Source: Visit Estonia

Hiiumaa island

The second-largest island in Estonia is well-known for its historical lighthouses and pristine nature that makes for a great rural getaway throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy the harbours, beach, and the joys of coastal life, including plenty of good food.

Adored by surfers, sailors, swimmers, and nature-lovers, Hiiumaa is great for those looking for a coastal getaway. Inc fact, Hiiumaa has been a favourite summer destination for Estonians for years.

Hiiumaa is Estonia's second-largest island with an area of 989 km2 (about 1/3 the size of Saaremaa). As such, the island has a much more secluded feeling than Saaremaa, which makes it a popular spot for Estonians.

As you might expect, Hiiumaa has loads to enjoy for visitors who like the coast and nature. This includes plenty of nature trails to enjoy the wildlife and greenery. And of course, the local sights include the much-admired Kõpu Lighthouse, which is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world dating back to the 16th century.

On top of the coastal setting, the island also has a distinctly laid-back atmosphere to it that's brought on by its people. Part of the island's culture is enjoying the Hiiumaa culinary scene. In fact, the island was also nominated as a top food tourism destination in 2011 due to its excellent fish and seafood.

One interesting thing about the island is the successful revival of the Hiiumaa dialect. Under the leadership of some ambitious locals, a handbook of the Hiiumaa dialect and other interesting works written in it have been published. In addition, a play written in the dialect by Margus Tabori called ‘Momma’s Tales’ (Mamma lood) was brought to the stage.

Another part of the local culture is the respect and connection with nature. Hiiumaa is one of the 2020 Sustainable Top 100 destinations. The competition for international sustainable travel destination success stories is organised by Green Destinations to recognise places that put effort into making the experience of visitors more sustainable and value-based. Likewise, there's been a  restoration of the endangered European mink population carried out on Hiiumaa island, which is a safe habitat for the animal. After its initial success, the project was also launched on Saaremaa island.

In 2007, the European Commission launched the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) competition, which Hiiumaa won in 2015. 

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