Saaremaa is the largest island in Estonia. Due to its geographical isolation, the island has managed to maintain its identity. Everything here is a little different from mainland Estonia: culture, customs, architecture and atmosphere. Sometimes you even get the impression that you are in Sweden or Holland.

In the summer of 2020, in the absence of massive foreign travel in the Baltic countries, domestic tourism revived. Saaremaa Island has become one of the must-visit destinations for travelers from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. Though afterwards many were very pleased, some were bored on the island. Why?

2 reasons not to go to Saaremaa

You don’t need to go to Saaremaa for tourism and travel purposes. The list of the island’s attractions won’t amaze a frequent traveller. Also the island’s landscape is not very different from mainland Estonia. Sometimes you can even forget that you are on an island. So don’t expect the impression of Norwegian Lofoten with its mesmerizing views.

Why go to Saaremaa?

Imagine yourself in a quiet village with a designer renovation and good restaurants. This is Saaremaa. You need to go here At least for 4 days in order to get away from the bustle of the city. The island is suitable for both a peaceful romantic getaway and a family trip. As part of this holiday, in between juniper baths and mud wrap, soak up the local culture, have a picnic on the edge of a cliff, shoot a bow and feed the ostriches.

How to get to Saaremaa?

By car.

The most common and convenient way to get to Saaremaa is, of course, by car. Despite the fact that the island has public transport and bicycles, it will be much easier to get around the desired locations by car.

Wherever you keep it from, you first need to get to the Estonian town of Virtsu. There, you should take the ferry Virtsu – Kuwaitsu. The ferry takes about 30 minutes. And it’s very comfortable on board. There is an inexpensive cafe, sofas and a deck overlooking the island.

Tickets can be bought both at the port and online. Follow the link to find the schedule and buy a ticket, if you missed your ferry, that’s okay, the ticket can be used within a day on one of the following ferries.

A one way trip costs 3 euros per person and 8.40 per car.

By bus.

There is a direct Luxexpress bus to Saaremaa from Tallinn. The trip takes 4 hours. The ticket costs about 10 euros.

By plane.

I was very surprised, but it turned out that the island has its own small airport. But there is only direct flight from Tallinn. A one-way ticket costs € 26 per person. The flight takes about 40 minutes. Follow the link to see the timetable and buy tickets.

Bus tour.

If you don’t have a personal car, then, in fact, this is the most convenient and economical way to travel to the island. The advantage of this option is also the low price of hotels. For example, the Atlantic.lv offers hot tours. 3 days on the island in a good spa hotel with breakfast + travel will cost 50 euros per person. If you book separately, then only 1 night in the hotel will cost 50-70 euros.

This is also the best way to travel to Saaremaa from Riga.

What to see and To do in Saaremaa?

1. Panga cliff

A picturesque 20-meter cliff in the spirit of Irish cliffs. The tallest cliff in Estonia. There are very beautiful sunsets and picnic spots.

2. Sõrve lighthouse

It is very picturesque place. A photo with a lighthouse could very well go on the cover of a romantic novel.

Near the lighthouse there is the visitor center and the museum with an exhibition dedicated to the maritime history of Sõrve. You can see old nautical diaries and historical nautical charts, learn about the ships sunk off the coast of Sõrve and amazing stories of salvation. In addition, the building provides rooms for children, for watching films and spending leisure time.

Tickets cost: – 5 euros for an adult, 4 euros for a child. The center is open daily from 10:00 to 19:00. Check further information on the official website.

Nearby there is a cafe with a beautiful view – Saare Pargu Restoran.

Что посмотреть на Сааремаа? Юлия Чубарова

3. Kuressaare castle

The only untouched medieval castle in Estonia. (It is so well preserved that it is often chosen for historical reenactments and filming.) Various medieval archery activities are organized in the courtyard.

Museum tickets cost: 8 euros for an adult, 6 for a child. Family ticket – 20 euros.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday from 11.00 to 18.00

See the rest of the information on the official website.

4. Angla Windmill Hill

Another picturesque place, very reminiscent of the hills of Holland or illustrations from Don Quixote. Four typical Saaremaa rod mills built at the beginning of the last century. And one Dutch mill built in 1927. There is also a museum with an exposition dedicated to local culture.

Entrance – 4 euros for an adult, 2 euros for a child.

5. Viking village

It is a medieval amusement park (such as archery, ax throwing, and horse riding) with an obstacle course at a height of 12 meters and a mini zoo. It will be especially interesting for children.

Entrance price – 4 euros.

Follow the link for thE village website.

6. Kaali meteorite lake

In fact, a completely unremarkable small round lake except for the realization that a meteorite fell here 5 thousand years ago.

7. Muhu ostrich farm

This is a mini zoo with ostriches, zebras, red kangaroos, wallabies, emus, alpacas, ponies and rabbits.

Entrance fee – 4 euros for an adult, 3 euros – for a schoolchild, free for a preschooler. Check the official website for more info.

8. Spa

Saaremaa is famous for its mud, so I really recommend to try a mud wrap (I found this procedure in the menu of the Georg Hotel).

9. Sports

The island offers tennis, volleyball, windsurfing, kitesurfing (surf school website), golf (golf club Website) and yachting.

Top-4 spa hotels in Saaremaa ⠀

⁣ * These are autumn prices, in summer the room will be 1.5 times more expensive. ⠀

Johan Design & SPA Hotel
The one day price for double room with breakfast included – 50 euros in off-season and 70 euros in summer.
Stylish hotel newly renovated, small but cozy spa (outdoor pool, inside, jacuzzi and 2 saunas) and good breakfast.
Cons: the rooms are rather stuffy and the windows don’t open. Unlike the following hotels, there is no view. ⠀

Ekesparre Boutique Hotel ⠀
The hotel is situated in a park. It has a great castle view and private terrace on the castle island. ⠀
The one day price for double room with breakfast included – 96 euros. ⠀
I saw this hotel only from the outside, but booking reviews recommend it very much. ⠀
Disadvantage – no SPA. ⠀

Georg Ots Spa Hotel ⠀
The one day price for double room with breakfast included – 75 euros. Entrance to the SPA is paid separately – 20 euros per person. ⠀
The advantages of this hotel are Sea views, balconies in the rooms, its own territory with tennis courts and a large list of spa treatments. ⠀
The downside is that the hotel is large and always full, so there will be a lot of people at breakfast and in the pool. ⠀
I was here at the SPA, everything looks new inside, but there you feel yourself in a big hotel, comparing to the coziness of small hotels.

Spa Hotel Rüütli ⠀
The one day price for double room with breakfast included – 45 euros. ⠀
Another hotel overlooking the sea. In my opinion, it is most suitable for families with children, as it has its own water park inside. ⠀
The downside is the old renovation. Photos of the rooms are more like a sanatorium. ⠀

Best places to eat in Saaremaa

1. Resto HAFEN

The restaurant is located on the waterfront with a beautiful view of the yachts. Suitable for a romantic dinner. The food is delicious, the dishes are beautifully presented, but the prices are appropriate.

Follow the link for the restaurant website.

2. Saaremaa Veski

An inn in the windmill building. It has a very atmospheric historical interior and prices for every budget.

Follow the link for the restaurant website.

3. Sääre Paargu Restoran

It is located right next to the famous Sorve lighthouse. It has a very nice view and simple dishes.

Follow the link for the restaurant website.

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