Virginia Benn

Virginia Benn

Published: 21 Sep 2023


Lake Peipsi, also known as Lake Peipus, is a fascinating natural wonder that spans the border between Estonia and Russia. With its vast expanse covering an area of over 3,500 square kilometers, it is one of the largest freshwater lakes in Europe.

This enchanting lake is not just visually stunning, it is also steeped in rich history and cultural significance. From its unique ecosystem to its role in medieval battles and folklore, Lake Peipsi holds a myriad of intriguing facts waiting to be discovered.

In this article, we will dive into 18 intriguing facts about Lake Peipsi that will captivate your imagination. So brace yourself for an exciting journey as we explore the wonders of this remarkable body of water!

Table of Contents

The largest transboundary lake in Europe

Lake Peipsi, also known as Lake Peipus, is the largest transboundary lake in Europe. Spanning across Estonia and Russia, this expansive lake offers breathtaking beauty and diverse ecosystems.

Home to over 40 species of fish

Lake Peipsi is not only scenic but also teeming with life. It is home to over 40 species of fish, including perch, pike, bream, roach, and ide. Fishing enthusiasts will find ample opportunities to test their skills here.

An important historical landmark

Lake Peipsi holds significant historical importance. It was here, in 1242, that the famous Battle on the Ice took place between the Teutonic Knights and the Novgorod Republic. This battle played a crucial role in shaping the course of history in the region.

Surrounded by charming fishing villages

The shores of Lake Peipsi are dotted with charming fishing villages that offer a glimpse into the local way of life. Visitors can explore these villages, interact with the friendly locals, and savor delicious traditional Baltic cuisine.

Hosts a unique ice road

During winter, Lake Peipsi freezes over, creating a unique ice road known as the “Ice Highway.” This frozen highway allows locals and adventurous travelers to cross the lake, providing a truly remarkable experience.

A paradise for birdwatchers

Lake Peipsi is a haven for birdwatchers, as it serves as a major stopover for migratory birds. Over 270 bird species have been recorded in the area, including white-tailed eagles, ospreys, and various waterfowl.

Rich in cultural heritage

The region around Lake Peipsi boasts rich cultural heritage. The local communities have preserved their traditional customs, handicrafts, and folk songs, providing an enriching experience for visitors interested in the cultural heritage of the area.

Borders two national parks

Lake Peipsi is located near two national parks: Lahemaa National Park in Estonia and Pskov-Caves National Park in Russia. These parks offer stunning landscapes, diverse flora and fauna, and opportunities for outdoor activities.

A popular destination for water sports

With its vast expanse of water, Lake Peipsi is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. Visitors can indulge in activities such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, and jet skiing, making for an exciting and adventurous vacation.

An ideal spot for relaxation and picnics

The tranquil shores of Lake Peipsi provide the perfect setting for relaxation and picnics. Visitors can unwind, enjoy the scenic views, and have a leisurely picnic by the water’s edge, immersing themselves in the serenity of the surroundings.

Offers stunning sunsets

One of the most captivating sights at Lake Peipsi is the breathtaking sunset. The vastness of the lake creates a picturesque backdrop as the sun dips below the horizon, painting the sky in hues of orange, pink, and purple.

A hotspot for ice fishing

During the winter months, when the lake is frozen, ice fishing becomes a popular activity at Lake Peipsi. Anglers set up shelters on the ice and try their luck at catching fish, creating a unique and thrilling experience.

Boasts unique geological formations

Lake Peipsi is surrounded by unique geological formations, including sandy beaches, limestone cliffs, and glacial drumlins. These captivating landscapes add to the natural charm and allure of the area.

The site of ancient Viking trade routes

In ancient times, Lake Peipsi served as an important trade route for the Vikings. Archaeological evidence suggests that the lake was a hub for Viking traders, connecting the Baltic Sea with the Volga River and beyond.

A hidden gem off the beaten path

Despite its numerous attractions, Lake Peipsi remains relatively undiscovered by mass tourism, making it a hidden gem off the beaten path. Visitors can enjoy a peaceful and authentic experience away from the crowds.

Hosts traditional festivals and events

The communities around Lake Peipsi celebrate their cultural heritage through traditional festivals and events. These festivities showcase folk dances, music performances, and culinary delights, providing visitors with a chance to immerse themselves in the local traditions.

An excellent place for wildlife spotting

Lake Peipsi’s diverse ecosystems and untouched landscapes make it an excellent place for wildlife spotting. Visitors may encounter various animals, including beavers, otters, deer, and numerous bird species.

Offers therapeutic mud and healing springs

The shores of Lake Peipsi are known for their therapeutic mud and healing springs. Many visitors come here to experience the benefits of the mineral-rich mud and indulge in wellness treatments offered in the region.

As you can see, Lake Peipsi is a remarkable destination that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and outdoor activities. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply want to unwind in a serene environment, Lake Peipsi is sure to captivate your senses. Plan your visit to this hidden gem and discover the wonders of this transboundary lake in Europe.


In conclusion, Lake Peipsi is a fascinating natural wonder that offers both beauty and historical significance. With its vast expanse of water, unique ecosystem, and rich cultural heritage, it has become a popular destination for tourists and nature enthusiasts alike. From its status as one of the largest lakes in Europe to the intriguing tales of its ice roads and the famous smoked fish, Lake Peipsi continues to captivate visitors from around the world.Whether you’re interested in exploring the diverse wildlife, learning about the lake’s historical importance, or indulging in the local culinary delights, Lake Peipsi has something to offer for everyone. So next time you’re planning a trip, don’t forget to include a visit to this enchanting lake in your itinerary. You won’t be disappointed by the breathtaking scenery and unique experiences that await you at Lake Peipsi.


1. How deep is Lake Peipsi?

Lake Peipsi is relatively shallow, with an average depth of around 7.6 meters (25 feet). However, the maximum depth reaches up to 15 meters (49 feet) in some areas.

2. Can you swim in Lake Peipsi?

Yes, swimming is possible in Lake Peipsi. The water quality is generally good, but it is always advisable to check local guidelines and recommendations before swimming, especially in certain areas.

3. Is fishing allowed in Lake Peipsi?

Absolutely! Lake Peipsi is known for its abundant fish population, including species like pike, perch, and bream. Fishing is a popular activity among locals and visitors alike, but ensure that you have the necessary permits and follow the local regulations.

4. Are there any recreational activities around Lake Peipsi?

Yes, there are plenty of recreational activities to enjoy around Lake Peipsi. Apart from swimming and fishing, you can also indulge in boating, kayaking, cycling, and hiking. The surrounding areas offer stunning landscapes and peaceful retreats for nature lovers.

5. Can you visit Lake Peipsi during winter?

Absolutely! Lake Peipsi offers a unique experience during winter. The lake freezes over, creating a natural ice road that connects the Estonian and Russian sides. Ice fishing and winter sports like ice skating and snowmobiling are also popular activities during this time.