Visiting restrictions in Vilsandi National Park

Vilsandi National Park is an area of old maritime heritage. It is characterised by maritime climate, numerous sea birds, the largest haul-out sites of the grey seal in Estonia, and its unique sea floor with its flora and fauna. The internationally known bird islands located within Vilsandi National Park are the staging, nesting, moulting and feeding places for migratory birds. Here the 400 million years old geological surface layer is revealed with the coral reefs of the one-time tropical sea.

Nature may not tolerate human activity everywhere to an equal extent. Birds are particularly sensitive to human activity – their nesting may fail because of even a single contact with people. Timid birds need complete peace from 15 April to 15 July. Some plant communities or landscapes are also too fragile to be walked on by crowds. Therefore certain restrictions on movement have been imposed. Please observe the restrictions and use the sites prepared for visitors.

To protect and preserve this vulnerable biodiversity, the territory of the national park, both sea and land, is divided into protection zones of different categories: strict nature reserves, special management zones and limited management zones.

Visitors are denied access to five strict nature reserves, which are remote areas, difficult to access in the sea and a forest area on Vilsandi Island, all unaffected by human activity and with high nature conservation value. In these areas the preservation of communities is guaranteed as a result of natural processes only, and only research, surveillance and rescue works are allowed in the areas.

In the 22 special management zones and 6 limited management zones of the national park, visitors are allowed to pick berries and mushrooms and involve in activities that are not harmful for nature. Camping and campfires are allowed only in specially prepared and signposted sites. Driving motorised vehicles and parking outside the designated roads and parking areas is prohibited, except during research fieldwork, monitoring and rescue works.

RMK has built several recreation sites and campsites in the national park, the use of which does not require any special permit, as they can be used under the freedom to roam. It is necessary to agree with other users of campfire sites or grounds, if there are any. Major events shall be coordinated with the Environmental Board and RMK to find a suitable venue for the event. After the hike, picnic or event please see that the place remains clean for the next users. Please take away everything that you brought along with you.

Visitors can use the Käkisilma - Vilsandi hiking trail that starts at the Kuusnõmme peninsula and runs over the islets, and the Vilsandi hiking trail, Harilaid hiking trail. While walking on the trails one must not harm birds, animals, plants or the abiotic nature. Therefore, please do not step off the trail. On the Harilaid peninsula, walking along the coastline is allowed.
The Harilaid peninsula is closed for motor vehicles due to its extremely fragile plant community and the national monitoring works conducted there, except during research fieldwork, monitoring and rescue works.

To visit the island of Vilsandi, please contact RMK Vilsandi information point for prior information by phone: +372 4546880, by e-mail: kadri.kullapere@rmk.ee. The coastal waters of Vilsandi National Park are rocky and stormy, which is why it is dangerous for visitors to go there without prior information. Using a guide or navigator who knows the area is recommended.

For further information and to apply for consent please contact the Hiiu-Lääne-Saare region of the Environmental Board, e-mail: saare@keskkonnaamet.ee, phone: +372 452 7777