10 REASONS TO COME BIKEPACKING IN ESTONIA

1. WILD CAMPING

Camping In Estonia is allowed almost anywhere and everywhere under the term “everyman’s right”. The only places you are not allowed to pitch up are marked with forbidden signs or private land signs/fences.

  • Be sure to look out for signs with  “ERAMAA” or “ERAVALDUS”  which means private land in our language.
  • You can camp 24 hours unless the owner forbids it verbally.
  • You can camp outside residential buildings if you are out visible site and hearing range
  • It’s allowed to hike couple of meters next to the coast even if it’s a privately-owned land. So, it’s perfect place if you want to go wild an explore mystical forests and countryside!
Photo: Kristjan Rohtla
Photo: Kristjan Rohtla

2. NO HIGHWAYS

It’s true!! There are no highways in Estonia and you can cycle everywhere you want! Of course, there are some busier roads near Tallinn which are not very comfortable to ride or be navigating through.
If you are already out from the city the roads are mostly empty and scenic! From Tallinn there are 2 bigger roads which you can skip. Roads here are mostly narrow and curvy what makes riding cool and fun.

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Photo: Martin Kosseson

 

3. NO HILLS

Well we have one… and it goes by the name of  “The big egg mountain” standing at an impressive it’s 317 meters high!
But otherwise Estonia is totally flat making cycling easy. Of course, that is until you come face to face with our best friend “wind”. If you are travelling on the north coast, you must consider that you will meet, and this can be stronger than a mountain climb to go against!
In summer it’s mostly warm breeze, but after the August/September it can be difficult.
However, if you do find yourself on a hiking trail in South-Estonia you can find some hills to climbs (but be warned if you have done some climbing before or been up a mountain somewhere else then you’ll find this a piece of cake!

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Photo: Kristjan Rohtla

 

4. COUNTRYSIDE

Estonian countryside is scenic. There are hundreds of small beautiful villages and farms, Big lands for growth and deep forests around them. If you are like us, you will fall in love for sure!
Best time to travel is late summer, early autumn when everything is ready to pick, you don’t have to go far either… most forests you can get mushrooms or berries.
Near the seaside people will sell fish from their homes. Look out for signs with “värske kala” (fresh fish) or “kala” (fish),
We encourage you to buy some fresh fish sourced by the locals to really experience our culture 😊
Most of the small villages have shops and small restaurants or cafeteria style places with local food.

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Photo Martin Kosseson

 

5. FORESTS AND LAKES

Roughly 50% of Estonia is forest, so finding one is not a problem! Pine forests are most common near the seaside however If you cycle more to south you can find trees like oak trees, spruce, birch, maple trees etc.
30% of forests are swamp forests and are only accessible when there is a wooden lane – we have many small beautiful lakes, but two biggest one are LakePeipus and Lake Võrtsjärv.
Lake Peipus we share with Russia, but it’s possible to cycle from north to south and make a nice 3-4-day bike tour.
Lake Võrtsjärv it is easier, around the lake trip is 300 km / 186 miles. There are also a marking for  road cycling.
This trip is perfect for wild camping and enjoying the nature. Good starting/ending point is city called Viljandi. You can catch the train from Tallinn to there (2,5-hour train ride).

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Photo: Kristjan Rohtla

 

6. EMPTY ROADS

Estonian population levels are low as there are only 1,300,000 people on 45 000 km2. The only busy roads are between TALLINN-PÄRNU and TALLINN-NARVA (Russian border).
You can find alternative routes between towns and villages easily. If you are not interested to cycle on paved road, then we have a lot of gravel roads too. Gravel roads are good in summer when its dry. Some of them are not serviced during the off-season and with heavy rain they can be uncomfortable with bikes.

South-Estonia
Karula national park. Photo: Kristjan Rohtla

 

7. BIKEPACKING TRAILS / HIKING ROUTES

In Estonia we mostly use a system RMK (State forest management centre) web page to navigate. They have the newest information about the routes and camping places.

Forest centre have made three main hiking trails through the country and they all are accessible with bikes:

Oandu – Aegviidu – Ikla hiking route 375 km / 233 miles

Peraküla -Aegviidu – Ähijärve hiking trail 628 km / 390 miles 

Penijõe – Aegviidu – Kauksi hiking trail 614 km / 381 miles 

Of course, it’s possible to make trips shorter and you don’t have to follow one trail. The biggest hiking centre is in Aegviidu village, what is also very good start/ending point for a bike trip.

Train from Tallinn to Aegviidu goes after every hour, journey time  is about an hour and ticket is 2-3 EUR.

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Photo: Kristjan Rohtla

 

8. FREE CAMPING HUTS AND FOREST HOUSES

Our state forest centre is built up from many small houses where to stay overnight for free. In those houses are the same rules as the wild camping. You can use the house for 24 hours or more if it’s empty. If new people are coming to the camp place you can arrange accommodation so that you will be there together. All these houses are listed at RMK homepage.  Also, there are some houses you can book if you want to be sure they are empty. All houses are possible to book at the RMK system.

Estonia has lots of basic camping sites where you can put your tent and have some water an firewood – Some cool camping huts:

Kautsi forest hut 

Õmma bog forest house 

Pähni forest hut

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Photo: Kristjan Rohtla

9. SWAMPS AND BOGS

Estonia is well known for its primitive nature and swamps. It is not possible to get through bogs and swamps without special equipment. With a bike you can use wooden lanes and still enjoy these magical places!
Only thing if you have a bike is to be respectful for the other hikers and allow them priority if they head in your direction (jump off the bike to let them pass). Also, many wooden lanes have big gaps and tyres can get caught – so be careful!
Most popular bog is called Viru bog. It is amazing but very popular in the summer and can be busy! But we have many more beautiful swamps and bogs – so don’t worry.

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Photo: Martin Kosseson

10. COAST LINE

Estonia has a small section of  “The iron curtain route”  also called Eurovelo 13. It goes through our north coast, through two islands Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and continues down to Riga (Latvias capital).
Eurovelo road goes on paved smaller roads in the countryside of Estonia.  It’s easy to follow eurovelo track because they are marked very well with signs. Coastal paths are really beautiful.You can easily put your tent up everywhere and enjoy a gorgeous sunsets in summer.
If you are coming around midsummer day (24. june) you can be lucky and camp out in the beach overnight as the sun does not go down! Coast nature is mostly sandy beaches or forests with pine trees.

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Photo: Kristjan Rohtla

So make your summer plans and #visitestonia !

If you have some questions about the trails or camping in here, feel free to ask! Write us to e-mail, facebook or instagram.

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