Saaremaa, Estonia

Saaremaa, Estonia

Estonia is a diverse, fascinating and modern country that is best discovered on a study tour. The northernmost state of the Baltic States will impress you especially from a cultural and historical point of view. You will visit mighty monastic castles, enchanting manors and historically significant places such as the romantic baroque palace Katharinenthal, which Tsar Peter I gave to his wife Katharina, during a tour of Estonia. The Estonian people are modern and yet deeply rooted in the beautiful and spacious nature of the Baltic States. A mixture of culture, history and nature awaits you in this Baltic state. You will experience the medieval charm of the capital Tallinn on an Estonia study trip, visit Tartu, one of the oldest university cities in Europe.

Baltic coastal footpath

Ranniku Matkarada – a hiking route on the Baltic Sea –

the Baltic Coastal Footpath

The small Latvian village of Nida lies on the bank of the Curonian Nern. At the last official census, exactly 1,178 people lived here. Thomas Mann had fallen in love with this place, had his summer house built on the so-called “Mother-in-Law Mountain” and wrote his Joseph novel here. Still, hardly anyone would know the village of Nida if it weren’t for the starting point for the Baltic Coastal Hiking Trail. It runs over 1,200 kilometers from Nida to the historic port of Tallinn in Estonia. 580 km of the hiking route are in Latvia and 620 km in Estonia. More than 500 cultural and natural sights await along the route.

1.5 million steps in two months

The route along the Baltic Sea coast is part of the E 9 long-distance hiking trail and is intended for people who are very good at walking. After all, experts have set a duration of two months for the 1.5 million steps, and there are some steep coasts to be conquered, especially in Latvia. The highest points of the demanding hike are the rocks of Rannamoisa, the viewing platform of the Pakri lighthouse (if you want to climb it) and the rocks of the same name at a height of around seventy meters.

Rivers and streams are waded through.

The hikers should carry their personal papers with them when they cross the border from Latvia to Estonia, as well as cash, because you cannot pay with a credit card everywhere along the way in the small towns. It is advisable to tackle the Baltic Coastal Hiking Trail in the months between March and November, because then the paths are very easy to pass. In summer, the water of the Baltic Sea can reach temperatures of up to 20 degrees, which also makes wading through the numerous rivers and streams a pleasure.

The entire route is marked

The mouths of several large rivers are no obstacles, because Irbe, Saka, Venta, Lielupe, Daugava, Gauja, or Pärna are provided with bridges. Those who do not go hiking in late autumn or winter do not have to fear the forces of nature, because stronger storms are rather a rarity in this Baltic region. Over seventy free resting places line the coastal hiking trail. If you are traveling with a tent, you can spend the night on campsites or on private territory (after consultation with the owners). Hardly anyone runs the risk of getting lost, because the entire route is marked in white, blue and white. Information boards were also installed.


The largest island in Estonia

The fourth largest island in the Baltic Sea lies off the western coast of Estonia. As the largest of the Estonian islands, Saaremaa attracts both regional and international visitors with its natural beauty and interesting history. Due to its relative isolation, Saaremaa is considered “authentic” Estonia, exudes a fishing village atmosphere and offers a unique flora and fauna, which makes it an ideal retreat for relaxation and nature experiences.

Sights and activities on Saaremaa

The capital of Saaremaa, Kuressaare, has some of Saaremaa’s must-see attractions. It has been a well-known spa and bathing resort since the 19th century. Here vacationers will also find excellent restaurants and cafes as well as a variety of hotels and inexpensive accommodations. Kuressaare also has a small airport, so for those arriving by plane, the Estonia adventure begins here. Although the city has seen numerous invasions and wars that damaged or destroyed many of the oldest buildings, there are still some impressive historical sites for visitors to discover. These include, for example, the impressive bishop’s castle, the town hall built and restored in 1654 and the lovely St. Nicholas Church.

The main attraction of Kuressaare is the Bishop’s Castle, which dates back to 1200 and was probably built by the Teutonic Order as a residence for the Bishop of Saare-Laane. Several other changes and additions were made later in the castle history by other owners – Danish, Swedish and Russian. Kuressaare Castle is unique among the castles in the Baltic States as it is the only completely intact medieval fortress. The two towers as defensive structures were largely preserved or only slightly restored. Today it houses a museum.

Other interesting sights of Saaremaa are the Kaali meteorite crater, the cliff Panga Pank and the post mills, of which more and more are being restored. The Vilsandi National Park offers numerous opportunities for bird watching and general enjoyment of nature.

Saaremaa, Estonia