The island of Naissaar acts like a magnet for nature-lovers: like a little touch of paradise, its eastern and southern shores boast beautiful sandy beaches bordered by wild roses. The majority of the island is covered in ancient forests in which you can pick blueberries in July and lingonberries in August and September. As you explore the island, keep an eye out for the boulders which were deposited here from Scandinavia by glaciers during the last Ice Age. The entire island has been placed under nature conservation – here you’ll find the Naissaar landscape protection area.
Due to its location, Naissaar has often served a defensive purpose over the centuries. Take a look at the military installations and cannons dotted about the island, which date back to the imperial times of Russian Tsar Peter the Great. The fortifications were designed to deter unwanted access to Tallinn from the Gulf of Finland. On the southern side of the island you’ll also find abandoned Soviet-era mine factory stores. Bear in mind that these structures were built during World War I and are liable to collapse – and that you therefore survey them at your own risk.
Elsewhere on the island, Omari Barn forms an exotic venue each summer for the concerts, plays and other cultural events staged as part of the Nargen Festival.
Naissaar has three hiking trails – the Military Trail, Cultural Trail and Nature Trail – which each measure between 10 km and 13 km. All of them are clearly marked. You can walk the trails or alternatively book a guided bicycle tour or a tour in a Soviet-era pick-up truck or 4WD.
There’s plenty to discover on Naissaar, so why not stay for a few days? There’s a camping area near the harbour, or you can bed down for the night in cabins and fully fitted holiday homes.
Getting to Naissaar
There are regular boat connections between the mainland and the island on weekends (i.e. Friday-Sunday) from late May to mid-September. You can also visit the island under your own steam by boat or yacht.
Recommendations for visitors to Naissaar
For the sake of the environment, please only camp and set fires in marked areas, and make sure you take all of your rubbish with you when you leave.