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Vacation on Romantic Coastline

The Ermistu and Tõhela lakes have a lot in common: they are surrounded by swamps and bogs, which are their nutritional supply.  The lakes are rich in fish, so they easily become favorite lakes for hobby fishermen. The eastern shores are easily accessible, which allow the sandy shores to be suitable for swimming and creates favorable conditions for rest.  Tõstamaa municipality has established public beaches on the eastern shores of both lakes, where both young and old can find many activities.  There are rest areas, volley ball courts, children's playgrounds and observation towers.  Ermistu and Tõhela lakes are a nice place to relax, enjoy nature, fish and to have a picnic with your friends.

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Besides beach holidays, Kabli offers variety for each nature lover. The employees of RMK Kabli Information Desk and Nature Center are happy to provide information about leisure facilities throughout the resort area. The center has a lot of books, CDs and video cassettes on the theme of nature, as well as exciting exhibitions on the topics of nature.    Next to the nature center starts the 1.8 km long Kabli nature trail. The trail is also suitable for small children and at a slow pace it takes about 1-1.5 hours to complete it. Here, one can see rare plant species and the plants characteristic to South-West Estonian coastal areas, diverse landscapes and a variety of habitats including some key habitats. The trail passes the world of bird houses, the coastal meadow and ends up at the Kabli bird banding station. The veil nets of the bird station used for catching birds are visible to each passenger by the road side. Here they study, in addition to the migration of birds, also the migratory movements of bats, dragonflies and butterflies. In order to facilitate the visual bird watching, there is a bird tower next to the bird station and a bird viewing platform located on the coast to admire waterfowl. 

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As an extension of the Romantic Coastline, we invite you on a canoe trip on Salaca River in Latvia. Salaca meanders on the border of the two countries and is known for its beautiful steep sandstone shores.The primal river bed passing through the sandstone has vertical shores and caves carved into it – which are the subjects of mysterious legends and stories. The lower course of the river is faster-flowing than normal, which is well suited for a day's canoe trip. The faster and more skilled canoers can finish their ride in the port of the little town of Salacgriva at the Gulf of Livonia. You should allow up to five days for passing through the entire river.   

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In spring and autumn, during the migration period of the birds is the best time to make acquaintance with one of the most enjoyable pastimes –bird watching! It is in the spring, when thousands of migratory birds arrive here from far away countries in the south and settle down conveniently in our woods and coastal meadows and start nesting. The only things that you will need for observing birds are to wear clothes according to the weather and a bit of patience. In addition, the tour organizer provides you with binoculars, a bird classification manual and a tour guide. The north shore of the Gulf of Livonia is very diverse in nature as well as in bird life - there are birds characteristic of bogs and the sea coast: eagle, black stork, the small spotted eagle, crane, Slavonian Grebe, grouse and sandpiper. Located here is the Lindi Nature Reserve of 1100 ha, Kastna junipers and the Kavaru coastal meadow, all three equipped with bird observation towers.

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Luitemaa Nature Reserve covers the most expressive part of the south-western landscape of Estonia. The richest values of the reserve area are the extensive and bird-rich coastal meadows. The sand dunes designate the 5000 year-old shoreline border the Gulf of Pärnu, but they are the most powerful in Luitemaa. The dunes of Tornimägi and Tõotusemägi located in the coastal forests are the highest in Estonia and supposedly in the Baltic countries. The beautiful bogs located between the dune chains and the dune pine forests of the Reserve area are loved by berry and mushroom pickers as well as by recreational athletes. The Rannametsa-Tolkuse nature trail of Luitemaa begins at the Tallinn-Pärnu-Ikla highway, in the parking lot at the 162nd kilometer marker. The trail is 2.2 km long and shaped like a circle. Passing through the course takes 1.5 to 2 h. The trail meanders through Tolkuse bog over the high dune hills, which are covered by a light pine forest and ends up on Tornimäe. In the middle of the hill is located a 18 meter high tower, with magnificent views from the viewing platform to Häädemeeste meadow from one side and to Tolkuse bog on the other side. On the trail there are several points of interest, bog lakes and rest places. Local dune pine forests are the most beautiful and the highest in Estonia. 

