Harju County has more than any other region or County of Estonia been involved in history’s crises and great events. The number of objects and places of interest is far larger than elsewhere, be it in churches, manors or in nature. Only archeological sites count more than one and a half thousand.
The centre of Harju County and the capital of Estonia is Tallinn with it’s almost perfectly preserved medieval old town, interesting suburbs and settlements as Kadriorg, Nõmme, Pirita, Kalamaja etc. and With hundreds of other sites and objects worth visiting, Tallinn doesn’t need a big introduction. Then again, Harju County is by far not only the city of Tallinn.
Worth of immediate mentioning are unique sites like Rebala heritage site in Jõelähtme with stone cross burial mounds from late-bronze period, the impressive Jägala fortress , the Witch Stone in Assaku having one of the largest number of hollows in Europe or the huge Uku Stone in Muusika village.
If you cannot visit the whole Harju County, it’s worth to concentrate on a certain region in Harju County, as you’ll be sure to find great sights all along your way.
For example, and especially to defy any prejudices, visit the town on Paldiski west of Tallinn, with Peter’s bastions erected in 1718 – 1725 by command of Peeter I. Or look up the sea fortress of Peter the Great, built around Tallinn in the beginning of the 20th century. In Paldiski, don’t miss to visit the Small and Big Pakri island (Väike Pakri and Suur Pakri). Despite the first impression, Paldiski is an old settlement and already before the time of the Russian czar area, there was the Swedish port called Rågervik in Paldiski. It was only in the 2nd half of the 18th century when the settlement was called Baltijski Port (the Baltic Port), which was renamed into Paldiski in 1933, in the “1st” Estonian Republic.
The Soviet Army settled its marine bases in the city and the majority of local civilians were evacuated. The training center for nuclear submarines was founded in 1962 in Paldiski – the islands of Pakri were shut down from the public eye – and Paldiski became a closed Soviet garrison city. Nowadays the city has opened up again expecting every visitor.
In Harju County you will also find a rich choice of magnificent manor complexes, the most exciting ones would be Saue, Vääna, Kolga, Vasalemma and Riisipere manors, to name only the very few. All in all, there are more than 150 manors in Harju County.
And in its nature, Harju County is quite diverse, stretching from the cliffy shores of North-Estonia up to the marsh and swamp forests of Kõrvemaa. The limestone coastline is a national symbol and a great sight wherever you visit it, especially interesting are the rivers flowing into the Baltic Sea, like in Jägala and Keila, where you’ll find the 8m high Jägala waterfall and in Keila the over 6m Keila-Joa waterfall. Make sure to visit the rapids of Treppoja, which falls consist of various terraces.
If you are heading towards Kostivere, know that the river there disappears under the earth and flows like this for 2.5km. Due to this there are a lot of karst-funnels, small cages etc. Visit the Luhala natural protection area with the very popular Tuhala witch well (in Sulu farm). In the east Harju County, in Kõrvemaa, there are a lot of swampy areas, marshes, swamp forests and beautiful lakes. In Harjumaa you’ll also find one part of the biggest and most important national parks in Estonia – Lahemaa.
If possible, visit at least one of the natural reserves (Paunküla, Pakri or Kolga bay natural reserve). For example in Paunküla with its water catchment with several islands, you can have a good rest or possibilities for wondering on foot or on bike.
Besides Tallinn and Paldiski there are five more cities in Harju County. Kehra at the Jägala River is interesting for its historical paper manufacture. You’ll also find a preserved wooden main building of the manor form the 1820-s. Or the town of Saue with its manor from the end of the 18th – during the 20th century an idyllic garden-city has developed around it.
The town of Keila is situated at the river of the same name, there are several parks and beautiful pine trees. The manor is located at Keila-Joa (the Keila waterfall) with the main building and several surrounding housings, unfortunately many of them raided or rebuilt.
The city of Maardu is characterized by industry and the lake of Maardu, there’s also the manor of Maardu. In Loksa you’ll find the Loksa Maarja and Loksa Kroonlinna churches.
If possible visit Aegviidu with the electrical train; Aegviidu arose in Kõrvemaa in the 18th century, as the Piibe road was built through marshes and swamps. Today Aegviidu is a pleasant place to visit for Tallinners in the summer.
In Aruküla you can visit both the manor and two natural protection objects: the giant megalith and the tamarack alley.
Kose-Uuemõisa manor in the Kose is historically very interesting and closely linked to the baron dynasty of von Uexküll. Unfortunately, many of the manor houses are in a bad state. You can visit the manor chapel; you’ll also find the ruins of the old greenhouse.
Viimsi hamlet next to Tallinn and situated on the Viimsi peninsula is one of the noblest suburbs of Tallinn with its wonderful sea views, pine forests and new villas. Be sure to visit the Viimsi open-air museum. If you go towards Paldiski, though, visit the Hüüru watermill (“Hüüru veski”) with its tavern, to get a proper meal or if you prefer to catch your meal yourself, there’s a great option to go fishing in the trout pond.
Only within a short trip outside Tallinn you’ll find the small hamlet Saku, which is home to both the beautiful manor of Saku as well as to the biggest and oldest brewery of Estonia – Saku Õlletehas.
Tabasalu, just outside the borders of Tallinn, as also become one of the popular suburbs with its wide seaside and cliff shore, as well as great possibilities for eating and recreation.
You can start you trip directly at the shores of Peipsi lake, in Tartu County which is full of surprises and natural beauty, from romantic fishermen villages, over Emajõe Suursoo (trans. Big Swamp) until the center of South-Estonia – Tartu. You’ll find something interesting all the year round.
The centre of the historical Old-Livonia is filled with fantastic manor experience, amongst Tartu County’s manor’s you’ll find some of Estonia’s and Baltic’s finest masterpieces and the wonderful natural surrounding only adds to the value.
On the other hand you can visit interesting museums, enjoy picturesque natural scenes, cities and lakes.
If you like hiking, go to Lake Pangodi on the Valides Vapramäe – Vellavere – Vitipalu route, you’ll find various hiking trails and resting places there.
Visit Elva, a small lovely city full of green not far from Tartu and known as a popular holiday destination. Hellenurme water mill close by is an over century old erected by the von Middendorffs, where you can observe old traditions of corn production.
Tõravere has the Tartu Observatory, located 21km south of Tartu and it offers lots of interesting experience to both young and old interested in astronomy.
