Did you know that canoeing is one of the best ways to have a good time with your friends and colleagues, and at the same time combine sports with relaxation? It gives a chance to get some fresh air, to get to know the nature around the river and the animals that live there. The canoe trips offer all participants unforgettable memories and various challenges. When sharing a canoe, always take the other person into account – hiking together will definitely lead to better cooperation and mutual understanding. For the more serious hikers, there is the option to participate in a canoe trip lasting for several days, with overnight stays in the wilderness, accompanied by a sauna and meals. In addition, you can combine a canoe trip with a moorland hike or horseback ride, for example.
In Pärnu County, it is possible to organise a canoe trip in all seasons. It is necessary to choose a suitable clothing and a route that suits your abilities. But what is the best season for a canoe trip? It depends on your interests and skills. Canoe trips in spring are special, as nature is awakening and the rivers are flooded with meltwater. High water times, when there is more water in the rivers, provide an excellent challenge because the flow speed is higher than usual. In summer and autumn, instead of a good view of the banks, you can wander among the river vegetation. At the same time, water levels can fluctuate, making hiking on some rivers a little more difficult. Warm weather and water, however, make hiking and breaks much more comfortable. In summer, late night canoe trips also take place. A canoe trip in winter is an extreme of its own, as the water is very cold and the banks can be covered in ice. Temperatures cause the river vegetation to disappear and the river banks to reappear in small rivers. It is not possible to organise a trip only at very low temperatures, when the rivers are completely covered with ice. Then you can swap the canoes for other means of transport and explore the scenic countryside on skates, sledges or kicksleds, for example.
Canoe trips in Pärnu County mostly take place in Soomaa, which is known for its fifth season. This is the period when high water floods the Soomaa areas. It usually happens in early spring, when the winter snow starts to melt, but it can also happen at other times of the year. Since the weather changes so much, some years the high water may not come at all. However, water levels may rise by several metres and flood enormous areas. In the event of major floods, there is even talk of an area the size of Lake Võrtsjärv.
The fifth season of Soomaa attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world. The opportunity to hike in flooded areas and see how the locals live in this environment is a unique experience for all. It is not every day you see flooded farm yards and driveways and purpose-built rafts.
The most popular rivers in Soomaa for canoeing are:
In addition to Soomaa, you can also plan a canoe trip on the River Pärnu, the flow rate of which varies. The advantage of the River Pärnu lies in its width – it is suitable for canoeing in summer and autumn, when the smaller rivers are already overgrown with river vegetation. Once the River Pärnu has been thoroughly explored, you can also try canoeing on the River Reiu, which is a tributary of the River Pärnu. Both rivers are rich in fish and provide an opportunity to combine canoeing with fishing. In this case, a canoe trip may culminate, for example, in a campfire meal.
For the best experience, it is advisable to organise a canoe trip with a guide who knows the region well. This way hikers learn more about the nature around them, and for inexperienced hikers, it adds a much-needed sense of security. There are several different companies in Pärnu County that organise canoe trips both in Soomaa and on the rivers of Pärnu County.
More information about Soomaa: Soomaa National Park
The following companies offer trips on water: