Words by Ronan O’Shea in EasyJet Traveller
I’m driving towards Lahemaa, meaning ‘Land of Bays’. It’s a vast, forested national park that hugs the Baltic coastline for over 80km. Founded in 1971, this wilderness half an hour from Tallinn was the first national park in the Soviet Union, but is now just one of many in a country that’s been taken over by trees. Estonia was declared independent on 24 February 1918,
but was subsequently occupied by the USSR between 1944 and 1991 – a period that saw mass emigration and deportations. While humans suffered, trees flourished on land that was blocked off to locals. Nowadays, 50% of Estonia is covered in forest, within which fairytale landscape you’ll find wild boar, red deer, lynx, wolves and a few hundred brown bears.