Kuressaare is the capital of Saaremaa, the biggest island of Estonia. First mentioned in a written document in 1424 the town was used as a fortified residency for local catholic bishop and was the centre of the island area in the western Estonia. In 1563 Kuressaare, at that time known as Arensburg received city status. Nowadays it is home for 15300 people.
As is the case with the islands, transportation is an important local issue. The most popular means of getting to Saaremaa in general and Kuressaare in particular is ferry from the mainland Estonia, carrying both scheduled buses and private cars. Unfortunatelly, actual getting to the island by car is not always guaranteed as there are lines reported in summertime weekends and in the holidays at the "bottleneck" harbor. Reservations for the vehicles in the ferry may be placed up to 30 days in advance, though it costs.
Connection may even be impeded as water level drops too low in hot summers in the canal separating the island from the rest of the country, or, a rather extremal case, ice cover may grow too powerful in exceptionally cold winters.
The passengers of the regional air carrier do not generally face problems.
Plans exist to open a bridge and cruise port connections to the island in the not so distant future, perhaps multyplying the number of visitors.
Saaremaa Laevakompanii SLK Ferries operate most if not all regular lines between the mainland - be it Estonia or Latvia - and Saaremaa. By its importance to the island, the principal owner of the undertaking is sometimes referred to as a kind of local king. Naturally, the busiest line is Kuivastu-Virtsu, connecting the easternmost Saaremaa harbor to the mainland. A one way trip to Estonia is currently 82 EEK per car, weekend price.
As a sign of growing integration with the Baltic neighbours a line from Kuressaare to Latvia was recently opened but is expected to operate in summertimes.
In total over 14 bus routes are shown to exist between Tallinn and Kuressaare by the timetables database. The journey takes some 4 hours and includes a ferry. The price is a mere 170-190 EEK though, due to competition.
Avies Air Company is the operator of Tallinn-Kuressaare flight line, flying Let 410 UVP plains, capable of carrying 18 passengers. Current price for return flight is 600 EEK.
The bishop's castle or Episcopal Castle of Kuressaare is the perfect medieval castle. Estonia has many castles of more or less authentic shape, but Kuressaare is not only the one perfectly preserved since 13+ century, but also the most picturesque, eye-pleasing and romantic. Currently is a museum and cultural venue.