EuroMAB 2015 conference in Haapsalu, Estonia - Biosphere Reserves: from heritage to sustainable innovation

EuroMAB 2015 conference in Haapsalu, Estonia

Post-Tour to Matsalu and Saaremaa island

Post-Tour to Matsalu National Park and islands of Saaremaa and Muhumaa - 135.00 EUR

Departure: 22.05.2015 at 16:00 in front of Conference Venue (Haapsalu Cultural Centre)
Arrival: 23.05.2015 at 20:00 in Tallinn

The Post-tour price per person is:
135.00 EUR per person in double / twin room
165.00 EUR per person in single room
Minimum group size is 20 persons.
Price includes:
  • Full tour programme (scroll down for detailed programme)
  • Entrances according to programme
  • English speaking tour leader and guidance services
  • Lunch and coffe-break according to the programme
  • Accommodation in Kuressaare, Arensburg Boutique Hotel & Spa 4* (place in shared double / twin room)
  • Bus transportation and ferry tickets

Matsalu National Park

Matsalu National Park is situated in the western part of Estonia. Reserve was founded in 1957 mainly to protect nesting, moulting and migratory birds. In 1976 Matsalu was included to the list of wetlands of international importance under Ramsar convention. There are 282 species of birds, 49 species of fish and 47 species of mammals registered in the area of nature reserve, also 772 species of vascular plants. The wetland is well-known as one of the biggest resting sites in Europe for Cranes, up to 21 000 specimen. Also the landscapes are unique and deserve to be protected – floodplains, reedbed, coastal meadows, wooded meadows and islets.
Estonia, Matsalu National Park The cultural heritage of Matsalu National Park includes man-made landscapes, material and spiritual heritage charahteristic of and specific to the area, tranditional human activities related to the environment and their representation in fixed heritage and national culture, all cultural representations and immovable objects associated with the national park, working methods, handicfrat items, language, folklore, place names and place-lore as well as the research conducted in Matsalu’s natural environment for more than a hundred years.

In Matsalu area, the landform is mostly plain. The oldest topographies in Matsalu National Park date back to Silur ages. The rudiments of Silur consist of dolomite slates (island mountains), which has made some slopes like terraces, where visitors can see slate downs.
Matsalu National Park area is about 48 610 hectare and it embraces Matsalu bay, around the delta also partly Väinameri, Kasari river lower course, wetlands of the bay and river, flooded Kasari river meadow, coastal grazing areas, wooded meadows and about 50 islets. The average depth of Matsalu bay is only 1,5 metres. Almost 6500 hectares of semi-natural landscapes are maintained by local people and 5368 ha is traditional farmlands.
Matsalu wetland is an important breeding and gathering energy site for Väinameri fishes. Bays and old rivers are valuable for Pikes, Roaches and Ides. Along Matsalu bay’s northern coast, there are several small coastal fishing villages that still honour the fishery lifestyle and traditions.
The visitor centre of Matsalu National Park is located in Penijõe Manor near Lihula. Here you will enjoy a permanent exhibition on local nature and history, a slide show and videos. Since 2003, Matsalu has the European Diploma for Protected Areas of the Council of Europe (the only one in the Baltics!). The diploma is given to those protected areas who have outstanding scientific, cultural or aesthetic qualities. Those areas are also the subject of a sustainable conservation scheme which may be combined with a sustainable development programme.

Saaremaa island

Saaremaa is the biggest island of Estonia and it is known as a good recreation place with unique nature and a lot of sights. Saaremaa has retained its uniqueness due to its location and isolation. In the villages there are still stone fences and houses with thatched roofs, beautiful national costumes and dialectal language are still used. Sour-sweet bread, windmills and home-brewed beer are characteristic of Saaremaa and the symbols of this island for our visitors.
Estonia, Saaremaa, Kuressaare The territory of Saaremaa has been inhabited for about eight thousand years. The ancient flight for freedom ended in 1227 when German and Danish crusaders occupied Saaremaa. The German occupation lasted until 1559, when the island was sold to the king of Denmark. From 1645 to 1710 Saaremaa was under the rule of Sweden. In 1710, during the Nordic War Saaremaa was occupied by the troops of Peter the First and the island became a part of tsarist Russia. Saaremaa as well as the whole Estonia was liberated in August 1991.

Estonia, Saaremaa, Angla windmills
Because of its mild maritime climate and soil rich in lime, Saaremaa has very rich flora and fauna. Over two hundred local species have recieved special protection status. Each year hundreds of thousands of migratory birds visit Saaremaa and a great number of them are under protection. Besides Viidumäe and Vilsandi Nature Reserves, there are over two hundred single nature objects under protection.

Among the numerous sights of Saaremaa, several are worth calling special attention to, e.g. Angla windmill, Mustjala cliff, bell tower built in the 17th century at Kihelkonna etc. The medieval churches of Saaremaa have remarkable archaic architecture. The oldest of them – the church of Valjala – was built in the 13th century


Muhu island is often talked about as a place where time rests. This may be interpreted in various ways. People have found their balance with the environment there. They are guided by the spiritual legacy of their ancestors.

Muhu is more secluded than the two larger islands, Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, yet easily accessible. At 198 km² Muhu is a small, but still Estonia's third largest island in the Baltic Sea. The island is divided from mainland Estonia by the Suur Strait and from Saaremaa by the Väike Strait. It is linked by ferry to Virtsu on the mainland, and to Saaremaa by a causeway, the Väinatamm. In winter, when its cold enough an ice road connects the island to the mainland.
Estonia, Muhu island, village road The landscape of Muhu is considered profoundly Estonian, with windmills, thatched cottages and sleepy fishing villages. The island is home to foxes, deer and moose and lots of birds – even three couples of the rare and majestic sea eagles nest on Muhu island.
Muhu is also famous for having a working traditional wooden windmill.
St. Catherine's church is one of the oldest in Estonia and is notable for its trapezium-shaped tombstones with pagan symbols. The most intricate tombstone depicts the pagan Tree of Life.

Over the centuries Muhu has developed at its own pace and its traditions and its traditions are well known throughout Estonia. The famous Muhu patterns are a refined expression of folk-art as are popular souvenirs made of aromatic juniper wood.

Please book post-tour together with conference booking at the same website - conference registration.


22.05.2015, Friday

Departure to Matsalu National Park. Departure point in front of Conference Venue
Matsalu National Park Centre in Penijõe Manor, the exhibition gives an overview of nature and the cultural heritage of the Matsalu National Park.
Departure to Virtsu
Ferry Virtsu – Kuivastu (Muhumaa)
Arrival to Kuressaare. Check in, hotel Arensburg

23.05.2015, Saturday

Breakfast at hotel, free time for walking in Kuressare

Kuressaare-Loode oak-wood (traditionally managed meadows, hundreds of years old oak trees, semi-natural biotic communities)
Lümanda lime and tar distilling park (, traditional burning of lime for lime, tar burning, various methods, local resources)
Lunch at Marta-Lovise guesthouse
Lõmala borough - Saaremaa Ecovillage lambfarm (pastures, traditional livestock)
Tiirimetsa-Ariste (wind turbines, beach landscape, sea birds)
Kaugatoma-Lõo landscape reserve (alvars, restoring of alvars, grazing, limestone bedrock, cliff)
Coffee break in Kuressaare
Drive to Kuivastu port
Arrival to Tallinn. Check in, hotels in Tallinn

For questions regarding Post-Tour Programme

Please contact the Conference Secretariat Conference Expert Estonia
Phone: +372 6 108 638
Email: [email protected]