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Saaremaa

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Saaremaa [1] is a really interesting island in Estonia. It's also the biggest island in Estonia and relatively inexpensive.

The capital (and only city) in Saaremaa is Kuressaare.

Understand

The territory of Saaremaa has been inhabited for about eight thousand years. The people of Saaremaa have seen many battles and been ruled over by Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Russia.

Saaremaa has retained its uniqueness due to its location and isolation. In the villages there are still stone fences and houses with thatched roofs. Dolomite, windmills and the famous local home-brewed beer are the symbols of Saaremaa.

The islanders' life has always been bound to the sea and the resilience of their womenfolk, kept busy toiling the land while their men were at sea.

The people of Saaremaa love jokes - especially the ones which are about their neighbours - the people of Hiiumaa. The jokes of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa folk may be lost on other Estonians, just as is British humour is sometimes not appreciated "on the continent".

Regions

Cities

Get in

By bus

Buses arrive to Kuressaare from Tallinn, Tartu and Pärnu. Bus schedules and journey planner can be found at Bussireisid.

By sea

There is a ferry [2] connection to the mainland from the island of Muhu, which is connected by a bridge to Saaremaa. One can also take a ferry to the nearby island of Hiiumaa and the Latvian city of Ventspils.

Where to stay

  • Arensburg Boutique Hotel & Spa [3]
  • Georg Ots Spa Hotel [4]
  • Grand Rose Spa Hotel [5]
  • Johan Spa Hotel [6]
  • Accommodation information in Saaremaa [7]

Other Places to see

The beautiful island of Muhu [8] is located east of Saaremaa. There is a bridge between these two islands.

Talk

When attempting to talk to the locals, one can try using English. If this fails, Russian is the obviuos alternative, followed by German and Finnish.

Get around

See

A lot of the attraction on Saaremaa are located in the city of Kuressaare.

  • Loode Oak Forest, Kaarma vald, Saare maakond. Loode oak forest is one of the few extant naturally growing park-like forests. Many rare herb can be found there (including orchids). The forest is equipped with a bird watching platform.
  • Angla Windmills. The only remaining group of windmills on Saaremaa is located in Angla, at the 32 kilometer mark on the Upa-Leisi road.
  • Asva Fortified Settlement, Asva, Saaremaa. The tiny village of Asva is located at the 33 kilometer mark on the Kuivastu - Laimjala - Kuressaare road. There, behind the village on a low-lying hayfield is located one of the most archaeologically important bronze-age sites in Northern Europe. Asva has given its name to an entire culture.
  • Jämaja church. Jämaja church is located on the western shore of Sõrve peninsula, at the 21 kilometer mark on the Kaugatuma - Sääre road. Although the present reconstruction dates to 1864, there has been a church here since the Middle Ages.
  • The Kaali meteorite craters. Located 18km from Kuressaare towards Kuivastu. The most probable age of the Kaali crates is 7500-7600 years. Kaali lake is considered to be the most unique geological object in Estonia. Known as Holy Lake it also has an important place in tradition. There is archaeological evidence that it was a place of offering for many centuries.
  • Kaarma Church of Saints Peter and Paul. I's located on the Laadjala - Kaarma - Karja road at the six kilometer mark. The church was probably built after the 1261 rebellion. There is a medieval; baptismal font (13th century) and a wooden sculpture of St. Simon of Cyrene (mid-15th century) standing under the pulpit. The pulpit, dating from 1645, is also worth noting. The present Neo-Gothic altarpiece depicts a painting by O. von Moeller of Christ on the Cross. Kaarma ring fort is located about 100m east of Kaarma church.

Itineraries

Do

Eat

Drink

Stay safe

Get out

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