Viirelaid – where time stands still

Source: Priit Villemson

Viirelaid – where time stands still

Viirelaid is a small line of shallow land between the mainland and Muhumaa. It is a landmark long known to sailors which guides those coming from the South towards the Väinameri Sea through the Viire Passage. The famous folk song “Viire takka” also bears references to Viirelaid and seafaring.

Island of dreams

Photo: Facebook: To the island


The residents of the island have throughout its history been either lighthouse keepers or held other occupations that have to do with the lighthouse. The first written mention of the islet dates back to 1556, but it is said that in winter 1227 crusaders came across the sea of ice from the mainland to conquer and take over the Muhu Fortress and took a break to rest and pray at Viirelaid.

On the old sea charts, the island is referred to as Paternoster that in Latin translates to Our Father. Maybe that is why sailors used to cite the Lord’s Prayer as they entered the Viire Passage between the Virtsu Peninsula and Viirelaid. Viirelaid got its current name only in 1933, mostly likely after a bird called marsh tern.

Across the sea

Photo: Tanel Lehtsi

The first emergency navigation sign was a bright red tower that stood on the holm from the year 1836. Later a larger wooden tower was built to replace it. As it needed frequent repairs, a number of facilities were built in 1881, including the tower, the keeper’s house, a sauna and a fuel storage. This time the tower was made from boiler sheet metal and it was 10.5 meters tall. The tower consisted of two cylinders, joint by a winding staircase that also made the construction stronger.

The red lighthouse

Nowadays Viirelaid Lighthouse has a red lantern room and a cylindrical metal tower with a balcony, that has an automated light and control system that functions on solar and wind energy. Viirelaid Lighthouse is known to be the oldest metal lighthouse in Estonia.

Its current owners arrived on the empty islet four years ago and started to revive the local life. Although it is a lonely island, there are also 500 sheep here beside the humans in summers. Wild nature, wind-torn junipers, peace and quiet. This is the perfect island for those who seek solitude. However, those who need something more will also find plenty to do due to the local family.

The chef's table invites you to a special dining experience

Photo: Tanel Lehtsi

A lonely place, but not a boring one

The Lighthouse Keeper’s vacation houses await guests; they are perfect for business purposes and private use alike, whether it is company events, a company summer retreat, camping, concerts, birthdays, weddings or other kinds of parties. Here is the chance to spend the day as if in a separate country.

Crisp Viirelaid is the best possible place to enjoy the local cuisine. Viirelaid’s Lighthouse Keeper’s chef’s table invites you to a special dining experience, personally hosted by Estonia’s most famous chefs. This is a place to meet other guests, have fun and meet people with similar interests, who appreciate fine dining and drinks. Viirelaid’s dinners are like a symbolic message that shows that a good dining experience will bring people together from across the seven seas.

An adventure on a deserted island for fathers and sons will leave both with unforgettable experiences. There is a cinema for children, a sauna for the fathers, joint activities, competitions and that is only the beginning.

Surf, yoga and children’s camps are held on the island.

On a dim August night, however, a fire festival called Burning Island kicks into motion, where different workshops, opinion boards, fire-related activities and a vacation await. As well as evening rituals, fire dancers, a fire stage and light installations. You have to experience and see it for yourself.

Last updated : 08.06.2020

In category: Islands