If you’re looking for perfect day trip or weekend getaway, you’ll find it in Haapsalu. A mere 99km from Tallinn, this quiet seaside town of just under 12,000 is steeped in history, filled with quaint, wooden houses, and it even has its own beach. It’s no wonder that visitors of one sort or another have been coming here since the 13th Century, when the Episcopal Castle (now one of the town’s main attractions) was built. Most of the castle was pulled down by Peter the Great in 1715, but that certainly wasn’t the end of Haapsalu’s story. In the early 1800′s, Dr. Carl Abraham Hunnius discovered the curative properties of the local sea mud, and the town’s new role as a resort destination was sealed. In 1825 the first spa opened in Haapsalu, and pretty soon everyone from Tsaikovsky to the Tsar and his family were coming here to take the cures.
This year Haapsalu celebrates its 183rd anniversary as a resort town – an industry that’s still going strong. After doing your sightseeing you can contact the spa resorts listed here and make an appointment to get slathered in mud, or simply go for an aromatic massage.
Haapsalu is 99km south-west of the capital. Buses from Tallinn leave roughly every hour, and the trip takes one hour and 40 minutes. Tickets cost 75-105kr. The bus station in Haapsalu is in the old train terminal, but tickets can also be bought on board. Sadly, train service to the town stopped in 1995.
If youv’e got more than a couple of days to spend in Haapsalu, we suggest you take the ferry trip to the Island of Hiiumaa, it’s Estonia’s second biggest island and ferries leave frequently.
Haapsalu is a truly amazing city a real gem of Estonia
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