We know Estonia

30.5.2014 | Estonia

The blue pearl of the west

The blue pearl of the west

In Haapsalu, you are never far away from the sea.

 

Haapsalu is known in a way through Astrid Lindgren’s books, because the beloved illustrator Ilon Wikland was from Estonia and spent her childhood summers in Haapsalu. Wikland illustrated many of Lindgren’s books over the decades, as well as the Bullerby Children, Karlsson on the Roof, and the Brothers Lionheart.

Wikland’s early illustrations and the progression of her career can be seen in an old wooden house at Ilon’s Wonderland. The top floor is the Karlsson on the Roof room and playroom. The exhibits in the children’s centre were updated this winter.

Haapsalu is a truly child-friendly city filled with playgrounds, the most impressive of which is located in the moat of the Episcopal Castle. The castle itself is also striking, standing tall among the wooden houses.

The summer brings Haapsalu back to life. Get to know the city by taking a ride on the tourist train, which weaves its way through the city’s narrow streets. You can also see the city from the sea with a ride on the steam ship.

Haapsalu has many interesting museums, including the Museum of the Coastal Swedes, the Evald Okase Art Museum, the Episcopal Castle Museum, and the Railroad Museum. From the 17th of May, a new permanent exhibit will open in the Town Hall.

How to get there:

Haapsalu is less than two hours away from Tallinn by car. Buses connect to Haapsalu frequently.

TOP 5 Haapsalu

01 HAAPSALU EPISCOPAL CASTLE

The ghost of Estonia’s White Lady lives inside the castle.

02 ILON’S WONDERLAND Find out about Ilon Wikland’s career as a children’s illustrator, and partake in children’s activities too.

03 MATSALU NATIONAL PARK Admire orchids, beavers, and other interesting wild life in one of Estonia’s most beautiful parks.

04 RESORT HALL This seaside restaurant is one of Estonia’s most impressive.

05 SANDY BEACHES Relax in the sunshine on one of northwest- ern Estonia’s most beautiful beaches.

Distances

■ Tallinn-Haapsalu 100 km

Largest cities

■ Haapsalu: 11,000

■ Lihula: 2500

More information: www.visithaapsalu.com

How to get there:

Haapsalu is less than two hours away from Tallinn by car. Buses connect to Haapsalu frequently.

TEXT MIKKO VIRTA, PHOTOS EAS

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