Useful information
1. Contract stones and Otimäe stone burial place
2. Pühalepa church
3. Suuremõisa castle
4. Suursadam
5. Soera Farm Museum
6. Kärdla
7. Hill of Crosses
8. Tahkuna lighthouse
9. Reigi church
10. Kõrgessaare-Viskoosa
11. Kõpu lighthouse
12. Vanajõe Valley
13. Sõru harbour
14. Orjaku bird observation tower
15. Exhibits building of Hiiumaa museum in Kassari
16. Sääretirp
17. Kassari chapel and graveyard
18. Vaemla wool factory

Supported by European Union


Drive back from the village road to the main road, then turn right and drive until you reach Kärdla (about 6 km).

Photo: Tiit Leito
Photo: Tiit Leito /

This is the only major town in our island. Kärdla as a small Swedish village probably existed already in the 14th century, but the oldest and still preserved written note date back to the year 1564. Before Kärdla got its city rights at the beginning of 1938, it was quite famous as a factory settlement. Kertil, Kärtellby, Kertel, etc are the better known of its older names. Some place and family names hark back to the first inhabitants of Kärdla, the Swedes. The name Kärdla comes from the Swedish language and means a swampy, wet valley. The Nuutri River, which flows through town, got its name from a man called Knud or his farm. Kärdla is a garden city. Big gardens behind the little wooden houses, trenches and ditches with running water, lots of trees, bushes and flowers is an evidence of that. Old Kärdla or the part of the city closer to the sea is like a romantic city in miniature, a wonderful place where grandparents spend their time with their grandchildren. Kärdla started to develop especially rapidly when the Ungern-Sternbergs established a textile factory in 1829. The main article was a high quality manufactured woollen cloth - broadcloth. In 1941 retreating Soviet troops set fire to the factory’s main building and so the story of the factory ended.

Urban planning and residential construction, started by the factory management board, helped to create an enjoyable environment that can be felt even nowadays (the street grid, large lots, lots of green). The history of Kärdla is more precisely laid out in the Hiiumaa Museum, or Pikk Maja (Long House) that is situated on one side of a former factory yard and which for a long time was a factory manager's dwelling. From there a path leads you straight to the bathing beach. Everything that can be seen in the park of the beach reminds of the long history of Kärdla (see the information board). Kärdla harbour, a few steps further, was destroyed during the war. But it is still possible to swim and sunbathe on the beach. Cafeteria Rannapaargu, the architectural style of which is reminiscent of the 1970s, has become a symbol of the town, like the church that was constructed in 1863 or the Firemen's House on the side of the Keskväljak (Central Square). Today you'll find a tourist information centre there, where you can ask questions about Hiiumaa and Kärdla to your heart's content.

About 4,000 inhabitants live permanently in Kärdla, and the town is very welcoming of visitors during the summer months.

Legends and stories

Kärdla is also famous for its bridges, or "drums". The Silver Drum got its name from an old legend: the islanders built the bridge unbelievably long, to which the baron said: "If I had decided to make this bridge of silver and given a shorter deadline, the costs would have been the same."

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