Vooremaa landscape reserve is naturally diverse this both in flora and fauna, lots of lakes and landscape forms, many interesting hiking trails. Kallaste cliff-bank which is the longest Devonian sandstone outcrop, is an amazing sight. Make sure to visit the Aruküla and its caves.
As for manors, a must is Alatskivi. The Alatskivi castle dates from the 2nd half of the 19th century and was built by Arved von Nolcken in style of Scottish baron-manors, which was in fashion back then. As the manor is preserved in its original form, it’s considered to be the best example of neo-gothic architecture in the Baltics.
Luke, Kukulinna, Uderna, Ülenurme (location of Tartu airport), Mehikoorma, Saadjärve, Kodijärve and many other manors are interesting discoveries. From medieval times you can visit the ruins of the Kärkna monastery and Rõngu vassal-fortress. You’ll find the lighthouse of Mehikoorma your way back to Lake Peipsi. It’s a construction from the 1930-s and the tallest at the lake Peipsi measuring 15m.
Regarding churches in Tartu County, visit the St. Laurentsius church in Nõo (1159), Varnja old-believers’ church, Kambja church (from 1330the largest countryside church in South-Estonia), the monumental Alatskivi church by the von Stackelbergs from the 17th century or the Elva church.
Don’t forget Piirissaare (trans. the Border Island) – the only island of Tartu County and of the Estonian part of lake Peipsi – its special atmosphere and their old-believers church.
Having reached Tartu, take a day or better several days to discover this wonderful city, known as an old university city and famous for its classical-style old city center, many monuments, university etc. You can see the impressive cathedral ruins on Toomemägi hill, the St. Johns church (Jaani kirik) with the unique terracotta sculptures making it one of the finest examples of its kind, the botanical garden, Estonian National Museum, Emajõgi River, observatory and so on and so on. You will be amazed!
Because of its geography, nature and cultural history, Ida-Viru County (East-Virumaa) is definitely one of the most interesting regions in the whole of Estonia, side by side with industrial sites from the Soviet time and most wonderful nature.
Ida-Viru County also has an extraordinary manor heritage, so several of Ida-Viru manors are worth mentioning and visiting. Start with Saka manor, at the breathtaking cliff seashore of North-Estonia at a historically very interesting location. Interesting is not only that from 1941-1943 both Estonian and German sea defenders were located in the manor, but also that after the Soviet military cordon was situated there with its reconstructed border guard tower. You’ll find the neoclassical Saka manor main building from 1862-1864 surrounded by a park rich in species. There are good tenting and camping facilities, with a beautiful hotel, restaurant and spa in the manor.
147km from Tallinn you’ll find the historically interesting Aa manor from the end of the 17th century, restored in 1730-s (used as nursing home nowadays).
By chance visit the Illuka, Mäetaguse and Maidla manors. Especially worth visiting is the Kalvi manor, the location has been popular throughout the history being a popular recreation region. There’s a port close by and a lot of other sights.
In Ida-Viru County you can find different hiking trails, as Kotka, Purtse and Kurtna trails. The Oru castle park in the valley of the river Pühajõgi is historically exceptional, as it was the location of the Italian-style residence the first president (of the “1st Republic) of Estonia – Konstantin Päts. The castle was bombed and destroyed in the II World War. Toila, where the Oru park is located, is a lovely small town with good holiday facilities. The impressive North-Estonian cliff shore is best visited in the Saka-Ontika-Toila line.
In Ontika, make sure to visit the Valaste waterfall, which is the real heritage of the cliff shore and a real national symbol.
Ida-Viru County is famous for its blue mountains (Sinimäed), which have been a defense line in several wars (e.g. the Vaivara blue mountains). Ida-Viru County has also unique ash mountains (e.g. the Kiviõli ash mountains) which are the result of dredging and processing oil shale.
As a contrast, visit the biggest and most beautiful complex of lakes in Estonia, north of Iisaku-Illuka-Kurtna on the kame-field of Kurtna, consisting of 11 lakes and different natural forms.
Ida-Viru has various towns, most important new industrial towns are Jõhvi, Kiviõli, Sillamäe and Kohtla-Järve. In recent years however, many of these towns have started to positively transform and attract visitors. Sillamäe for example, which didn’t even exist on Soviet maps being a closed military city, has a fantastic and compact city center of Stalinist classicism worth seeing.
One of the most considerable sights in Ida-Viru County nowadays are the Kohtla mines, which have been changed into a museum (follow the signs from Kohta-Järve). And naturally, the old city of Narva at the border to Russia, which has historically been the centre between East and West – and the greatest city in the eastern part of the Kingdom of Sweden. The magnificent baroque hanseatic city was destroyed by the Soviets in the II World War, however the unique Hermann Fortress at the Narva River (opposite to the Ivangorod Fortress now on the Russian side) has been preserved/restored, however several historical fortifications have also survive and some preserved, as the city hall which still awaits proper restoration. The city however has a special aura.
Visit Narva-Jõesuu (trans. Narva River Mouth) north of Narva, the former popular destination of the czar-Russian aristocracy.
Ida-Viru County has dozens and dozens original and beautiful sites to visit, as the Kuremäe convent (trans. Stork’s Hill), medieval Purtse fortress and Jõhvi Mihkli church. Fishermen villages at the shore of Lake Peipsi as Vasknarva, Alajõe, Rannapungerja and Lohusuu – are surely worth discovering.
Pärnu County is the largest of Estonian counties by territory full of interesting sights and places. It has over 200km of shore, 177 islands and islets, historical small towns and great nature from swamps and marshes to forests and sea. And not to mention the summer capital of Estonia – Pärnu.
Historically Pärnu County has been on the crossroads of trade ways from north to south and east to west and the best start would indeed be the capital of Pärnu County – the city of Pärnu.
What would be Pärnu without its beach and its newly renovated the elegant Pärnu Beach Promenade. Pärnu, at the mouth of the Pärnu River, is older than one could guess. Old-Pärnu (Vana-Pärnu or Perona) at the mouth of the Sauga river, was a medieval city, which was destroyed many times and at one point, it was no longer rebuilt, but was connected to the city of New-Pärnu (Uus-Pärnu). On the Rüütli Str. you can many significant buildings, older objects are parts of the town fortification: partially preserved bastions and the moat the Red Tower (Punane torn) from the old medieval city wall and the baroque Tallinn’s Gate (Tallinna värav) from the 17th century. From later periods you can find the art nouveau-style Ammende Villa (from 1905) and several functional-style buildings (e.g. the Beach Hotel and Café from 1937 and 1940). The new theatre and several spa buildings were erected during the Soviet period. Pärnu might be charming all year round, but it’s still advised to visit Pärnu during the summer in order to make the most of it and spend as much time as possible outdoors.
