)
The visitors can listen to about fi fty concerts of Nordic music, participate in fi lm, poetry and environmental programmes and enjoy a trip on the sea on a Viking boat and other unusual vassels.
For more info visit the official website www.virufolk.ee