Explorer
Get PeakVisor App
Search by GPS coordinates
Latitude
Longitude
Latitude
° ' ''
Longitude
° ' ''
Teleport
Latitude
Longitude
Units of Length
Сontact us

Harju maakond

Harju County is one of the 15 counties of Estonia, the largest of Baltic states in northeastern Europe. The main feature of Harju County mountains is Toompea Hill (62 m / 203 ft), which hosts the Tallian Old Town—the very center of the capital of the state, which is one of the best preserved medieval architectural complexes in Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The region is also famous for its picturesque indented coastline on the Baltic Sea with high rocky capes and lighthouses, as well as the swampy Lahemaa National Park with its Viru Bog, also the main one in the country. In total there are 11 named mountains in Harju County. Määramägi (112 m / 367 ft) is the highest point. The most prominent mountain is Suured mäed (38 m / 125 ft).

Harju County, Estonia

Naming

The county consists of two neighboring historical provinces of Ancient Estonia—Revala with Tallinn and Harju to the south of it, the name of which is used today to describe the new region. What the word itself means exactly is not known. The name in Estonian is Harju maakond or Harjumaa.

Geography

Harju County is synonymous with northern Estonia. It is the largest region of the country by area (4333 sq km / 1673 sq mi), covering almost half of the country's southern coast of the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea. It is also almost the same territory as North Estonia, one of five main regions of the country (others: Tallinn, West, South and the Islands).

Harju County, Estonia

It borders Lääne-Viru County to the east, Järva County to the southeast, Rapla County to the south, and Lääne County to the southwest.

The region consists of 16 municipalities, 7 of which have town status. Except Tallinn, these are Maardu, Keila, Saue, Paldiski, Kehra, and Loksa.

Harju County, Estonia

Getting to Tallinn

The easiest and fastest way to get to Tallinn is by plane to Tallinn International Airport or by sea from Helsinki in Finland, Stockholm in Sweden, or St. Petersburg in Russia. From the latter, Tallinn can also be reached by car or bus. Estonia is also connected by plane, bus and rail to two other Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania, which can be reached from Poland and more distant European countries.

Landscape

Harju County’s three main landscape features are Toompea Hill and the medieval Old Town of Tallinn on it, the beautiful Baltic Sea coast and vast swampy and forested areas throughout the region, including the most famous Viru Bog in Lahemaa National Park east of Tallinn. Let me talk briefly about all three:

  • Tallinn Old Town on the Toompea Hill was built between the 13th and 16th centuries and is preserved in near-perfect condition. Since 1997 it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The town consists of two parts—the upper and the lower. It is surrounded by a wall with towers and includes a huge number of different buildings, of which the main ones are 123 m (406 ft) high St Olaf's Church, Stenbock House or the seat of the Estonian government, three main churches: St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Nicholas Church and Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, and the separately standing Toompea Castle.

    Harju County, Estonia

  • The coastline of the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea in Harju County consists of many peninsulas with picturesque capes and bays (Lohusaly, Tallinn, Muuga) with long sandy beaches (Kakumäe, Stroomi, Pikakari, Pirita) between them, which, in turn, decorated by the lighthouses (Pakri, Naissaar, Juminda, Keri, Käsmu). The northernmost cape in Estonia, Purekkari Cape of the Pärispea Peninsula in Lahemaa National Park, which merges a kilometer (mi) into the sea, is also worthy of a separate mention. There are also several large inhabited islands in the sea: Naissaar, Väike-Pakri, Suur-Pakri, Prangli, Aegna, Rammu).

    Harju County, Estonia

  • Viru Bog is the most famous of the many bogs covering the region and the country as a whole. It is located in Lahemaa National Park, which is the country’s first (1971) and largest natural territory of this type. The rest of the park is covered by dense pine and spruce forests rich in fauna (boar, red deer, wolves, bear, lynx, and other animals). There are also four manor houses in the park: Palmse, Vihula, Kolga, and Sagadi, owned by the noble families of the past, which are also an integral part of the park and the region’s landscape as a whole.

    Harju County, Estonia

Mountains of Harju County

The low mountains in Harju County, including Toompea Hill, come from the Baltic Klint, an erosional limestone escarpment that stretches 1200 km (745 mi) from Sweden’s two largest islands in the Baltic Sea—Gotland and Öland—across Estonia to Leningrad Oblast and Ladoga Lake in the Republic of Karelia in Russia.

It also explains the presence of multiple peninsulas and capes with high rocky cliffs on the Baltic Sea coast of the region. The highest of them is Ontika Limestone Cliff (55 m / 180 ft), located east of Tallinn. More: It is the highest point of the entire Baltic Klint. There are also some mountains on the islands including the largest one Naissaar with its highest point, Suured mäed (38 m / 124 ft).

Harju County, Estonia

Lahemaa National Park

The highest mountain of the whole region, Määramägi (112 m / 367 ft), is located southeast of Tallinn. Here are also all the other four mountains of the region higher than 100 m (3280 ft) including also Pukimägi (111 m / 364 ft), Niinemägi (109 m / 357 ft), Laudissalu mägi (105 m / 344 ft), Rõõsamägi (105 m / 344 ft), which stretch out in one long ridge called the Pandivere Upland. Its presence makes this area—let’s call it “Mountainous Harju County”—the highest in the entire region. (But not in the country: dozens of higher mountains in four other uplands are located in southern Estonia, including Suur Munamägi (321 m / 1053 ft), the country’s #1.)

