Estonian Birds and Mammals – Smart-Guided Tour - 8 Days

Estonia has about 10 000 Elk, 1000 Brown Bears, 200 Wolves, 500 Lynxes, a great number of Roe Deer, Red Foxes, and Raccoon Dogs. It is also one of the last countries in Europe where it possible to see Siberian Flying Squirrels. Besides being the best place in Northern Europe for spotting different mammals, Estonia is also the best country in the region for birdwatching. This smart-guided tour will lead you to Alutaguse NP where you’ll get close-up views from a Brown Bear hide;  to world famous Matsalu NP on the western coast and taiga forests area Lahemaa NP. The best times for mammal and bird watching in Estonia are in spring (May-June) and in autumn (September-October).



Our self-guided tour (SGT), using a smart device, is designed for active, adventurous people who appreciate independence and flexibility. SGTs offer the opportunity to visit the same nature areas as on our guided trips. With SGT, you will be your own guide and you can decide where and how much time to spend enjoying nature. With SGT, you don’t have to do the research for the best birding areas in Estonia – you can choose from our described destinations and plan your own itinerary. All locations are carefully chosen and are visited annually by our guides to ensure you will have updated information.

At the beginning of May- Brown Bears are waking up and looking for food; migrating birds are coming from the south; Raccoon Dog, Red Fox, Roe Deer; Elks and Beavers are quite easy to see. Hazel Grouse and Capercaillies on the forest roads and Black Grouse lek.  Ural, Pygmy, Tengmalm’s Owls and White-backed, Three-Three-toed, Grey-headed and Black Woodpeckers are still active.

End of May-first part of June: mating time for Brown Bears; Elk cows with calves in the meadows; Raccoon Dog, Red Fox, Roe Deer; late arrivals – Common Rosefinch, Blyth´s reed Warbler, Greenish Warbler, Orioles. Flora: early orchids: Lady´s Slipper, Military Orchid.

Middle of September: migrating Cranes, Brown Bears foraging hungrily before winter hibernation; Raccoon Dog, Red Fox, Roe Deer; Elk rut time is on; migration of waders and passerines; activity starts for woodpeckers, owls and grouses. Weather is mostly quite warm.

End of September – mid-October: Brown Bears gorging themselves in preparation for hibernation; woodpeckers, owls and grouses are active; massive arctic bird migration. Nice time for autumn colors.

Example tour for the beginning of May


Arrival to Tallinn, drive to Haapsalu.

Hotel in Haapsalu

Start the morning with Black Grouse lek, while also hoping to spot elk and other mammals on the way to lekking area. Later, heading to Nõva forests, drive slowly through a good area for spotting Capercaillies. And check out Dirhami, the best bird migration peninsula in Northern Europe.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel in Haapsalu

Silma reserve is a huge area of coastal meadows, lagoons and reed beds with lots of ducks, some Slavonian (Horned) and Red-necked Grebes, goose, cranes, Penduline and Bearded Tits. Head out early towards Silma nature reserve. Keep your eyes open for mammals: roe deer, fox, raccoon dog, hare, elks and, if you’re lucky, golden jackal. In Leidisoo, the forests are good habitat for owls and woodpeckers.

Hotel in Haapsalu

Whole day in Matsalu NP. The park has several towers which give you a great view over the flooded meadows, as well as to the coastal meadows. The habitats here are good for birds – ducks, waders. Also for elks: in springtime, young calves can be seen among the cows. In autumn during the rut time, bulls are running around the meadow hoping to get the cows’ attention.

An evening boat tour on the river takes you to the beavers’ world. Reed beds are good habitat for bats – you’ll see them hunting in the sunset’s glow.

Hotel in Haapsalu

Drive to N-E of Estonia to Alutaguse area with its huge bogs and forests. It is also a core area of brown bears in Estonia. The night will be spent in the brown bear hide. There’s also active bird life around the hide, as well as mammals: raccoon dogs, foxes, brown bears are quite easy to see; sometimes wild boars are visible.

Bear Hide

Come out from the brown bear hide in the morning, make a little circle on the surrounding forest roads to look for Capercaillies and other wildlife.

Day in Lahemaa NP, with its wealth of peninsulas and beaches – stony, sandy, reed beds, open sea; both old-growth and young forests are great habitats for birds and mammals. Walk around in one of Lahemaa´s several trails or drive along a small forest road.

Hotel in Lahemaa national park

Day 7: Lahemaa NP

Early morning drive in Lahemaa forest roads to look for mammals and birds: black grouse, Capercaillies, hazel hen. Later, discovering Lahemaa coast, fields and old taiga forests.

In the afternoon heading for the second night in the bear hide.

Night in the brown bear hide.

The drive from the Brown Bear hide to Tallinn takes about 2 hours. If you have enough time, you can visit some of the walking trails in the Alutaguse region, the Kõrvemaa nature reserve, or the Viidumäe nature reserve.

Price includes:

  • Smart-guided tour map
  • 6 nights in local hotels and guesthouses ( twin room with toilet and shower) with breakfast
  • Car rental for 8 days
  • A night in the Brown bear hide
  • Estonian road atlas
  • A representative of Natourest meeting you in the Tallinn airport
  • Phone assistance during the tour

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Estonian Birds and Mammals – Smart-Guided Tour
Group Discount Available
From €850.00
per Person in double room
From €990.00
per Person in single room

Trip Facts

  • February-November
  • 1-18 persons
  • Easy walking
  • Owls (Ural, Pygmy, Tengmalms)
    *Woodpeckers (White-backed, Middle-spotted, Grey-headed, Three-toed, Black)
    *Huge flocks of Cranes and Geese
    *Arctic Waterfowl
    *Black and Hazel Grouse, Capercaillie
    *Brown Bear