Kihnu, a living tradition off the coast of Estonia

Kihnu, with a size of more than 15 square kilometres, belongs to the ten largest islands of Estonia. It is situated around 12 kilometres off mainland in south west Estonia, right in the middle of the Gulf of Riga. It is an independent municipality in the district of Pärnu.


Fischernetze auf Kihnu
Fishing nets in Kihnu.

There are four villages on the island, whose inhabitants are engaged in fishing and a little in agriculture. They are surrounded by pine groves, fields and juniper meadows. Tranquillity and calmness prevail on the island. In addition, local traditions are still alive in Kihnu, that’s why the UNESCO declared it World Heritage Site in 2003. So, it’s worth seeing.


Besides the typically beautiful landscapes, the island of around 650 inhabitants has a lovely museum of local history and a lighthouse situated in the south. This lighthouse was brought to Kihnu from England in pieces in the 19th century and has since then challenging the raging elements.


In the last couple of years, the slow growth of tourism has created alternative methods of breadwinning. For instance, the folklore group of Kihnu has started giving performances to their visitors.


For day tourists, there are different ways for getting to the island. There is ferry service to and from Pärnu and from Munalaid (Munalaiu sadam, the Port of Munalaid), approximately 30 km to the Northwest from Pärnu.


In autumn and winter, those who want to be faster can take a plane from Pärnu. In cold winters, when the ice is thick enough, there is a road across the sea - it is surely the most adventurous way to get to one of the most interesting areas in Estonia.



   - Next island: Ruhnu