When the notorious Iron Curtain collapsed, we were surprised to find how many interesting and unexplored places there are on the territory of our native former USSR. The island of Saaremaa is a prime example of this. This place was the strategic point of our army. Just a little walk or swim – and here it is, enemy territory, so the island was a great place to deploy troops. And while the military considered Saaremaa a secret place, neither industrial enterprises nor large ports could spoil its ecology.
Therefore, for the magnificent ecological environment, we can safely say “thank you” to people in uniform.
Saaremaa is the largest Estonian island. Here everyone will find something to their liking – fishing, horse or boat trips, quad bike racing. And there are countless excursion programs. In addition, many legends of the “deep antiquity” have been preserved in Saaremaa – windmills, churches, there are even several meteorite craters.
How to get there
According to Wholevehicles, there are two options to get to this magical place – buy a ticket from a travel agency or go on a trip on your own. Both the first and second options have pros and cons, it all depends on personal preferences. If it is more important for you to avoid all sorts of troubles, to be delivered to your hotel room without any problems, then, of course, it is better to contact specialists.
For those who chose the second option, it would be useful to know that there are no direct buses to Kuressaare. First you need to get to Tallinn, there, at the bus station, make a transfer – in principle, nothing complicated. For those who like to travel by car, the Tallinn highway from Narva is the most suitable. Going around Tallinn, it will take about 8 hours to get from Narva to the island.
A little about ferries
Saaremaa is an island after all, so to reach the end point, you will have to take a ferry. The ferry departs from Virtsu, it is better to book a ticket for it in advance – there are a lot of people hurrying to Saaremaa on weekends. The advantage of an electronic ticket is that loading and unloading can be done out of turn. From the port to Kuressaare it remains only 50 minutes to go.
The largest city on the island, which is also considered a resort, Kuressaare.
The largest city on the island, which is considered part-time resort, Kuressaare.
It is literally crammed with all kinds of mud baths, spas, so here you can not only relax, but also thoroughly heal – the sea air, healing mud and the mild climate of the island have an amazing effect on health.
Hotels in Saaremaa
If the goal is just to spend the night, then the island is full of small hotels or traditional huts for every whim. But it is still worth taking advantage of not only the aesthetic joys of this wonderful island, but also practical ones, which include the possibility of receiving a course of procedures for rejuvenation and recovery.
The therapeutic mud of Saaremaa has been known since the 19th century – the entire aristocracy of Russia, Scandinavia and Germany came here to take mud baths. Modern spa centers offer much more services. In Kuressaare, we can recommend three spa hotels, the range of services in them is approximately the same, and they are located one after another, so the choice depends on personal preference and the thickness of the wallet: these are Meri Spa 3 *, Ruutli Spa 4 * and Saaremaa Valss Spa 2 *. Aqua centers, including a jacuzzi, swimming pool, hydromassage and sauna, salt cave, various types of massages (classical, aromatic, therapeutic), pearl wraps in stock.
In addition to the services of spa centers, you can afford a little whim and take a room with a view of the Kuressaare castle and the bay.
Entertainment and attractions in Saaremaa
In the southeastern part of the island, right by the sea, the first of the attractions awaits tourists – the episcopal castle. The chronicles found references to the castle dating back to 1380, but, despite its age, it looks good – thanks to the timely restoration. Now in the castle, instead of the residence of the bishop of Saare-Läänsky, in whose honor the castle is called episcopal, there is a historical museum. Having paid 6 EUR for entry, you can spend hours looking at intricate exhibits and wandering through the echoing halls.
The ruins of Maasi Castle are also recommended for viewing, they are located near the city of Orissaare, on a hill, right on the shore. The main thing when traveling there is to look at the signs along the road so as not to miss the desired sign. Now work has begun on the restoration and restoration of the castle, but this will not hurt to get into the dungeons of the castle and wander along the ancient corridors.
There is another one on Saaremaa – an extraterrestrial attraction. About 4 thousand years ago, on the island, the sky hit the earth with a pillar of fire, leaving behind a huge crater. The alien guest turned out to be a huge meteorite that loosened the land of Saaremaa and scattered fragments around. The traces of this disgrace have already dragged on – a funnel with a diameter of about a hundred meters and a depth of 20 meters now resembles a small lake, the banks of which are overgrown with trees and shrubs. They called this place the Kaali crater, and if it is interesting to look at it, then look for a sign on the highway between the cities of Kuressaare and Orissaare.
Windmills in Saaremaa
This is where you can’t do without a camera, so if you are going to the Windmill Museum, don’t forget about an extra memory card. All mills have already abandoned the idea of grinding flour, but this does not prevent them from looking good in the middle of the fields of the island. The spectacle is very impressive – as if a couple of centuries have been omitted on the calendar.
This place, which causes shivers in the knees not only with its history, but also with its appearance, is definitely worth a visit. The Pangas cliff rises 21 meters above the sea – this is a coastal ledge from which in ancient times sacrifices were thrown to the gods.
The ancient pagan sanctuary has now been replaced by a lighthouse, but the stones and ancient cliffs still keep the memory of the blood of innocent victims.
Despite the fact that there are many warning signs near the cliff, tourists still strive to look into the face of the abyss. You should not do this – the gods have not received their victims for a long time. Follow safety precautions, signs will not be hung in vain.