To Estonians, Saaremaa (literally ‘island land’) is synonymous with space, spruce and fresh air – and bottled water, vodka and killer beer. Estonia’s largest island (roughly the size of Luxembourg) is still substantially covered in forests of pine, spruce and juniper, while its windmills, lighthouses and tiny villages seem largely unbothered by the passage of time.
Kuressaare, the capital of Saaremaa, is on the south coast (75km from the Muhu ferry terminal) and is a natural base for visitors. It’s here among the upmarket hotels that you’ll understand where the island got its nickname, ‘Spa-remaa’. When the long days arrive, so too do the Finns and Swedes, jostling for beach and sauna space with Estonian urban-escapees.