Source: Danel Rinaldo

Ruhnu

Sitting just off the coast of Latvia, Ruhnu is the southernmost island in Estonia. Often called the pearl of the Gulf of Riga, Ruhnu has fewer than 100 permanent residents. This makes it an ideal place to go for a break from the city.

Ruhnu is home to some unique buildings and architecture. On the island, you’ll find the oldest wooden building in Estonia as well as the oldest surviving wooden sanctuary, St. Madeline’s Church. This is a baroque-style church that was built in 1644.

On the island’s highest point, Haubjerre Hill stands the lighthouse designed by the famous engineer Gustav Eiffel. It was made in France and erected on the site of an old wooden building in 1877. Today, it is the only surviving lighthouse of its kind anywhere along the Baltic Sea. For a bit of local culture, visitors can stop by the Ruhnu handicrafts workshop to get some hands-on experience with the island’s heritage.

The island is especially popular with nature lovers and hikers. The island's forest is home to several unique plant species that are protected. And along the trails, you can do plenty of bird watching. Limo beach is the best spot for swimming.

There are two ways to get to Ruhnu. From October to April, you can take a small airplane from Pärnu and Kuressaare. From May to October, you can reach Ruhnu by ferry from either Pärnu, Roomassaare (Saaremaa), or Munalaid. No cars are allowed, but visitors are welcome to take a bicycle along.

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