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.

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.

Uuemõisa Manor

Uuemõisa manor a few kilometres away from the centre of Haapsalu was first mentioned in 1539 when it was an Episcopal manor. The last owner before the compulsory sale of the manor, which in the 17th century belonged to the de la Gardie family, was princess Yevgeniya Shakhovskaya. In 1833 a two-storey post-classicist main building was constructed in the manor. In the 1920s the building was reconstructed based on the design made by Karl Burman. As a result, long one-storey wings were added to the building. All of this made it an immensely long building. At present are in the manor Uuemõisa kindergarten and Primary School. The White Hall of the manor is a good place for concerts.

Ridala Baptist Chapel

This congregation is one of the fountains of awakening in Lääne County. The book “Ridala ärkamise ajalugu” (“History of the awakening of Ridala”) by M. Busch dates the breaking of bread in the midst of nature on 13 September 1882 as the first event of the congregation. P. Püssim is the architect of the new chapel, which was finished in 1988. The building follows the historical architecture of churches. The three south-north bound gable roofed sections of the building that rise and expand step by step make the building unique. Traditional ornamental church art and stained glass is used in the interior design. 

Noarootsi Church

Noarootsi Church in late-Gothic style was built around 1500. You will first notice the Falu red plank roof – the church is one of the three plank-roof churches in Estonia. In the medieval times the lime and rubble stone building also had the function of being a fortified church. Inside the church one should pay attention to the baptising stone, baroque pulpit, limestone baroque epitaph to Minister Martin Winter. Interesting facts: By the entrance there is a stone slab with royal autographs from the present King of Sweden – Carl XVI Gustav who visited Noarootsi in 1992. Across the road from the church you will see the oldest wooden building in Läänemaa – the parsonage originating from the 17th century.

Haapsalu Railway Station

This resort town was a favourite summer spot of the Russian tsars. The railway station was built according to the original designs with the complex consisting of four parts –  the passenger terminal, imperial pavilion, a sheltered passage linking those, and a unique covered platform extending 216 m long. Good to know: the Russian Tsar himself was in favour of the idea of building the station and supported its construction. The first passenger train arrived in Haapsalu in 1904 and the last one left in 1995. Take advantage of a unique opportunity to travel from Haapsalu to Riisipere (50 km) by bike as the old railway bed has been turned into Lääne County health trail. Today, there is a bus stop in front of the railway station. The station belongs in the National Register of Cultural Monuments.  

Haapsalu Castle

Haapsalu Castle is an architectural gem built in the 13th century that was the seat of power of the local authorities until the end of the 17th century. It is one of the best-preserved castles in Estonia and home to the most famous ghost in Estonia – the White Lady! There is a museum on medieval history in the main castle, through which you can also access the southern cathedral, first mentioned in writing in 1279. There is a children’s playground inspired by the Middle Ages in the moat. You can visit the courtyard for free, but you have to buy a ticket to get to the museum.