Toolse castle ruins in Estonia

The ruins of medieval castle in Toolse, Estonia

The Toolse castle is a medieval castle located in the village of Toolse in eastern Estonia, right on the northern coast of the country. Drive to Toolse from Tallinn takes about 1,5 hours. The Toolse village can be found close to a small and sleepy town of Kunda. Kunda itself was known for it?s concrete factory that was opened in 1870.

1,5 hours from Tallinn to Toolse

I drove up to Toolse castle in one hot July morning. It was unusually warm day, temperature was close to 30 degrees (celsius) and the sun was heating the Tallinn-Narva highway so much that I bet you could bake an egg on it.

Once I turned from the highway to north, towards Kunda, the landscape changed from tall forests to wider fields full of grains. You could see that the area had a long history; abandoned farmhouses and windmill ruins clearly centuries old started appearing along the winding country road. Then I arrived to the outskirts of the town of Kunda and turned further towards the coast. Landscape turned into forest again and the road started to descend towards the sea.

Area was remarkably sleepy; not that many cars and only few pedestrians could be seen between Kunda and Toolse. When you get to Toolse village and drive all the way towards the castle along a gravel road, you?ll arrive to a parking spot surrounded by cozy-looking houses with tall fences and well-kept lawns. You go on by foot for about 5 minutes from the parking lot and the landscape opens up to the sea and you?ll notice the castle ruins in the distance.

The Toolse castle

When I was there the place was empty; I could only see few people spending time on a beach nearby. The castle ruins have trampled paths going here and there around it, passing through every doorway possible. You are free to inspect the ruins as much as you want.

You can find signs telling the castle?s history there, and this is simply put what they say:

The site had been an important location for trade even before the castle was built. Merchants from nearby town of Rakvere and even all the way from Tartu (in more mid-southern part of Estonia) would travel to Toolse and sell their products to other merchants sailing the Baltic Sea. It was busy times in the Baltic Sea and the capital of modern day Estonia, Tallinn, was important trade location.

But the Toolse harbour was unprotected and vulnerable to attacks by all sorts of robbers and pirates. So initially a fortified manor house was built and later the castle was completed.

During the Livonian war Toolse castle was invaded by various parties of the conflict but ultimately ended up in the hands of the Swedes. The castle was finally destroyed to ruins during the Northern war in the 18th century. And so it remains today.

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This is the Toolse castle on the map: