A Week in Hiiumaa – Anna (Ukraine)
Estonia is famous for its islands. There are 1521 islands that belong to Estonia. My friends and I decided to explore the island of Hiiumaa and spent a week there during the Christmas holidays. And now when the summertime is coming, I would like to share my experience on how you can organize your trip to Hiiumaa because this island is a perfect vacation destination!
How you can get there
You can reach the island by ferry. The ferry departs from the port of Rohuküla (Läänemaa County). The schedule can be viewed here. I advise you to buy your ticket online in advance.
There are several ways to get to the ferry:
- Rent a car in Tartu and drive to the island, as we did. Car rented in this service – europcar.ee
- Travel by bus or train to Tallinn, from Tallinn by bus to Kärdla (the bus ride already includes a ferry, you do not need to pay separately for a ferry).
- More difficult option: take a bus from Tartu to Haapsalu (1 bus per day), from Haapsalu get to the ferry by bus or taxi, and then use public transport or taxi in Hiiumaa. But note that public transportation on the island is not that developed, so I would recommend getting there by car.
First of all, I would like to say a huge thanks to my friend Maria who did profound research and found many places to visit. After having a full list of things to visit, we set goals for the trip:
- Visit lighthouses
- Visit interactive museum
- Visit castles, churches
We have rented a house in the woods on booking.com which was cheaper than Airbnb.
Since in January there are very few daylight hours, we were leaving the house earlier and finished exploring the island by 4 pm. Of course, you are going to have more opportunities in summer and even white nights to enjoy.
So, what have we have seen in Hiiumaa?
The lighthouses of Hiiumaa have an interesting history. For example, the Kõpu lighthouse was built at an altitude of 67 meters above sea level at the highest point of the island. It is the oldest operating lighthouse in the world: it has been in service since the 16th century.
Tahkuna lighthouse (Est. Tahkuna tuletorn) is the tallest lighthouse in Estonia and one of the highest in the Baltics, it was built in the 19th century. Next to the Tahkuna lighthouse, there is a monument to those killed on the “Estonia” ferry, which ran between Tallinn and Stockholm. On September 28, 1994, the ship sank after being caught in a violent storm 60 kilometers northwest of this cape. 852 people died. A bell with children’s faces is built into the structure of the monument, so when the wind reaches the same force as on that stormy night, the bell rings again.
Entertainment center Tuuletorn (Est. Elamuskeskus Tuuletorn)
Frankly speaking, this is the first museum that I loved to the fullest because:
- there are many interesting interactive exhibitions: you can fish, you can learn about the flora and fauna of the island, also climb the maze from the net at a height of three meters, try yourself in a role of a fisherman;
- it has the highest 20-meter climbing wall in the Baltic States. We reserved a time slot for that because we wanted to give it a try. It was difficult and very interesting, but only the strongest and bravest made it to the top;
- there is a restaurant with delicious food. The entertainment center receives a separate plus to its karma for this because in January there are almost no open places on the island where you can eat, so you have to cook at home.
You can read more here.
Manor Suuremõisa (Est. Suuremõisa loss)
In 1755-1760, Countess Ebba-Margaretha von Stenbock ordered the construction of a manor house; now there is a school in the castle. In the yard, there is a small botanical garden with a greenhouse.
Church Reigi (Est. Reigi kirik)
The church was built in 1802 at the initiative of Baron Ungern-Sternberg in memory of his son Gustav, who committed suicide.
The old oak – the most interesting sight! :)
In Pavlograd, a town in Ukraine where I am from, you can also find oaks that are 100 years old. But Pavlograd oaks do not have such stories behind them. Legend says that if you leave a piece of clothes in the old oak and then rub your face with it, all diseases will go away.
“Bridge” to Saaremaa
According to the local legend, in ancient times, a giant agriculturalist Big Tõll lived on the neighboring island of Saaremaa. He often visited his brother Leiger, who lived on Hiiumaa, but since the path was long, the elder brother eventually got tired and said that Leiger would not have his legs until he built the bridge. This is how Leiger’s “bridge” was formed, located at Cape Sääretirp. In reality, this is a 3 km long spit, it is so narrow that no trees grow there. We got there while it was heavily raining, saw a lot of swans, got wet, but still, we walked 1.5 km. Seems like Big Tõll did not want to see us at his place!
To enjoy nature, we downloaded the RMK app and searched hiking trails along the way. There is a very beautiful nature and dense pine forest. I especially liked the Orjaku trail, which runs along the coast of Käina Bay, the coastal area has 192 bird species.
In addition, we visited the information center in Orjaku. Couldn’t get to the military museum because it was closed.
You can also visit the Eiffel Juniper Tower, visit the Hill of Crosses, take a walk by the sea in the atmospheric port of Kärdla.
Have an amazing trip!