Sarve branch

The RMK Hiking Route now extends to the western islands of Estonia.
In autumn 2021, a new branch of the RMK Hiking Route was opened on the island of Hiiumaa – the Heltermaa-Ristna-Sarve branch – or the Hiiumaa branch – of the Hiking Route. This branch is an extension of the Peraküla-Aegviidu-Ähijärve hiking trail, which runs in mainland Estonia.
Like on the mainland, the hiking trail is blazed with white-green-white marks.
Being just 234 km long, it is the shortest and the most compact branch of the hiking route, running around and through Hiiumaa. The distance between the beginning and the end of the trail is actually only three kilometres.
Regardless of the relatively moderate length, the trail offers much diversity and extremely beautiful and powerful nature experiences.
The Hiiumaa trail runs through most of the reserves on the island.
A large portion of the hiking route trail can be passed on foot only, because it goes over delicate landscapes that would perish under wheels.
The trail starts at Heltermaa Harbour and its first part runs mainly along village roads and local roads. After Kärdla, the capital of Hiiumaa, the trail is completely different – more than 100-km long nature trail which passes through places with very low population density, the most exciting and scenic landscapes of the island: the forests of the Tahkuna peninsula, sand dunes, beaches and different military structures on the northern coast of the island. Thereafter the hiking trail takes a turn to the centre of Hiiumaa, going past the loose sand area of Kaibaldi and the wetland and bog areas of the central Hiiumaa, and finally returning towards the coast.
Back on the coast, the trail takes a tour of the Kõpu peninsula, offering magnificent views from high coastal dunes, visiting beautiful beaches at Ristna cape, and stopping at one of the symbols of Hiiumaa – the Kõpu lighthouse. On Kõpu peninsula you will also find the RMK Ristna Visitor Centre.
After Kõpu, the trail heads again towards the centre of the island, through the Vanajõe valley and over Leemeti hills, to Tihu forest hut deep in the woods.
At Tihu forest hut, an extension of the trail starts, which takes hikers to Sõru harbour at the southern tip of Hiiumaa.
The wild nature trail ends at Tihu forest hut and next the trail goes mainly through agricultural landscapes and along local roads up to the island of Kassari, visiting the sights there.
On the way back from Kassari to Hiiumaa, the trail runs over the sea – in dry weather, the path is quite dry but in case of strong winds or elevated sea levels, the water may be knee-high there. In poor weather, it is possible to return to Hiiumaa along the road.
The trail finally arrives at Suuremõisa village and to Saare alvars, where the end point of this branch of the hiking route is at Sarve campsite, about 3 km from the Port of Heltermaa. This completes the tour of the island.

Additional materials

Hiking route in Goolge Maps
Table of distances (.xlsx)

File for GPS devices
Trail in gpx format suitable for Garmin GPS devices (to load this file in your GPS we suggest BaseCamp, you can download it from Garmin's homepage):
Section I Heltermaa-Ristna-Sarve/Heltermaa-Kärdla (32 km)
The first section of the Heltermaa-Ristna-Sarve branch of the RMK Hiking Route (aka Hiiumaa branch of the RMK Hiking Route) starts at the Port of Heltermaa.
Section II Heltermaa-Ristna-Sarve/Kärdla-Ristna (107 km)
The second section of Hiiumaa branch of the RMK Hiking Route starts at the centre of Kärdla.
While the first section runs mainly along village roads and local roads, the second section is different.
Section III Heltermaa-Ristna-Sarve/Ristna-Tihu (36 km)
The third section of Hiiumaa hiking route starts at Ristna visitor centre and ends at Tihu forest hut.
Some of the best known sights of Hiiumaa are located at this section: the idyllic Kaleste beach, Kõpu lighthouse, Korbi hills, etc.
This section of the route also runs mostly in unpopulated forest areas.
Section IV Heltermaa-Ristna-Sarve/Tihu-Sarve (56 km)
The final part of the Hiiumaa branch of RMK Hiking Route starts at Tihu forest hut and takes the hikers back towards Heltermaa – to Sarve campsite, located just 3 km from the port. Hikers may also want to head for Sõru harbour, where they can take the ferry to Saaremaa island.
On this section of the trail, distances between rest stops are very long and therefore hikers need to prepare for the journey more carefully.