After Pärnu one could visit the small town of Sindi 14km from Pärnu, named after the laird and Pärnu city counselor Carl Zindt and was fund at the 1st half of the 19th century as an industrial settlement (oldest industrial buildings from that period). Sindi is also known for educational facilities, many of which operate until nowadays. Worth seeing is the railway complex from the end of 1920s, the city hall and the Sindi-Lodja (barge) on Reiu river.
The third important town is the romantic Kilingi-Nõmme 40km from Pärnu, named after the manor of the Schillings and Nõmme tavern from 1789. Kilingi-Nõmme has preserved a fine example of main-street wooden architecture and numerous sculptures.
Visit the coastal areas of Päru County: Tõstamaa, Häädemeeste or Tahkuranna. Tõstamaa has an interesting Tõstamaa Maarja church (1763–1768), a manor with park from the beginning of the 19th century, Tõstamaa singing grounds and mill pond from 1970-s.
In Häädemeeste hamlet visit the Häädemeeste Mihkli church (1874), beautiful pine forests, shore meadows and the fine school building. The untouched Tolkuse marsh in Luitemaa reserve is impressive. Tahkuranna is a historic fishermen village and people there have been living from fishing for centuries.
Moving land inwards, you can visit Paikuse with the picturesque Reiu River, swimming possibilities, Seljametsa Lake with clear waters and the Soomaa National Park (trans. the ‘Land of the Swamp). There are 2 marshes on the territory of the park, the center is in the Tõramaa village.
In Tori, famous for its famous horse breed – the Tori horse – visit the Tori Museum, Tori church and Tori cemetery (consisting of the Lutheran and the Orthodox parts).
Vändra in North-Eastern part of Pärnu County is famous for its forests, there’s also a manor park and an old church park.
If you find time, a trip to the small island of Kihnu is a must (the other option is with plane). The island of Kihnu is so different and unique and despite of its smallness you can feel this special atmosphere on every step – be it the local folklore, traditional dresses, food, nature or traditions. Because of all this, the Kihnu region belongs to the masterpieces of oral heritage of the UNESCO.
The western half of the historical Virumaa region – today Lääne-Viru County, has a rich cultural and natural heritage. If arriving from Tallinn, take the direction towards Narva on the Peterburi highway. The capital of Lääne-Viru County is the historical Rakvere with its mighty Order castle. If possible, visit Võsu (a small hamlet) on your way – which is and has been a popular holiday destination for both Estonians as well as for numerous visitors coming from eastwards. If you are in Võsu, you are literally at the gates of the Lahemaa National Park (trans. “the Land of Bay’) which is undoubtedly the biggest richness of not only Lääne-Virumaa, but of the whole North-Estonian region. It’s the oldest natural resort in Estonia and surely one of the most important ones in Europe. To discover the whole Lahemaa you should consider at least a couple of days. The park was founded in 1971 to maintain, introduce and develop the nature and cultural heritage typical to North-Estonia.
Lahemaa National Park has several hiking and learning trails, like, nt. Majakivi-Pikanõmme learning trail (7km), Viru Raba learning trail (3,5km), Oandu learning trail (4,7km), Altja learning culture-historical trail (3km), Käsmu culture-historical trail (4,2km), Käsmu cycling trail (12km) and Võsu-Oandu hiking trail (9,5km).
Make sure to visit the romantic Käsmu fishermen village (mentioned already in the 15th century) and the Maritime Museum situated there. All across Estonia Käsmu is known as the village of captains and you’ll have a great chance to learn about the history of Käsmu in the museum. The museum is situated the former cordon house erected at the end of the 19th century.
The second, interesting old fishermen village is Altja, which is partially restored-reconstructed, including Uustalu and Toomarahva farmhouses with the side-buildings, the village swing, village tavern and fishing net sheds.
The indisputable pearls of Lääne-Viru County are the historically very magnificent and restored manors of Palmse and Sagadi. Palmse, at the very heart of Lahemaa Natural Park is one of the most unique restored manor complexes in the all Baltic States. The manor was erected in the 18th century by the von Pahlen family, nowadays it houses an interesting museum. The whole manor complex is surrounded by a beautiful park with numerous, rare old trees, swan ponds and park pavilions. The stable houses the Lahemaa National Park Nature Centre.
Sagadi, similarly, is considered to be one of the finest manor complexes in Estonia. Altogether, the main house exhibits the manor culture (architecture and interior design) from the 18th to 20th century 18 houses of the ensemble have been restored. The former garner-stable houses the Forest Museum and introduces the topics related to Estonian forestry.
You may also visit the unique Vao tower-castle and the limestone museum in Porkuni. Kiltsi castle with its admiral room from the end of the 18th century, is historically interesting (owned by the famous family of von Krusenstern).
At the end, you shouldn’t miss Rakvere – a nice and historical town of middle size in Estonian context. It fascinates you with its mighty Order castle walls from 14th to 16th century, the interior has been partially restored and preserved. The front courtyard has a handicraft yard, animal loose-box, the Schenkenberg tavern and various medieval attractions (turret, stone sling, bricole, bow shooting, sword fighting etc.). You can see several expositions about the history and weapons of the Livonian Order through centuries. You can also visit the wine cellar, the chapel and the torture chamber.
At the castle you’ll not overlook the mighty sculpture of aurochs (‘Tarvas’) which once gave its name to the mighty fortress of Tarvanpää.
Viljandi County is also known as Mulgimaa and locals (the ‘Mulgid’) are proud their homeland, not only because of their historical capital Viljandi (Ger. Felllin), but of their special heritage and traditions.
Old traditions and habits are honored in Mulgimaa, starting from their special dialect up to their food, folklore and legends.
Biggest towns of Viljandi County are Viljandi, Mõisaküla and Võhma. Big parts of Viljandi County are located at the beautiful Sakala highlands with its magnificent wild valleys like Viljandi and Karksi. In the east Viljandi County there’s the biggest inland water body of Estonia – Võrtsjärv – rich in fish (famous for its eel) surrounded by swampy forests and meadows. There are great swimming locations and other locations for resting and outdoor activities, also for water sports.
