Lahemaa National Park was established in 1971 and is one of the main tourist draws in Estonia. The name roughly translates as “Land of Bays” because the large park is situated on four peninsulas and they are separated by four bays.
With forests covering more than 70 percent of Lahemaa, the area is rich in flora and fauna. The landscape has many raised bogs, including the 7,000-year-old Laukasoo Reserve, which is the main reason I visited. I have heard of bogs before, but have never seen one. They are exactly as I imagined, small ponds connected to each other in a beautiful landscape. I visited the Viru Bogs in the southwestern part of the park (right where motorway 1 meets highway 85) and loved the two mile walk, mostly on a boardwalk, through the bogs. There was even an observation tower in the middle to look down on the amazing landscape.
Another hike I did was out to the Majakivi in the northwestern part of the park. This one mile round trip walk starts at a seven story observation tower that offers another good view (just not a perfect as the last one) before you descend a staircase and start walking on another boardwalk. You might be wondering why the board walks are there and that is very quickly answered if you step off of it. You see even though it looks like solid ground you are still walking though a bog and the ground is like a sponge. As soon as you step on it you will go down between an inch and two feet as water replaces the depressed ground. It was a really cool sight. Now you might be thinking that this is just a nice walk through another bog, although much larger than the last, just like I was thinking. But no, we have a destination and that is a large boulder with a height of around 30 feet. It does not seem like that big of a deal until you realize it really is out of place in such a flat area. Turns out it was moved here from Finland by glaciers during the Ice Age. How cool is that?
While hiking through Lahemaa National Park you might get a glimpse of boar, red deer, wolves, bear, lynx, and cranes along with many other birds.
Besides nature there are four beautiful manors situated in the national park. They are Palmse manor, the picturesque Vihula manor, Kolga manor, and the baroque Sagadi Manor. Plus during the Cold War the Soviet Union operated a large secret submarine base at Hara and the ruins of the base are still there.