• Visit some of Estonia's islands while on vacation

    2012-03-23

    Not all travelers know that if they choose to venture to Estonia on their next Europe travel excursion, they will have the opportunity to explore more than 1,500 of the country's islands in the Baltic Sea. Each locale has its own personality and offerings that are sure to delight guests looking to have an adventurous trip to this part of the world. Many of the islands can be reached by ferries, cruise ships or by flying to some of the larger bodies of land. Regardless of how tourists decide to get there, these islands should not be missed while on a getaway to Estonia.

    The islands are of significant importance to the Estonian people - so much so that they have several terms for the word "island" to describe areas of varying sizes and ages. Many are very small and have only a few sparse trees, but others are full of flora, fauna and fishing villages to check out.

    If tourists are looking for a scenic place to start, a visit to Ruhnu Island may be a good choice. Nicknamed the "Pearl of the Baltic," this place is steeped in Estonian history and culture, even though it is located closer to Latvia than Estonia. One of the most notable landmarks to see there is the lighthouse perched atop Haubjerre hill, which is constructed of metal and was designed by Gustave Eiffel. From there guests will be treated to breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and sea.

    Saaremaa Island, the largest of all, has an amazing city with a fully restored medieval castle for guests to visit. Called The Episcopal Castle, it is the only one of its kind in the Baltics and has some unique features to see, including dungeons and a museum that has exhibits on the city's historical significance. In regards to other natural and man-made wonders, visitors to Saaremaa Island can see Europe's largest meteorite crater, take a stroll in the Vilsandi National Park or see the windmills found in the town of Angla.

    Many of the smaller islands do not have inhabitants, but still encourage active pursuits and outdoor activities. For instance, Kassari, Osmussaar and Abruka do not boast modern amenities, but each land mass does have places for fishing, hiking and bird watching.

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