Hiiumaa and nature

Hiiumaa and nature

Hiiumaa is an island rich in diverse and untouched nature located in the Baltic Sea.

Nearly 455 million years ago, a round archipelago with a diameter of around 10 kilometres formed as a result of a meteorite impact in the vicinity of present-day Kärdla. These were the first islands in Hiiumaa’s present location, and the hundreds of millions of years mentioned make Hiiumaa one of the oldest islands in the world.

It would be difficult to find a place in Estonia that is more biodiverse than Hiiumaa. The way in which the landscape and scenery alternate truly makes your head spin. Being equally beautiful and miniature, they intertwine solely for the purpose or making Hiiumaa the way it is. Almost everyone is attracted in the summer by the island’s long sandy beaches.

Photo: Ivo Panasyuk

Hiiumaa is surrounded by islets, which are like colourful pearls worn around the neck of a beautiful woman. Among the more than 200 islands and islets are those recently risen from the sea, lacking vegetation as well as forested islands. Due to the surrounding sea, Hiiumaa’s climate differs from the mainland. There are more sunny days and less rain.

The islanders are calm and tolerant by nature. They appreciate and love nature and feel close to it in their soul.

You will never be alone on Hiiumaa. Here you can speak to the forests and the sea and be embraced by the golden sand, the warming sun, the wind and spring water. The air here holds both the past and the future. We welcome anyone that takes care of Hiiumaa along with its nature and people. If the stars do not help, the smiling islanders will show you the way.

Photo: Argo Nurs

UNESCO-recognised biosphere

Life on an island is like a small model of the world. The island’s unique natural beauty, which has been preserved thanks to local people living in harmony with nature and the sensitive island environment, is the reason why UNESCO recognised the West Estonian archipelago as a model of sustainable life, which should be followed more diligently throughout Estonia and beyond. Hiiumaa and other West Estonian islands have been a part of the international Man and the Biosphere Programme since 1990.

Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB)

UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme (MAB) was launched in 1971. It initially included 14 thematic sub-programmes, all of which scientifically researched the relationship between people and the biosphere in a time of escalating environmental issues. Man and the Biosphere is an intergovernmental science programme whose primary aim is to ensure a balanced joint development of biodiversity and human culture. To achieve this, the programme is based on an extensive network of biosphere reserves with nearly 700 protected areas in the largest ecosystems. These are not ordinary protected areas, but rather areas where sustainable management solutions are being developed and the synergy between the local community, heritage and nature is addressed. Since ancient knowledge and skills on how to sustainably use the biosphere have been preserved in different areas of the world, the MAB aims to introduce and apply these skills as much as possible. The MAB now has multiple thematic sub-programmes, such as for deserts, mountainous areas, conurbations, islands and coastal areas. You can find more information about the MAB on the UNESCO website

One of the greatest perks of Hiiumaa is its clean nature and living environment. To preserve this precious treasure, Hiiumaa implemented an updated waste management system in 2020, which has been described as one of the most progressive in Estonia. 

Hiiumaa – a green destination

In 2020, an organisation developing sustainable tourism, Green Destinations, added Hiiumaa to the green destinations TOP 100. Green Destinations has developed a standard for sustainable destinations that can be used to apply for a Green Destination Award certificate. The certificate has four award levels from bronze to platinum.

At the beginning of 2021, Hiiumaa applied for the bronze level of the quality label. A destination striving for recognition must comply with more than 100 quality standard criteria for nature (the ecosystem as a whole), environment (water management, air quality, waste management, energy), sustainable transport, valuing culture and traditions, the social well-being of residents (including prevention and safety), the business environment of the destination, accommodation conditions and the involvement of residents and the municipal government’s management processes in terms of sustainable development.

We really appreciate the unique environment we live in and have consciously focused on sustainable development for 30 years – from the moment Hiiumaa was included in UNESCO’s biosphere reserves.

We ask Hiiumaa’s visitors to appreciate an island so abundant in nature and contribute to its clean environment.

1. Protect nature. 
2. Do not litter. Throw away garbage in its designated place (in the bin at your accommodation, at a campsite or a caravan park). If you sort the waste, it can also be left in public packaging containers. In addition, you can purchase a prepaid garbage bag. Prepaid garbage bags are sold at the ferries’ R-kiosks, Coop Hiiumaa stores, the Windtower, Kõpu lighthouse and the tourist information centre.
3. Tent and hike in places designated for this purpose (at the hiking and tenting areas of the State Forest Management Centre). 
4. Build a fire in its designated place (at the State Forest Management Centre’s campfire sites or campsites). 
5. Be considerate of fellow drivers on the island. 
6. Do not hesitate to talk to locals. 
7. If you liked something or feel like it could have been better, give feedback to the places you visited. 
8. Capture Hiiumaa’s beautiful moments and, if possible, share them with us using #VisitHiiumaa. 
9. Enjoy local food and produce. 
10. Enjoy Hiiumaa! 

Read more about keeping Hiiumaa clean on the municipality’s website.

Hiiumaa’s geographical coordinates are:
Ristna 22º 2’ 22’’, 
Sarve 23º 4’ 10’’, 
Tahkuna Cape 59º 5’ 36’’, 
Emmaste Rannaküla Cape 58º 41’ 13’’.