This site is the largest island formation in all of Estonia, as well as in such territory as the Moonsund Archipelago. The area is more than 2.6 thousand square meters. km, and the population is slightly less than 30,000.
The Gulf of Riga in the north is in contact with the Syrvesyaar Peninsula. In the Baltic Sea, only Gotland, Zealand and Funen are larger than Saaremaa. The center of administrative management here is Kuressaare. By measuring this plot of land surrounded by water, 88 km can be counted between the extreme southern and northern points, and between eastern and western - 90 km. There is a connection with Muhu, an island in the neighborhood. There is a dam on the Väike-Väin Strait, through it you can drive along an organized road. Between the ports of the villages Kuivastu and Virtsu are moved by ferry.
In the capital of the island of Saaremaa - Kuressaare - there are 16 thousand inhabitants. There is a bay with the same name on the south side. The largest city is followed by Orissaare, which can be reached by heading to the northeast. The length of the embankments is 1300 km. The peninsulas go deep into the sea for a long distance. The number of small islands reaches six hundred.
In the Gulf of Riga, at a distance of 30 km from the main land, Sõrve is located. Its end is at the southern point of the archipelago. There is the village of Sayare. A notable object is a lighthouse 52 meters high, which was built in 1960.
The island of Saaremaa (Estonia) has rocky shores. There are cliffs. For example, the height of Panga Punk, located in a bay called Kudema, is 22 meters. Undva-Punk located on the territory of Tagamyzy in the north-western side can also be called steep.
Kaali meteorite crater is one of the attractions that attracts increased attention of tourists. The landscape is mostly flat in nature. The highest point is a hill called Raunamägi (54 m), which is near Kihelkonn, in its western part. In 1957, the Viidumäe Nature Reserve was founded here.
There is also a large number of woodlands (about forty percent of the territory occupied by the island of Saaremaa). The largest lakes here are Suur-Laht, Karujärv, as well as Mullutu-Laht, which is near Karl. Geologists are extremely interested in dolomite mined in local quarries. During the late ice age, there was a vast ice layer that crushed the crust of the earth. It is for this reason that the territory described today is characterized by depression.
When the Moonsund Archipelago was subject to melting, the surface began to rise. In a year it reaches two millimeters. Above sea level, the island rises on average by 15 meters.
The climatic conditions here are largely due to the fact that this island is located in the east of the Baltic Sea. The weather there is mild, mild, which is typical for areas close to the sea.
Holidays in the Baltics are good because in the summer it is quite warm. Also soft is the winter period. Possibly high rainfall and rapid weather changes due to strong winds. Typically, this occurs in autumn and winter. In July and August, the average temperature ranges from 16 to 20 degrees, sometimes 25. The coolest period is February, when frost can be minus 4.
Flora and fauna
Saaremaa Island is also characterized by a rich flora and fauna, which is greatly facilitated by the mild climate of the okrug. Eighty percent of the vegetation species characteristic of Estonia can be found on just one of the islands. The state protects most of them.
One of the rarest types can be called rattles, which grows in lowlands with swamps. There are as many as 35 varieties of orchids. There are many interesting animals here. Seals have chosen coastal areas. Here the birds fly. Also for birds this is a place of rest in spring and autumn. To a large extent, he was chosen by loons and geese. Once here, you can look at the ostrich farm.
The wonderful island of Saaremaa is especially recommended for visiting all tourism lovers. Its sights are numerous and interesting. In the 13th century, a stone castle was built here.
Pikk Herman Tower became the central building of the fortress. This building functioned as a center of administration. A lot of people gathered here. During the uprisings and wars there was complete security.
In the 20th century, restoration took place. The result was a sample of a knightly fortress. Some researchers have suggested that before the appearance of the structure of stone there was a wooden structure.
You can have a great time and relax in the city park zone of Kuressaare. In the 19th century, the gardening process began here. It was then that this point began to gain fame as a resort area.
When buying tours to Estonia, people paid much more attention to the island of Saaremaa. This was due to the beginning of the hospital, which used the valuable properties of local clay.
