Häädemeeste coast

Dotted with tiny villages and beaches, the coastline between Pärnu and the Latvian border was a popular resort area during Soviet times and is still a perfect place to find solitude and to see small-town Estonian life first-hand. The easiest way to travel the coast road is by car, but any of the seven daily Ikla-bound buses will get you there too. For a information about the area, contact the Lepanina Hotel, tel. 446 50 24.

Häädemeeste A teeming population of 900 and an inexplicably-high number of food shops makes Häädemeeste the biggest town on the coast. Its main feature is the photogenic, stone St. Michael’s Church, which, when built in 1874 under the supervision of architect Mathhias von Holst, became the focal point of the area’s Lutheran congregation. The Orthodox Church dating back to 1872 is worth a photo as well. Häädemeeste also sports a café and a tiny museum displaying a small collection of national costumes and an exhibit on local history. The museum is open only by arrangement.

Kabli Stretched along 2km of coast road, Kabli lacks any real centre, but makes up for it with its sandy beaches. The north end of the town is home to a bird-watching tower, the Kabli Linnujaam, where twitchers flock each autumn to see watch rare species migrate. Another kilometre past the café is the Kapten Reeder Jakop Marksoni House Museum (tel. 449 84 42), a house that has remained miraculously unchanged since Captain Markson had it built in 1889. Nowadays a member of the fourth generation will guide you through her house and show you the museum out the back that displays such items as old maps, butter churns, and the hostess’ own hand-made dolls.

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