Visit the biggest national park of Viljandi County – Soomaa (trans. Land of Swamp), with Estonia’s biggest swamps, forests and meadows. There’s often high water there in spring, which locals call the 5th season.
Visit the best preserved manor complex in Estonia in Olustvere with its cobble-stone main building and park alleys with ponds in English style by G. Kuphaldt. The castle hill in Lõhavere, also Pilistvere and Suure-Jaani with its land church are of interest.
Heimtal, with its manor distillery from 1832 is a popular place for fares also known for breeding sport horses.
In Karksi-Nuia, visit Õisu manor, the smithy (one of the biggest in Estonia) and the manor park, which of one of the best preserved baroque ensembles in South-Estonia. At Abja manor, there are over 500 cobble stone roads well preserved in the region, with Abja museum worth visiting.
In Halliste you can visit the best preserved old land church in Estonia from the 15th century (St. Anna church). Close by in Hendrikhansu outcrop, you can see the widest of Estonian sandstone outcrops.
The old centre of Viljandi County, the city of Viljandi, was mentioned already in 1154 but it has been inhabited long before this in ancient times. Viljandi has been one of the most important locations in the history of Estonia and Old-Livonia (back then as the Sakala County), also being one of the 4 Estonian Hanseatic cities. Viljandi Orders’ castle was the mightiest fortification complexes in Old-Livonia. The hanging bride and castle hill of Viljandi are one or the most legendary spots in Estonia.
The ruins of the historical Karksi Order’s fortress are one of the pearls of Viljandimaa. A baroque church was erected midst the ruins in the 18th century. You’ll also find an original nature park, primeval valley, ancient trees and blue springs supposedly with healing powers.
Rapla County in North-Western Estonia is with Järva County the only county in Estonia which has no border to another country or to a large water body.
Rapla County covers 4 types of Estonian landscape: Pärnu lowlands, North-Estonian plateau, West-Estonian lowlands and Kõrvemaa. Rapla County has the most important Estonian watershed, Paluküla hill and many more sights to visit. Most famous city is the County capital Rapla, followed by hamlets like Järvakandi, Kohila and Märjamaa.
Rapla County has around 100 manors with each of them having its own, different (hi)story. If interested in manor heritage, visit Järlepa, a classical-style manor at the southern shore of a lake and surrounded by a beautiful park.
Mahtra manor remembers the visitors about the events of the Mahtra war/novel. Most of the houses of the modest manor are destroyed, there are a lot of ruins left. Maidla manor has belonged to the famous family of the von Maydells giving the manor its today’s name – it’s a baroque stone manor from the 2nd half of the 17th century.
Kehtna manor was constructed around 1790 with the early-classical main building standing until nowadays with a fine park. There’s a nice 0.5km alley leading towards Rapla.
Helle manor was erected in 1870-s as a late-historic castle, it was destroyed during the uprising of 1905 and only the 2-storeyd right side could be rebuilt. The classical Hõreda manor is considered to be the finest example of its kind in Estonia.
In addition to this, Rapla County has other historical sites of interest, such as Loone castle hill (mentioned in the famous Henrik’s Livonian Chronicle as „castrum Lone“) actually consisting of 2 castles Loone I and Loone II.
Further to Keava castle hill in Kehtna parish, which is considered to be one of the biggest centers in Estonia during the Viking period. Varbola castle in Märjamaa parish is one of the largest castles of ancient Estonia. The gate passage and the 13m well with the surrounding limestone wall have been restored, with turret and bricole.
Haimre Park and chapel with the large neo-gothic park pavilion from the end of the 18th century (along with the partially preserved ice-cellar in the manor park) is a true oasis. The famous great stone – Pahkla Suurkivi, also called the King of the Estonian Stones, measures 29.5m x 4.4m. Other significant glacial boulders close by are Mägrakivi (trans. Badger’s Stone), Mari Nutukivi (trans. Mary’s Weeping Stone) and Ussipõllu Suurkivi (trans. Great Stone of Snake’s Field) with 17 sacrificial hollows. All of the stone have their own legends…
Kuimetsa karst field is the biggest and most unique of its kind in Estonia with many different forms of karst and Estonia’s largest caves. Loosalu Lake at the western edge of Kõrvemaa is the largest marsh lake in Estonia.
Jalase village with its interesting landscape pattern is worth visiting, as well as, Vigala river and the surroundings of the Vana-Vigala manor, Pakamägi hill in Raikküla, considered to be the meeting place of ancient Estonia’s tribal leaders in Henrik’s Livonian Chronicle, Paluküla castle hill, which is connected to the story of Kalevipoeg’s sling throwing and where one should see Kalevipoeg’s fingerprints until today. Make sure not to miss the chance to visit the Eeru tavern, built in 1840, which has as the only one survived and maintained its original form as a typical North-Estonian peasant tavern.
There are several interesting museums to see, like Mahtra Peasant Folk’s Museum (Mahtra Talurahvamuuseum), Kabala Cotton Mill (Villaveski) and Sillaotsa Farm Museum (Talumuuseum). The proud capital of Rapla County is the town of (Ger./Russ. Rappel), with its magnificent 2-towered Rapla Church having no other competition in Estonia except for the Tallinn Kaarli church.
Vigala or Konuvere River flows through the city, interesting sights include Rapla’s old cemetery and chapel with von Tiesenhausen’s burial chambers. Also Kalevipoeg’s whetstone or the Kõpsoni stone, Rapla’s stone bridge from the end of the 18th century and several administrative buildings from 1920-s and 1930-s.
Võru County or as locals say – Võro maakund (Võrumaa), is a region worth discovering and full of extremes and Estonian ‘most-s’ from the longest river in Estonia to the tallest peak of the Baltics. Võru County has preserved a lot of local traditions and Võrumaa’s folk are very proud of it. There’s a lot to see in all seasons.
Võru County’s nature is vetust and untouched. Most beautiful lakes are Vagula and Tamula. Estonia’s longest river Võhandu offers adventures both for active vacation and for just discovering.
Haanja Nature Park is located at the heart of Võru County. To name few of the most important sights right away, it’s necessary to mention the highest hill of the Baltic States – the Suur Munamägi (trans. the Big Egg-hill at 318m) and an impressive watchtower stretching to 346m. In the primeval valley of Rõuge you’ll find both Tindi and Ööbiku valleys, hydraulic rams, steep slopes and Rõuge Suurjärv (trans. Big Lake of Rõuge) which is the deepest lake in Estonia. Vällamäe primeval forest is untouched by human hand and surprises you with the 84m Vällamäe hill and Iskne creek.
