"Knighty Kuressaare" Kuressaare by Openseas

Kuressaare Travel Guide: 56 reviews and 146 photos

A unique part of Estonia

Kuressaare is the capital of Saaremaa Island one of Estonia’s largest islands which is saturated in history, beauty and isolated quaint villages and endless miles of forests, beaches and striking coastlines. The island is incredibly flat which makes it a cyclist’s paradise with empty roads which meander gently through the countryside where hidden little wooden villages can be found and explored.

The whole of the island including Kuressaare resembles a unique part of Estonia and to us, we found Estonia very under populated and at times; we almost felt totally isolated on our own little adventure through what seemed a timeless journey through a past era. Dotted through the countryside were wonderful mansions and manors once owned by the wealthy Russians and now resting peacefully amongst the landscape. Some date back to the 13th century and trickle with appeal, captivating their history, unique Estonian character and solitude.

The castle and the fortress are the main attractions of Kurressaare. It’s a beautiful castle surrounded by an artificial island and moat. The gardens and parks are gorgeous which lead down to a pretty sandy beach. We were lucky to land in Kuressaare on the day of the Castle Festival and it was truly amazing with all the locals dressed in their traditional festive clothes and heaps of medieval games and markets taking place. The fortress was built in the 14th century and is one of the best preserved medieval fortresses in the Baltic States.

The Village.

The small village of Kuressaare is very appealing with its lovely wooden houses and leafy avenues and outdoor cafes blended with classical traditional buildings are perfect for a leisurely stroll for a few hours. The Kuresaare Town Hall has the largest canvas painting in Estonia and is well worth a visit to see and across the road the Weighing House which was built in 1663 still has the original sealed scales which were used previously for trade in Estonia.

The village has some wonderful wooden houses which ooze with charm and character and is a photographer's dream if one is interested in traditional authentic buildings.

The main reason most tourists visit Kuressaare is for the Spa Treatments which are offered through the two major hotels in the village. George Ots Hotel has a fantastic spa centre with an outdoor/ indoor swimming pool and several pools with jet spas, herbal baths and every available massage possible. The other hotel is Hotel Ruutil which also offers endless massages and treatments to keep anyone relaxed for days.

If visiting Kuressaare one cannot miss this very special treat. We had a fabulous time at George Ots just indulging in all what was offered and even hubby who hates being pampered totally enjoyed himself, especially in the different jet spa baths.

Transport

Tips – Its best to pre book your ferry trip over from Virtus the queues were long and it took us two hours to finally reach the port of Kuivastu. Ferries cam be booked through SLK Ferries.

We noticed pre booked cars just drove straight onto the ferry whilst we had to buy a ticket and queue with everyone else. We did however travel on a weekend with a festival happening in the Bishop’s Fort. The ferry ride takes approx 30mins and there are several ferries operating at the same time. There are at least ten ferry crossings a day.

However, this report could be wrong as we did travel to Kuressaare on the Castle Day Festival weekend, which was just good luck on our part. The Festival is on annually in early July. So not knowing if our experience was just a one off or if it did occur every weekend in summer.

for more details - wwwlaevakompani.ee

Before hiring our car from Tallinn we did check out other transportation to Saaremaa Island and Kuressaare.

Buses run from Tallinn and Kuressaare daily and it takes approx 4.5hours. You can also get a bus from Parnu, Muhu and Tartu. There were many buses on our ferry ride over to Kuressaare from Virtsu (the port).

www.bussireisid.ee

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Fabulous island to relax.
  • Cons:traffic waiting for the ferry
  • In a nutshell:unique and interesting town.
  • Last visit to Kuressaare: Dec 2006
  • Intro Updated Dec 27, 2007
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