Hiiumaa (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈhiːumɑː]; Swedish & German: Dagö; Finnish: Hiidenmaa) is the second largest island in Estonia, with an area of 989 km2. It is in the Baltic Sea, north of the island of Saaremaa, part of the West Estonian archipelago. Its largest town is Kärdla. Along with several smaller neighboring islands, the island makes up Hiiu County; one of the 15 counties of Estonia.

The Hiiu Shoal (Nekmangrund) is located off the northwestern shore of Hiiumaa Island.

Vaade tahkuna tuletornist4
Tahkuna peninsula is the most northern part of Hiiumaa
Estonian archipelago (Saaremaa and Hiiumaa)
LocationBaltic Sea
CoordinatesCoordinates: 58°53′03″N 22°38′40″E / 58.88417°N 22.64444°E
ArchipelagoWest Estonian archipelago
Area989 km2 (382 sq mi)
Highest elevation68 m (223 ft)
Highest pointTornimägi
County, parishHiiu County, Hiiumaa Parish
Largest settlementKärdla (pop. 3,287 [as of 1 January 2012][1])
Pop. density8.7 /km2 (22.5 /sq mi)


Hiiumaa is the main island of Hiiu County, called Hiiumaa or Hiiu maakond in Estonian. The Swedish and German name of the island is Dagö ("Day" island), Dagø in Danish. In modern Finnish, it is called Hiidenmaa, literally Hiisi's Land. In Old Gutnish, it was Dagaiþ (day isthmus), from which the local North Germanic name "Daë" is derived.


Archaeological evidence of the first human settlement in Hiiumaa dates to the 4th century BC. The first documented record of the island of Dageida was made by contemporary chroniclers in 1228, when Hiiumaa and the rest of Estonia were conquered by Germanic crusaders. In 1254, Hiiumaa was divided between the Bishopric of Ösel-Wiek and the Livonian branch of the Teutonic Order, acting partly on behalf of the Hanseatic League.

Kõpu Lighthouse-033
Kõpu Lighthouse is one of the best-known landmarks in Hiiumaa.

The island was part of Swedish Estonia from 1563 to 1721, after which it passed to the Russian Empire as part of the Governorate of Estonia, though Dagö's Swedish population kept most of their privileges. Most of the island's previously numerous Swedish-speaking population emigrated or were "Estonianised" during the period of Imperial Russian rule, although a minority remains to this day. Estonian Swedes are also known as "aibofolke" (meaning island people in Swedish) or "rannarootslased" (meaning coastal Swedes in Estonian).

World War I

Hiiumaa was occupied during World War I by the Imperial German Army, in Operation Albion. After the war, it became a part of independent Estonia.

World War II

The waters near Hiiumaa were active during World War II:[2]

  • 23 June 1941- The Soviet destroyer Gnevny was sunk by a German seamine.
  • 25 June- the Soviet minesweeper T-208 Shkiv was destroyed by a German seamine.
  • 27 June- Two German motor torpedo boats, S43 and S106, were destroyed by Soviet seamines.
  • 1 July- the Soviet submarine M-81 was destroyed by a German seamine north of Hiiumaa.
  • 7 July- the Soviet minesweeper T-216 was sunk.
  • 30 July- the Soviet minesweeper T-201 Zarjad was sunk.
  • 10 August- the German submarine U-144 was sunk by a torpedo from the Soviet submarine SC-307.

Hiiumaa Island was annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, by Nazi Germany in 1941, and by the Soviets again in 1944. It was part of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. During the Soviet era, Hiiumaa was declared a restricted zone, closed to foreigners and to most mainland Estonians. Since 1991, the island has been a part of independent Estonia.


Hiiumaa is an island in Estonia located north of Saaremaa in the Baltic Sea. It is the northernmost island in the Muhu archipelago, which includes Saaremaa and Muhu. The Soela Strait separates Hiiumaa from Saaremaa to its south, and the Muhu Strait separates it from the mainland of Estonia.[3]


Road transport from Estonian mainland to Hiiumaa involves a 90-minute (28 km) ferry crossing from Rohuküla to Heltermaa, which is 25 km by road from Kärdla. There are about 10 ferry departures a day operated by TS Laevad.[4] In the summer weekends, getting car space on the ferry usually requires advance booking. There are about 2 scheduled buses a day between Tallinn (the capital of Estonia) and Kärdla.[5] In the winter, the island can be reached, conditions permitting, via a 26.5 km ice road (the longest in Europe) across the frozen Baltic Sea.[6][7]

Hiiumaa is served by Kärdla Airport, with regular flights to Tallinn. Bicycle rental is also available in Kärdla and there is a good bicycle path built from Kärdla towards Kõrgessaare.

