DISCOVER THE ISLANd
Saaremaa, famous for its 854-kilometer coastline and beautiful beaches, windmills and junipers, local peculiar humor and for the letter Ö. However, in addition to the idyllic island romance, Estonia's largest island has so much more to offer!
Saaremaa is for you, if you're looking for peace and quiet, but islanders also love having fun - something interesting always happens here!
Meri hotel family selected 18 places in Saaremaa and Muhumaa, which we definitely recommend to visit. Places that we, as locals, visit and admire ourselves over and over again.
We hope you'll get even a tiny bit of inspiration from here and we can help you to make your Saaremaa holiday even more exciting and memorable!
1. Kuressaare Episcopal Castle
A place that should definitely be on the list of every visitor of Saaremaa, especially the guest of Hotell Meri, because the castle is only in a few minutes' walk from us. Kuressaare Castle is one of the most interesting and best preserved fortifications in Estonia. The castle has become one of the most remarkable buildings built in the 14th-19th centuries in Northern Europe, and it is also the only medieval fortress building in the Baltics that hasn't been reconstructed. Today, the castle houses a history museum, which offers a joy of discovery for both, young and old.
2. KAALI METEORITE crater
Did you know Kaali meteorite crater was the first meteorite crater discovered in Europe, being also the youngest large meteorite crater here at the same time? The crater is 110 meters in diameter and has a maximum depth of 16 meters. The approximate time of the Kaali meteorite fall is 7500-7600 years ago.
PS. According to our grandmothers, this place has such magic, that if you walk around the crater, good luck will send you. It might be absolutely true, because all the couples we know and who have taken the walk hand in hand on their wedding day, are still together and happy!
4. Sõrve lighthouse
If you are already in Saaremaa, then you should also visit the southernmost tip of the island and the southwesternmost tip of Estonia, right? Sõrve lighthouse is located on the Sõrve peninsula, being the highest lighthouse in Lääne County, with a height of 53 meters above sea level. Oh, these views from the top of the peninsula, these views from the top of the lighthouse… every step is well worth it.
5. Angla WindmilL PARK
..because Saaremaa and the windmills just go together! Did you know that at the end of the 19th century there were about 1270 windmills in Saaremaa? That's right, because every good farmer had his own windmill. Angla windmills are one of the best preserved windmill groups in Estonia, and it's possible only in Saaremaa to get acquainted with the windmill hill that has preserved its appearance. Four of the five mills are typical Saaremaa windmills, built at the beginning of the last century. The Dutch-type mill was built in 1927. Park has a museum introducing local folk culture, a café, a souvenir shop and a party hall.
6. Panga Cliff
Panga cliff is located in the western part of the north coast of Saaremaa, being one of the most spectacular natural attractions of the whole island. The bank is 2.5 km wide and the highest cliff in Saaremaa and Muhu - 21.3 meters. What makes the bank special is that it rises as a “wall” right from the beach, which is well visible from there. The views to the sea are just wonderful, and quite naturally, the Panga cliff is one of our favorite places to watch the sunsets.
Interesting to know: Panga cliff used to be natural sanctuary. Folk tales say that every year one person or animal was pushed into the sea to a sea god or a mermaid as a victim so that the ruler of the sea can protect other people from the accidents.
7. Ninase LIMESTONE CLIFF
Yes, the Panga cliff is not the only one on the northern coast of Saaremaa! Ninase cliff or Tagaranna cliff is about 1 km long, the maximum height is 5 meters. There is also a memorial dedicated to the sunken passenger ferry "Estonia" and Ninase nature observation tower, which offers wonderful views of nature.
Good to know: When you walk there, then also look down, as you can find luck-bringing rocks with holes, excavated by the sea as well as traces of fossils deposited in rocks thousands of years ago.
8. Ohesaare CLIFF and windmill
Ohessaare cliff, located on the western shore of the Sõrve Peninsula, is a cliff made of limestone and is about 500 meters long and up to 4 meters high. This cliff has gained some fame with its flat stones and stone towers erected by the people who have visited the area. There is a wonderful summer café by the Ohesaare windmill, where you can enjoy beautiful views and refreshing drinks with delicious home made cakes.
