Islands

Saaremaa is the largest island belonging to Estonia, measuring 2,673 km and belongs to the West Estonian Archipelago. The capital of Saaremaa is Kuressaare, which has about 15,000 inhabitants; the whole island has over 39,000 inhabitants.

 - Saaremaa archipelago - Windmill restaurant Veski - Kaali meteorite crater in Saaremaa- Kuressaare Castle

Saaremaa - the biggest island of Estonia is known as a good recreation place with unique nature and a lot of sights. Saaremaa has retained its uniqueness due to its location and insulation. In the villages there are still stone fences and houses with thatched roofs, beautiful national costumes and dialectal language are still used. Junipers, dolomite, windmills and the famous local home-brewed beer are considered the symbols of Saaremaa.

Roughly 40% of its inhabitants live in the capital city, Kuressaare, where a historic Old Town and parks surrounding a picturesque 13th-century castle set a romantic mood for all who visit. Inhabited for at least 6000 years, Saaremaa is known in older German and Russian sources as Ösel.

Due to its geographic location between the East and the West, the territory of Saaremaa has been ruled by different countries. For 700 years Germans, Danes, Swedes and Russians have taken turns possessing the island. During the Soviet period, the entire island was a restricted military zone where even Estonians needed a special permit to visit. Today the island - with its windmills, medieval churches, limestone cliffs and rare wildlife - is one of the most popular destinations in Estonia.

Hiiumaa is the second largest island (989 km²) belonging to Estonia. It is located in the Baltic Sea, north of the island of Saaremaa, a part of the west Estonian archipelago. Its largest town is Kärdla.

 - Cranberries - Autumn in Hiuumaa - FOTO Hiiumaa  kivirand ja meri (sirli foto) - majakas Hiiumaal

Located In the eastern part of the Baltic Sea, the island of Hiiumaa and a number of small islets cover an area of about 1 000 square km. Hiiumaa is the second largest island in Estonia, separated from the mainland by a 22 km wide strait.

Around the island there are more than 200 islands and islets have no flora and fauna for they have only recently merged from the sea. Thanks to the surrounding sea, the climate on Hiiumaa is a bit different from the one on the continent. There are more sunny days with and less rainy days.

Hiiumaa is the place to visit for people who want to explore unspoilt nature - forests cover over 60% of the island. One can find about 1 000 species of higher plants in the rich flora of Hiiumaa. Over 50 rare species are protected.



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