Home to animals rare in Europe

You have reached the gates of Karula National Park, where you are invited to enjoy local wild nature. Various hiking trails offer an opportunity to enjoy a healthy holiday, in addition to savouring the beauty of the surroundings. Since the area is a former parish centre, it is rich in cultural heritage for visitors to discover.

Karula National Park is home to two animal species rarely found in Estonia or elsewhere in Europe: the European otter and the pond bat.

The landscape protection area, founded in 1979, became a national park in 1993. The aim of Karula National Park is to preserve local nature, cultural heritage, landforms and the southern Estonian hillock landscape rich in forests and lakes. The park belongs to the pan-European Natura 2000 network.

Heritage cultural landscape – landscape that has been formed throughout thousands of years involving human activity – makes up 30% of the landscape found at Karula Park. Sparsely populated settlements alternate with rolling hills, strips of fields, forest patches, bogs and meadows. Hundred-year-old farmhouses and field locations have been preserved here. Karula Park is also an area where the Võro language has found an increasing number of speakers.