Come with us for a two-day kayaking and hiking trip to Pakri islands, and discover a small world of huge contrasts!
History buffs will find buildings of the Russian Empire, ruins of Soviet military installations, the cultural heritage of 17th-20th century Swedish communities, including old churches and a renovated village.
Nature lovers and professional naturalists alike can explore the intriguing biological diversity of Estonia’s largest alvar – ** with its sparse vegetation and rare plants – as well as orchids, July’s wildflowers, and cattle maintaining the limestone-based landscape. Plus, for geologists, a stunning, 10-metre high limestone cliff. (We’ll paddle around the island to get a good view.)
In short, Pakri offers widely divergent cultural history, unusual and stunning nature. And all that only about an hour’s drive west of Tallinn!
The Pakri islands were first inhabited by Swedes in the 1300’s, who built homes, schools and churches in six pastoral communities. Centuries later, Tsar Peter the First became intrigued by this ice-free zone in the northwest corner of his Russian Empire and ordered the construction of military forts. Fortunately, his plan to connect Väike-Pakri to Pakri Peninsula was short-lived, but the huge quarry where workers began the task remains.
The Swedish population of about 600 (dense, for a small area) was forcefully evacuated before World War II, when Soviet military forces took over the two islands. After the war, they were used for air force training for all Warsaw Pact countries. The result: a landscape punctuated by bomb craters. (The residual bombs have been extracted.) Despite, and in some cases, because of its military use, Pakri retains great natural beauty.
Ironically, fires caused by the bombardment (and some Swedish farming practices) led to the development of diverse and colourful semi-natural biological communities.
Today’s visitors can greet the current 6 residents, and hike among the picturesque legacies of the Swedes, through fields of wildflowers and wild orchids!
Join us for an overnight tour – where you can mull over the day’s contradictory discoveries around a campfire before heading to your tent or sleeping under the open sky.
Two days, one night
Kayaking distance: About 30 km
Hiking distance: about 8 km. In bad weather, the route will be shortened.
Starting point: Kurkse, on the northern shore.
We’ll pick you up and drop you off in Tallinn.
Pick up charge: 10 EUR.
Easy and suitable for beginning kayakers. No previous experience is needed, and we’ll provide a thorough orientation before the trip.
Tour - 105 EUR
Transport – 10 EUR (Tallinn pick up and drop off fee)
Tel +372 56 864 634
Beautiful island with fascinating history. I especially liked the Soviet military stories. I thought that the trip is about occupation, but the guide just kept shooting funny military stories.
Michael from Birmingham, June 2009
Top notch trip! Beautiful limestone cliff and really demanding paddling conditions on north shore.
Tim from Amsterdam, August 2009