Visitors wanting to embark on new adventures and try some serious out-of-the-box experiences need look no further than Estonia. From wolf howling trips and wife-carrying to ‘kiiking’ on a swing, the range of fun and quirky activities in Estonia knows no bounds.
The destination, famous for its 2,222 islands, specialist saunas, enchanting forests, craft beers and delicious food, offers visitors of all ages the opportunity to experience a fascinating range of quirky activities that no other country can offer. 2018 is the ideal time to visit this incredible Nordic state as Estonia celebrates its 100th Anniversary of Independence by hosting an incredible array of festivals and events around the country.
Below are four of the most quirky activities in Estonia:
There is something about wolves in the wild that instantly takes visitors to a fairy-tale-filled world. Around 200 wolves live in Estonian forests and have been inhabiting these lands for over 10,000 years. Even if extremely difficult to spot them, as nocturnal and shy creatures, local tour operators like Natourest offer visitors the opportunity to take part in ‘howling’ trips. Tourists can embark on a magical night-time safari and, if the evening is particularly clear and there is no wind, they will hear them howl. Estonians have a special connection with wolves and a few selected guides have learned how to howl. During a howling trip, a guide will choose the most suited spot in the forest to howl and, if the pack is near, wolves will howl back creating the most magical of moments. Natourest offers eight-day long ‘mammals tours’ during autumn in Alutaguse, Estonia’s largest forest area, covering most of its north-eastern part, with the opportunity to spot elks, brown bears, ringed seals and beavers. For more information, visit: http://natourest.ee/mammal-tours/mammals-and-autumn-migration-of-birds
Daredevils of all ages will love kiiking. Kiik means ‘swing’ in the local language and kiiking, one of Estonians’ favourite sports, involves standing on an enormous swing and pumping the whole body with the goal of rotating 360 degrees. It is not for the faint of heart, but it is a lot of fun. Kiiking has deep roots in Estonia’s cultural history – wooden swings can be spotted all around the country. Suited for children and adults alike, with swings of different heights, kiiking can be practiced all over the country. Near Pärnu, one of the main cities of Estonia, the Seikle Vabaks team offers kiiking lessons for up to six people, from April to September. For more information, visit: www.visitestonia.com/en/kiiking-by-seikle-vabaks-an-adrenaline-rush and www.visitestonia.com/en/why-estonia/kiiking-a-wild-sport-invented-in-estonia
Estonians have a passion for peculiar sports, and wife-carrying is one of them. Despite the Finns eventing the ‘sport’, Estonia scooped the top award at the World Championships for a decade (1998 to 2008). Indeed Estonians have come up with their version, entitled the ‘Estonian Carry’, where the woman, who must weigh 49 killos and be 17-years-old, clings onto the man’s back – upside down. He then conducts an Estonian obstacle race along a 250-metre course. For more information, visit: www.visitestonia.com/en/why-estonia/13-things-you-might-not-know-about-estonia
With a population density almost four times lower than the European average and with over 50% of its territory occupied by forest, Estonia is the perfect place for nature-lovers. One of the best way to get acquainted with this country’s unique fauna and flora is to put on water-resistant hiking boots and go explore its bogs. They are very important in Estonian folklore as places of mystery, ancient tales and mythical creatures. Bogs cover a fifth of mainland Estonia and here visitors can spot rare species of birds and plants. The Viru bog, one of the most enchanting bogs in the country, cuts through the forest of Lahemaa National Park in Northern Estonia, and it is accessible to wheelchair users and families with prams, thanks to the overhead boardwalk. For more information, please visit: www.visitestonia.com/en/viru-bog-study-trail and www.visitestonia.com/en/why-estonia/taste-of-northern-mystery-in-estonian-mires
If you want to try some of these quirky activities in Estonia, flights with BA start from £64.00 including taxes, fees and carrier charges. For more information on travelling to Estonia please visit www.visitestonia.com.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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