February 23, 2018

European Villages Discovered-Kuressaare

Europe is home to many world famous cities; Paris, London, Prague and Munich to name a few.  We have all visited or dream of visiting these cities but there are many more small villages that offer travelers a closer look into the culture of the country.  There are even some that may be labeled as “secret” because they are not on the normal tourist routes.

I thought it would be fun to open the door on a few of these “secret” villages.

First up is a wonderful village on Estonia’s largest island, Saaremaa.

Kuressaare on Saaremaa Island of Estonia

by ** Maurice **, on Flickr

Estonia may not be Europe’s best kept secret anymore but Kuressaare is one of Estonia’s.  This lovely village has a feeling that time has stood still and, if this is true, we have the Soviets to thank. During the 1940’s they closed the island, Saaremaa, to all foreigners and most Estonians.  So for 50 years Kuressaare was isolated allowing for its small town feel to remain intact.

Kuressaare church Saaremaa Estonia

Church by Ivo Kruusamägi via Wikimedia

This favored summer get-away was reopened in 1991 and the charms of Kuressaare can once again be enjoyed.  Long summer days and warm weather make this a favored spot.  There are many beaches to enjoy and swim in.  I didn’t know this but the Baltic has a lower salinity level due to the amount of fresh water that flows into it! So swimming in the Baltic won’t leave you with the icky crusty salt feeling.  The weather during the summer months averages in the low 70’s making it not balmy but an enjoyable temperature.

Kuressaare Castle Saaremaa Estonia

Kuressaare Castle & Park by Erik Christensen

What else can you find in Kuressaare?

  • The best preserved medieval castle in the Baltic’s sits at the waterfront and will make all castle lovers happy!  Wander the halls and make your way to the fortifications for amazing views!  While visiting the castle
    Suur Toll Sculpture Kuressaare Estonia

    Suur Toll Sculpture by Beentree via wikimedia

    make sure to visit the regional museum with its own creepy legends.

  • For peaceful way to spend an afternoon, rent a row boat and float in the lake surrounding the castle.
  • Golfers can enjoy a round on the 18 hole golf course.
  • Walking around town you will find some interesting and unique sculptures including the Suur Toll which depicts one of Saaremaa’s heroes.
  • Spend time wandering the historic buildings and churches nestled in the Keskvaljak square area.  Many date back to the 1670’s.
  • The city is flat and, therefore, very friendly to bikers.  Grab a picnic and take off to explore on your own.
  • Kuressaare also has a spa offering a bit of pampering.  How about a bath full of coastal mud?
  • Enjoy the many restaurants, shops, museums and galleries waiting to be sampled.

What do you think?  Could you see yourself wandering Kuressaare?

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  8. Tallinna says:

    I just fell in love that old wooden boat picture. It’s just so beautiful

  9. Mikko says:

    I searched information about Estonia and found your nice post. I have visited Kuressaare 5 times and I have enjoyed every time.

  10. melody says:

    It’s beautiful for such a small village, you have capture it perfectly..I’ll visit this place sometime…
    melody recently posted..Best Car Insurance Rates

  11. Jim Laughlin says:

    As someone who works with his hands, I love sculptures and the one of Suur Toll and his wife is fantastic. It prompted me to read up on this Estonian legend. It’s great to come across things like this, which I would never have seen unless you posted the photo.
    Jim Laughlin recently posted..Makita Table Saws

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Thanks Jim! I liked that sculpture too. Discovering legends is always interesting 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  12. Faith says:

    I’d never heard of this place before, but I’ve bookmarked your post, this seems like a must see! I want to rent a row boat and float around a castle. I love surprising small towns. What a cute place with such an interesting looking history.
    Faith recently posted..My Full House Picnic

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I agree, rowing around the castle would be a great way to spend an afternoon. Small towns are great!

  13. Laurel says:

    I confess that I’ve never even heard of Kuressaare, but I could totally see myself wandering around there. There’s something about European villages.
    Laurel recently posted..Hiking in Sunshine Meadows

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I know what you mean, European villages are wonderful! Kuressaare looks like a great place to unwind for a few days.

  14. hannamay says:

    You did a splendid job in taking those photos! Those place are great, I wish I could visit that place…
    hannamay recently posted..Luxury Chalet

  15. LOVE Estonia! First country I ever visited was there but never got a chance to Saaremaa or Kuressaare. I really want to go back there one day and visit some of these places I didn’t get a chance to visit the first couple of times. Definitely looks like an area I would love to explore more (not to mention it’s in Estonia!)
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..Where in the world am I?

  16. Absolutely, I can see myself wandering around Kuressaare. What a great find. Hope it always maintains its charm.
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  17. Mark Wiens says:

    While I enjoy big cities for their buzz, excitement and chaos, I equally love small towns for their charm and slow pace. Great insights into Kuressaare.
    Mark Wiens recently posted..Migrationology: Living with Future Intentions

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      Mark I couldn’t have said that any better! Those are my exact feelings about big cities and small villages.

  18. Barbara says:

    Boating, cycling, castles and fluffy clouds — what a combination. I wish I could go to Kuressaare tomorrow for a lovely relaxing getaway.
    Barbara recently posted..Funding A Dropout

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      All of those things make Kuressaare a destination for me too! The relaxing atmosphere is very inviting.

  19. jade says:

    UM- I must go to Saaremaa asap. Your pictures set the most beautiful scene and I know I would absolutely love it!
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  20. Clark Minn says:

    Those are very nice creations and awesome photos as well…I hoe I can visit them soon…Thanks for the post…
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  21. Sailor says:

    Really enjoyed going through your list and pictures of the secret European Villages.
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  22. I love learning about “secret” places. Thanks for sharing!
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  23. Sophie says:

    Estonia is my fave Baltic country – so lovely and so full of little treasures.
    Sophie recently posted..On the road in Egypt

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      That is so good to hear! As I mentioned below, I’ve heard great things about Estonia and would love to visit the small little villages. Have you been to Kuressaare?

  24. I haven’t heard of any of these places, but they look and sound beautiful. I know several people who have been to Talinn, and they have all loved it. One of these days I’ll have to visit the Baltic States!
    Michael Figueiredo recently posted..Dondurma – A Tasty (and Chewy) Turkish Treat

  25. Renee says:

    Small towns are always a sweet surprise. They don’t get as much press which is probably why they are mostly unspoiled…..as these pictures can attest. Nice find!
    Renee recently posted..The Newbie’s guide to Frequent Flier programs – part 2

    • Debbie Beardsley says:

      I agree with you Renee. I do love the larger cities but those small villages have so much charm!

  26. robin says:

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  1. […] few months ago we discovered two of Europe’s secret villages, Kuressaare in Estonia and Giethoorn in […]

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