- Duration: 6 hours tour
- Activity level: medium (bus and walking)
- Total walking distance: approx. 2 km
This calm and friendly small town located less than 1.5-hour’s drive from the Pärnu enjoys a long standing history as a spa resort. Haapsalu is known for its warm seawater and the therapeutic mud with an excellent curative effect.
Once a popular summer holiday destination for the Russian aristocracy, modern Haapsalu hosts a number of international festivals and is home to charming restaurants.
Haapsalu is a wonderful little town with narrow streets, a miniature town hall and romantic wooden dwelling houses. On the romantic seaside promenade stands Kuursaal, one of the finest wooden buildings in Estonia. Here you will also find a deep rooted spa culture. For the plentitude of water Haapsalu has been called the Nordic Venice.
Walking tour begins with the Episcopal castle that dates back to 13th century and is surrounded by an 803-metre wall. As Haapsalu was before WW II the capital of Estonians Swedes we visit the Museum of Coastal Swedes. Starting from African Beach the Big Promenade flows into Chocolate Promenade which ends at Pyotr Tchaikovsky Bench – the location of the bench had been the composer’s favourite place to admire the sunset.
Another sight that stresses the importance of Haapsalu as a summer town hosting for the heads of Russia is Haapsalu Railway Station completed in 1907 and built specially for the Emperor’s family.
Nowadays Haapsalu has become hometown for many Estonian artists who are encharmed by its boroughly athmosphere. Haapsalu’s serene vibe is loved by families and romantic couples who enjoy having picnics, walking, visiting spas and sailing.
Once in Haapsalu, don’t forget to browse for a traditional hand-woven woollen Haapsalu shawl with fine and elegant patterns.