The 10 Best Things to Do in Haapsalu, Estonia

December 9, 2017 Alida England

Haapsalu (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈhɑːpˈsɑlu]) (Swedish and German: Hapsal) is a seaside resort town located on the west coast of Estonia. It is the administrative centre of Lääne County, and on 1 January 2017 it had a population of 10,236.
Restaurants in Haapsalu

1. Haapsalu Episcopal Castle

Lossiplats 3, Haapsalu 90502, Estonia +372 472 4346
Excellent
46%
Good
43%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 136 reviews

Haapsalu Episcopal Castle

The Episcopal castle in Haapsalu is a park for the ruins of a former stronghold. It is an architectural pearl dating from the 13th century that used to be the residence of local authorities until the end of the 17th century. This is the place where Estonia's most famous ghost - the eternal lover the White Lady - lives. At present the main building of the castle hosts a museum that gives an overview of the history of the stronghold and Oesel-Wiek Bishopric, the weaponry used in the medieval and early modern period and the ashlar found in the castle. The most important sights of the museum include the Cathedral of the former Oesel-Wiek Bishopric located in the south wing of the castle, which was first mentioned in written records in 1279, and the watchtower now used as a belfry. While in the main fortress, one can enjoy a nice view overlooking Haapsalu and the surrounding sea. Historic fortresses have, over the course of time, been turned into parks. This is a unique symbiosis of architecture and nature that provides the joy of discovery for both adults and as children. Small visitors to the fortress can enjoy the playground inspired by the Middle Ages in the vicinity of the main fortress.

Reviewed By Oleg Y - Belgrade, Serbia

Haapsalu is very renown sea resort on the west Baltic coast of Estonia.
We travelled there from Tallinn, from the Bus station, near our Kunderi apartment in Kunderi street. This charming little town is at about 99 kilometres, toward the southwest from Tallinn. And day we got in Haapsalu,was celebrated as the feast of White Lady. Everywhere were placed stalls with fruit, vegetables, local estonian food, pickles, ham, bacon, cans with Baltic Sea fish, as herring, salmon, sprat and so many other kinds of domestic products. Beside, as we proceeded along the streets of Old Town of Haapsalu, we all the time encountered
different groups of estonian musicians, who performed before the tourists the estonian traditional songs. Even we saw in one front yard of one countryman house, a real domestic zoo ( lambs, calves, ducks, gooses, hens, dogs, cats, goats, rabbits, one foal, ponnies ).
Finally we arrived in front of this Haapsalu gem, the bishop's castle, sometime in the past being the western Estonian's centre of command. Now, it stands in partial but very picturesque ruins.
There are one turreted tower, some remaining outer walls and a part of the moat, that can be seen. Inside the castle exists a museum devoted to its history, with some creepy tunnels and display of medieval weaponry.
One more enchanting site in Estonia, this time in Haapsalu.

2. Haapsalu Old Town

Karja tn, Haapsalu, Estonia +372 473 3248
Excellent
52%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 114 reviews

Haapsalu Old Town

Haapsalu, which is bordered by the sea on three sides, fits on a piece of land with a size of just 10.59 km2. The Old Town is located on a peninsula with two eskers, which continue to the north-west as a chain of islets (holms) connected to the Mainland. There are low meanders between the holms – Suur and Vaike Viik.The culturally and environmentally valuable Old Town of Haapsalu can be divided into its medieval section and the 20th century health resort area. The medieval part is around the Episcopal castle, with the medieval network of Kooli, Jaani, Vee, Linda, Ruutli and Vaike-Mere Streets and buildings. It is surrounded by a belt of wooden houses and the Promenade, Aafrika beach and parks.

