Are you looking for small guesthouses, calm people and beautiful wooden architecture? If so, Kärdla is ideal for you. There are less than 4000 people living here, ensuring a slow pace and home-like feeling where ever you go. You won’t see large shopping malls, vibrant night clubs or much traffic – instead, there will be beautiful bohemian gardens and small cafés.
Town landscape is most affected by the majestic trees and plenty of little streams – largest of them called Nuutri river and flowing through the entire town.
You do not need a car or public transportation to get around Kärdla. Town territory covers about 5 square kilometres, so everything is within an easy reach. North part of Kärdla is called the Old Kärdla among locals and is a beloved walking area for young mums and grandparents with children or young hearts looking for a bit of old fashioned romance.
Enjoy walking down the old streets, wonder in the private housing areas and admire the beautiful, well preserved traditional wooden architecture. Traffic levels are very low and distances short: it won’t take more than 30 minutes to get to the sea or juniper filled fields: wild nature surrounds Kärdla and small, enchanting fisherman villages are close by.
Rent a bike and take a picnic basket with you, when travelling outside the town: local tourist farms provide good home-cooked meals but may not be available without booking in advance.
Best way to know what to see and do in Kärdla and Hiiumaa island is to stop by the local Tourism Information Centre – fresh information about upcoming events, maps, tips and assistance on booking accommodation or finding an active holiday activity to participate in.
Food and drink:
During summer, there are plenty of options available and Kärdla has a nice tradition of “garden cafés”: for one weekend, people host cafés in their back yards, offering coffee, homemade pastry and snacks. More information is available at 15kohvikut.ee website. However, some of the hostels, restaurants and cafés may be closed during the winter: visit local Tourism Information Centres for tips and information or if you may need assistance booking your meals in advance.
How to get to Kärdla:
Ferries: there is a regular ferry connection between the mainland and Hiiumaa island. The route is called Rohuküla (near Haapsalu town) – Heltermaa port (25km from Kärdla, in Hiiumaa) and ferries go several times a day. Less frequent is Triigi (Saaremaa island) – Sõru (Hiiumaa island) ferry, going few times a day during summer (from June to August) and every other day from September to May.
Most comfortable way of travelling to Kärdla is to take a coach from Tallinn: ferry ticket is included in the price unless stated otherwise and buses have a privileged status getting on and off the ferries.
Plane: There are regular flights from Tallinn International Lennart Meri Airport to Kärdla airport in Hiiumaa. Flights are operated by Avies and are scheduled once a day for weekends, twice a day during week. Plane tickets cost around 20EUR for one way and can be booked online.
Kärdla Airport is located about 5km east from the town centre.
Something special: during cold winters, it may be possible to drive to Hiiumaa (and Kärdla) via ice roads built on the frozen sea. Follow the traffic signs – regulations and speed limitations on ice may differ from those on the regular highways.
First mentions of Kärdla as a village can be dated back to 1564, when Swedes inhabited the village. Golden age reached its peak with the founding of a clothing factory by Ungern-Sternbergs in 1830 and larger port being built 1849. Unfortunately, both were destroyed during World War II and many of the local Swedes left.
1938, Kärdla received its town rights (and was recognized as a borough 1920).
These days, there are less than 4000 people living in Kärdla all year round – but the number of visitors almost doubles during summer, especially for the Midsummer holidays.
You will get the best overview of Kärdla and Hiiumaa history in the Pikk Maja (Long House museum), located in the former factory yard in Kärdla or Kassari exposition house in Kassari.