The people of Hiiumaa are peaceful and tolerant. They live close to nature and have their own language – Hiiu, even though basically all also speak Estonian. Also spoken by many are Russian, English, German and Finnish.
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).
The tourist information is located in Kärdla.
ClimateThanks 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. Best time to visit Hiiumaa is from May to September. If you would like to sunbathe it is recommended to visit in July or August.
By airThe quickest 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.
By busAlthough Hiiumaa is very small, some of the buses do not head to Kärdla: some go along the southern part of the island to Käina and Emmaste. See Estonia#Get around for bus schedules.
By ferryMostly people come to Hiiumaa by ferries, either from Rohuküla (on mainland) to Heltermaa or from Triigi in Saaremaa to Sõru. See West Estonia and Islands for details.
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 roadDuring winter time an ice road – yes! an ice road on the sea – connects the mainland to Hiiumaa.
The ice road allows 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 min to cover the distance with favourable conditions. You can even overtake the ferries that "drive" on the next lane.
phone: +372 5299162address: Kõpu küla, Kõrgessaare valdThe highest hill (68 m) of Hiiumaa, the Tornimägi, is the location of the lighthouse. Due to the very important shipping lane, the Hanseatic Merchants League was very interested in making this dangerous passage through shallow reef safer. In 1500, the magistrate of Tallinn obtained permission from Bishop John III Orges to build a landmark here. In 1531, after having chosen the highest hill of Hiiumaa, the massive stone tower was finised, from which this lighthouse was later derived. The construction was interrupted several times by the plague, which is why it took 30 years before completion. Already back then the turret was shaped like a four-legged prism, which was supported by massive counter-forces by the four main corners. Kõpu is the third-oldest constantly active lighthouse worldwide.
Tahkuna Lighthousephone: +372 56919583address: Tahkuna küla, Kõrgessaare valdThe construction of the cast iron lighthouse began in 1873. Made in Paris, it was brought to Hiiumaa in parts. Two beacons were ordered in Paris – the other one was used for the Ristna lighthouse. Tahkuna and Ristna are the newer ones and stem from the period when iron was used instead of stone, like for Kõpu. In 1941, fighters of the Soviet Army surrendered to the Germans at the foot of this lighthouse. Tahkuna is the highest lighthouse in Estonia - 42.6 m above sea level. It can be seen from a distance of 33 km.
Ristna Lighthousephone: +372 5243824Smaller and less impressive, but nice and architecturally interesting, at the westernmost point of the Kõpu peninsula. The light 37 m above sea level can be seen at a distance of 31.5 km, which is less than the 50 km of the 102 m above sea level light of the Kõpu lighthouse. The Ristna lighthouse was erected in 1874 from parts brought from France. In 1915, German war ships attacked the lighthouse, severely damaging it. In the following, in was supported with a concrete belt in 1920.
phone: +372 56276020, +372 53479819address: Tahkuna nina, Tahkuna küla, Kõrgessaare vald, Hiiu maakondThe 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 Kassari Exhibition Housephone: +372 5232225address: Kassari küla, Käina valdThere 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.
phone: +372 4632091address: Hiiu maantee 33, Käina alevik, Käina valdThe house, built in 1839 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.
phone: +372 4632091address: Malvaste küla, Kõrgessaare valdThe 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.
phone: +372 5090251address: Kuriste küla, Käina vald, TatermaThe 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.
Pühalepa Churchaddress: Suuremõisa küla, Pühalepa valdIt's the oldest stone church in Hiiumaa.
Käina church ruinsaddress: Hiiu maantee, Käina alevik, KäinaThe 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.
Reigi Churchaddress: Pihla küla, Kõrgessaare valdThe greatest treasure of the Reigi Church is its art collection.
Hill of CrossesBy far not as impressive as the Lithuanian equivalent, but good for a stop if you go by anyhow. There is a carpark just nearby. The first cross stemmed from the Swedes in 1781 that had to leave Hiiumaa due to an order of Czarina Katarina II. They were expelled from their farms and supposed to resettle in Ukraine. However, because they had to start their journey in winter, only half of the 1000 people reached the destination at the then later founded Gammalsvenskby village. Finally in 1929, the descendents of these Swedes where allowed by the Soviet Russia to return to Sweden. Most went to Gotland. All following crosses were erected by visitors in remembrance of these Swedes and their difficult journey.
phone: +372 4694267, +372 5158381address: Suuremõisa küla, Pühalepa valdThe 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. The manor house also accommodates Suuremõisa Technical School and Suuremõisa Primary School. Also includes a restaurant open longer.
phone: +372 5272865Services the ferryboat traffic between Saaremaa and Hiiumaa.
Orjaku portNo official ferries, just private traffic. But the port is quite picturesque.
Motor sailboat Ernst Jaaksonaddress: Pärna küla, Emmaste valdBuilt 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.
Old River ValleyIt has rivers, lakes, hills, and valleys.
Bird WatchingObservation platform (no roof) in the middle of a small artificial forest. A herd of sheep and an old small lighthouse at the beginning of the track to the tower.
phone: +372 53316291address: Orjaku portNice and cosy, with locals, and good value for price in this region. Also serves fish. Try the pancake.
Observation towerIn the southeast of the islands there is at least one bird watch towers, which does have a roof and is good for overnighting if you have a mattress and sleeping bag.
Orjaku Observation TowerSpace for 4-5 people.
- Saaremaa – The largest Estonian and wild seaside character island with castles and fortresses, one perfectly preserved, a beach, a spa and famous mills. Saaremaa is even sometimes called Sparemaa.
- Muhu – The third largest Estonian island, and a rural municipality connected to the nearby Saaremaa by an artificial embankment, where ferries to the harbour of Virtsu arrive. Has an open air museum, and its locals are known for still sewing woollen clothes. Sleepy fishing villages, working windmills, thatched cottages, plenty of deer, moose and birds.
- Vormsi – The fourth largest Estonian island, very close to the mainland. Vormsi is a small island covered with forests and a Swedish community. A unique blend of Soviet and Swedish history mixed with unspoilt nature.
- Pärnu – Estonia's 4th largest city and the summer capital of Estonia, popular for its balneo-therapy complexes and spa centres, surrounded by numerous beaches.
- Haapsalu – "Venice of the north", good for visiting spas, taking mud baths, sailing, swimming, interesting monuments of the middle ages, like the cathedral and the Ruins of Haapsalu Castle, and a famous and picturesque Railway Museum.
- Tallinn – The capital, and financial and cosmopolitan centre of Estonia, with a medieval Old Town. Beautiful and expensive.