Reviewed By Halkidis - Naantali, Finland

Episcopal Castle next to Old Town is main attarction is Haapsalu, so it's easy to have a little walk in Old Town too. Because of wooden houses and smaller size, this Old Town is nothing like in Tallinn. It reminds little of Naantali's and Porvoo's Old Towns in Finland. In Haapsalu it's short walk everywhere, from seaside to here, so shop some souvenirs, sit down in one of many Cafés or have a lunch in one of many restaurants or some interesting Street Kitchens

3. Railway and Communication Museum

Raudtee 2, Haapsalu 90504, Estonia +372 473 4574
Excellent
35%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
26%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4 based on 93 reviews

Railway and Communication Museum

The railway terminus with its intriguingly grand station building, constructed in the early 20th century to service the bustling resort town of Haapsalu, invites you to take a virtual journey back in time, accompanied by steam engine noises, to learn about the evolution of Railways in Estonia spanning almost a century and a half. Here you can also see different methods of communicating information, from early telegraph and telephone devices to the wireless communications and Television. Old locomotives and carriages made their final stop here and you can also come across a polite stationmaster and a skeleton telephone, or visit the old post office. This is all the Station, a place of arrivals and departures through the prism of the past.

Reviewed By Halkidis - Naantali, Finland

Little outside from Haapsalu Old Town/Castle, is this lovely old wooden Railway Station from 1904, that now works as Museum. Last passenger trains were here 1995 and cargo trains 2004. Beautiful interior and over 200 metres long platform, trains from different era(mostly Russian) outside, so worth of little stop and few photos

4. Africa Beach and Promenade

Promenaadi tn, Haapsalu, Estonia +372 473 3248
Excellent
61%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
3%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 57 reviews

Africa Beach and Promenade

The splendour of Haapsalu, the famous Czarist era resort, is recalled by the seafront Promenade and its jewel -- the Assembly Hall with its wooden “gingerbread”. 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 a former 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 behind the band shell.

Reviewed By Halkidis - Naantali, Finland

Haapsalu is known for its Episcopal Castle and Old Town, but don't miss this beautiful Promenade, which starts short walk away from Castle/Old Town. Nice walk along seaside, beautiful old houses, flowers, Gardens etc. and also Tchaikovsky's bench. So sit down on one of the restaurant and enjoy those nice views

5. Haapsalu Bishop’s Castle Museum

Lossiplats 3, Haapsalu 90502, Estonia +372 472 5346
Excellent
72%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 34 reviews

Haapsalu Bishop’s Castle Museum

Come and acquaint yourself with the history of medieval Haapsalu, watch a video about the castle and visit the Cathedral. From the upper platform of the bell tower, you have a wonderful 360-degree view that extends for 20 km.Interesting facts: In medieval times, the ship traffic on the Bay of Haapsalu is said to have been controlled from the bell tower. The five-story bell tower is 38 metres high, and every day at noon, you can listen to a carillon. From the small castle you can purchase souvenirs and you may also happen upon a pleasant concert.

Reviewed By vivian L - Southern Finland, Finland

This is the most important attraction in Haapsalu and practically the only attraction open daily at summer time, from September to April only on weekends. Entrance fee 4 EUR (2015) and you can climb the stone staircases to bell tower (38 meters high belfry), doctor's reception room and headquarters (they are really hard to get).
Downstairs there are mysterious vaulted cellars (very low ceiling) and in the ground level is a kind of Throne Room and laboratory. I seem to have missed the weapon arsenal exhibition, it is mentioned in the brochure.
This is the place where Estonia´s most famous ghost - the eternal lover The White Lady - lives. Cathedral is beautiful and they arrange Concerts in this church.
Also cafeteria on the premises; toilet room however is outside the museum, in one corner of the castle park. Reserve plenty of time if you are going to see the whole museum.