Obinitsa in Setomaa is small but famous all over Estonia, so you should definitely visit the Seto Muuseumitarõ (trans. Seto’s Museum Farmand numerous tsässona’s (Seto’s traditional “churches”), the cemetery and new church. It’s unlikely that you’ll find such a close experience of Seto’s life somewhere else and more understand their complicated past and present.
Antsla in turn is green and peaceful, a typical Estonian small town with its typical architecture and atmosphere.
Close by is the Karula national park (covering also the territory of Valga County), with over 60 lakes and hillocked forests.
As for Võrumaa’s manors, visit the neo-gothic/historicism-style Sõmerpalu manor -house from 1860-1878, which is in private hands nowadays.
Järevere at Lake Vagula, was founded as a supporting-manor for Sõmerpalu, is a small historicism-style manor complex belonging to Sõmerpalu Parish Government. Vana-Antsla manor complex has a long history with interesting buildings and primeval oaks.
Moving forward you should visit Võru County’s capital – Võru, located between Otepää and Haanja highlands. There are 3 lakes in the city: Tamula, Kubija and Mustjärv. You can cross the hanging bridge on Lake Tamula to the Rose island, visit the Võru Katariina church (1793) and the orthodox church (1806), as well as the cemetery for the fallen of the Freedom War and the Freedom war monument.
If you have a chance to visit Urvaste, find the Tamme-Lauri oak, which is the thickest tree in Estonia – measuring a diameter of 8m.
If you like swamps and swamp trips, you are in the right please as even with the number of swamps Võru County tops all other counties having over 2300 swamps (Luhasoo being the most famous).
To end, you may visit Vastseliina at the Piusa River, also Rõuge and Misso but you should have a lot of time to discover all of Võrumaa’s beauty…
Saare County consists of the islands of Saaremaa (Ger./Swe. Ösel), Muhu (Ger./Swe. Moon), Ruhnu (Ger./Swe. Runö) and numerous other smaller islands, the centre is the historical Kuressaare.
The Saaremaa people have always had their own head and way of being, trying to make a difference between their folk and the others on the mainland. And this has a reason. Saaremaa is very unique and difference, full of surprises not only for vacation, but for everyone interested in wandering, culture and nature.
The island has changed many masters through centuries, which has left a unique mark on Saaremaa.
After the II World War Saaremaa fulfilled a strategic military role, followed by decades of isolation and being a closed military zone.
The nature and flora climate of Saaremaa is diverse due to its climate. Good examples are Viidumäe nature reserve as sell as Vilsandi National Park. Especially famous is the Kaali meteor crater.
Kuressaare (Ger. Arensburg) is the historical centre of Saaremaa with its lovely old town and fort-type square fortress. The old town houses 2 historical churches, Laurentiuse and Siioni), as well as the historical old mill, trade-yard and several houses of the bourgeoisie. The historical City Hall and the Weighing House date back from the 17th century (‘the Swedish Era’), the House of Knighthood from the 18th century.
The Kuressaare Bishops Castle is the most important sight and probably the most visited object in Saaremaa, dating back to the 14th century almost in an unchanged form – do visit the Museum of Saaremaa located there. The surroundings of the castle is remarkable, especially the moat with the great possibility of renting paddle boats to discover every corner.
As for other special sights, visit the windmill hill in Angla, where even in 1925 still 9 windmills operated, 5 have remained so far. It’s surely one of the best examples of windmill ensembles in its original location in Estonia.
Close to the Panga village you’ll find the Panga bank (cliff) stretching 2.5km wide and with the height of up to 20m, it’s the tallest of Saaremaa’s and Muhu’s northern cliff-banks.
In Kihelkonna hamlet 30km from Kuressaare you’ll find a historic church (church and interior paintings from 13th century!) with a cemetery, the singing grounds and the famous Kihelkonna clock tower.
As for manors, one should bring up Loona manor (Ger. Kadvel) – which is a knight’s manor in Kihelkonna hamlet. The early-classical main building was built in the beginning of the 19th century, housing a guesthouse and the visitor’s center of Vilsandi national park.
In Orissaare parish visit the Maasi village, being the administrative centre of Muhu and East-Saaremaa in medieval times. There was the Maasilinna Order’s fortress (Ger. Soneburg), which lies in ruins since the 16th century but has nevertheless played an important role in Saaremaa’s history. The ruins have been restored since 2001 with large scale excavations and conservation. Orissaare hamlet has a port and the Upper and Lower lighthouse.
Saaremaa has numerous well-preserved medieval churches, which you’ll find in almost every village or hamlet, the most significant being in Karja, Kuressaare, Valjala and Kaarma.
The island of Muhu (Muhumaa), which is the third largest Estonian island located North-East of Saaremaa, is linked to Saaremaa with the dam of Väik Väin (trans. the Small Straight). Muhu has a lot of islets, the biggest being Kõinastu, Kesselaid, Suurlaid, Viirelaid and Võilaid. Muhu has shared a similar history as Saaremaa.
Koguva village has the Muhu museum with good examples of past wealthy life of the coastal villages, it’s also the birth house of Juhan Smuul, old village school and a textile exhibition. Liiva is the biggest village and center of Muhumaa. Muhumaa has a lot of cliff-banks, such as Kautliku, Kesselaiu, Kiigari, Panga etc., as well as numerous smaller islands and peninsulas. Muhu’s specialty is its unique national costumes. Additionally worth seeing is the Eemu windmill, Võiküla village (coastal defense cordon and historical cobble stone road), Mäla stone tumulus, Rinsi Kaasani God Mother’s Church and Sepamäe cemetery. For the ones into hiking, go to Kesse hiking trail on Kesselaiu.
The Jõgeva County, speaking of popular tourist destinations in Estonia, is often forgotten – lying in eastern Estonia at the historically significant shore of Lake Peipsi. Many legends are connected to Jõgeva County and the history, culture and nature of the county are diverse – starting from the town of Põltsamaa, over the region of Vooremaa up to the western shore of Peipsi.
The region of Põltsamaa has lots of beautiful and historical manors, Põltsamaa itself is one of the most interesting places in Jõgeva County, know for the ruins of its historical castle as well as the wine capital of Estonia. The square shaped castle of the Holy Order has been conquered and rebuilt many times and been the residence of various masters. The castle was unfortunately destroyed in the, however up to nowadays you can winder through the beautiful rose garden and the baroque castle church. In Kaarlimõisa close to Põltsamaa you’ll find the historically important house of the Estonian Alexander’s School.
