Estonia: why you absolutely must visit Saaremaa island

by Destination(s) Europe
Published: Last Updated on

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Fancy an escape to a charming place, away from it all? Saaremaa, Estonia, is a beautiful tourist destination that will meet all your expectations. It is an island with an area of ​​2,714 km² and a very picturesque landscape. Moreover, it offers you a stay rich in adventures. Here is what you need to know before visiting Saaremaa.

Where is Saaremaa Island located and how do you get there?

Saaremaa is the largest of the Estonian islands. Known as “the pearl of the Baltic States”, it is bordered by the Baltic Sea, south of the island of Hiiumaa.

This island paradise is connected to the Estonian capital, Tallinn, by regular flights. There are also seasonal flights from Stockholm in Sweden. It is also possible to reach in just over four hours by taking a ferry from Virtsu.

What is there to do on the island of Saaremaa?

During a stay in Saaremaa, excitement awaits you. The big island offers a whole range of activities for adventure or relaxation, it’s up to you!

A stay at the spa

Saaremaa is a flagship destination for spa enthusiasts because of its healing mud, discovered in the 19th century. There are several spas in the capital, Kuressaare. Thus, a short stay in one of these wellness centres is essential for recharging your batteries. Some establishments include relaxing treatments, swimming pools and saunas in their offers (see our selection of hotels below).

A walk in Kuressaare

The capital of the island is a historic place, filled with remarkable sites. There is a medieval castle dating from the 14th century in the centre of town. Although it has retained its original form, it has recently been transformed into a museum. It is the ideal place to discover Saaremaa and its history. The café at the top of the castle a pleasant place to relax and enjoy a breath-taking view of the Old Town.

Kuressaare Castle (Credit: Destination(s) Europe)

Discover the Kaali crater

Without doubt, this is one of the most beautiful places in Saaremaa. This 16-meter-deep and 110-meter-wide crater was formed 7,500 years ago and, according to academics, was caused by a meteorite. Surrounded by magnificent vegetation, the lake formed there has an incomparable charm. It is a real haven of peace. You can also further enjoy your visit to this place by taking a walk in the surrounding fields.

A relaxing session at Tukhana beach

Saaremaa Island is also home to the beautiful Tukhana Beach. The site is rather deserted, which gives it a unique charm. You can enjoy a swim in its crystal-clear water or sunbathe on the sand,  although bear in mind the sun does not come out every day in Estonia!

Visit the Kiipsaare lighthouse …

If you plan to visit Saaremaa, you must add a visit to the Kiipsaare lighthouse to your program. Located to the south of the island, it was built in 1933 for safety reasons. At the time, the lighthouse was not far from the beach, but due to erosion it is now about 30 meters away and has started to tilt.   

… and that of Sõrve

Standing at a total of 52 meters high, this lighthouse is located in the southwest of the island, in the county of Saare. Many lighthouses of different materials such as wood and stone have been erected on its site, but the current one was built in the 1960s. But this does not take away from its majesty. And if you look closely, with the blue of the sky, you can see the Estonian flag!

Sõrve lighthouse (Credit: Destination(s) Europe)

Where (well) to eat on the island of Saaremaa?

The sea air often whets the appetite. If you plan to visit Saaremaa, know that you will often be hungry! Here are our recommendations to remedy this:

Mosaiik Cafe | An establishment that lives up to its name, combining tradition and modernity in the heart of Kuressaare | Tallinna 1, Kuressaare

Ku-Kuu Restaurant | A very “Belle Epoque” setting on the edge of the water, offering fresh food with fish from the day’s catch | Lossipark 1, Pargi Kultuurikeskus, Kuressaare

Georg Ots Spa Hotel Restaurant | Refined cuisine served in a refined setting, all with a view of Kuressaare Castle | Tori 2, Kuressaare

Where to stay (comfortably) on the island of Saaremaa?

Do you know the advantage of staying at a hotel on the island of Saaremaa? There is a very good chance that it will have a spa! Here is a small selection of our favourite establishments for a relaxing stay:

Padaste Manor | A luxurious and imposing mansion, boasting large wooded rooms, a bucolic park, a spa with multiple treatments and a refined restaurant. What more could you ask for? | Muhu Island, Pädaste

Johan Spa Hotel | An establishment with around fifty rooms, offering everything you need to relax, including a spa, and indoor and outdoor swimming pools. | Kauba 13, Kuressaare

Grand Rose SPA Hotel | A comfortable hotel-spa, located right in the center of Kuressaare for the utmost convenience | Tallinna 15, Kuressaare

We hope you enjoyed our little guide to visiting Saaremaa Island. If you have any other ideas for destinations in Estonia, please let us know in the comments.

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