6. Ilon's World of Wonders

Kooli 5, Haapsalu 90502, Estonia +372 473 7065
Excellent
61%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
3%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 27 reviews

Ilon's World of Wonders

The Ilon Wikland Gallery, showcasing the work of the illustrator of Astrid Lindgren's children's books, opened in Haapsalu in 2006. Ilon's World of Wonders opened in 2009.Did you know...? *At Ilon's World of Wonders you can draw, watch films, admire Ilon's illustrations, write a letter to Karlsson, test your skills in the handicraft workshop and Mattias' house, discover the secrets of the Magic Well, try stilt-walking, watch children's Performances, work in the Bullerby kitchen, enjoy a picnic and have a great time generally!Check out the summer and winter schedule of events on the Ilon's World of Wonders website.

Reviewed By SydneyMaie - Sydney

This museum-playground is a perfect place to take children of all ages. As well as a collection of the drawings of Ilon Wikland who illustrated the population children books of Astrid Lindgren there are playrooms where children can draw, read, create handicrafts and just play. Ilon Wikland has recreated Kaspar's room which can keep children amused for a long time. Outside there are play areas and places for a picnic on a sunny day. For adults there is a film of Ilon Wikland's life.

Lossiplats 3, Haapsalu 90502, Estonia
Excellent
65%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 14 reviews

Haapsalu Cathedral

Reviewed By vivian L - Southern Finland, Finland

I have visited this Cathedral many times, from the Museum or in musical event but this time I really wanted to concentrate on this Cathedral.
It has great acoustics but it is quite plain without colourful details or stained glass windows. But this summer (2016) there are photos taken by architect Tönis Padu, 1950-2014) from the details of pillars in this Cathedral. When I visited the church this time, there were 2 men rehearsing to that evening's concert and I was practically the only visitor that time.
Legend of the White Lady is sad and quite merciless.

8. Haapsalu Shawl Museum

Karja tanav 25, Haapsalu 90503, Estonia
Excellent
45%
Good
55%
Satisfactory
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Poor
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Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 11 reviews

Haapsalu Shawl Museum

The Haapsalu Shawl, an extremely fine knitted shawl that can be pulled through a woman’ ring, has been the symbol of Haapsalu since the last century. At that time, as well as today, they are highly regarded by women. The knitters of traditional shawls knitter are professionals; the skill is passed down from generation to generation. In the Shawl Museum, which is located in a jewellery workshop, you can see a permanent exhibition on the past and present of the Haapsalu shawl, examine the extremely fine patterns, and buy one of the masterpieces for yourself.Interesting fact: Haapsalu shawls have been presented as gifts to the women of the Swedish Royal Family as well as the Estonian President’s honoured guests.

Reviewed By sunville2014 - Malahide, Ireland

You will probably meet some of the ladies who made the items for sale in the shop or founded the society which passes down the tradition in the local school. They take great pride, rightfully so, in their work. Lace patterns are also pressed into local pottery to make jewellery, plates and various items. It is only 1.50 Euro to visit, don't miss it!

9. Tchaikovsky's Bench

P. Tchaikovsky Boulevard, Haapsalu 90502, Estonia
Excellent
56%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
0%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 9 reviews

Tchaikovsky's Bench

Reviewed By katlinhp - Tallinn, Estonia

When you are walking on the Promenade then this bech is worth to visit. There is Tchaikovsky music playing behind the bench and you can sit on this bench and enjoy this music.

10. Haapsalu Sundial

Promenaadi tn, Haapsalu, Estonia
Excellent
43%
Good
41%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
8%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 12 reviews

Haapsalu Sundial

There is sundial designed by artist Roman Haavamae on the Haapsalu seaside Promenade. The face of the dial depicts the life of man – starting with a child and ending with an old man supported by a cane. On the Promenade also admire the decorative dolomite stairways and decorative columns by the same artist, as well as the ornamented stairs on both sides of the Assembly Hall. Interesting fact: The sundial shows the local sun time, which is about 90 slower than daylight savings time. Go and check to see if your watch is correct.

Reviewed By vivian L - Southern Finland, Finland

The clock is surrounded by beautiful Spirea or Filipendula (I do not recognize the species, it has beautiful yellow leaves and was not yet blooming). Close to the Seating areas and sea.

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