Nature conservation

Since the end of the 1990s the island shelters a conservation project aimed at restoring populations of European mink, an endangered species of which there is about only 1,000 individual specimens left in Europe as of 2017. This project started with removing from the island all American minks that had escaped from breeding farms, and reintroducing some European minks. The latter started breeding.[8]


Smoked cooked plaice is a traditional summertime delicacy.


Image gallery

Tahkuna tuletorn Hiiumaal, päikeseloojanguvalguses
Tahkuna lighthouse
Hiidenmaa-Kassarin kirkko
Church of Kassari
Talo Tammelan kylässä
Old farmhouse
Sorven museo
Sõru museum
Malvaste chapel
Port of Heltermaa 2

Cars boarding the ferry to mainland at Heltermaa

Hellamaa panoraam

Coast of Hiiumaa

Tubala tuulik august 2014

Tubala windmill

Hiiu-Suuremõisa mõisahoone

Suuremõisa Manor in Suuremõisa, Pühalepa Parish

23623 Suuremõisa mõisa allee

Avenue at Suuremõisa Park

Orjaku sadam-kohvik

Café at Orjaku Harbor

Orjaku õpperada

Nature trail near Orjaku

See also


  1. ^ Comparison of self-government units, Statistical Council's Regional Portal (checked November 7th, 2012)
  2. ^ Jorma Mäntykoski, Kalevi Keskinen (1991). The Finnish Navy At War in 1939-1945 (Suomen Laivasto Sodassa 1939-1945). Espoo: Tietoteos Ky. p. 154. ISBN 951-8919-05-4.
  3. ^ "Hiiumaa". Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/place/Hiiumaa. Accessed 8 March 2017.
  4. ^ Praamid.ee. Ferry schedules and booking.
  5. ^ "Bus schedules and booking". BussiReisid. Archived from the original on 13 September 2008.
  6. ^ Estonia claims Europe's longest ice highway. The Independent. 19 February 2011. Retrieved 19 February 2011.
  7. ^ "BBC: No seatbelts allowed on Europe's longest ice road". Retrieved 18 February 2014.
  8. ^ The Baltic coast, video by Free High-Quality Documentaries, on youtube.com. For the European mink conservation project on Hiiumaa, see 32'20 - 34-02. For the American mink having supplanted the European mink and the former's removal from the island, see 33'40 - 34'02.
  9. ^ "Climate normals-Temperature". Estonian Weather Service. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Climate normals-Precipitation". Estonian Weather Service. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  11. ^ "Climate normals-Humidity". Estonian Weather Service. Retrieved 28 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Kliimanormid-Päikesepaiste kestus" (in Estonian). Estonian Weather Service. Archived from the original on 22 February 2012. Retrieved 28 September 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)

External links

Hiiumaa travel guide from Wikivoyage


Elmrahu is an island belonging to the country of Estonia. The island is located west of the island Külalaid and is just off the coast of the much larger island Hiiumaa


Heltermaa is a village in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County in northwestern Estonia. The village is home to the seaport connecting Hiiumaa with the mainland (Rohuküla harbour) by ferry line.

Hiiu County

Hiiu County (Estonian: Hiiu maakond), or Hiiumaa, is one of 15 counties of Estonia, being the smallest county both in terms of area and population. It consists of Hiiumaa (German, Swedish: Dagö), the second largest island of Estonia, and several smaller islands near it. The county borders Lääne County to the east and Saare County to the south.

Hiiumaa Parish

Hiiumaa Parish (Estonian: Hiiumaa vald) is a rural municipality of Estonia on the island of Hiiumaa. Hiiumaa Parish was established by merging Emmaste Parish, Hiiu Parish, Käina Parish and Pühalepa Parish after the municipal elections held on 15 October 2017. Kärdla is the administrative centre of the municipality. The current mayor (vallavanem) is Reili Rand. The municipalities of Emmaste and Pühalepa contested their forced merger with Hiiu and Käina to form the new Hiiumaa municipality, which includes the whole island and what is Hiiu County.

Kurisu, Hiiumaa Parish

Kurisu is a village in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County in northwestern Estonia.


Kärdla (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈkærˑ'dlɑ]; Swedish: Kärrdal; German: Kertel) is the only town on the island of Hiiumaa, Estonia. It is the capital of Hiiu County and the centre of Hiiumaa Parish.


