12 Things to know before Camping in Estonia
Are you thinking about going on a camping trip through Estonia? Great idea! Just keep the following points in mind.
1. Estonia has a great camping infrastructure.
Estonia has one of the best camping infrastructures in the world. All around the country you can find campsites with bench shelters, pit toilets, and fireplaces. The next campsite is rarely more than 20 kilometers away from any location. The campsites are clean and out in nature, often next to a lake or river.
2. Most campsites are free of charge.
The best about camping in Estonia: it is free! You read that right, camping in Estonia is free of charge. All those hundreds of campsites around the country do not cost you a penny. They are all funded by the Estonian forestry ministry (RMK), in what some call a marketing campaign (RMK cuts down forest plantations but also provides free campsites).
For international visitors, this is absolutely amazing! Most campsites are in great shape, as there is regular maintenance. The RMK even provides campers with free firewood, so you can warm up at a campfire in the evening or cook your dinner.
Be aware that those campsites are not managed campgrounds with bathroom amenities but rather wilderness campsites with basic facilities.
3. It‘s all available via an app.
Estonia is a world leader when it comes to digitalization. It is just natural that they also apply this knowledge to camping. The RMK has created an app that allows you to find the next campsite in your vicinity. Every single RMK campsite in Estonia is mapped in the app. But the app does not only give you the location, it furthermore provides you with information about the amenities and even photos of the campgrounds. And, once again, all free of charge.
4. There aren‘t any showers.
Albeit the campsites come with pit toilets, there aren‘t any showers. That means your personal hygiene will suffer a bit, as it does on every camping trip. Make sure to bring canisters with enough water for brushing your teeth and to do your dishes.
5. The campgrounds are popular.
Not many tourists are yet aware of the amazing camping infrastructure in Estonia but the locals surely are. On Fridays and Saturdays, many families or groups of friends leave their homes to camp in nature for a night or two. That means that campsites can get crowded during these times. Make sure to arrive early in order to secure a desirable spot, or stay far away from cities. The further away from towns you are, the better the chances of the campsite being less visited.
Be aware that you may sometimes encounter groups of young people camping out to party. They will be boisterous for long hours into the night, so we would recommend to not camp anywhere near if you cherish a good night's sleep.
6. The silence is incredible.
At some campsites waking up in the morning feels almost surreal. The silence is intense with only the slightest sounds audible. Camping next to the Baltic Sea on Saaremaa, we only heard the gentle lapping of the waves in the morning but otherwise everything was still around us.
7. Long daylight hours in summer.
If you happen to visit Estonia during June or July, be aware that the sun sets very late and rises very early. Estonia is well below the Arctic Circle, but despite that they experience the ‚White Nights‘ during the summer. That means that the sun barely sets, so it is generally bright outside. If you are used to sleeping in the darkness you may want to bring a sleeping mask. The opposite applies in winter. There are only 6 hours of daylight in December, but aside from that it may be a bit too cold for camping comfortably.
8. Bring insect repellent.
Rain is fairly common in Estonia so naturally there are a number of stagnant pools of water. Those are favorite breeding grounds for horse flies and mosquitos. Without insect repellent they will bite you without mercy, especially in the evening hours. Always wear long-sleeves and generously apply insect repellent if you don‘t want to get bitten too often.
9. Access is fairly easy.
Access to the majority of campsites is fairly easy. However, be aware that you have to take gravel roads to reach most of them. The distances from the main roads are usually less than 15 km, but make sure your car can handle those roads. The easier the access the more other campers you‘ll encounter. The harder and smaller the trail the better the chances of you being completely alone.
10. Bring a waterproof tent
As mentioned above, rain is not a rarity in Estonia. At times, the weather can be unpredictable. If you don‘t want to end up sleeping in a water puddle, make sure to pack a waterproof tent or sleep in a roof-top tent.
11. Don‘t camp in a bog.
This really should be a no-brainer to everyone, but camping in a bog is a bad idea. The underground is soft and squishy, as you are literally walking on floating peat. Below you is water, and there is zero chance that you will stay dry. Camp in a forest or at the beach instead.
12. Leave each campsite cleaner than you found it.
Despite the regular maintenance and the presence of garbage cans, sometimes you will find some cans or plastic bags around the campsite. Please make sure to pick it up and throw it in the trash. If there is no garbage can, always practice ‚Carry in, Carry out‘, taking your garbage to the next city.
Do you have any questions? Then drop us a message!