Saaremaa island in Estonia

Literally translated into ‘island land’, the gorgeous island of Saaremaa (Ösel) in Estonia is the perfect place to visit for those looking for an authentic taste of Nordic culture, fresh air, space and the best tasting water you can imagine. Known for being the largest island in Estonia, Saaremaa is still filled with stretches of forests, picturesque windmills, little villages that seem to be locked in time and lighthouses. Paradise in every sense of the word.
The beauty of Saaremaa was protected during the Soviet era when even mainland Estonians were prohibited from visiting without a permit. These days, Ösel remains a gorgeous island that feels like a time capsule of Nordic culture.

If you are planning to visit this beautiful gem of an island, consider looking into the following attractions:

Kuressaare Episcopal Castle

This gorgeous castle has been untouched for many years and was one of the only castles that was not damaged during World War II. It is situated on a gorgeous landscape park and is best visited in a clear sunset afternoon. The castle is fully accessible to the public and has been restored for you to roam, explore and take photos. You will probably get trapped here for hours seeing all the old ornaments and décor which come together to give you a great appreciation of the Nordic history.

1: Kuressaare Episcopal Castle

Angla Windmill Hill

While there are several windmill sites on the island, none is as photogenic as the gorgeous wooden windmills that make up Angla Windmill Hill. There are currently five windmills from the 19th century which you can enter upon paying a small admission fee. It’s a fantastic spot to enjoy a good view and right next door there is a traditional café where you can sample some local cuisine with local cakes, bread and beer.

Get a meal at Trahter Veski

Ösel is windmill galore and after checking out Angla Windmill hill, you will only want more. Why not take it up a notch by checking out this windmill restaurant at Trahter Veski? They offer a huge menu of traditional Estonian meals along with a selection of home made beer, wine and schnapps. You will love the ancient and traditional ambience of eating a local meal in a cozy and romantic old windmill turned restaurant. Afterwards you have the option of burning off that food by exploring the 5 different floors of the windmill and learning about the history of the windmill.

3: Trahter Veski

Learn a local tradition – birch water tapping

Perhaps the coolest export from Ösel is its natural birch water. It comes from the birch tree which has been proven to provide micro-nutrients and vitamins all combining to strengthen your immune system.
Birch water is collected once a year, in the early spring just right after the snow starts to melt. Birch sap is traditionally collected in Estonia and its surrounding countries for centuries. According to folk medicine, it has several health benefits when drinking it in re a regular basis.