Vilsandi National Park[dead link] is on and outside Saaremaa, Estonia's largest island. The park includes the island of Vilsandi, 160 other islands and islets, parts of Western Saaremaa and the Harilaid peninsula.
Vilsandi National Park was developed from the Vaika Bird Reserve, which was formed in 1910. It covers 238 km², including 163 km² of sea and 75 km² of land.
Loona Manor houses the visitor center of the National Park, fossil museum, hotel, restaurant.
The most characteristic to the landscape are the small islands and islets of the nature park of which Vilsandi is the only one with permanent human inhabitants.
The west and north shore is dominated by dolomite rock bank shore.
Flora and fauna Edit
Vilsandi is an international bird sanctuary with over 250 recorded bird species (112 nesting). The most famous is the common eider, several thousands pairs nest on the islets. Even in winter you can see flocks of Steller's eiders in the park.
Get in Edit
Vilsandi National Park is free to visit. The national park is 35 km west of Kuressaare and 3 km from Kihelkonna village.
By plane Edit
There are flights to Kuressaare – from Tallinn, Stockholm, Helsinki.
By bus Edit
Regular buses from Kuressaare. The bus stop is 300 m from the Visitor Centre.
Bus schedules are easily available online – read more under Estonia#Get around.
By car Edit
Drive 35 km west from Kuressaare, facing signs for Kihelkonna. Finally sign shows left 1 km to Kihelkonna, 4.5 km to Loona Manor, Visitor center.
By bike Edit
Loona manor is included on an Eurovelo route.
Get around Edit
Hikes, bike rent, boat trips to Vilsandi island and in the archipelago. Info is available at the visitor center in Loona manor.
Guided trips to Vilsandi island could be at from the visitor centre. Daily nature tours, heritage tours start from there. Maps, souvenirs, advice. Season starts from May, 01. Before that just send an e-mail or give a call. Heritage and nature tours for individuals minimum of 2 persons €23 per person.
- Sea flora and fauna
- Silurian Cliffs corals, fossils
- Wild orchids
- Gray seals
- Coastal traditional culture (tar making, forest park, fishing, folklore)
- Old harbours and light houses.
- There are numerous hiking paths, biking trains and bird watching towers throughout the park.
- Bikes and walking poles can be rented.
- Souvenirs can be purchased at the Loona visitor center
- Restaurant Loona serves food.
- There is a grocery store in Kihelkonna.
- Fish can be caught at Pidula fish ponds.
Go next Edit
- Hiiumaa – The second largest Estonian island. Popular for its lighthouses, ancient churches, historical values and the sense of humour of its inhabitants, but scarcely populated. In winter, it can sometimes be reached by car via an ice bridge on the Baltic Sea.
- Muhu – The third largest Estonian island, and a rural municipality connected to the nearby Saaremaa by an artificial embankment, where ferries to the harbour of Virtsu arrive. Has an open air museum, and its locals are known for still sewing woollen clothes. Sleepy fishing villages, working windmills, thatched cottages, plenty of deer, moose and birds.
- Pärnu – Estonia's 4th largest city and the summer capital of Estonia, popular for its balneo-therapy complexes and spa centres, surrounded by numerous beaches.