Worth seeing in Haapsalu and Läänemaa

In the romantic small town of Haapsalu and small villages, hospitable people await you, surprising you with their sincerity and interest in history and culture. The guests who stayed here are remembered again and again with great respect.

Africa Beach and Promenade

The splendour of Haapsalu, the famous Czarist era resort, is brought to mind by the seafront Promenade and its jewel — the Assembly Hall with its wooden lattice designs. Walk on the sloping promenade and glance dreamily at the sea; check the time at the sundial and have a rest on the bench named for the world-famous composer Tchaikovsky. Interesting facts: The Promenade starts at the exotically named Africa Beach, and ends at the Chocolate Promenade, which is named after an old café. There is a children’s playground on the Promenade and the town’s only observation tower. There is also a monument to Carl Hunnius, the discoverer of Haapsalu’s therapeutic mud standing just behind the stage.

Haapsalu linn, Haapsalu, Promenaadi tänav

Ilon’s Wonderland

Ilon’s Wonderland is a theme park for children and families that showcases the work of Ilon Wikland, the illustrator of Astrid Lindgren’s children’s books. The three-storey building is open from September to April. It has a gallery, a cinema, an exhibition hall, Karlsson’s Room, Ilon’s Kitchen, and a playroom, where workshops and thematic events take place. From May to August, the Wonderland courtyard is also open. Inside you’ll find Mattias’s cottage and a handicrafts workshop where you and your kids can make many exciting items yourself. In the courtyard, you can try your hand at target throwing, stilt-walking, fishing, acting, and sandbox games.

Haapsalu linn, Haapsalu, Kooli tänav 5

Haapsalu Castle Museum

Haapsalu Castle is an architectural gem built in the 13th century, which until the end of the 17th century was the seat of power for local authorities. The museum in the main castle focuses on the history of the castle itself. You can learn about the construction of the castle, the birth of the town of Haapsalu, and the fate of the rulers and locals of the Bishopric of Ösel–Wiek. In order to better understand the life of that time, guests can try out different mechanisms. The passages on the walls offer a wonderful view of the castle and the picturesque town of Haapsalu.

Haapsalu linn, Haapsalu, Lossiplats

De la Gardie’s castle

In 1827, Count Carl Magnus De la Gardie bought a castle with a park what was to be called the Count Yard. De la Gardie also supported the construction of the first mud spa in Haapsalu. Many important figures of the Russian Empire, including the Imperial Family, went on summer holidays to his castle. Since the end of the reign of Nicholas I until the destruction of the Empire, all of the Russian tsars, until Nikolai II, spent their summers in Haapsalu and took mud baths there. De la Gardie’s castle was renovated and since 2012, it has been used as a nursing home for the Lääne County hospital.

Haapsalu, Vaba tänav 4

Risti watertower from the Tsar era

The Risti water tower from the Tsar era is part of the Risti railway station complex. The railway station with the railroad lines was built in 1904, the station building was completed a year later, the water tower was probably built in the same period. The water tower was used to supply water to steam locomotives. There was a water tank or a reservoir at the top of the tower and a water heater or a boiler on the lower floor. The boiler was used to prevent the water from freezing in the tank. You can go to the reservoir along the historical spiral staircase. On the ground floor, you can see the tools of the time and an exhibition describing the work in the watertower.

Risti alevik, Lääne-Nigula vald, Jaama tänav 7

Koopa Gallery

Ülle Sink and Aare Freimann are Estonian artists and animalists. In a medieval vaulted cellar in the Old Town of Tallinn, Koopa Gallery displays the unique and mystical world that they have created. Here, the animal-like creatures that they have brought to life live all year round. For Ülle and Aare, their art is not a project but a matter of faith, conviction and life-style, and clay is the best material for moulding their world.

Rehemäe küla, Lääne-Nigula vald