In 1861, the formation of the park committee. In addition, for the development of this territory, a lot of efforts were made by the residents of the city who made donations, brought seedlings, helping with carts and horses. In 1930, representatives of the plant world of rare species appeared here. They were pre-ordered from the University of Tartu. So the flora here was created just wonderful and varied. There are about 80 types of bushes and trees.
Holidays in the Baltic States are a great way to get rid of stress and saturate the soul with vivid impressions. It will not be superfluous to visit the local town hall, the beginning of construction of which is dated to 1654. This building was created on the initiative of Count Delagardi.
The architecture of the building is simple and rigorous. It can be attributed to the northern baroque. The impression from the inspection of the town hall is quite strong. A majestic detail is the portal on which the date 1670 is printed, as well as an inscription in Latin in the area of the cornice. Once inside, you can see the largest painting on the ceiling in all of Estonia. Walking along the first floor, visitors get to the tourist information center, as well as to the gallery of the town hall. It is also possible to look into the City Council.
Tours to Estonia are bought up quite quickly thanks to the many local attractions. Without moving too far from the town hall, you can stumble upon another interesting point - the tower, which was previously used as a fire station. It was erected in 1911, the hoses were dried in the building, starting in 1958. Subsequently, a new depot was created near the bus station. Then the old point was leased. Now they own it on a private basis. Today you can visit here to eat in the restaurant “Squats grill and bar”.
No less remarkable point is Kurzal, which was created according to the project of a local pharmacist. The building was built over 8 months. Opened in June 1989.
A restaurant complex was located in the central white room, and offices and a kitchen block were located on the territory of the right wing. The theater hall served as a stage for performances by Estonian artists.
Often there were troupes from Germany. This building functioned only during swimming, that is, in the summer. In 1989, the building was awarded the title of the best architectural composition created in 1988 in Estonia.
It’s nice to go to the tavern called Veski, which is a windmill. There are only two more similar buildings that are located in the city and are still functioning.
Another institution is no less popular. It is located on the territory of the former mill. Previously, this place was called Trey, as such was the name of its owner and creator. This item was founded in 1899 and successfully functioned until the Second World War. In 1972, restoration was carried out here, so that already in 1974 it was possible to get to the local cafe. The state assigned the mill the status of an important architectural monument. Its height is 24 m, taking into account the blades.
Curious to visit
The tower of the city of Kuressaare was built in accordance with the plan of the Swedish tycoon Count Delagardi, who was the ruler of these lands from 1648 to 1654. In 1663, all construction work on this project was completed.
The building style is considered baroque. The building is cut out of stone on a step-type pediment. Jewelery make up volutes. The forged weather vane on the spire dates from 1664. This place in the past was used to weigh goods. In the 19th century, the city's postal station was founded here. Since 1906, the private telephone station of the island began operating.
In addition, the described lands have many more interesting aspects, wanting to see which people come here from all over the world. Estonia is truly rich in beautiful territories, one of which is Saaremaa.
Saaremaa Is the largest island in Estonia with a population of about 40,000 people. Its coastline is severely indented, and hundreds of tiny uninhabited islets are scattered around. Kuressaare, the capital and main port of Saaremaa, is located on the sheltered south coast.
In the landscape of Saaremaa, cultivated fields alternate with lakes, birch and coniferous forests. Nature harmoniously combines with historical architecture: medieval churches, villages and picturesque windmills are found everywhere, and the neighboring island of Hiiumaa is visible from the north coast. Saaremaa is also famous for its many working windmills, the most picturesque of which can be seen in Angle (60 km north of Kuressaare).
Vilsandi National Park
Vilsandi National Park includes about 160 rocky islets, as well as capes and bays on the western coast of Saaremaa. It is designed to protect about 500 species of plants and almost 250 species of sea and waterfowl; huge flocks of eiders, terns, gulls, cormorants, white-breasted geese and other birds nest here, both local and migratory. More than a million birds migrate through this region on their way from the Arctic to southern Europe and North Africa.
Travel by bus from Kuressaare to the village of Kihelkonna. The west coast of Saaremaa, 32 km west of Kuressaare. Organization of visits - through the administration of the park in the village of Loona. Tel .: (372) 454-68-80. www.vilsandi.ee. Open: Mon — Fri 9: 00-17: 00. The park is open: daily, around the clock. The entrance is free.
