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Vilsandi national park

IMG_8557 Typical coast of Saaremaa and Vilsandi NP1


Vilsandi National Park and the island of Saaremaa are waiting for visitors all year round and so is Loona Manor Guesthouse. In winter it is wise to call in advance.

Vilsandi is the oldest nature protection area in the Baltics (founded as a bird reserve in 1910), which was reorganised as the Vilsandi National Park in 1993. Its purpose is to protect, preserve, study and introduce the marine and coastal landscapes, their natural values and cultural heritage.
The park covers an area of 23 880 ha, of which more than half is the costal sea, where there are about 160 islands, islets and reefs (1/10 of the whole Estonian islands). Vilsandi National Park comprises the Island of Vilsandi with the islets and boulders surrounding it, the bays of Kihelkonna, Kuusnõmme and Atla with the islands in them, and the peninsulas of Elda, Eeriksaar, Kuusnõmme and Harilaid. Vilsandi itself is small – 6 km long and barely 3 km wide.

The list of cultural and natural values of Vilsandi National Park is impressive:
  • A prime bird watching location – it is a breeding and nesting ground for over 247 species of birds (114 species in spring). Among others you will find the Common Eider (Somateria mollissima), the Barnacle Goose (Branta leucopsis), the White-tailed Eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) and the Turnstone (Arenaria). On mild winter more than 70 species, including the rare Steller’s Eider (Polysticta stelleri), winter here.
  • Abundant vegetation – there are 600 to 700 plant species, including many rarities that grow on the juniper-covered heritage landscapes and forests – over 30 species of orchids, as well as an endemic species of rattle (Rhinanthus osiliensis) and ivy (Hedera helix), for which this is the northernmost limit of its range.
  • One of the largest resting (summer) and nesting (winter) sites of grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) in Estonia. The Grey Seal Webcam is located here in Vilsandi National Park.
  • People interested in geology will find outcrops of Silurian limestone containing plenty of fossils and fossilised corals on the west coast and on Vilsandi.
  • And of course, our rich cultural heritage!

A short film about the Vilsandi National Park can be viewed here. 

Read more about the Vilsandi Nationa Park (in Estonian) Environmental Board and RMK

Read more about the history of the national park (in Estonian).

Vilsandi NP is one of Estonian EDEN destinations since 2009. Read more about EDEN Europe network.