Nature and climate

The Estonian climate is temperate and mild, characterised by warm summers and fairly severe winters. The weather is often breezy and humid due to the proximity of the Baltic Sea. Seasons in Estonia vary widely. Average temperatures range from 20.9° C in summer, with July usually being the hottest month, to -8° C in winter, although occasionally the temperature may rise to 30° C and above in summer or fall below -23° C in winter. The longest day of the year is 21st June, with 19 hours of full daylight.

The Estonian natural environment is influenced by the low population density (around 30 inhabitants per square km), its proximity to the Baltic Sea and its position between the Eastern and Central European bio-geographical area. That means there is a borderline of occurrence for many species and types of landscapes here. Bogs, meadows, forests, and little lakes offer the opportunity to experience silence and pristine nature. Furthermore, Estonia has more than 1,500 charming islands: the largest are Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and Muhu.

Spending time outdoors is a pleasure in Estonia. Estonian nature is picturesque and vibrant. Hiking trips and camping are very popular in summer, and skiing and other winter sports are enjoyed by many in winter.

The State Forests offer beautiful hiking trails and possibilities for accommodation. There are also many other places in Estonia where one can spend enjoyable time outdoors. Probably the best places for skiing are in southern Estonia where you will possibilities for mountain skiing, for example at Kuutse Hill (in Estonian Kuutsemäe), but don’t expect the Alps! Beautiful cross-country skiing trails can be found in Otepää, Kääriku, Vooremäe, Haanja, Mõedaku or Kõrvemaa, but also within city limits — in Pirita in Tallinn and in Tähtvere park in Tartu. Beautiful places worth visiting include Taevaskoja, Soomaa, Saaremaa, Hiiumaa, the Northern coast, Lahemaa, the Piusa caves, the Endla Nature Reserve and Suur Munamägi and many others.

Interesting facts about Estonian nature

  • The length of the longest day in summer is over 19 hours, while the shortest winter day lasts only six hours.

  • Bogs and wooded swamplands of different types cover over one fifth of the country – a world index topped only by the northern neighbour, Finland.

  • Estonia is at the same latitude in Europe as central Sweden and the northern tip of Scotland.

  • Temperatures in Estonia may fluctuate by 20 °C; in the early morning, the thermometer might read -12 °C and by afternoon it may already be 10 °C.

  • About 10% of Estonia is a nature reserve.

  • Estonian wooded meadows are among the richest biomes in the world – one square metre has more than 70 species. This figure at times exceeds the diversity in the tropics.

  • Taking into account the farthest points and islands of Europe, the central point of Europe is in Saaremaa, Mõnnuste village.

  • Hiiumaa as Nordic Bora Bora – on this island with a surface area of a thousand square kilometres and barely 10,000 inhabitants each visitor can easily find a paradise beach of his own not packed with tourists. For example, the beaches of Luidja or Tahkuna.

  • Kaali meteorite crater – the last giant meteorite in the world that fell into a high density area. The power of the blast was comparable to that of a nuclear bomb, leaving clear evidence to influence the tales of the local nations.

  • Estonia has the highest number of meteorite craters per land area in the world.

  • According to legends, the burial place of the main god of ancient Scandinavians, Odin, is located on Osmussaare. This is reflected in the Swedish name of the island, Odinsholm (Odin’s Island).