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Nigula Nature Reserve covers 6400 ha of marshes, forests and meadows. The local forest, mostly untouched by human activity, is unique even on a European scale. The pride of Nigula bog, the heart of the Nature Reserve, are the five bog islands covered with old forest and a large bog lake, all well visible across the open bog. Big cranberries, which are also the symbol of Nigula, are abundant. The Reserve belongs to internationally important bird areas and it also belongs among the first northern Europe-based, cross-border complex of wetlands – the North Livonian wetland. For getting acquainted with the local untouched scenery, a number of hiking trails and observation towers have been prepared for visitors. The length of the Nigula bog trail is 6.8 km and you should reserve 3-4 h for hiking through it. 

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The bogs of Nätsi-Võlla Nature Reserve together constitute the largest bog in Pärnumaa County. The Reserve comprises the surrounding forests and the wooded meadows of Viruna, as well as the growth areas of the beautiful lady’s slipper orchids. The reserve is an internationally important bird area.  The most ancient nester here is the golden eagle, but is also the home to the golden plover, wood sandpiper, black grouse, red-backed shrike, common crane, ruff, swamp-harrier, marsh harrier, whooper swan, merlin and grouse. The bogs are rich in cranberries and cloudberries. On a couple of dozen hectares, a crop culture of cranberry has been planted. This is one of the truly bizarre places, where you can drive a car to the cranberry field and in a good berry year, you can pick berries with your dress shoes on, or even lie on the ground and pick cranberries. The local bog pools, however, are full of white water lilies. The legend has it that they are all the drowned souls of the virgins who did not want to relent to the ‘rights of the first night’ to the landlord. Therefore, the northernmost bog – the Nätsi bog – is also called the Neitsi (Virgin) bog. Before WWII, on the high swamp island of Võlla bog, there were two hermit farms: Salu-Jaan Eessaare farm and Salu-Jaan Tagasaare farm. It is said that the owner of one of those farms was called a Swamp Monster. The families of the swamp islands were deported in 1949. As late as at the beginning of the 1990’s, part of the farm buildings still had their roofs and next to one was standing a crumbling threshing machine, a winnower and a horse drive. The sharp plowing terrace at the edge of the field of the Eessalusaare farm refers to the longtime inhabitation of the island.

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If you feel that your heart beats in the same rhythm with the nature and you want to go where it is not possible to obtain access by any means of transport and where the boardwalk will not take you, then tie bog shoes to your feet and go on a bog hike! Bog shoes provide an opportunity to move in the bog in an environmentally friendly way, to step on the surface of the bog without damaging it and without sinking in. On the bog shoe hike you will get a real life experience as to what it is like to move around unhindered on fluffy snowdrifts and bog pools. The best time for bog-shoeing is fall and winter, when the Estonian countryside is extremely beautiful. Luitemaa Nature Reserve is one of the most unique by its landscape, where the most beautiful and highest dune pine forests in Estonia are growing; it is also the location of the unique Tolkuse bog. As the local area is also rich in birds, you can combine bog shoeing with bird watching.

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Kayak trips to the islands of the Romantic Coastline rich in nature, specifically to Manija and Sorgu, are more than just special. Sorgu island, that is under nature protection, is a tiny rocky island of five hectares, which is a natural rock-garden and a paradise for sea birds. Manilaid or Manija Island is located less than a kilometer away from the mainland and about 35 people live here year-round. The whole island is like one valuable coastal meadow, which is characterized by the growth of rare plants and the constant ringing of the voices of coastal birds. In warm early summer nights one may hear here a loud concert of a natterjack – a species of a toad living in Manija, where it has the largest population in Estonia and probably of entire Western Europe. Kayak trips along the coast and to the islands are ideal for getting acquainted with the coastal birds nesting on the coastal meadow, because the birdlife here is particularly rich in species! Tours also include enjoyable stopovers for holding picnics.

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On the Romantic Coastline there are a large number of well-prepared and diverse hiking trails introducing nature. The longer ones are suitable for the more serious nature lover, with the shorter ones providing a pleasant stroll for families with small children.  

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