"The Edge of Nowhere" Top 5 Page for this destination Kuressaare by antistar

Kuressaare Travel Guide: 56 reviews and 146 photos

They are a bit different here. They do things differently. They speak differently. They even celebrate their festivals on different days. It probably has something to do with Saaremaa, Estonia's biggest island, being one of the most isolated parts of the Soviet Union; even Estonians needed a permit to visit here.

For the tourist this has its benefits. Saaremaa is like stepping back in time. It's very rural out here. There's lots of forests. There's even bears. And wolves. The place isn't really designed for tourists, despite it being a popular destination for Finns, Latvians, Russians, and of course, Estonians.

The only real exception to this is the capital, Kuressaare. This tiny capital is fully geared up for the tourist crowds, with probably enough hotels to accommodate the entire population of the city, and plenty of excellent restaurants. It also has excellent transport connections to the mainland, via a ferry/bus or its airport.

The capital itself has a few tourist sights, but the place is so small you will be able to see them all in an afternoon. It's better used as a base to visit the rest of the island, but remember this place is big, empty and rural. As an idea it's more than a fifth bigger than Tenerife, but with less than a 20th of the population.

The biggest problem here is that everything you will want to see is spread out, and the only public transport is geared towards moving locals from point to point, not tourists. If you don't have your own car, or don't want to rent one, you will struggle to see more than one thing a day, and risk getting stranded for hours (or even overnight) in far away places. But that's part of the adventure, right?

One of the best times to come is midsummer. The weather is perfect, the nights are long, and they party long into the night on Jaanipäev (St. John's Day), which as an added benefit is celebrated on a different day to Helsinki and Tallinn, meaning you can celebrate midsummer three times in the same year!

Prices obviously go up around then, but it's very cheap by Scandinavian standards. The low prices also encourage a lot of Finns, and I'm pretty sure that 90% of the people celebrating Jaanipäev with me in Kuressaare that night were Finnish. Not that this is a problem as they sound just like Estonians, and like to party just as hard.

Photo Album on Facebook (better quality).

  • Last visit to Kuressaare: Jun 2009
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Comments (1)

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 29, 2009 at 8:21 AM

    Wonderful pictures and a nice story, Tim.... Thanks again! ><><><><


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