Bear Watching and Photography

1 Day

Brown Bear and wildlife watching/photography hide

We offer the possibility to spend an unforgettable night in our Brown Bear and wildlife-watching hide. The hides are situated in Alutaguse, which is an area mostly covered with western-taiga forests and vast bogs in N-E of Estonia – home to about half of Estonia’s 1000 Brown Bears.

The hides have windows on both sides of the hide. Northern windows overlook a taiga forest and the most common mammals to see would be Raccoon Dogs and Brown Bears. Woodpeckers, Red Squirrels, Nuthatches, Chaffinches, tits, and Jays visit the feeders.

Southern windows offer a view of a stream and a flooded meadow. Sometimes Elk, Wild Boar, and Roe Deer come to feed on the meadow and European Beavers or Otters can occasionally swim by. During summer months, the creek can almost dry up. Ural Owl and Red Fox come here to hunt for mice and sometimes also Goshawk, Sparrowhawk, Golden Eagle, White-tailed Eagle, and bussards come by and look for prey. Rare visitors to the scenery include Badgers, Wolves, Lynx, and Mink.

There is also a very sensitive microphone outside the hide. It catches the soundscape of the surrounding wildlife and you can listen to it through speakers installed inside the hides. You can hear birds singing in the spring, branches cracking under bear feet, or animals going through the water. Our guests have also heard Elk mating calls, Wolves howling, and Raccoon Dogs fighting with each other. This makes the whole experience even more immediate and powerful.

There’s a good blog article from Reverie Chaser from the summer of 2021 giving a thorough overview of their experience and lots of good tips from the autumn of 2023 by the Nature-Watching in Europe blog.

If you want to know how to get to the hides via public transport, please read more from our blog.


The Brown Bear and wildlife watching hides are simple, comfortable, and cosy. There are 2 hides, each one of them has room for 9 persons. Both hides have separated cabins with bunk beds and a dry toilet.  One cabin has room for 4 persons – 2 bunk beds/4 sleeping places in total. One bed is situated between the 2 cabins.

If the visitors wish, they can take pictures through the windows (without flash) and photographers are allowed to take photos through special photography holes.


There are 2 identical hides:

One hide has 2 private cabins (4 beds in both) and room up to 9 people. Hides have bunk beds, sleeping bags, pillows, viewing windows, photo holes, chairs, and a dry toilet.


Our hides are well ventilated and we clean the hides daily to ensure the safety of our visitors. There are also bottles with disinfectant liquid in our hides.

If you have a fever or feel ill on the day(s) before visiting our hide, please stay at home and contact us immediately.

Note: You’ll receive the exact location of the meeting point with the first confirmation letter after the booking has been made.


You’ll meet our guide at the given meeting point and walk with him/her to the hide. There you’ll stay for the night. The walk to the hide is about 1.5 km. If you have any questions, feel free to ask our guide. He/she will also make you a quick tour inside the hide, explaining what you should take notice of and how to act in the hide.

After arriving in the hide, you can first set up everything for the evening and night and then start calmly watching and waiting. The animals can appear on both sides of the hide, so you should keep an eye out for both sides. Usually, birds are the first ones who arrive. Often the most interesting period begins about an hour before the sunset, but at times, animals can appear much earlier. Every stay and experience is different. It’s possible to observe wildlife through the night because there are some faint lights under the forest canopy on one side of the hide.

Early morning after the sunrise is also an active time in nature. Sometimes the most interesting observations happen during the early hours and you should be espesically alert if the Brown Bears did not show themselves in the evening.

If no animals are around, you should leave the hide at 8 AM. The route back to the meeting point is the same one you took last evening.

Price includes:

  • Night in the Brown Bear and wildlife watching hide
  • Our guide taking you to the hide
  • Use of sleeping bags and pillows

Price Excludes

  • Transport to the meeting point
  • Food and drinks


What to wear?

Warm clothes and comfortable (preferably waterproof) footwear are necessary for the walk to hide. Warm clothes and indoor footwear/warm socks are strongly recommended to be worn in the hide.

What to take with you?

