• Lucas T. Jahn

The Tranquility of Dawn - A Roadtrip through Estonia

Estonia is a child of the last ice age. 10,000 years ago the land was buried under massive

glaciers. Once the ice retreated it left behind a flat landscape that barely climbs above 300

meters of altitude. But it is this flatness that makes Estonia so fascinating. There are no

mountains or rugged peaks, the beauty happens on ground level. Between the shallow Baltic Sea and the picturesque bog landscapes, a roadtrip through Estonia is an extraordinary adventure.

During summer the nights are short. Getting up at dawn means rising at 3 am. Nonetheless,

the struggle is worth it. As the sun peaks over the trees, it illuminates an enchanting

landscape. Everywhere around us, mystical wafts of mist dance across a plethora of bog

lakes. Estonians long believed bog witches to be responsible for this natural phenomenon

and feared to go anywhere near a bog. Today, we know that temperature differences

between air and water are the cause for this magical play.

The mornings in an Estonian bog are quiet, and perfect for a moment of reflection. Nowhere

else have we felt a silence so intense. Neither wind nor insects make a noise, the landscape

is completely frozen in stillness. Only the call of the common crane pierces the tranquility of


On our roadtrip through Estonia, we drive 4,000 km across the country. We marvel at the

impressive ruins of medieval castles, watch brown bears roam through dark forests, and

swim in Europe’s fifth-largest lake, Lake Peipus. Despite its small size, Estonia is full of


Woodlands are a defining part of Estonia‘s soul. Around 50% of the sparsely populated

country is covered with trees. There is no chance to escape their spell. The forests beckon

us to wander around, nourishing us with their gifts of berries and mushrooms.

Estonians also have a close relationship with water. The Baltic Sea hugs their country in the

west and north. Countless lakes and streams are scattered around the country, springs gush forth clean water from the ground, and in the east, Lake Peipus forms the border with Russia.

It is therefore no wonder that we take to the water to explore the country. In Soomaa

National Park, we silently paddle into the sunset looking out for beavers. In Keava Bog, we

balance on a stand-up paddleboard while navigating the intricate waterways. And on the

island of Saaremaa, we embark on an unusual hiking trail that leads directly through the

Baltic Sea. Walking from one little island to the next, we traverse water that reaches up to

our navels.

But to fully gain an appreciation for the landscape, a little height is needed after all. Climbing up one of the many lookout towers, we experience the land with newfound admiration.

Flying our drone leaves us spellbound as the intricacy of our surroundings unfolds. At least

until the drone crashes into a tree.

Putting up our tent under large pine trees, we set up camp for the night. The waves lap

gently against the shore, and the wind rustles in the reed grass. Our campfire crackles with

fervor as we feed it another log. We are alone in this world, surrounded only by the moon

and stars.

And the serenity of Estonia‘s nature.

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