Welcome to Haapsalu!

Welcome to Haapsalu – a small seaside resort town on the west coast of Estonia, just 101 km from the capital city Tallinn!

Haapsalu is Estonia’s oldest resort, famous for its therapeutic mud. The first treatment centre was opened in 1825 and celebrity patients – from members of the Russian imperial family to wealthy citizens of Western Europe – were treated here for rheumatism and other complaints.

In the centuries since its foundation in 1279, Haapsalu has hosted dignified heads and spiritual leaders and been a summer paradise for visitors from north, south, east and west. Russian composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky spent time composing in Haapsalu in 1867, while the anthem of the Russian Empire, “God Save the Tsar!”, was first performed. Tsar Peter the Great of Russia stayed in Haapsalu in 1715 during his search for somewhere to call his own port. Since the end of the reign of Nikolai I until the destruction of the Empire, all of the Russian tsars, until Nikolai II, spent their summers in Haapsalu and took mud baths there.

In addition to blues artist, Haapsalu has hosted several musicians and bands, such as Bonnie Tyler, Megadeth, Uriah Heep, Suzi Quatro, Chris de Burgh and 2 Cellos, to name a few.

The rich history of Haapsalu is reflected also in the ruins of its ancient castle and in its cathedral. Between the concerts of Augustibluus you can count the steps to the top of the castle’s bell tower and pace out all 216 metres along the railway station platform – and when you’ve done all that, treat yourself with coffee and cake at one of the town’s cafés, bring back childhood memories at “Ilon’s Wonderland” or dip your toes in the warm sea waters at Paralepa Beach or at Väike viik (little beach in the old town of Haapsalu!). The foreshore promenade with its pavilion is also the pride of the town.

People from Haapsalu, you may know:

  • Maire-Ilon Wikland – artist and illustrator of “Karlsson-on-the-Roof”, “The Six Bullerby Children”, “The Brothers Lionheart” and “Ronia the Robber’s Daughter” – who escaped with the family of her classmate to Sweden in 1944.
  • Kaia Kanepi – a professional tennis player, achieved her career-high ranking of world No. 15 in 2012.
  • Nikolai Novosjolov – an épée fencer, two-time individual world champion (2010 and 2013).

Official sister-cities of Haapsalu are:

Hanko and Loviisa (Finland), Haninge and Eskilstuna (Sweden), Rendsburg (Germany), Fundão (Portugal), Greve in Chianti (Italy), Novgorod Oblast (Russia), Uman (Ukraine) and Bethlehem (Palestine).

Learn more about Haapsalu: www.visithaapsalu.com