In Jõgeva County you will discover many locations linked to the epic Estonian national hero, Kalevipoeg (trans. Son of Kalev). Many of them are various natural objects, bodies of water, moraines, hills, sling stones etc.
Reaching Palamuse, an Estonian will have an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia of the popular “Kevade” movie and its invisible presence. Visit the Palamuse church and the Oskar Luts Parish Museum.
Elistvere animal park is very unique in Estonia, as you can see a lot of different animal and bird species there. There’s a nice lake close by, the Elistvere swamp and the Nava creek. Typically, there’s once been a manor here.
One of the most beautiful manor complexes in Jõgeva County is located in Puurmani; in 1877-1881 one of the most beautiful and impressive manors in the style of neo-renaissance in the whole Estonia was erected there with its octagon-shaped main tower and interesting manor park. There’s not much left of the side building and the manor houses a school nowadays.
In Kursi close at the shore of river Pedja you’ll find the Maarja-Eliisabeti church with its 12 small, arrow-like apostle towers. There are a many interesting legends about the construction of the church.
In Kärde you’ll find a so-called “Small House of Peace”, where according to local legends, the significant Russo-Swedish peace treaty of Kärde was signed. Kärde is located at an old, important postal road, close to Kärde hill with forest-covered Endla marsh behind it. Kärde park, the Peter’s stone and the so-called Peace-ditch are of further interest. Close by are many different lakes connected to old legends, like the lake Männika, which was supposed to be the dwell of Kalevipoeg and lake Endla, where supposedly the daughter of Vanemuine (epic Estonian figure) – Jutta – used to (there’s the Jutta stone at the lakeside).
Laiuse, with its parallel name Sootaga, is a historical site with a former ancient order castle, which has belonged to Germans, Polish, Swedes and Russians. Interesting is that one of the oldest schools in Estonia is located in Estonia. The St. Jüri church in Laiuse dates back to 14th century, the orthodox church of Laiuse in Mõisaküla dates from the 19th century.
The small town of Mustvee at the northwestern shore of lake Peipsi is an interesting manor site grown out of a fishermen village with the historical Russian name Tšornõi (the ‘black’) historically inhabited by Russian old-believers. Visit the original Scales museum and one of Kalevipoeg’s numerous sling stones. On the shore of Peipsi you will find the monument “Mourning girl”. From the historical 7 congregations of Mustvee 4 are today still active, the Apostle Nikolai Orthodox Church, the St. Trinity Church, Mustvee Lutheran and Mustvee Old-believer’s Church. You can also visit the Raja old-believer’s church and the Luua manor.
Järva County can be counted as the heart of Estonia, despite of the fact that geographically the County is located more in North-Estonia. The centre of Järva County is the historic town of Paide.
Järva County offers numerous manors, museums, sights and various activities.
There are 8 historical churches, 6 of which are erected in 13th-14th century, mostly in gothic style. Therefore Ambla, Koeru, Järva-Peetri, Järva-Madise and Järva-Jaani churches are worth mentioning. Paide (19th to 20th century) and Anna (from 1776) churches date from later periods.
Järva-Jaani, Järva-Madise and Järva-Peetri are small „Järva-county-like“ hamlets and all proud, as old church centers, to wear the historical prefix Järva-.
Järva County has a rich manor heritage, but as time has done its part, many of the manors are no longer there. The manors were mostly erected in the 18th and 19th century and the ones used as schools after the nationalization of the manors are best preserved. Less-known are Aruküla and Sargvere manors. Aruküla manor in Koeru was erected already in 17th century. The main building (from 1830-s) including governor’s house’s dwell and the dwell house, manor park and the slightly further located von Tolli’s family chapel form the manor complex. The 2-storied main building from limestone has a classicistic facade and houses the Koeru School.
Sagevere manor from 1722 (knight’s manor) is situated in Peetri. The stone main building was erected in 1760-s, some of the great rococo stuck-ceilings have preserved (nowadays a library). Not much is left of the great honor-square and manor park. Following historical manors are worth visiting: Eivere (beautiful and restored neo-gothic castle with the possibility for accommodation, meetings and celebrations), Albu (one of the oldest Order manors in Estonia and the biggest in Järva County; today – school), Roosna-Alliku at the heights of Pandivere and located at the edge of Kõrvemaa (considered as one of the most beautiful manor houses in Estonia; today – school) or Laupa manor (the main house is considered to e one of the best examples of manor construction of the 20th century in Estonia; built in 1914 under the influence of the style of retro-art nouveau; today – school).
To speak about the natural pearls of Järva County, one should visit the Endla natural reserve with many for central Estonia typical marshes, marsh islands and karst-wells. The centre of the natural reserve, however, is located in Jõgeva County, in Tooma village. Hiking friends will find several good and well-marked trails and many different sources, as Norra, Sopa and Oostriku.
You can experience more modern farm culture in the Sassi Ostrich Farm. For change you can visit the Karinu glass cottage (glass-making) and the Kiigeland thematic swing-park.
Visit the center of Järva County, city of Paide. The castle in Paide was historically called Wittenstein or the white stone, with reference to the white color of the mighty Order castle. The construction of the castle started already in the 12th century and by the end of the century, Paide had become one of the most important military centers of the German Order. Paide suffered heavily in medieval wars and its military importance faded by 18th century as part of the Russian Empire as center of Järva district. Paide church was constructed in 1786 and the Paide courthouse some years later. Next century brought a hospital and an orthodox church to the city. The castle hill was rearranged by the end of the 19th century, as well as the historical castle tower (the ‘Vallitorn’), which was blown up by the Soviets in the II World War. The years of the “1st” republic brought several functional-style buildings to Paide and luckily, the city was not heavily damaged in the last war. Nevertheless, many of historical wooden buildings in the centre were demolished in the post-war years and replaced by modern, faceless blockhouses.
Valga County is Estonia’s gate to the south bordering with Põlva, Tartu, Võru and Viljandi counties and in South-West to Latvia. Ancient summits of Old-Livonia took place in Valga centuries ago – when Latvia and Estonia got independent, the importance of the city lead to the event that colonel Tallents from Great Britain arbitrarily divided the city into two halves between Estonia and Latvia. It’s like this until nowadays with Valga’s Latvian ‘sister-city’ being Valka.