Good to know: The water dripping between the rocks of Ohessaare cliff was supposed to have a healing effect.
9. ODALÄTSI SPRINGS
A 400-meter-long nature trail runs around the forested dunes and the Odalätsi springs in the middle of the pine forest, starting from the parking lot along the Kihelkonna-Pidula road.
They say: If you wash your face and hands with spring water and even drink it, you will stay forever young.
10. Koigi bog
If you feel like you want to hike a bit, head towards the Koigi bog! A pleasant 4.8-kilometer hiking trail runs through the swamp around the lake, where it is possible to observe the different stages of the swamp's development. There is a 9-meter lookout tower by the trail, which offers a wonderful views of the whole bog. There is also an observation platform by lake Pikkjärv, from where you can enjoy a wonderful view to the swamp and the lake while resting.
Interesting to know: According to the old tales, lake Koigi originated in the place where the manor lords of Kareda and Koigi quarreled, and now the whole manor is at the bottom of the lake.
11. LAKE Karujärv
Yes, we don't just have (sea) beaches here! Lake Karujärv (Bear lake), with its pleasant sandy bottom, is one of the holidaymakers' favorite places. Lake Karujärv is almost 8,000-year-old and oldest in Saaremaa. The lake is under nature protection.
Interesting to know: According to folklore, Karujärv got its name from the fact that 7 bears fought over it. To separate them, God let it rain so hard that a lake formed. The bears are gone, each in their own direction, making the lake 7-bedded.
12. Asva ViKING VILLAGE
Because the ancient islanders are vikings! Different eras from three thousand years are combined at Asva Viking Village. Thematic activities and modern attractions offer a good time for guests of all ages - adventure trail, archery, axe-throwing, viking games, horse riding, animal park.
13. Rabbit village KÜÜLIKUKÜLA
For those who end up on the Sõrve peninsula, this is definitely a must-stop - in the village of Laadla, there is an animal park, Külikuküla, which is by no means an ordinary animal park, but rather a village inhabited by animals and birds.
14. Oti manor
There are several manors in Saaremaa, one more beautiful than the other, but Oti manor is worth visiting already because it is the oldest manor in Saaremaa - the one-storey main part of the main building of Oti manor with a slightly eclectic look was probably built in the 18th century. Oti manor has a great historical and cultural value. Oti manor was the heart of Pöide's economic and cultural life.
15. Vilsandi National Park
Vilsandi National Park is located on the west coast of Saaremaa. The park began as a bird sanctuary in 1910 and was established as a nature reserve in 1957, being the first its kind in Baltics. Today, the park's primary objective is to protect the wildlife and coastal landscape of the area. Orchids, fossils and fossilised corals can be found on the most western island of Estonia dotted with juniper bushes, making for a great nature destination throughout the year, but especially for hiking trails!
16. Kiipsaare lighthouse
Kiipsaare lighthouse is also known as Pisa Tower of Saaremaa, because due to strong storm winds and waves, the lighthouse on a steep coast sank obliquely years ago. Kiipsaare lighthouse was completed in 1933 and is 26 meters high. Originally, the tower was built about 100 meters from the beach, but today it is located in the sea due to the change of the coastline.
Please note: As the lighthouse is located in the territory of Vilsandi National Park, it can only be reached on foot - the journey from the car park to the lighthouse is about 5 km.
17. Muhu Ostrich Farm
If you start driving back to the mainland, make sure to stop by the Muhu Ostrich Farm, because it offers excitement for both big and small. In addition to ostriches, the animal park is also home to zebras, emus, alpacas, ponies, hares and many other furry and feathered animals.
18. KOGUVA village
A real village, that is so beautiful it looks like a movie set! Popular movies "Here we are" and "Men don't cry" have been shot in Koguva village and in the vicinity, so it kind of is like a movie set too...
All the buildings of Koguva village are protected as architectural monuments. Can you imagine living in the place like this?