Karula National Park


Dear visitor, you have arrived on the website of the smallest national park in Estonia (123 km2) – Karula National Park. Here you will find lots of interesting information about many things, but it would be much better to see it all with your own eyes, and this is why you should definitely visit us.

Karula National Park is situated on the border of Valga and Võru Counties on the land of Antsla, Karula, Mõniste and Varstu municipalities. The land protection area created in 1979 became a national park in 1993.
Karula National Park was created for the preservation of the reliefs, nature, cultural heritage and the typical hilly landscape of Southern Estonia that is rich in lakes and forests. Karula National Park belongs to the Europe-wide Natura 2000 network.
The unique hilly landscape of Karula National Park is the result of the uneven melting of the continental glacier. There are small bogs, swamps and 40 lakes between the hills that are covered in forests, fields and grasslands. The most valuable features of Karula National Park are its natural diversity as well as the settlements, cultural heritage and farm architecture that have developed over time. Local residents have maintained a very strong connection to land and nature.
When you visit the national park, please be mindful of others who may wish to enjoy some peace and quiet. Leave your tape players, radios and other devices which disturb silence home or turn these down;
Ask for permission before you go walking in the yards, fields, grasslands and on other agricultural land of local residents.

Immediately notify the land owner or the Environmental Board if you see damaged objects of nature conservation or protected species.

  • when hiking on shore paths, avoid causing any damage to the landowner’s property;
  • although the dog is the man’s best friend, when hiking in nature, it has to be held from the lead;
  • keep out of zones in which hiking is prohibited, otherwise you will disturb the species living there. The zones are marked;
  • Ask for the permission of the landowner and the Environmental Board if you want to erect a facility or carry out works of any kind.

You can walk and pick berries and mushrooms everywhere outside the Pautsjärve and Kaadsijärve strict nature reserves and the special management zones of Äestaja swamp (15 March to 31 August), Palu-Labassaarõ, Oikunna, Vanapalu (15 March to 31 August) and Põrgujärve (1 February to 31 August), which is subject to temporary movement prohibition. Motor vehicles may only be used on public roads.