The crater formed after a meteorite impact about 3000 years ago is one of the most interesting natural sights of Estonia. The jade green lake more than 100 m across has an almost perfectly round shape. It was considered sacred among Estonians who lived in the pre-Christian era.
Drive north-east from Kuressaare on Highway 74. After 26 km, turn left (north) onto Highway 79. 2 km after Liiva-Putla, turn right to the Kaali crater, marked with a road sign.
Church of St. Catherine
Church of St. Catherine, built in the XV century. and serving the parish of Kaija, the smallest on the island of Saaremaa and one of the most beautiful. Pagan influence is felt in her wall paintings, and carved pillars were made by freemasons throughout the Baltic region.
Located in the north of the island in the village of Parsama.
Mihkli Farm Museum
The main exhibit of this open-air museum is a functioning windmill surrounded by cottages with stone walls and reed roofs, growing in abundance on the shores of the island. Travel by bus from Kuressaare.
The village of Viki, Saaremaa, 32 km northwest of Kuressaare. Tel .: (372) 454-66-13. Open: mid April - sept. daily 10.00-18.00. Paid entrance.
Museum of windmills.
There are several museums on Saaremaa, but if you choose one to visit, this is certainly a museum of windmills. Firstly, the only one of its kind throughout Estonia. Secondly, here you can get an idea of life, the life of the islanders and along the way learn interesting facts from history.
The exposition is located in the open air, on the hill of Angla blown by all the winds. This place looks exactly as it did many years ago - when the mill was the source of life for the whole village, and sometimes several neighboring settlements. Today, visitors to the museum can view five exhibits - four one-legged mills typical of Saaremaa, and one Dutch, the largest and having several floors. All of them were built at the beginning of the 20th century and to this day remain in working condition. You can verify this by looking inside. Paid entrance. The price is only 3.5 euros per adult and 1.5 per child.
In addition to the mills, the museum has a tavern where you can taste local dishes (not Estonian, but local!) And a very unusual souvenir shop. In addition to the usual magnets and trinkets, they sell freshly baked bread and unfiltered homemade beer with juniper. There are no addresses at the museum of windmills - but it’s enough to tell any taxi driver about Angla Hill and they will bring you exactly where you need to.
The Episcopal Castle is a symbol and a visiting card of Saaremaa and it is impossible to bypass it when arriving on the island. After all, this is not just a fortress, but a “living" witness of successive eras. In addition, in the Baltic States this is the only medieval building that has been preserved in its original form.
When the construction of the citadel began is unknown. The first official mention of it dates back to 1381, but historians agree that the castle was founded much earlier, in the XIII century. Initially, it was planned as an administrative center, where, if necessary, local residents could take refuge and withstand the attack of the enemies. In peacetime, general meetings were held on the central square.
In addition, until the outbreak of the Livonian War, the castle was the residence of the Ezel Vic bishops, hence the current name. In 1559 the fortress was sold to the Danes, who modernized the fortification system and “strengthened” it with an impressive moat 30 meters wide. In 1710, the citadel became the property of the Russian Empire and forever lost its defensive value.
Today, the Episcopal Castle houses a museum where you can get acquainted with the history, traditions and culture of the island of Saaremaa. It is located in the city of Kuressaare, at Lossihoov tn 1.
Castle Church Pöide.
The uniqueness of the Poyde castle in the first place is that the complex was originally built as a fortified church - still in some guidebooks it is designated as the Temple of St. Maarya. Unfortunately, little has been preserved from the original building to the present day - built in 1343, it has been repeatedly changed and reconstructed. So, for example, the tower that made it recognizable appeared only in the 15th century. In the future, the church survived many fires.
Today, tourists can admire both the exterior and interior decoration of the complex - it is actively being restored and every year there are more and more interesting services in the church, although it is adapted for this, they have not been carried out since Soviet times. Pöide Castle Church is located at: Pöide küla, Pöide vald, Saare maakond.
Kaali meteorite crater.
The meteorite crater field, the largest of which is Kaali, is one of the most mysterious sights not only in Saaremaa, but throughout Estonia.For a long time it was believed that landscape formations were of volcanic origin, but in 1937 geologists found irrefutable evidence of a different version - craters were formed as a result of a meteorite fall.
