The Virtsu borough is situated on Virtsu peninsula on the western coast of Estonia. With a population of 500, it is small, yet important place – its harbour connects mainland Estonia with its biggest island, Saaremaa.

Trade routes and coastal activities have been here since ancient times. The village has a rich history, which we try to preserve and present to locals and tourists: ruins of 15th century fortress and coastal defence battery, Virtsu manor house remains, and a lighthouse.

Another side of Virtsu is its proximity to truly unique nature – Puhtu-Laelatu reserve park, well-known to bird watchers all around the world, is just on the outskirts of the village.

During the last two decades, Virtsu, as many rural areas around Europe, has been facing challenges such as depopulation, limited entrepreneurship and somehow fragmented community. To overcome these, we are looking for ways to combine nature, tourism and traditional culture with modern necessities, such as broadband connectivity and improving transport connections. There has been a school in Virtsu since 1940, and kindergarten since 1967, making education easily accessible.

Recently, a plan was rolled out to build a business park in order to attract smaller and bigger businesses. Additionally, there are three wind farms which contribute to sustainable energy production.

We strongly believe that being a part of Smart Villages initiative would give us a much needed push in the right direction – unusual ideas, unexpected contacts and cooperation, and attention to small achievements that we have already accomplished.

Village strategy :

Virtsu village strategy


Smart Rural Journey

Follow along with our Village Roadmap here :

Virtsu has engaged the local community and involved them in designing and proposing ideas, concepts and plans for the old fishery plant and the abandoned area around it. The goal is to transform these into a modern business, leisure and community space, including the possible Renewable Energy Applications and Training Centre. The outcome of a brainstorming event with local residents is a ‘vision document’ prepared by experts.

Resources :

Vision document on Virtsu’s (Estonia) fishery area
Municipality of Virtsu ( 12/2021 – 01/2022 )
A summary document of the vision for the communal use of the old Virtsu fishery area (renamed to Virtsu Fish Factory Center), which was prepared within the local community through a visioning process. This process was part of the Virtsu Smart Village activities and was funded partially by the European Commission’s Smart Rural 21 project.
Language : English
Virtsu Smart Village strategy basis
Kulno Keskula - Municipality of Virtsu ( 23/02/2021 )
A presentation provided at the 2nd Smart Village Academy of the Smart Rural 21 project during the “Local energy communities and stakeholder engagement” working group. Virtsu – selected Smart Rural 21 village – aims to increase the village self-sufficiency through establishing a local cooperative company (commercial association), owned by the people in village as a members. Energy generation can be one of the many business options in Virtsu: solar park fed by renewable electricity to the communal services and business center or selling electricity to the grid The aim is to complement this with business development and education, including renewable energy solutions applications and training center and training center for off-shore wind generators maintenance specialists.
Language : English
Summary Highlights of the Smart Village Strategy of Virtsu (Estonia)
Municipality of Virtsu ( 12/2020 )
The Summary Highlights of the Smart Village Strategy of Virtsu has been developed in the context of the ‘Preparatory Action for Smart Rural Areas in the 21st Century’ project funded by the European Commission.
Language : English

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