Haapsalu is a beautiful seaside town of Estonia on its western coast. Salt mud spas are famous in this town which was first incorporated by the Romanov family from Russia. It is a very old town having its origin dating back to 1279.
It is due to this reason you will find many ancient structures, wooden houses, castles, and buildings in this gorgeous seaside resort. The best way to reach Haapsalu is by reaching Tallinn and then hiring a bus or cab from there.
Haapsalu is a beautiful summer tourist destination and quite small to be explored quickly. The Haapsalu landmarks are very appealing due to its charming romantic setting from the medieval period. From panoramic heritage sightseeing to strolling across the narrow street, going for a romantic walk in the lovely beach promenade, and rejuvenating yourself in mud spa.
Haapsalu offers you a whole lot of adventure. Wondering what to do in Haapsalu? The Haapsalu travel guide is here to help you with the best places to visit in Haapsalu and the things to do in Haapsalu.
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Top 7 BEST Things to do in Haapsalu (Estonia)
Meters area with a height of 10 meters. The castle glorifies the ancient gothic architecture. It used to serve as the residential location of Bishop of Saare-Laane in the 13th century.
Half of its parts were destroyed in the 1710’s Northern War leaving the current ruined structure. The castle features the 13th-century watchtower in the western region.
The castle church also has a legend associated with it, which says that during every full moon in August, a figure of white lady appears on the Chapel’s inner wall of the castle’s church. It is a must-visit heritage destination.
Africa Beach and Promenade
This is among the best things to see in Haapsalu. The beach area with its assembly hall and the lovely sloping promenade give you dreamy views of the surrounding sea area.
You can opt for a romantic stroll in the breathtaking promenade, watch the time ticking its way out in the sundial or even relax at the promenade benches gazing at the breathtaking view of the sea.
The promenade stretches from the African beach to the Chocolate promenade. It also houses the monument of Carl Hunnius who discovered Haapsalu’s curative mud. It serves as a beautiful family destination, as well.
Estonian Railway Museum
The railway museum is a famous landmark in Haapsalu at the Emperor’s Pavillion in Haapsalu railway station. The museum in the form of its former railway station lets you explore its past railway history through different models and exhibits.
The old station gives you a time travel tour into the period of 1903 to 1905. The museum looks very colorful featuring a 214-meter extended platform.
In the early times, this was the primary communication hub from the other Estonian destinations to Haapsalu sea resort.
You can see the display of many historical railway locomotives here, hear their sound and even pay a visit to the stationmaster from the period of 1930. It also takes you to the tour of the evolution of the telecommunication system from the ancient to recent times.
Haapsalu Bay is a beautiful destination in the town, especially for the bird watchers. It offers heart-warming activities in Haapsalu for the tourists.
In the summers you can go for kayaking with a two hours trip to the nearest Homi Beach while in the winters, you can enjoy ice skating on the bay waters. The skating trip is usually from the Haapsalu city center area or the Paralepa beach towards the bay.
Apart from these, the bay is home to more than 20,000 migratory bird species. The Birdwatching tower at the harbor gives you a sight of various kinds of migratory bird species swimming across the bay or drinking water, which serves as a visual treat. The white-tailed eagles are the main attraction here. The destination is very enchanting and perfect for rejuvenation.
Another on the list of the things to do in Haapsalu, aside from Haapsalu sightseeing areas, its festivals form a significant part of the trip. One of its biggest festivals is Haapsalu Horror and Fantasy film festival.
It takes place with April‘s full moon when the entire town gets crowded with creepy zombies. It celebrates the recent releases of the horror and fantasy films for four long days with various happening parties.
Next, is the Haapsalu Early Music Festival, which is organized every year at the Dome church at the beginning of July. It brings together the best musicians from Europe and Estonia under one roof with unforgettable music events.
Another one is the Tchaikovsky Festival, which is also the gathering of artists from a different field across the world with grand musical concerts. These three are the biggest festivals in Haapsalu which you must see once in a lifetime. There are many other monthly festivals as well.
Haapsalu Old Town Tour
The old town of Haapsalu lies on a peninsula and covers a total area of just 10.59 sq.km. The seaside town area is segregated into two parts. One part features the Old town housing the Kooli, Jaani, Vee, Linda, Vaike-Mere.
And Ruutli streets and wooden houses in the area around Haapsalu castle, Townhall and other old monuments while the other part features the 20th-century mud spas and various café and restaurants.
The Africa beach with its promenade area and the town museums add more charm to the 700 years old city. You can easily go for a walking tour to explore the town and capture some beautiful photographs to make your trip worthwhile. This is indeed one of the best things to do in Haapsalu.
Haapsalu Town Hall Museum
The Town Hall Museum in Haapsalu belongs to the period of 1929, but it was opened for public access in 1950. It had its first exhibition in the 20th century while its exhibits were initially showcased at the Haapsalu castle watchtower.
The museums display different antique exhibits that give you a tour of Haapsalu’s history and also expose you to its local culture. It also portrays the urban lifestyle of Haapsalu and the town ambiance.
It also showcases an old pharmacy from the historical period and the Mayor’s office due to ancient times. History buffs will love visiting this charming museum.