Haapsalu Travel Guide

  • Haapsalu
    by MikeBird
  • Castle grounds
    Castle grounds
    by MikeBird
  • Train and platform - now a station museum
    Train and platform - now a station...
    by MikeBird

Haapsalu Highlights

  • Pro
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    MikeBird says…

     Lovely architecture; relaxed pace 

  • Con
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    MikeBird says…

     Few restaurants 

  • In a nutshell
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    MikeBird says…

     Worth at least one days visit 

Haapsalu Things to Do

  • Follow Tchaikovsky's footsteps along the...

    The tourist information about Haapsalu makes quite a point about the fact that Piotr Tchaikovsky spent some time during the summer months of 1867 in Haapsalu and indeed was inspired by a folk song heard in the town from which he developed the melody for his sixth symphony.Apparently the composer would sit on the promenade and watch the sun go down...

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  • A station for Steam Engine enthusiasts

    I'm not a railway enthusiast but I couldn't help but be impressed by the small collection of engines that are located at the sidings at the old station. Sadly there is no longer a working rail service connecting the town to a national rail network but the building is itself a bit of a museum piece. The town's website provides further details about...

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  • Explore the Bishop's Castle

    The large and extensive grounds of the castle are bordered by impressive curtain walls with occasional towers built at strategic points. It's possible to climb up the steep steps of these towers to get a better view but to be honest that was a wee bit disappointing as we could only see over the rooftops of the neighbouring residences.We arrived too...

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  • Haapsalu

    Wander around the streets and the seafront, maybe visit the ruins of the 13th century castle - Haapsalu is a delightful little place

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  • Ilon’s Wonderland

    Ilon Wikland was born in Tartu in 1930. As a child she often spent her summers in Haapsalu where her grandparents lived. When Ilon was 14 years old she came to Sweden as a refugee and there she has lived ever since.Ilon Wikland is famous for illustrating many of Astrid Lindgren’s books, for example Pippi Longstocking, The Children of Noisy Village...

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  • Bishop's Castle

    When I visited in April the museum, the Dome Church and the 38 metre tall clock tower were unfortunately closed, because that time of the year you can only walk around the grounds. The grounds are open daily between 7am - midnight. A wall surrounds the grounds and you can climb one of the towers in the wall for better views. In the mound behind the...

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  • Birdwatching Tower

    A few hundred metres northeast of the castle , where the promenade begins, there is a 15 metres high bird watching tower. From the top you will have a nice view over the surrounding area and when I visited there were lots of swans and ducks in the water below.

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  • Läänemaa Museum

    Läänemaa Museum is situated in the old Town Hall and it has been housed here since 1949. There are many old photos from Haapsalu, most of them with explanation only in Estonian. The woman working in the museum pointed out a photo with the Swedish crown prince that visited in 1932, and she also showed me a book with photographs where there was a...

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  • Museum of the Estonian Swedes

    Museum of the Estonian Swedes is a small museum over Estonia’s Swedish speaking population that lived in the coastal are from the 13th century to 1944, when many of the 8000 Swedes fled to Sweden during the World War II. In one room there are many photos and also items like fishing nets and a boat. In a small room there is a long timeline tapestry...

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  • Former Town Hall

    The little baroque town hall looks tiny next to the castle. Even for the administration of a small town like Haapsalu it has become too small in the meantime. It is now the seat of Läänemaa Muuseum, a museum aboput the history and culture of the district. Opening hours: Oct 1 - Apr 30 Tue - Sat 11.00-16.00May 1 - Sep 30 Tue - Sat 10.00-18.00 ...

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  • Czar Peter the Great in Haapsalu

    Lots of stories and legends are around about Czar Peter the Great and how he learned the profession of a carpenter in Holland - remember Lortzing's opera. Haapsalu tells how he visited the town incognito and stayed overnight with a citizen of the town whom he recognized as a colleague. The man was also a carpenter. His house in Rüütli where Peter...

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  • KGB

    The building in Lossi plaats opposite the entrance to the castle was feared in Soviet times and nobody wanted to go near: this was the seat of KGB.

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Haapsalu Hotels

See all 9 Hotels in Haapsalu

Haapsalu Restaurants

  • Kunstigalerii OÜ (Epp Maria Galerii)

    If they hadn’t told me at the Tourist office that there was an art gallery and café opposite I had probably not noticed it. I came to this lovely place to have a coffee and cake before continuing my walk around the town. I had a cake of cheese, chocolate and strawberry jam. It was not as good as my first cake that day, but still yummy. And I had a...

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  • Hermannuse Maja

    After walking around the castle grounds, and before continuing , I decided it was time for lunch. Near the exit from the castle I found the restaurant Hermannuse Maja. When I entered the waitress gave me the menu and I asked if they had any lunch offers. She pointed at a small blackboard where they advertised a soup for 20 EEK and something called...

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  • Müüriääre Kohvik

    Müüriääre Kohvik is a lovely café situated outside the western walls of the castle (Müüriääre actually means beside the wall). On the menu there are salads, sandwiches and of course cakes and pastries. I had a very delicious cake (wouldn’t mind a piece of that cake now) and a coffee, which was rather small. It was 60 EEK (April 2010). And I liked...

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  • Promenaadi

    Hotel restaurant, good choice on the menu and in a great location. Had my first taste of wild boar mmm very good, several vegetarian options for Mrs B.

