We’ve told you plenty about Tallinn, but not much about the county that it surrounds it. Harju County is located in northern Estonia and covers the coastal region, encompassing many of the small islands.
A distinctive feature of Harju County is its nature, rich in rare flora and different fauna. Harju County has more than 300 km of coastline and 74 islands and islets. Seemingly everywhere you look, there is some beautiful natural sights to behold.
Harju County boasts some spectacular natural landmarks and plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in nature. Lahemaa National Park is a good place to start. Estonia’s famous Viru bog is great to visit any time of year. A 3km or 6km hiking trail, mostly covered in boardwalk, will take you through the bog. Cape Juminda, located on the northern coast between the Gulf of Kolga and the Gulf of Hara, is also an intriguing place. The coastal fishing villages of Pärispea, Viinistu and Turbuneeme are also worth exploring.
You’ll certainly want to visit the 8-metre tall Jägala Waterfall and the 6.1-metre tall Keila-Joa Waterfall, both of which are stunning when frozen in winter. Tuhala Witch’s Well at Sulu Farm is truly a sight to behold, which starts to boil in spring. According to folklore, the water rose when witches whisked the well, but today we know that the rising water is part of an underground river which overflows during periods of high water, like in spring when the snow melts.
Kõrvemaa, otherwise known as Estonia’s Switzerland, is also known for its forests, lakes and marshes, where you can see many different rare bird and animal species. The nature reserve is easily accessible by train, and in addition hiking, visitors can enjoy skiing in winter.
History enthusiasts will be fascinated by the town of Paldiski, which was once one of the most important army bases for the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. The town was also a nuclear submarine study centre. Be sure to visit the Paldiski Train Station, which is one of the best preserved train stations in Estonia.
The Pakri Peninsula is stunning in summer, with majestic seaside cliffs, a magnificent lighthouse and café. Hiking tours can be organised to truly get you acquainted with the surroundings. In summer, take a day cruise out to Pakri Island. Prangli and Naissaar Islands are also worth a visit when tour operators run day cruises in summer. Both islands boast a fascinating history and make for a great day trip.
Further inland, Harju County is spotted with many manor houses, many of which have been restored to their former glory and offer accomodation and dining, like Kernu Manor, Keila-Joa Castle, Padise Manor, and Kõltsu Manor.
Other Sights & ActivitiesMotorsport enthusiasts will love the Estonian Motor Sport Museum MOMU, located in Turba. You’ll find plenty of action at the Laitse Rally Park where you can try your hand at rally driving. Learn about viking life in a fun and interactive way at the Viking Village in Urva. Mikumardi Rural Adventure Park offers entertaining and educational activities, with everything from milking a cow to zip-lining. Or visit Vembu-Tembumaa, one of Estonia’s largest amusement parks, with a huge outdoor kids play park, including pools and slides.
If indoor fun is more your thing, visit the Arvo Pärt Centre where you can learn more about the famous composer’s music. The Atlantis H2O Aquapark in Viimsi offers fun for the whole family. And Laulasmaa Spa, a little further out, is easily accessible by public transport and has a spa, hotel and award-winning restaurant.
Find more information about Harju county www.visitestonia.com