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Maritime Alps


Orchids, Butterflies & Dragonflies of the Baltic

Primula farinosa © Fiona Dunbar

Lahemaa’s atmospheric landscape of bogs, forests and unspoilt bays with still traditional fishing villages has been spared the ravages of the twentieth century by dint of being the first national park designated in the former Soviet Union.

Thirty four out of thirty six of Estonia’s orchids occur on the limestones of SaaremaaIsland. Dark Red Helleborine and Fly Orchid are widespread and we’ll see the Baltic endemics Dactylorhiza longifolia and Dactylorhiza ruthei. The fabulous Moor King rises from fens where we’ll find Fen Orchid and Dactylorhiza curvifolia amongst fine displays of Marsh Helleborine and Musk Orchid.Colonies of Silver-studded and Large Blues live amid a colourful mosaic of bellflowers, campions and cinquefoils. The violet-blue iridescent hues of Lesser Purple Emperor and Purple Emperor are joined by the Map Butterfly and both Large Copper and Scarce Copper.

Fly Orchids by Fiona Dunbar

Of particular interest to us will be the extensive complexes of mires, fens and raised bogs made accessible by a fine series of trails and boardwalks. A rich and distinctive community make this their home from Sundews and One-leaved Bog Orchids to Frigga’s and Cranberry Fritillaries, Moorland Clouded Yellow and the dragonfly Leucorrhinia albifrons to endemic Rhinanthus osiliensis to the skullcap Scutellaria hastifolia. Chamaedaphne calyculata will be going over but other Ericacae will be in full bloom including Bog Rosemary, Labrador Tea and both species of Cranberry. Paths through lichen and cowberry under open pine forests will reveal Creeping Lady’s Tresses and lovely Twinflower are no less than seven Wintergreens, whilst roadsides are awash with stands of four species of Cow-wheats, among them colourful Crested Cow-wheat and the garish purple and yellow Melampyrum nemorosum.

Dates and Prices

6th July - 16th July 2025 (11 days)

London - London £2,775
Tallinn - Tallinn £2,460
Single Supplement* £295
Deposit £200

* doesn't apply if you're willing to share and a room-mate can be arranged

or ask us a question.

Please note; dates and prices are provisional and will be confirmed by August 2024

Tour Summary

Day 1
To Tallinn and then Lahemaa National Park
Days 2 - 5
Lahemaa National Park, including Varangu and Endla Nature Reserves
Days 6 & 7
Matsalu Nature Reserve
Days 8 - 10
Saaremaa Island including Tagamoisa and Vilsandi National Park
Day 11
To Tallinn and departure

Tour information


Flowers, particularly the Orchids. Also Dragonflies and Butterflies.


Ian Bennallick , Amanda Borrows

Group Size

One leader for a group of up to 6, two leaders up to the maximum group size of 12.

Included in the Price

All flights. All transport, meals and accommodation in Estonia. Services of your leaders. Please note: drinks, tips and items of a personal nature including insurance, are not included.
Flower, bird and butterfly checklists are available.


For the first half of the tour we’ll stay at the excellent 16th century Kohala Manor. Set in peaceful countryside with ponds, rivers, woods and fields there’ll be plenty of fauna and flora to interest us. Converted to a hotel in 1996 the Kohala is run by Mikhail and Karin who’ll make us feel very welcome and will ply us with excellent meals. The rooms are spacious with comfortable beds. After a night at the sparkling new Altmoisa Guesthouse (we are usually there during their strawberry festival!) we move to another former manor house on the island of Saaremaa for a four night stay. The Loona Manor has smart modern rooms and as with the Kohala we’ll be filling the whole place! For the last night we’ll stay in a good quality tourist hotel in Tallinn. All rooms on this holiday have en suite facilities.


Relaxed and easy. Up to three or four miles a day and always at a slow pace, perfectly suited to photographers.


Warm and sunny with occasional evening thunderstorms.

How to Book

Contact us to check if there is availability for the number of places you require. Click on the ‘Book this Tour’ button on this page to be taken to the online booking form or contact us and we will send one to you which you can complete and send back to us. You will receive confirmation of your place, and then a detailed information pack will be dispatched to you about twelve weeks before departure. This will contain up-to-date health information.