Even before you can see it, something tells you that you are getting close. You feel fresh but slightly damp and cold air touching your face. As you walk closer, you notice the mist and hear the gushing of water in the distance. Once you see it at last, the unstoppable flow and the heights take you aback for a moment. No wonder visiting waterfalls is one of the most popular destinations we look for when we travel.
Although Estonia is a flat country, we have a massive limestone cliff that stretches from Russia through the entire Northern Estonian coast and even reaches some islands in Sweden. This massive structure is called the Baltic Klint. All the rivers that flow into the Baltic Sea from Northern Estonia make up to 8-meter drop over the cliff, creating beautiful waterfalls that charm the viewer.
Here are seven waterfalls near Tallinn that are worth visiting – some well-known and others that require more patience and time to find. The waterfalls in Estonia are beautiful all year round! Especially in winter time, when they freeze and create gorgeous icicles. They are definitely worth passing by when you are on your way to do other winter activities.
1. Jägala Waterfall
Jägala waterfall has become a ‘must-do in Tallinn’ sight. Only half an hour drive from Tallinn, the highest waterfall in Estonia, Jägala waterfall, is easily accessible and many pass by on their way to Lahemaa National Park. The waterfall is very near the parking lot and you can see it when standing on top of the limestone cliff, but it is also possible to get right in front of the waterfall. Jägala waterfall, as the other waterfalls near Tallinn, becomes especially beautiful in the winter when it either partially or completely freezes.
There are several tours that you can join for a chance to visit the waterfall. If you want to see Jägala in winter time in its full glory, check out the Frozen Jägala Waterfall Picnic Tour for just 2-hour getaway from Tallinn with a light meal right by the waterfall. To check out two local gems in one go, perhaps the combined Old Town Walking Tour with Visit to Jägala Waterfall is something that you fancy. If you not only want to see Jägala waterfall, but also the sights nearby, join the 5-hour Historic Harju County Tour or spend a day exploring on the Day Trip to Lahemaa National Park which both visit Jägala Waterfall.
2. Treppoja waterfalls
About 30 km from Tallinn are Treppoja waterfalls where beautiful cascades look exactly like a staircase, giving the waterfalls its name, meaning “stream of stairs” in Estonian. Stretching for 150 metres, the cascades flow over six terraces up to 1.5 metres high. The picturesque setting is a sight worth seeing year-round: some argue it is most beautiful in winter, others that during the period of high water in spring. The mystical nature of the cascades has given rise to stories that they are home to a race of water nymphs. Who are these charming, dainty, mermaid-like creatures who inhabit the world around us, and do they even exist? Many have sought an answer to this question, but none has ever been forthcoming…
3. Keila waterfall
Not far from Treppoja waterfalls, in Keila-Joa is Keila waterfall. Although 2 metres lower than Jägala waterfall, Keila waterfall is equally impressive and can seem even more powerful. Right on the bank of Keila River and next to the waterfall is a 17th century Keila manor. Explore some relics from the German history in Estonia while also getting in touch with the nature by wondering along the paths in the manor park. If you are planning a longer walk, then visiting Keila-Joa is definitely better option than visiting Jägala. There are marked walking and hiking trails along Keila River that are easy to follow.
Keila waterfall also freezes during the winter, allowing you to explore the massive icicles and even go behind the waterfall! If you are visiting Estonia during cold winter months, discover Keila waterfall on this unique Ice Road Tour that takes you to national ice roads across bays in Western Estonia!
4. Joaveski waterfall
When a hydroelectric power station was built on Loobu River, the Joaveski waterfall was changed from previous 4 metre drop to a sequence of six cascades. The power was used for a nearby cardboard factory. Nowadays, there is little left from the industrial past and Joaveski waterfall is surrounded by green forest and the water looks playful when flowing over the limestone steps. There are hiking trails passing by the waterfalls, but as it is off-the-beaten path site, you will have to find the best place to admire the waterfall yourself.
Joaveski is located in our famous Lahemaa National Park. If you wish to discover the waterfall and the park on a private day tour, you can book the Day Trip to Lahemaa request a visit to Joaveski.
5. Nõmmeveski waterfall
Not far from the previously described Joaveski waterfalls is Nõmmeveski waterfall. Apart from the waterfall itself, the hydropower station which stood here on the site of a former water mill is also worth admiring. The power station burnt down in the 1960s, but its ruins and raised concrete inflow channel remain. Travertine, a porous calcite deposit, seeps from the channel and is said to be forming genuine stalactites on the underside of the channel. The lime salts in the water that drips from the roofs of limestone caves creates icicle-like stalactites, which can also form in gypsum and rock salt caverns.
Just as Joaveski waterfall, Nõmmeveski is also in Lahemaa National Park and can be visited on a private Day Trip to Lahemaa National Park if requested beforehand.
Check out the music video of Estonian duo Riffarrica which is filmed at Nõmmeveski:
6. Pakri waterfall
About 20 km further from Keila-Joa and Treppoja on the Pakri Peninsula you can see the Pakri waterfall falling down at the northern tip of Neeme. The height of the waterfall that descends from the 23 meter high limestone plateau is nearly 6 meters. Under the riverbank, the waterfall continues all the way to the sea with a fall of almost 15 meters. It is a unique waterfall in Estonia, descending directly from the cliff to the sea. It is even more spectacular in the winter when the wind and frost freeze the forest next to the waterfall. There are many places here that bear the name “Pakri” – the waterfall, the peninsula, the cape, and also the islands located in the west. The name “Pakri” comes from the name of the Pakri village (Packere) that was first found in written form already in 1377. Nearby is also the city of Paldiski which has a lot of Soviet history and several interesting military sights nearby for those who love exploring alternative off-the-beaten-path locations.
Special tip: once you are done exploring around, treat yourself in a cafe that is inside Pakri lighthouse, not far from the waterfall!
7. Vasaristi waterfall
Water cascades over three drops here in Vasaristi are admirable with any season. In the surrounding karst area, you can see sink holes where small creeks disappear to emerge again as crystal springs few hundred metres away. It’s said that anyone who washes their face in the waters of the Vasaristi falls will enjoy eternal youth. The waterfall is in Lahemaa National Park, so there are plenty of other beautiful sights to explore nearby. Visiting it can be added to a private Day Trip to Lahemaa National Park just as Joaveski and Nõmmeveski described above.
That’s it – seven wonderful waterfalls to discover, each having a unique story and charm. If you wish to visit any of these, send your request to our team and we can work out a tour for you according to your wishes. We have a team of experienced nature guides and we are happy to be flexible, come up with new routes and introduce the best sights in Estonia.