Revision as of 05:24, 27 December 2009
Gravel road in Kassari, Hiiumaa
Hiiumaa   is the second biggest island in Estonia. The Swedish and German name of the island is Dagö.
It's located just north of Saaremaa Island and west from the mainland. Formed 455 million years ago as a result of a meteorite explosion Hiiumaa is one of the oldest islands in the world.
The island is known for its wealth of lighthouses.
The people of Hiiumaa are peaceful and tolerant. They live close to nature and have their own language – the Hiiu dialect is not easily recognisable even to Estonians.
The most important thing to remember about the people is their sense of humor – they like to laugh at themselves and love all kinds of jokes - especially the ones about their neighbours (the people of Saaremaa).
Thanks to the surrounding sea, the climate on Hiiumaa is a bit different from the one on the continent. There are more sunny days and less rainy days.
The quickiest way to reach Hiiumaa is by air. The regular flights between Tallinn and Kärdla are operated by Avies six days a week (no flights on Saturdays) and all the year round. It takes 35 minutes to fly from Tallinn to Kärdla and there is a bus waiting the passengers at Kärdla Airport.
While planning the bus trip one should keep in mind that despite of Hiiumaa being so small, still not all the buses are heading to Kärdla, some are going along the southern part of the island to Käina and Emmaste. The schedules can be found at Bussireisid.ee
Mostly people come to Hiiumaa by ferries, either from Rohuküla (on mainland) to Heltermaa or from Triigi in Saaremaa to Sõru.
Saaremaa Shipping Company takes passengers onto Rohuküla-Heltermaa, Rohuküla-Sviby and Triigi-Sõru by ferries with shops, bars and restaurants and other places on board. The trip lasts 1,5h. You can choose between the shop, bistro and bar. Tickets can be booked 30 days in advance.
The smaller ferry "Kõrgelaid" is sailing the Sõru-Triigi route. The ferry is small and more ascetic but the trip lasts only 60 minutes. No sailing on during severe ice condition in winter-time.
By ice road
During winter time an ice road (yes! an ice road on the sea)connects the mainland to Hiiumaa.
An ice road differs by letting people drive at quite a high speed with safety belts open. The speed is reduced only while approaching the occasional board- covered cracks. The crossing takes approximately 20 minutes to cover the distance with favourable conditions. You can even pass the ferries that "drive" on the next line!
Where to stay
The official Estonian tourism website provides an extensive list of options for accommodation in Hiiumaa.
- Tourist Information Centre, Hiiu 1, 92413 Kärdla. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, tel +372 462 22 32 , fax +372 462 22 32.
- Hiiumaa Military Museum, Tahkuna nina, Tahkuna küla, Kõrgessaare vald, Hiiu maakond. The crown jewel of the exhibition is the BB-316 cannon barrel from the Tahkuna Kukeraba battery. The museum exhibition covers Hiiumaa’s coastal defence structures, armaments, and ammunition. In a simulated barracks, visitors can examine surveillance and communications equipment. There is a reconstruction of a border strip in the yard.
- Hiiumaa Museum Long House, Vabrikuväljak tn, Kärdla, Hiiu maakond. It's the main Hiiumaa museum. Popularly known as the Long House (the longest wooden house in Kärdla, over 60 m), the building was constructed in the 1830s as the residence for the directors of the Hiiu-Kärdla Cloth Factory. In addition to the story of the development of Kärdla and the factory, a factory worker’s residence is on display. Various short-term exhibitions are also organised year-round.
- Hiiumaa Museum Kassari Exhibition House, Kassari küla, Käina vald, Hiiu maakond. There are items dating from the Tsarist, Estonian, and Soviet periods related to maritime history, as well as the history of agriculture and the manors. There is also much to see outside – a lifeboat from the SS Estonia, the Kassari school flagpole, manor’s lawn roller etc.
- Pühalepa Church, Suuremõisa küla, Pühalepa vald, Hiiu maakond. It's the oldest stone church in Hiiumaa.
- Kuriste Church, Kuriste küla, Käina vald, Hiiu maakond. The Estonian Orthodox Hiiumaa Church of the Birth of the Mother of our Lord was completed in 1873. Icons and liturgical textiles from the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries are on display. The church is the only Orthodox church to have survived in Hiiumaa, where services also still take place.
- Motor sailboat Ernst Jaakson, Pärna küla, Emmaste vald, Hiiu maakond. Built in 1937–1939, the 35-metre long and 8-metre wide three-masted motor sailboat Ernst Jaakson (Alar) is the largest "old" boat to survive in Estonia.
- The lighthouse of Kõpu, Kõpu küla, Kõrgessaare vald, Hiiu maakond. The highest hill (68 m) of Hiiumaa, the Tornimägi, is the location of the lighthouse. In 1531 a massive stone tower was erected. Kõpu is the third oldest constantly active lighthouse worldwide.
- Käina church ruins, Hiiu maantee, Käina alevik, Käina vald, Hiiu maakond. The biggest church in Hiiumaa was built at the turn of the 15th-16th century and was destroyed in 1941. Several tombstones as well as the sun cross above the entrance are protected as art monuments.
- Tahkuna Lighthouse, Tahkuna küla, Kõrgessaare vald, Hiiu maakond. The construction of the cast iron lighthouse began in 1873. It's the highest lighthouse in Estonia - 42,7 m above the sea level.
- Rudolf Tobias House Museum, Hiiu maantee 33, Käina alevik, Käina vald, Hiiu maakond. The house, built in 1839, located in Käina is one of the oldest small town residences in Estonia. The exhibition in the composer’s birthplace provides a detailed overview of Tobias’s life and works.
- Suuremõisa castle, Suuremõisa küla, Pühalepa vald, Hiiu maakond. The present manor house was built by the Countess Ebba Margaretha Stenbock. Suuremõisa Castle is one of the most beautiful and biggest manor houses in Estonia. The value of the castle lies in its pure Baroque-Rococo style. You can follow a wonderful trail to get to know the manor park. Currently the manor house also accommodates Suuremõisa Technical School and Suuremõisa Primary School.
- Reigi Church, Pihla küla, Kõrgessaare vald, Hiiu maakond. The greatest treasure of the Reigi Church is its art collection.
Other Places to see
Triigi port services the ferryboat traffic between Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.
In Estonia it is difficult to find a place with more picturesque nature than on the island Hiiumaa. The variety of landscape is what makes Hiiumaa unique. During a sunny summer one could enjoy kilometres-long alluring sandy beaches along the coastline of Tahkuna and Kõpu peninsulas.
- Mihkli Farm Museum, Malvaste küla, Kõrgessaare vald, Hiiu maakond. The Hiiumaa open-air museum introduces local architecture and artefacts from the 19th century. The spacious courtyard is a perfect place for various activities, from tar burning in summer to "Christmas land" in winter. A visit to the unique smoke sauna or a picnic on the edge of the forest are just some additional services the museum is offering.
- Vanajõe Valley (Old River Valley). It's a place that has it all: rivers, lakes, hills, and valleys.
- Saaremaa, the largest island with an intact and well-restored medieval castle
- Muhu Island, sleepy fishing villages, working windmills, thatched cottages, plenty of deer, moose and birds
- Vormsi Island, unique blend of Soviet and Swedish history mixed with unspoilt nature
- Pärnu, historical resort seaside city with a small harbour, Estonia's summer capital
- Tallinn, the capital of Estonia