Nature in Lääne County

Lääne County is a flat expanse known for its long and curvy coastline, reed-rich lagoons and large coastal juniper meadows. The indented seashore and meadows are an important flyway between breeding and wintering areas for numerous birds.

One of the county’s gems is Matsalu National Park, which covers 48,610 hectares. It is the biggest and most species-rich stopover site of migratory birds in Europe. Every spring and autumn Matsalu becomes a bird-watcher’s paradise. Põõsaspea peninsula, where two flyways meet, is another good place for birds. An exciting spot for observing migration is the Tagalaht Bay in Haapsalu – which, for most of the year, has the largest species diversity.

Great wetland areas, like Marimetsa bog, and extensive wooded meadows with rare orchids are characteristic of Lääne County. On these lime-rich landscapes grows an array of interesting plant species rare in other parts of Estonia. A study of the wooded meadow at Laelatu counted 76 different vascular plants in just one square metre.

Higher places also exist in the county – the cliffs on the island of Osmussaar and in the village of Kukeranna; Salumägi Hill in Salavere; and the natural terraces of Kirbla and Pullapää.

While deciduous forests are common throughout the county, coniferous forests – which are highly valued for their wild mushrooms and berries – mainly cover the northern part.

To bring nature closer to people, hiking trails, campsites and campfire places are found in a number of locations.

In the county there are two State Forest Management Centres, one in Penijõgi in Matsalu National Park and the other in Nõva. They provide visitors with information about the natural environment.

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European Union Regional Development Fund