Hiiumaa Island in Estonia, detailed information

How to get to Hiiumaa Island

Traveling through Estonia, it is worth visiting one of the largest islands in the country – Hiiumaa. The original nature and the old lighthouses on the island are an experience you’ll never forget.

When visiting Estonia for the first time you have to visit Hiiumaa Island. It is part of the Moonsund Archipelago in the Baltic Sea and is the second largest island in Estonia. But it was not always so. Until 1721 the island was owned by the Swedes, after that it managed to be a part of Russia. At present, the island is inhabited by about 10.9 thousand people.

How to get to Hiiumaa

For Estonia, the island of Hiiumaa is an important territorial unit, so there are stable transport links with the city. Between Tallinn and Kärdla runs a bus, making several trips every day. Across the Väinameri strait the bus goes by ferry. The ticket costs 8 EUR. Travel time is 3 hours and 50 minutes.

If you travel in a private car, the cost of travel will be somewhat higher. The right to transport a car by ferry costs 9 EUR. Plus 2,60 EUR for each passenger. The ferry covers the way in 1 hour 15 minutes. Free time can be spent on the upper deck, where there are food and rest areas. The price for a hot lunch is 6 EUR.

There are flight connections between the island and the mainland. The flight from Tallinn Airport to Kardlu Airport takes 30 minutes. There are two or three flights a day. The plane ticket price is 25 EUR per one way. The availability of options for travel gives the opportunity to choose, depending on the budget and free time.

Options for accommodation and where to stay

The area should be explored by car, after viewing Hiiumaa on the map beforehand. If you don’t have your own, you can rent a car. The price of a rental car is 50 EUR/day. Initially, you need to solve the question of accommodation. In the city of Kärdla there are three hotels and two hostels. The price for a night in a hotel is approximately 43 EUR, in a hostel – 27 EUR. There are necessary conditions for a comfortable stay, including free Wi-Fi.

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Staying in a tourist farm is an interesting option. There are 60 of them scattered across the territory. Being in such a place allows you to fully enjoy the natural beauty of the north. The farm is rented as a whole. The night of accommodation costs about 80 EUR.

Attractions of the island

If you have enough free time and money, it is worth exploring the area on your own. Plan the route in advance, determine the place of overnight stay and choose the places you must visit. There is another option. You can use the ready excursion that will take you to the most memorable places.

Such excursion will take 12-14 hours. The price of the tour includes: a guide throughout the trip, transport, a ticket to the ferry, and a full lunch. The excursion route includes studying of the following sights:

  • A visit to the estate of Baron Ungern-Sternberg. This is an old estate of a noble family with a beautiful flower garden and a majestic church.
  • You will visit the site of the meteorite fall, the crater from which is near the capital of Kärdla.
  • Visit the famous lighthouses Ristna, Kõpu, Tahkuna. It is important to note that Kõpu lighthouse is considered one of the oldest on earth.
  • Visit Fox Mountain, which is considered the beginning of the island.
  • Walk along the Sand Spit, about which the people walk a lot of legends.
  • At the end of the trip you will visit the wool factory that is famous for its high quality products.

At this point the tour ends and you’re going back home. For this tour groups of 1-8 people are formed. The price of the trip for the whole group is 395 EUR. The price is well worth it, as you can broaden your horizons and learn the peculiarities of one of the largest islands in Estonia.

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Hiiumaa is the second largest island in Estonia. In Sweden and Germany this island is known as Dago.

Hiiumaa is slightly north of the island of Saaremaa and west of the mainland itself. Formed 455 million years ago by a meteorite explosion, it is one of the oldest islands in the world. Hiiumaa is primarily known for its lighthouses.

About the Island

The inhabitants of Hiiumaa are peaceful and polite people who live in harmony with nature. The population of the island speaks its own language – Hiiu, although usually all residents know Estonian. Also many can speak Russian, English, German and Finnish.

The main thing to remember is the islanders’ special sense of humour: they love to laugh at themselves and at their Saaremaa neighbors.

Due to the fact that Hiiumaa is located in the middle of the sea, the climate here is slightly different from that of the mainland. The island is much more often sunny and has less rainfall.

You can book a hotel on Booking, and you can check for a better price here on TravelAsk. Another option for accommodation in Hiiumaa is to rent private accommodation. Similar offers can be found here.

The Tourist Information Centre is located at Hiiu 1, 92413, Kärdla. E-mail: [email protected] Phone: +372 462 22 32. Fax: +372 462 22 32.

How to get there

By plane

The fastest way to get to Hiiumaa is to buy a plane ticket. Avies airlines operate regular flights between Tallinn and Kärdla Airports (every day except Saturdays, ticket prices can be found for example here). The flight from Tallinn to Kärdla takes about 35 minutes. From the airport you can take a bus to Kärdla.

By bus

If you decide to take a bus, please note that even though Hiiumaa is quite small, not all buses go through Kärdla. Some buses go along the south coast of the island to places like Käina and Emmaste. The schedule can be found at: http://www.bussireisid.ee.

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By ferry

Most people prefer to get to the island by ferry or by taking the Rohuküla-Heltermaa or Triigi (from Saaremaa)-Sõru route.

The Saaremaa Shipping Company operates the Rohuküla-Heltermaa, Rohuküla-Svibu and Triigi-Sõru steamships. All ferries have stores, bars, restaurants and other places where you can have a good time on board. The duration of the trip is an hour and a half. Tickets can be booked 30 days before the trip itself.

