Made up of 150 islands, Vilsandi National Park is a protected area inhabited by wildlife and plants. In total, the park has on area of about 24,000 ha, of which 2/3 is covered by the sea.
Orchids, fossils and fossilised corals can be found on the most western island of Estonia dotted with juniper bushes, making for a great nature destination throughout the year, especially for hiking trails!
The park began as a bird sanctuary in 1910 and was established as a nature reserve in 1957. Today, the park's primary objective is to protect the wildlife and coastal landscape of the area.
Vistors to Vilsandi National Park can enjoy numerous activities like swimming, boating, canoeing or riding a bicycle, hiking, bird or seal watching, nature photography, foraging, and fishing. The islands' landscape includes breathtaking like the dunes on the Harilaiu Peninsula, the Alvar grasslands, as well as the cliffs of Elda and Soeginina. Visitors can also see the famous Vilsandi Lighthouse.
Those looking to learn more about the natural history of Vilsandi should head over to the visitor’s centre which displays a collection of fossils and a permanent exhibition about the long-established park.
In 2007, the European Commission launched the European Destinations of Excellence (EDEN) competition. In 2009 Vilsandi National Park was nominated for the category of 'Estonia’s hidden treasures' and 'Tourism and protected areas.'
Visiting Vilsandi National Park should be planned ahead. There is a regular boat connection between Papissaare-Vikati-Papissaare that fits 11 passengers organised by the local municipality.