We suggest taking binoculars with you, as they help to spot wildlife from a distance and during the dark hours. We can also rent out binoculars for one night (8×56 Danubia Bussards – 5 €/night), which greatly improves sight in poor light conditions. You would also have to take your own food and water.

Things to do around the hide?

Here are some simple suggestions about places that you can visit when driving to Alutaguse or staying in the area.

Can I use a camping stove inside the hide?

No. Open fire is not allowed inside the hide.

Will the guide stay in the hide with us for the night?

No. The guide will not stay with you in the hide for the night unless there is a mutual agreement. He/she will just take you to the hides and make a quick tour inside the hide, so you would know what to take notice of.

Can I take my dog in the the hide?

Unfortunately not. But for example, there is the possibility to leave your dog to a dog keeper.
You can read about the reasons and possibilities from here –

What kind of food should I take with me?

We suggest taking things which are easy to eat and do not need any eextra preparations – premade sandwiches, fruit, chocolate. It’s better if the food or snacks are not packed in materials, which make a lot of noise when handled (such as some potato chip packages).

How can I get there by public transport?

It’s not the easiest task, but I’ll give you an overview and you can decide if you wish to come this way or not.

First, you would have to take a bus or a train to Rakvere town.

Buses leave from Tallinn and Tartu regularly. You can look for suitable bus times at:

Option 1:

After that, you would need to get from Rakvere to the closest bus station, which is Metsa-Udriku

There is unfortunately only 2 buses going every day and just 1 of the times is suitable:

14:00 Rakvere – 14:38 Metsa-Udriku

From Metsa-Udriku bus stop, it’s 3,5 km to the meeting point. 1,6 km along the bigger asphalt road and 1.9 km along a smaller gravel road. On foot, it should take about 45 minutes or up to 1 hour. We always send the meeting point with the booking confirmation to keep away unwanted interest. If you want to come and need to know before booking, please send us an e-mail.

During the summer months, you should be at the meeting point at 17 PM. In September and October, 16:00. So still enough time to get there on time. There is a larger wooden table with a roof and a dry toilet at the meeting point, so if you arrive earlier, you can comfortably wait for our colleague.

With buses going back to Rakvere, the situation is unfortunately even more difficult.

During weekdays, the earliest bus from Metsa-Udriku to Rakvere goes 15:42 – 16:27

On Saturday and Sunday, the earliest one is 11:07 – 11:52

Option 2:

After you have arrived in Rakvere, you could take a local taxi.

For example, DUO Takso (Gunnar – +372 5282659) is willing to pick you up from Rakvere Coach Station and bring you to the meeting point for 45€ (34km). Also, pick you up from there in the morning for the same price if needed.

There are also other taxi companies in Rakvere, such as Rakvere Takso (+372 501 7879; +372 322 7222), and Rakvere Taksoteenused (+372 58788129).

Please ask them for a quote.

We send the exact meeting point after booking has been confirmed. The pin showed on the map, is not the correct meeting point, rather it is here to show where the correct area is.

Price and Booking

125 EUR per person

75 EUR per child (5-18 y.o)

290 EUR per family (up to 2 adults and 3 children)

790 EUR  entire hide (up to 9 persons in 2 cabins)

Extra services:

rent of binoculars which greatly improves sight in poor light conditions 8×56 Danubia Bussards – 5 €/night

