After extensively travelling in Estonia for the past couple of weeks, I couldn’t resist to add a short third part to my already published travel guides (read part 1 and part 2) with focus on the Estonian islands.
I returned to Estonia for the summer solstice and stayed in Kihnu for a couple of days. Kihnu is a small Estonian island in the Bay of Riga and has about 500 inhabitants. You can access the island via ferry from Munalaid, a small harbour not too far from Pärnu at the western coast. Kihnu’s cultural space and traditions are also part of UNESCO’s Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. Estonian traditions and a special dialect have been preserved on the island which is super interesting to discover and the museum is very well curated but I felt a bit like in an open air museum the whole time I spent there. Nevertheless, a must see if you’re interested in the old Estonian traditions and the life on the islands in former times. Rent a bike directly at the harbour and enjoy the views!
After Kihnu, I spent a couple of days in Haapsalu (again) and then headed to Hiiumaa, the second biggest Estonian island in the Baltic Sea. When I arrived in Kärdla in the north of the island, the rain was pouring so heavily that I needed to wait at the bus station for an hour before heading to my accommodation. Luckily weather changes quite quickly in this part and I had a few nice days with sun and rain taking turns. I rented a bike and cycled around the northern coast. The nice beaches are often times a bit difficult to access but you’ll find some amazing spots if you’re willing to search a bit. Hiiumaa is largely covered with forest but has some great cycling paths. A large part of the island’s population used to be Estonian Swedes before WWII. The old windmills scattered all over the islands are one of the reminder of this period. Hiiumaa also has some famous lighthouses which I didn’t take time to explore further.
From the north of Hiiumaa, I took a bus to the south and then a ferry to cross the short distance to the northern part of Saaremaa, the biggest Estonian island. There, I stayed in Oitme near Leisi for a few nights, in a former cow barn in the middle of nowhere and exploring the surroundings by bike. A great place to relax! Eventually, I went back to Kuressaare, the biggest city in the south of the island. Read more about Saaremaa in the second part of my travel guide. After travelling all over Estonia and seeing lots of places, Saaremaa is still my favourite place. It just has so much to offer and to discover and an overall relaxed atmosphere. A wonderful place!
Before returning to Tallinn on the last leg of my Estonia trip, I made a detour via Tartu to get the opportunity to visit Lake Peipus (est. Peipsi) which is not far from the city. Peipsi is the biggest transboundary lake in Europe and part of the Estonian-Russian border in the east of the Estonia. I only had half a day to explore Mustvee which is the largest town at the shore. I’m sure there are lots more exciting things to discover if you have a car and take the time to drive around.
Useful links for travelling in Estonia
- Like a local for some inside travel tips
- Visit Estonia as a very well curated tourist guide site with lots of tips
- Tpilet to check bus schedules
- KIHNU veeted for the ferry schedule from Munalaid (near Pärnu) to Kihnu
- Tuule laevad for several island ferry connections, esp. between Hiiumaa and Saaremaa
I had a blast during my extended travels in the Baltics and especially in Estonia! I’m still a bit sad after I flew out of Tallinn last week but I’m looking forward to some more exciting travels in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned for more blogposts!
Find my first travel guide of Estonia on Tallinn and Tartu here as well as the second part on Pärnu, Saaremaa (2011) and Haapsalu here.
I’d love to hear from you in the comments if you’ve been to Estonia and where. I’m also glad to share my accommodation recommendations on request.
© All photo rights belong to Kathleen Fritzsche.
Nice post! I would like to know about your accomodation recomendations in these islands. We are a couple and a little baby from Barcelona and we will be in Estonia next August. Could you contact me by email?
thanks! Great to hear that you enjoyed reading the post. I’m going to post the accommodation details right here so that someone else could use them as well:
* Kihnu: Uibu Homestay in Lemsi: a bit pricy, but very central and you can walk there from the harbour, there was some construction work going on there but should be ok now
* Hiiumaa: Prema Guesthouse in Kärdla: central and easily reachable, bathroom and kitchen facilities a bit run down though
* Saaremaa: Oitme Hostel near Leisi (in the North): great and relaxed location but not easily reachable without a car, check out Oja Camping as well. Heard many good things about it.
SYG Hostel in Kuressaare (in the South): great value for the price but Soviet-style, very nice staff and central location
I hope you’ll enjoy your stay in Estonia! It’s an amazing country.
Please change the ferry traffic link. We have new ferry operator https://www.praamid.ee/wp/?lang=en