Saaremaa Island

The largest of Estonia's islands, Saaremaa sits pretty in the Baltic Sea protecting the mouth of the gulf of Riga. Its rustic charm includes old stone buildings which dot the island and make up its main town, Kuressaare. The habitation is best known for its beautiful and well preserved old town and boasts a bishopric castle dating from around 1380AD. Other buildings from the period include the medieval churches of Pöide and Karja. The oldest of all, the church of Valjala, was built in the 13th century.


Shore excursions in Saaremaa Island

Please note: The shore excursions listed are typical for this port. The full programme of shore excursions available for your cruise will be displayed on Cruise Personaliser at least 12 weeks prior to departure.

Introduction to Saaremaa

Activity medium

Duration: 4 hours

Explore the countryside of Saaremaa and discover one of Estonia’s most unique geological sites.

From the comfort of your coach, enjoy a scenic drive into the Saaremaa countryside to visit the first of 3 of Saaremaa’s highlights. Nearly 5,000 years ago a meteorite broke into pieces and crashed to Earth leaving a group of 8 meteoric craters in the village of Kaali. The main crater holds a natural body of water known as Lake Kaali. Spend some time discovering the fascinating story of how these natural formations were created.

Continue on to Karja Church. Built during the middle ages it is Saaremaa’s smallest church and dates back to the 14th Century. As you step inside you will be able to view some of the decorative elements and wall frescoes that have been well preserved.

Your final destination will be the Angla Windmill Hill. At one time, every village on Saaremaa had a windmill hill. This hill along with its 5 traditional windmills is the last one in existence on the island. Take some time to look around the windmills and photograph the beautiful scenery, before returning to your ship.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. There is approximately 1 hour of walking included on this excursion. Flat, comfortable shoes are recommended.

Saaremaa and Folklore

Activity lowRefreshments included

Duration: 3¼ hours

Venture off the beaten track to a charming open air museum and folkloric show.

Experience some of the culture and traditions of Saaremaa island as your tour begins with a scenic drive of the surrounding areas of Saaremaa. A short visit will be made at Kihelkonna Church which is one of Estonia’s oldest churches and was completed in 1260, the church is also the home of the oldest preserved organ in Estonia, built by Johan Andrea Stein in 1805.

Mihkli Farm Open-air Museum is approximately 300 years old and displays a farmstead typical to Western Saaremaa. As you walk around you will see that most of the farm buildings date back to the 18th Century and the majority of items on display were made by one of the 6 generations of family that lived here. Spend some time exploring the buildings that surround the central courtyard before having the chance to sample traditional Saaremaa refreshments of beer, bread and butter while you watch a traditional Estonian folkloric show.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The drive to Mihkli Farm is approximately 30 minutes. There is approximately 30 minutes of walking during this tour.

Sights of Kuressaare

Activity mediumShopping

Duration: 4 hours

Discover the culture and traditions of the capital of Saaremaa.

Sit back and relax as you take a scenic drive to the capital of Saaremaa, Kuressaare. Kuressaare has managed to retain its 600 year old history and charm, which is displayed in the examples of Gothic and Classicist architecture around the town.

Visit the Episcopal Castle which is the best preserved medieval fortress in the Baltics. Listen as your guide unravels centuries of history in which the Castle has played the roles of Episcopal residence, prison and sanctuary. The basic 14th Century structure took 40 years to build with the colossal walls added in the 15th Century.

Experience a walking tour through the medieval streets of the Kuressaare where you will pass by highlights which includes St Nicholas Orthodox Church, St Lawrence Church and the 16th Century baroque style Weigh House. Imagine the town as a busy seaside resort back in the 19th Century as you stroll along Pargi Street, and spend some free time at the open air market place where you can shop for local souvenirs before your return drive to the ship.

Essential information

This excursion will operate by coach and on foot. The drive to Kuressaare is approximately 40 minutes. There is approximately 1½ hours of walking on this excursion. Flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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