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  • Hermannuse Maja

    Smart and friendly bar with a good outdoor terrace for the sunny days. Food very tasty and well presented, good choice for vegetarians. Also do accomodation they told us.

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  • Kohvik

    Well the sun is out, we've just arrived in town, guess what? yep time for a snack and a beer!Good outside beer garden right by the castle walls, food very tasty, beer cold, could not ask for more - enjoyed!

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  • Pizza Grande restaurant

    During a day trip, what is the most suitable lunch food if not a typical Estonian pizza Pizza Grande restaurant at Karja street serves quality pizzas in a jugend atmosphere. When eating outside You should order pizzas and pay them first inside. Don´t forget to order your local beer

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  • Quick pizza stop

    We were looking for a quick bite on our way to Tallinn, and Pizza Grande was open. They serve pizza and pasta dishes. The pasta was OK, but the pizzas were good, "normal" pizzas, some of the best we have had in the Baltics.

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  • In the island of Hiiumaa with...

    In the island of Hiiumaa with population of 11000, there are just few restaurants but when you find one, you can fill your stomach very cheaply.On my trip, I had my best steak in Kõrgessaare at the VIINAKÖÖK restaurant, which is situated in an old alcolhol factory.In the centre of Käinä, a small village on the south coast of the island, a small bar...

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Haapsalu Nightlife

  • Lodestar's Profile Photo

    by Lodestar Written Jun 5, 2003

    The biggest and most popular nightclub in Haapsalu is Africa. Situated conveniently in the centre of the town it is the main nighlife attraction for most people. The music varies from pop and disco to hip-hop, r'n'b, techno and house.
    The prices are reasonable and the atmosphare nothing special. In the summer it is quite crowded with people from various towns and countries.

    Dress Code: Nothing too fancy. Just regular party clothes. Jeans and the likes are quite ok.

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Haapsalu Transportation

  • To Haapsalu from Tallinn and back

    The Central Bus Station in Tallinn is situated about 2 km southeast of the city centre. I walked there, but there are several city buses and trams you can take ( I took tram 2 or 4 when I came back though). I arrived at the bus station at 8.30 and bought a ticket for the 8.45 bus to Haapsalu.The bus journey to Haapsalu took 1 h 45 minutes and it...

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  • Bus from Tallinn

    The fastest and most convenient means of overland travel in Estonia is the bus. The train route from Tallinn to Haapsalu has long been closed down and partly demolished. There are thoughts to reinstall it but so far, the distance is best covered by bus.Haapsalu can easily be visited as a day trip from Tallinn. Buses to Haapsalu depart from Tallinna...

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  • Bus from Tallinn

    The bus ride from Tallinn takes around one hour and fifty minutes. Cost in June 2005 was 61 Krooni. Buses are clean, modern and pretty fast.Haapsalu bus station is next to the beautiful old station and railway museum. All hotels are well signposted from there too.

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Haapsalu Local Customs

  • Haapsalu Scarves

    Haapsalu is a centre of knitting and their most famous products are fine, lace-like scarves. These scarves are made from very thin wool and can be pulled through a ring, they say - I have not yet tried with mine but it might work. They come in many different patterns.In a building along the Swedish Market, address Ehte 4, you can see a small...

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  • Firenight Festival 13.07.2002...

    Firenight Festival 13.07.2002 - 14.07.2002It is now tradition to have this festival in Haapsalu.The first festival took place in 1998 and continued every year. Pyrotechnics from all over the world are showing their art and a lot of famous artists are coming to look after the musical part of this festival. Last year we had Robert Plant visiting...

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  • Haapsalu Hotels

    9 Hotels in Haapsalu

    14 Reviews and Opinions

Haapsalu Off The Beaten Path

  • Obolon Bar - A place where only Russian...

    We were walking outside and after having doing sightseeing for many hours we felt thursty and our feet started to ache; it was already evening. We decided to go to the nearest place; just to drink one beer and then back to the hotel.We went in - and wanted to turn back. The place, at first look, did not look very nice, there was too much light and...

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  • Ridala is an old village

    Ridala is an old village from as early as the 8th century. Ridala church is the only church where the medieval frescos have been preserved (You can see them when the church is open :-)).

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  • Ants Laikmaa.

    Not more than 10 kilometres on the Tallinn highway there is an interesting house museum of an eccentric artist called Ants Laikmaa.He was one of the founders of Estonian national art. The house and the area is designed in an national-romantic style combined with the artist´s fantasies.

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Haapsalu Favorites

  • Why Haapsalu looks like Bullerby: Ilon...

    Fans of the children's books by the Swedish author Astrid Lindgren will find Haapsalu oddly familiar, and this is no coincidence. The artist who illustrated most of Lindgren's books, Ilon Wikland, lived in Haapsalu with her grandparents as a child. At the age of 14, in World War II when Estonia was occupied by the Soviets, she came to Sweden as a...

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  • Swedish Village Museum

    Since the 13th century Haapsalu and it´s surroundings had been inhabited by the coastal Swedes.There´s a special Swedish Village museum located close to the harbour.

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  • Vana Apteek

    Tthe old pharmacy - dating from 1772 is one of the oldest building in Haapsalu and located close to the market place. Tsar Alexander I has stayed here.

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