In pictures: the Soomaa experience

VILJANDI, Estonia — It’s about the time of year to get out of town.

In the Baltic states on Fridays the traffic on the roads leaving the capitals are backed up because in the summer, it’s time for nature here, time for the village.

Visiting places like Estonia’s Soomaa National Park, you’ll see why. The 390 sq km park, located in the southeast area of the country, is in the Pärnu River basin and thus is a mix of mires, bogs, rivers and forests. It’s one of the most untouched areas in the smallest Baltic state and its name means “land of bogs.”

If you’ve never been, here’s a taste of what you’ll find in the photo report “The Soomaa Experience” edited by Baltic Reports editor Nathan Greenhalgh.

Photo by Aivar Ruukel

The park is beautiful in the summer months. Photo by Priit Haamer

To go in, or not to go in, that's the question. Photo by Triin Noorkõiv

With four tributaries of the Pärnu River, canoeing is popular. Photo by Aivar Ruukel

Photo by Aivar Ruukel

You can take a hiking trail through bogs. Photo by Aivar Ruukel

The bogs are also good for just hanging out. Photo by Aivar Ruukel

The untouched bogland is home to many still unknown species of flowers. Photo by Aivar Ruukel

The tent is set up. Photo by Aivar Ruukel

The groups of students partake in outdoor activities.

Much the park area is forested. Photo by Aivar Ruukel

Bonfire before bed. Photo by Aivar Ruukel

Sunrise in Soomaa. Photo by Asbjørn Floden

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