The ferry “Kõrgelaid” serves ferries on the Syru-Triigi route. It is a smaller and more modest ferry, but here the trip lasts only 60 minutes. The ferry does not operate in winter during severe frosts due to icing.

Triigi Port serves the ferry service between the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.

By ice crossing

In colder winters, an ice road can be opened between the mainland and Hiiumaa. You can travel on it at a high speed without wearing a seatbelt. You only need to slow down when approaching the rarely encountered cracked planking. The whole trip will take about 20 minutes. You can even outrun steamboats that are “driving in the next lane.”

When it’s in season. When it’s best to go.

Main attractions. What to see

Ernst Jaakson Sailing Vessel

Address: Pärna küla, Emmaste vald, Hiiu maakond. The largest surviving wooden sailing ship in Estonia, the 35-metre long and 8-metre wide three-masted ship Ernst Jaakson (Alar), built between 1937 and 1939, can be seen on the island.

The lighthouse of Kõpu

Address: Kõpu küla, Kõrgessaare vald, Hiiu maakond. The lighthouse was built in 1531 on the highest point of Hiiumaa (68 meters). Kõpu lighthouse is the third oldest active lighthouse in the world.

Käina church ruins

Address: Hiiu maantee, Käina alevik, Käina vald, Hiiu maakond. The largest church on Hiiumaa, which was built at the turn of the XV-XVI centuries and was destroyed in 1941. Several tombstones and a Celtic cross above the entrance are recognized as monuments of art and are under state protection.

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Tahkuna Lighthouse

Address: Tahkuna küla, Kõrgessaare vald, Hiiu maakond. The construction of the lighthouse started in 1873. It is the highest lighthouse in Estonia (42.7 meters above sea level).

Suuremõisa Castle

Address: Suuremõisa Castle, Pühalepa vald, Hiiu maakond. The castle was built in 1755-1760 by Countess Ebba-Margarreta von Steenbock and today it is one of the most beautiful and largest estates in Estonia. The peculiarity of the castle is that it is made in Baroque-Rococo style. At present on the territory of the castle there is Suuremõisa technical and primary school.

Churches and temples. Worth a visit

Pühalepa Church. Address: Suuremõisa küla, Pühalepa vald, Hiiu maakond. The oldest stone church on Hiiumaa.

Kuriste Church. Address: Kuriste küla, Käina vald, Hiiu maakond. The Estonian Orthodox Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary was built in 1873 in the village of Kuriste. In the church you can see the icons and liturgical vestments, preserved from the end of the XIX century and the beginning of the XX century. Kuriste Church is the only surviving Orthodox church on Hiiumaa where services are still held.

Reigi Church. Address: Pihla küla, Kõrgessaare vald, Hiiu maakond. The main feature of the church is its art collection.

Museums. Worth a visit

Hiiumaa Military Museum. Address: Tahkuna nina, Tahkuna küla, Kõrgessaare vald, Hiiu maakond. The pearl of the museum is the cannon of Kukeraba battery BB-316. The whole exposition is dedicated to the coastal defenses, armament and artillery of Hiiumaa. The museum has a simulated barracks setting where visitors can see tracking and communication equipment. In the courtyard is a reconstruction of the border area.

Hiiumaa Museum Long House. Address: Vabrikuväljak tn, Kärdla. This is the main museum on the island, popularly known as the “Long House” (it is the longest wooden building in Kärdla, more than 60 meters long). The building was built in the 1830s as a dwelling house for the directors of the cloth factory. Along with the history of the development of the city and the factory, the exhibition allows you to get acquainted with the homes of ordinary workers of the factory. The museum also organizes various temporary exhibitions throughout the year.

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Hiiumaa Museum Kassari Exhibition House. Address: Kassari küla, Käina vald, Hiiu maakond. At the exhibition you can get acquainted with the collection of exhibits from the times when Estonia was a part of the Russian Empire and later the Soviet Union. Many of the exhibits are related to the history of seafaring as well as the history of agriculture and education in Estonia. Many interesting things can also be seen outside the museum: the rescue boat from the ferry “Estonia”, the flagpole of the Kassari school, a lawn rink from feudal times and much more.

Rudolf Tobias House Museum. Address: Hiiu maantee 33, Käina alevik, Käina vald, Hiiu maakond. The house, built in 1839 in the village of Käina, is one of the oldest residential buildings in Estonia. The exhibition organized in the house gives a detailed insight into the composer’s life and work.

Things to do

It’s hard to find a place in Estonia with more natural diversity than Hiiumaa Island, which is unique thanks to its incredibly diverse landscape. And on sunny summer days, you can perfectly relax on the many kilometers of sandy beaches on the coast of the Tahkuna and Kõpu peninsulas.

The Vanajõe Valley is proof that Hiiumaa has it all – rivers, lakes, hills and valleys. It is very beautiful and a great place to take a mental break from the hustle and bustle.

Mihkli Farm Museum. Malvaste küla, Kõrgessaare vald, Hiiu maakond gives you an insight into the architecture and artefacts that have been preserved since the 19th century. The spacious courtyard of the farmstead is perfect for a variety of events. You can visit the unique smoke sauna or have a picnic on the edge of the forest, and this is only a small part of all that the museum offers to its visitors.

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