KURESSAARE, Estonia — What does Estonia have that Latvia and Lithuania don’t?
Well, that’s actually a long list, but for this post we’ll only focus on one — islands. Specifically Hiiumaa and Saaremmaa.
Largely unscathed by communist-era and even post-independence development, Estonia’s two largest islands are like an open air museum of life in Estonia before the Soviet occupation with its windmills, thatched roofs and virgin pines and bogs. The air is the the freshest in the country and there’s countless beaches to choose from.
To give Baltic Reports readers an idea of what the islands are like while it’s still summer, we edited together the “Exploring Estonia’s Islands” photo essay with the help of several talented regional photographers.
Kuressaare Castle. Photo by Kame Aboul Hosn.
You have to take a ferry to get to the islands. Photo by Martin Sillaots.
Like Estonia, the islands are rather flat, as this aerial shot of Saaremaa suggests. Photo by Kristjan Klementi.
The beaches in Hiiumaa are never crowded. Photo by Erik Kosma.
Kiteboarding and frolicking on a Saaremaa beach. Photo by Kosmo Seleevike.
Scuba divers coming ashore in Saaremaa. Photo by Raunov Saar.
Is that Hawaii? No, it's Hiiumaa. Photo by Anvarzhon Zhurajev.
Nineteenth century Saaremaa windmills. Photo by Ekke Vasli.
A traditional thatched roof rural abode in Saaremaa. Some are available as rental cabins. Photo by Brian De Witt.
An old lighthouse in Hiiumaa. Photo by by Mas Dom.
The impressive Kuressaare Castle in Saaremaa. Photo by Bernat Gascón Cabestany.
A wooden swing in Saaremaa, perfect for a romantic evening. Photo by Ekke Vasli.
Sunset on a typically boulder-strewn Saaremaa beach. Photo by Luke Saagi.