You’ll find numerous natural and historic sites. For instance the so-called Love Wellspring (Armuallikas) or the Blood’s Headspring (Veriläte), the most well-known of Pühajärve’s (transl. Holy Lake) springs, with special water said to have healing powers and to cure the ill. The Helme undercroft on the narrow edge of the Helme Order’s castle was supposedly dug already before the ancient Freedom War of the 13th century.
Karula national park, which Valga County shares with Võru count, offers various opportunities for wandering, hiking and resting. The hillocked landscape covers the whole reserve, it has a quite specific type of forest, a lot of meadows, swamps and lakes. You’ll enjoy the great view on Otepää and Haanja regions form the Tornimäe viewing tower.
Don’t miss Otepää, which old residents still often by its old historical name – Nuustaku. Otepää is not only famous as the Estonian winter and skiing capital, but is a really historical site of the old, mighty Bishop’s Fortress. Today you can admire impressive ruins, which once used to be the first stone fortress in Estonia. The Estonian national flag was inaugurated in Otepää’s Maarja church. You may also visit the memorial statue of the dead of the Estonian Freedom War and the energy column next Apteekrimägi (transl. Pharmacist’s Hill), symbolizing the existence of energy fields in Otepää.
Pühajärv (trans. the Holy Lake) is a very popular holiday destination and undoubtedly one f the most beautiful lakes in Estonia with 5 islands and waters rich in fish. There are a lot of local legends about the lake as well.
Further, the town Tõrva is located at the river Õhne. The tavern building is considered to be the finest building of the city and its true symbol. At the western end of the city in Tikste valley, visit the Helme church-manor, the Õhne river valley and flood plain, different sand outcrops, springs and high fir forests.
There are a lot of manors and castles in Valga County, e.g. the Hellenurme manor with its baroque main building. You’ll find several well-preserved side buildings as well. The family cemetery and chapel of the famous aristocrat family of von Middendorffs is located around 1km away from the manor. Hellenurme impounded lake and the cobble stone water mill at its shore is a nice place to go to as well.
The ruins of the Helme Order’s castle date back to 14th century and are pretty impressive, down in the valley you’ll find the ‘victim’s spring’ (ohvriallikas) which is told to have healing powers against 7 diseases.
Don’t miss out on visiting the magnificent Sangaste and Taagepera castles. Sangaste is a grand manor of red brick stone and dating back from 1881, it’s one of the best examples of historicism in the Baltics. See the ponds and the manor park with rare species. Taagepera castle and park were erected in the beginning of the 20th century, so the castle has a slightly archaic appearance. The castle park is one of the richest in species in Estonia and if you are already there, you must visit the Taagepera castle hotel.
Põlva County is historically and naturally one of the most diverse regions in Estonia – ancient riverbeds and old forests, lakes and marshes. Põlva County, a border region for ages, is home to many of Estonian folk myths, legends and folktales. The setos (Seto people) living in Põlva County have luckily been able to preserve parts of their unique way of living, their language and habits.
Põlva County’s manors and castles have a long and interesting history.
Starting from the old valley of Ahja river, visit the valley’s nature protection reserve between Koorvere and Valgesoo mill.
Taevaskoja (trans. the ‘Chamber of Heaven’) is a well-known and legendary site all over Estonia with its amazing sand cliffs which are up to 400 million years old.
Another great site to visit is Ilumetsa (trans. the ‘Forest of Beauty’), with various meteorite craters with interesting historical names such as Kuradihaud (trans. Devil’s Grave), Põrguhaud – the biggest of all (trans. Hell’s Grave) and Sügavhaud (trans. Deep Grave). Compared to the most famous crater in Estonia, Kaali – situated on the island of Saaremaa –the craters of Ilumetsa are indeed smaller, but they are much older and are preserved in a better and original form. There are many local legends about Ilumetsa, for instance one shouldn’t say the word devil in Ilumetsa, which would led the one direct to the old devil himself… Many are supposed to have gone missing there.
There are a lot of beautiful lakes in Põlva County, like Kiidjärv, Jõksi, Palo, Pikajärve and also Nohipalu Valgejärv (white lake) and Mustjärv (black lake) with many hiking trails around the lakes. At Kiidjärve Lake visit the Otteni mill, where some of the scenes of the legendary movie “Viimne Reliikvia” (The Last Relict) were shot, on the Ahja River you can enjoy a canoe trip or visit the 200 years old manor park. You can have a good rest at the Jõksi Lake. Palojärv, which is very popular among both locals and visitors, is the Palojärv with sandy ground and clear water. At the valley of the Laanemägi (over 200m) you’ll find the Pikajärve Lake rich in fish. You should also visit the main building of the Pikajärve manor, nowadays more known as the Cantervilla castle. Valgejärv and Mustjärv are located next to each other, so you’ll find the clearest and darkest lake waters in Estonia there.
Piusa caves in Orava parish are a great sight on its own and well known as the biggest wintertime resort of bats in the Baltics.
Suur-Taevaskoja (trans. the Great Heaven’s Hall) with its natural sound hall and Emaläte (trans. Mother’s Headspring) is one of the most beautiful natural site and also known from the scenes of the “Viimne Reliikvia” movie.
Põlva County’s most notable towns are Põlva with its church and Intsikurmu open-air stage, Räpina – with Sillapää castle and famous, historical paper manufacture and Värska in Setomaa with it s popular spa.
The villages Põlva County have preserved their unique, old atmosphere and because of the closeness of the border water (the lakes Peipsi and Lämmijärv share the border with Russia) the whole region is diverse in its history and nature.
Make sure to visit Kanepi (Jaani church from 1877), Mikitamäe, where you must try the local onion, dried fish and the Seto cheese – sõir, Tonja, where you’ll experience a true feeling of Setos everyday life and the historical Võõpsu with its tsässona – the traditional sanctum of the Seto village community. In case of important events there are traditional hourly services (tsässovna) held there. Close by there’s the traditional village of Russian old believers – Beresje.
Lääne County (also Läänemaa, the ‘West Land’), as the name already says, is situated in the western part of Estonian mainland. The centre of the region is the historic health resort and bishop’s residence – Haapsalu.