Kõlunõmme is a village in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County in northwestern Estonia.


Kõrgessaare (German: Hohenholm) is a small borough (alevik) in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County, Estonia, on the northwestern coast of Hiiumaa island.


Langekare is a small, uninhabited Baltic Sea island belonging to the country of Estonia. Its coordinates are 58°48′21″N 23°09′03″E Langekare is a 1.2 hectare island lying off the eastern coast off the larger Estonian island of Hiiumaa and is administered by Pühalepa Parish, Hiiu County. Along with a number of other small islands and islets, it makes up the Hiiumaa Islets Landscape Reserve (Estonian: Hiiumaa laidude kaitseala). It is the only island of the reserve being a limestone-based island, the rest of the islands being moraine-based.Langekare is also part of the World Commission on Protected Areas.

Lassi, Hiiu County

Lassi is a village in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County, Estonia, located on the southern part of Hiiumaa island. It has a population of 44 (as of 1 January 2000).

Lelu, Estonia

Lelu is a village in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County, on the island of Hiiumaa, Estonia.


Niidiküla is a village in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County in northwestern Estonia.

According to the 2000 census, the population of Niidiküla was 18.

Nõmme, Hiiumaa Parish

Nõmme is a village in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County in northwestern Estonia.


Reigi (German: Roicks) is a village in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County in northwestern Estonia.


Reikama is a village in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County in northwestern Estonia.

Saarnaki laid

Saarnaki laid is an uninhabited, moraine-based island in the Baltic Sea belonging to the country of Estonia. Its coordinates are 58°48′38″N 22°59′37″E.

Saarnaki laid is a relatively young island; it rose from the Baltic Sea approximately 2,000 years ago. The total area of the island is 140 hectares (350 acres). The island is 5 kilometres (3 mi) long and 1 kilometre (1⁄2 mi) wide. It is 7 to 9 metres (23 to 30 ft) above sea level. It lies just off the southeastern coast of the island of Hiiumaa, and is administrated by Hiiu County.

Saarnaki laid had previously been inhabited at least since the early 15th Century and was abandoned by the last residents in 1973. It is the largest of the islands that make up the Hiiumaa Islets Landscape Reserve (Estonian: Hiiumaa laidude maastikukaitseala) and several former residential and farm buildings on the island have been restored for the benefit of tourists.

Selja, Hiiumaa Parish

Selja is a village in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County in northwestern Estonia.

The first Estonian professional composer Rudolf Tobias (1873–1918) was born and spent his early childhood in Selja. His father Johannes Tobias worked there as the parish clerk. Since 1973, a memorial museum operates in Tobias' birth house.

Suuremõisa, Hiiu County

Suuremõisa (German: Großenhof) is a village in Hiiumaa Parish, Hiiu County in northwestern Estonia.

The village has 299 inhabitants and therefore is the largest village of the municipality.

Soviet Estonian politician Meta Vannas (1924–2002), was born in Suuremõisa.


Öakse (alternately: Öakse laid, or Pärglaid) is an island in the Baltic Sea belonging to the country of Estonia.

Öakse comprises 7.6 hectares in area and is located in the Soonlepa Gulf, approximately one km from the Salinõmme Peninsula on the larger island of Hiiumaa to the west and approximately 300 km from the smaller islet of Auklaiust which lies to the west and is administered by Hiiu County. The island is part of the Hiiumaa laidude kaitseala (Hiiumma Islets Landscape Reserve). The island of Öakse is elongated in a northwest-southeast direction, and crescent-shaped. The shoreline is sinuous and the south-east tip of the island is rocky and concludes with a set of large boulders. It is approximately 8.2 meters above sea level.

The island is overgrown with various types of reeds, fescue and junipers. On the western and eastern edges of the island stand upland forests of elm and juniper.

Climate data for Hiiumaa (Ristna, located in western part of the island)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 8.4
Average high °C (°F) 0.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.9
Average low °C (°F) −3
Record low °C (°F) −28.4
Average precipitation mm (inches) 55
Average relative humidity (%) 85 85 84 81 79 81 81 81 81 82 84 84 82
Mean monthly sunshine hours 28.2 59.3 119.4 190.9 293.1 297.6 303.2 251.0 166.2 96.1 36.3 19.0 1,864.4
Source: Estonian Weather Service (sun, 1971–2000)[9][10][11][12]
Gulf of Finland
West Estonian archipelago
and the Väinameri Sea
Gulf of Riga
Lakes and rivers
Former islands
Inhabited islands in the Baltic Sea

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