Overall Trip Rating:
3.43 stars - Based on 7 reviews
😀 Excellent
🙂 Very Good
😕 Average
🙁 Poor
😡 Terrible
  1. A fantastic experience
    David from UK
    from Estonia
    Hi Bert, I just wanted to let you know we had a fantastic experience with your company and would definitely recommend it. I think we were also lucky, as we saw two bears interacting with each other and we saw them between 7pm and midnight. Please also pass on our thanks to Garta (sorry, I'm sure I'm spelling her name wrong!) who met us and took us to the hide. She recommended some walks in the area, we took her advice and her suggestions were also great. :) Thank you for your help and let me know if there's anything else you need. David
    Date of Experience: June, 2023
  2. We had a great stay with numerous animals and bears
    Burkard from Germany
    from Estonia
    We had a great stay with numerous animals and bears, which we have seen nearly throughout the night.
    Date of Experience: May, 2023
  3. Cold but worth it!
    Jenny E
    from Germany
    We were very happy to really see a bear! So it was worth standing in the cold (we were almost freezing). All people (Estonian!) whom we told about the experience until now were very impressed since they haven't been seeing any bear in their lifetime. Thanks for providing the big and warm sleeping bags - and for the experience in general!
    Date of Experience: May, 2023
  4. Perfect
    Katharina 19/08/2021
    Our stay was one of the biggest highlights I had ever had! Also, our guide which led us to the hide was very nice! At first, we saw a bear- then a raccoon dog (so cute) and then a wildpig with many baby's! And the biggest highlight was a whole bear family with 3 young bears! It was so cute! In the morning we also saw a bear, a group of wild pigs, and a raccoon dog. I didn't think we'd see young animals too. do you know in which months the animals have young babies? I think we came at the perfect time! One day We will definitely come back/ it was so perfect! Thank you for this stunning experience!
    Date of Experience: August, 2021
  5. We saw what we came to see
    George 28/06/2013
    We found the starting point with no problems – I had downloaded it from your website to my phone before we left. Andres was waiting for us and so we knew we had arrived. The weather was not great as it was raining and the overcast sky made it a little too dark for photographs. It also made the mosquitoes particularly troublesome. However, we found the hides and once we had changed our wet clothes we settled in. We saw what we came to see. About 21.30h, a raccoon dog visited 4 or 5 times staying a few minutes each time (searching out the bait that had been left). The light was good enough for viewing through binoculars and we watched it for a about 30 minutes in total. That was really good as I didn’t expect to see a raccoon dog. Each time it visited, it took away some of the bait it could drag from where it was placed under the fallen tree. Had the light been better, it would have been easy to photograph. Even though the light was quite good for viewing but for photography – iso set to 2400 and with F4.5 lens – the resulting shutter speeds were still too slow. About 23.30 a large brown bear visited. We had a good view of the bear for about 1 hour. Even at this time of the day it was not very dark and so we could watch the bear easily (Even though it was too was too dark for photography – 1 s exposure times at ISO 3200). Again, it took the bait that was left (the bait the raccoon dog had left behind). Clearly the bear found no problem in moving the tree and revealing the bait. Again, the bear would take some bait and go and eat it a few meters away and then return. We also saw a fox 3 times and had a visit from a group of 3 wild boar – they looked young to me and were quite entertaining. Also seen, 3 visits from a fox, a small bat, and pair of woodpeckers. So, overall we were very satisfied. Clearly, if we want to see bears in daylight, we need to think more about the best time for a possible visit in the future.
  6. Watching time really was great!
    Dipl. Biol. Sebastian Rogahn
    from Germany
    he adult male (Brown Bear) came out at 21:03 PM and stayed there for almost half an hour! Before there only was one red fox, a goose hawk, ravens and one magpie.
  7. I was determined to see my fist brown bear.
    Ben Hoare from BBC Wildlife
    from United Kingdom
    I was determined to see my fist brown bear. Not least because bear tourism has become big business in Europe, with hides in Sweden and Finland offering success rates of higher than 90 percent. By now, our party had recorded bear prints, scats and claw marks raked across tree bark, and even the remains of a boar that had been stripped to the bone by these opportunist omnivores. So we were quietly confident of observing the real thing. Waiting for the bears to appear was nerve-racking. Two ravens and, bizarrely, a nuthatch of the ghosty northern race visited the site to pick at its flesh, while a pine marten zipped across the cleaning and vanished up a tree. And then, illuminated by the setting sun, a mother bear and her cub ambled into view.

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Bear Watching and Photography


  • 125€ per person  
    75€ per child
    290€ per family
    790€ entire hide (up to 9 persons in 2 cabins)
    From 10th of July until 20th of August minimum price for the booking 150€
  • May-October
  • By car from Tallinn or Tartu 1,5-2 hours
  • Easy walk 1,5 km to hide.
  • May, June, July and August 16:45 PM – 8:00 AM September and October 15:45 PM- 8:00 AM
  • About 15 hours
  • 5