Lääne County is even, situated fully on the lowlands is West-Estonia. Having a long coastline, sea has always influenced the life of people in the Lääne County. Specific to Lääne County is the long tradition and history of “coastal Swedes” (Swedes who settled to West-Estonian coast centuries ago), reflected in local names like Aulepa (Dirslätt), Dirhami (Derhamn), Einbi (Enby), Elbiku (Ölbäck), Fällarna, Förby, Hälvati, Höbringi (Höbring), Hosby (Noarootsi), Kudani (Gutanäs), Norrby, Osmussaare (Odensholm), Pürksi (Birkas), Saare (Lyckholm), Suur-Nõmmküla (Klottorp), Sviby, Söderby, Tahu (Skåtanäs), Tuksi (Bergsby), Gambyn, Väike-Nõmmküla (Persåker), Österby and many more.
Let’s start in Haapsalu, historically Hapsal. Make sure you will visit the mighty bishop castle from the end of the 13th century, which is one of the best preserved medieval castles in Estonia. Until the 16th century the centre of Saare-Lääne diocese was situated in the castle, which is surrounded by a over 800m circular wall.
The Haapsalu Cathedral has excellent acoustics, therefore it’s a great location for concerts and performances. The baptizing window of the cathedral is famous for the legend of the “Whine Lady!, who reveals herself on the window during the nights of full moon in August. In the watch tower you can have a great view on the surroundings, from the castle square move towards the city. Its street network has preserved almost the medieval formation.
Visit the Lääne County Museum, St. Jaani church from the beginning of the 16th, Peter’s House and the Orthodox Church from the 19th century. Haapsalu’s beach (so-called ‘Aafrika beach’) and the beach promenade are the most important places in the city – visit the historical Haapsalu Kuursaal (“The Sanitarium Hall”), various monuments and also drop into the Coastal Swedes Museum. Haapsalu was the proud capital for the coastal Swedes of Estonia until the II World War. You’ll find the Haapsalu railway station (Railway Museum) impressing, as it was erected especially to welcome the Russian Czar Family and at that time it was had the longest roof-covered railway platform in Northern-Europe (216m).
You should head towards Rohuküla to visit the Vormsi (Swe. Ormsö) island, which for centuries has been home to coastal Swedes. It’s the 4th biggest island of Estonian and has from old times been linked to the Vikings. The coastal Swedes were forced to leave Estonia with the m but their old spirit is still there. You’ll find typical pine forests on the island, the centre is the village of Hullo and the coastline stretches ca. 100km. You’ll surely find a nice place for resting, there are several pensions on the island. There are also various unique plant and animal species on the island found rarely in the rest of Europe.
Do visit Noarootsi (Swe. Nuckö), which is a peninsula and a parish, visit the local St. Katariina church with the church yard, established probably on the 13th–14th century or the Liberty War monument and the pastoral building. All of Noarootsi’s 22 villages (also) have Swedish names, most interesting of them might me Dirham with a port, post office and the station for the Institute for Estonian Meteorology and Hydrology. Osmussaar has an old lighthouse from 1765. Since 1940 when the contract of military bases was forced upon Estonia by the Soviets, the Soviets started to erect the coast defense there and during the war there were heavy combats and bombardments in the region. During Soviet times Osmussaar was a closed military territory.
In Paslepa, which used to be the largest village of Noarootsi with its best fields, has the Paslepa manor. Make a stop in Pürksi, which is the center of Noarootsi with a school, manor and a beautiful port in Österby, where you can enjoy a beautiful view on the silhouette of Haapsalu. Right of there, there is the cape of Ramsi, the most northwestern tip of Estonia with rare plants, which may have come here with Vikings.
You could head towards Riguldi, with juniper forests, holiday villages and sandy beaches.
Nõva parish is interesting in its nature (center is the village of Nõva) with its partial 3 nature preservation areas – Leidissoo, Nõva and Läänemaa Suursoo. Of interest is the Kürema natural protection area of stone sowing.
In Lihula you will find natural locations, Lihula marsh and Matsalu national park. Lihula is mentioned already in the 13th century and since then the area has been an important military point. The Lihula manor house dates from 1840-s.
If you are more for outdoors activity, you can visit the Marimetsa hiking trail, there are good possibilities for swimming in Kullamaa lake. There’s a church complex and an old watermill from 19th century.
Hiiumaa island (Ger./Swe. Dagö) is a County on its own. Prefer to travel by sea to Hiiumaa.
The center of the island is the only city of Hiiumaa – Kärdla, first mentioned in 1564 and historically a Swedish settlement. Worth visiting are the church of Kärdla and the central square, there’s also a proper port for regular connections to Saaremaa and the mainland.
Then move towards Pühalepa, which has some of Hiiumaa’s islets like Vohilaid and Heinlaid and most of which are included to the Hiiumaa landscape protection reserve of islets. Kallaste landscape protection reserve has the Kallaste cliff-bank.
The St. Laurentius church in Pühalepa is Hiiumaa’s oldest church dating back to the 12th century and it is surrounded by Suuremõisa wild park. In 1951 the church fell into ruin and was used as a warehouse afterwards, in 1993 it was rebuild as a church. Some hundred meters north of the church you’ll find the Devil’s Stone, where the devil was supposedly aimed to hit the church with this stone and missed… This is only one of the many local legends – there are a lot of similar ancient stones in the region. One story tells that there was a secret underground passage from the Suuremõisa (Hiiu-Suuremõisa) castle to the church, in case the earl needed to escape – which is rather unlikely considering the distance of one kilometer in-between. Suuremõisa park is Hiiumaa’s biggest and most representative park with the caste’s main building used until nowadays as local civic centre, main school and Hiiumaa Industrial School.
Move towards Käina, with the ruins of Käina church (from around 1500) bombed in the II World War (supposedly the watch guard in the church tower shot on a destroyer flying over out of boredom and the pilot returned fire which destroyed the church).
Reigi in Kõrgessaare parish also has a historical church and there used to be a cattle manor and church manor as well.
Southwards go to Emmaste, the church was completed in 1867. Emmaste manor (Ger. Emmast) is at the south-most tip of Hiiumaa and houses a school.
The most famous spot on Hiiumaa must be Kõpu, with its famous lighthouse from the 16th century thus being the oldest lighthouse in Estonia, at the Baltic Sea and in the whole Baltic. One guesses, it might actually be the 2nd or 3rd oldest remaining lighthouse in the world. It’s built on 67m above the sea level at the highest point of Hiiumaa, the tower itself measures 36m. The tower was attacked only once in its history, during the bombing in the II World War in 1941 by German airplanes. The building below the tower was destroyed and the tower glassed sand optical instruments, but the tower itself luckily remained intact.