Note also that the names of all mountains end in “mägi,” which literally means “mountain” in Estonian, while “mäed” is a lesser mountain or “hill,” as in the case of Suured mäed above.

The mountains of the region do not fall below 37 m (121 ft) on the lowest Kunilamägi, another peak of the same Naissaar Island.

All together the shores of the Baltic Sea of Estonia with their high cliffs, the Pandivere Upland, as well as the individual hills like Toompea with an Old Town of Tallinn on it belong to the Limestone Plateaus of North Estonia, one of the two main mountainous areas of the country on par with the Uplands of South Estonia, which I just mentioned a bit above.

Harju County, Estonia

Best Hikes in Harju County

Harju County’s three top hiking destinations coincide with its three main natural attractions:

  • Walk to Toompea Hill. You can (and will) climb Toompea Hill in Tallinn to explore the Old Town and look out over the Baltic Sea and the vast forests that start just outside the city. My recommendation: despite its simplicity you should leave at least half a day for this hike, because the Old Town is incredibly interesting in its details which will take as much time to explore. It is also just very nice and cozy, so much so that you won't want to leave it.
  • Baltic Coastal Hiking Route. The next destination is a walk along the coast. You can go to any peninsula and continue to the next one to the west of Tallinn following the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route (Ranniku matkarada) of 1200 km long (745 mi), of which 620 km (385 mi) is in Estonia, rounding the cape after the cape. It is difficult to get lost: the route is marked with special blue signs, tags on trees, information boards, etc. However, there is some difficulty — to calculate the time for the hike and navigate to the nearest facilities: bus stops, stores, restaurants, hotels... Keep this in mind. You can also aim at some of the particular sights along the way, such as the sandy beaches of Vääna-Jõesuu, Lohusalu, and others, lighthouses, and so on.
  • Hiking the Viru Bog. You also do not miss Estonia’s most popular bog (Viru raba) and hiking route through it, which is possible thanks to wooden trails. In particular, there is a 3.5 km (2.1 mi) long circular nature trail. If you think that’s not enough, Lahemaa National Park has more than a dozen other trails up to 40 km (25 mi) in length, the longest of which are part of the RMK Hiking Route (Riigimetsa Majandamise Keskus or the State Forest Management Center), the main national system of routes. Read more about it in the guide to Estonia.

Harju County, Estonia

In addition to these three locations, other natural areas for hiking in Harju County include the numerous nature reserves, which are “scattered” throughout its territory, as well as along its borders. The largest of these is Põhja-Kõrvemaa Nature Reserve, located south of the national park. Its main attraction, Paukjärve Vaatetorn Observation Deck, allows you to see the endless forests of this part of the region and the country for many kilometers (miles) ahead. In total, there are 21 nature reserves and 25 landscape protection areas that are fully or partly situated in Harju County.

Harju County, Estonia

Skiing in Estonia

Estonia is not the most skiing country in Europe. There are only six ski resorts, of which the three largest have only a little over 2 km (1.2 mi) of slopes to offer, namely: Kütiorg Ski Resorts, Kuutse Hill-Otepää, and Kiviõli. However, cross-country skiing is very popular with many more trails for tens of kilometers (miles), which you can find on the same resorts and other places.

Learn more about ski resorts in Europe and around the world in World Mountain Lifts, including open and closed slopes and lifts.

Tourist Information

While in Harju County, visit the official tourist office of Tallinn to find out more information on the spot, ask for advice, pick up a map, and the like.

Tallinn Tourist Information Center

Niguliste 2, 10146, Tallinn, Harju County, Estonia

+3726457777

info@visittallinn.ee

Visittallinn.ee

Harju County, Estonia

Accommodation

The main places for sleeping while hiking in Harju County are various resting places, campfire sites, campsites and campgrounds, free always open forest huts and rental huts.

So the system of overnight accommodation during active recreation in general is similar to that of Finland and the Scandinavian countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland). If you have been hiking in one of them, you know what to expect in terms of accommodation in Estonia.

For example, each of these types of accommodation can be found in Lahemaa National Park, Põhja-Kõrvemaa Nature Reserve, as well as other parts of the region.

Harju County, Estonia

Cities and Resorts

The region consists of 16 municipalities, 7 of which have town status. Besides Tallinn, there are Maardu, Keila, Saue, Paldiski, Kehra, and Loksa, so they can be considered as alternatives to the Estonian capital.

Harju County, Estonia

There are also a lot of nice small villages all around the region located both on the seashore and in its inner parts. An example of first is Käsmu fishing village in the Lahemaa National Park with a small harbor and several traditional houses, one of which hosts the Käsmu Sea Museum, where you can learn more about maritime history of Estonia. An example of second is recreational area of Ülemiste, the largest lake of Harju County just south of Tallinn, which main towns and villages surrounding the lake are Rahumäe, Juhkentali, Peetri, Järveküla, Tammejärve, and Männiku.

The official travel site of North Estonia is Visitestonia.com/en/where-to-go/north-estonia.

Vääna,  Harju County, Estonia

Vääna
Register Peak
Peak Name
Latitude
Longitude
Altitude
Register
Teleport
PeakVisor
This 3D model of Sagarmatha National Park in Nepal was made using the PeakVisor app topographic data. The mobile app features higher precision models worldwide, more topographic details, and works offline. Download PeakVisor maps today.
 Download OBJ model
PeakVisor
The download should start shortly. If you find it useful please consider supporting the PeakVisor app.