When this happened, it is not known for certain: some scientists claim that eight thousand years ago, others - four thousand. They converge only in one thing - the damage caused by a celestial body was comparable to the effect of an atomic bomb explosion. And this despite the fact that at an altitude of 5-10 kilometers from the earth a meteorite exploded, and only fragments fell on the ground.
The largest of the craters formed in the valley is Kaali. Its diameter is 110 meters, the depth in some places exceeds 20 meters. It looks really bewitching. Tourists can admire the “space creation” from a special viewing platform, and then go down to the lake via a stone staircase.
The Kaali crater is located near the village of the same name. Not far from it there is a Museum of meteorites, the exposition of which presents “alien” finds made in the area of the alleged fall of a celestial body. Entrance to the museum will cost 1.5 euros per adult and 0.7 euros per child.
The lighthouse is an integral part of the life of Saaremaa, like any island surrounded by sea. The oldest signal tower of Estonia is located on the Spit Sõrve and is named after her. The lighthouse ensures the safety of navigation in the Irbensky Strait since the distant 1646.
Naturally, the structure has repeatedly changed and modernized - it is unlikely in the XXI century that someone would come up with the idea to send signals from the shore, lighting fires, as was done in XVII. The current monolithic reinforced concrete structure with a height of 48 meters was built in 1960.
Today, the Syrve lighthouse, located at Sääre küla, Torgu vald, Saare maakond, can rightfully be considered not only a signal tower that perfectly copes with its functions, but also one of the main attractions of the island.
Other attractions of Saaremaa.
Of course, a list of five points is not enough to mention even the most important sights of the island of Saaremaa, not to mention all. So, for example, two more castles remained outside the “top”: Koluvere and Maassilinna. They are not preserved as well as the Episcopal, but, nevertheless, even in these ruins the spirit of the distant Middle Ages hovers. And having a certain degree of imagination and without any problems at all, you can draw a picture of past greatness in your imagination.
If you are attracted not by architectural, but by natural attractions, then in addition to the Kaali volcanic crater, you definitely need to see the limestone cliff of Pang. (Pictured). It is a cliff with a length of 2 kilometers and a height of 20 meters, which offers stunning views of the Baltic. At the top of the cliff is an interesting structure, an altar. It is believed that exactly here many centuries ago, local residents made sacrifices to the sea.
There is also a national park, Vilsandi, on the island of Saarema. On its territory you can not find rare plants and animals. But the atmosphere itself is remarkable, which is conducive to unhurried walks and thoughtful reflections.
Tourists who do not want to be limited to the “standard set” of attractions in Saaremaa can visit the GoodKaarma soap factory. It belongs to a family in which more than one generation has been engaged in soap making. Guests are offered to undergo training "at the factory" and make unique soap souvenirs with their own hands.
Tips for those traveling to Saaremaa.
Saaremaa is an amazing land that tells itself to each guest about itself. Therefore, going on a journey through this beautiful and mysterious land, it is not at all necessary to look for a guide - you can completely do it yourself, slowly and measuredly visiting architectural sights and enjoying nature.
When planning a trip, do not forget that Saaremaa is still an island, which will have to be reached by ferry from the "mainland", it leaves from Virtsu or by plane (the only airport is located in Roomassaare). There may be no seats on weekends, so it is better to take care of buying tickets in advance. Holders of electronic ferry tickets loading and unloading take place without a queue.
Another point concerns movement around the island. With public transport, this is not the case. Therefore, in order to travel, you have to rent a car or constantly use a taxi. It should be noted that not all roads are asphalted - most of them are simply covered with gravel.
And finally, the most important thing. Some people think that one or two days is enough to visit Saaremaa. In fact, if there is an opportunity, then one can and should stay longer - there are not enough local attractions for more than one week, and you can penetrate the special atmosphere of the island only by discovering it for yourself, step by step.
Enjoy your stay!
How to get to the island, read the article Four ways to get to the island of Saaremaa.
Find out where you can stay interestingly here.
And about where it is comfortable our article is the best spa hotels on the island.
And do not forget to take out insurance. Choose among the best insurance companies.