Spending a day in Kuressaare on the island of Saaremaa

Getting to Kuressaare from Haapsalu proved to be a bit of a challenge. As much as I prefer taking the bus over driving myself, this part of my trip was the only one I wished I had rented a car. I left Haapsalu with the bus at 7am only to wait for an hour at Risti. Maybe I was a bit spoilt from Tallinn and thought that wasn’t going to be a big deal. Instead I sat here, waiting for the bus.

bus station @Risti

I ended up in Kuressaare after a trip on the ferry at around noon. So even though it took a while, it was totally worth it. There is enough time on the ferry to get some tea and on the bus I was reading.

almost docking at Saaremaa @Estonia

After a short ten minutes walk through cobbled streets (which is definitely annoying when you have a trolley) I arrived at the Arensburgi Guesthouse for the night. The hotel looked good too but the guesthouse is more for the frugal traveler.

the cobbled streets of Kuressaare @Saaremaa

I started with the castle, another crown jewel of the Bishopric of Ösel-Wieck and because there is not much else to do in Kuressare. This castle was built a bit later than the one in Haapsalu, at the end of the 14th century. The Kuressaare Castle is surrounded by a moat filled with water and walking over the bridge brings you back in time.

the castle of the bishops of Ösel-Wieck @Kuressaare

The castle grounds are huge and even showcase a windmill. The exhibition within the castle is all about the history of the island with special emphasis on the German occupation during WWII. It took me ages to read through all of it, but it was so interesting that I didn’t want to rush. Saaremaa saw a lot of fighting!

the castle in all its glory @Kuressaare

a windmill on the castle grounds @Kuressaare

After visiting the castle I deserved a walk around the moat. The weather had finally cleared up and I wanted to make the most of it.

a long walk around the castle moat @Kuressaare

As you can see the castle is close to the beach. But I only managed one look around and then left. The mosquitoes at this time of year were merciless and I was not about to become dinner for them.

the beach from high above the castle @Kuressaare

Overall Saaremaa beckons for a longer stay than a day. But what can I say, I only had a handful of days for all of Estonia and wanted to see as much as possible. The island though is my list of places to return to. There is much left to discover. Yours, Pollybert

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