Ride into your next adventure. A road trip itinerary for Estonia’s biggest islands

Source: Sven Zacek, Visit Estonia

Ride into your next adventure. A road trip itinerary for Estonia’s biggest islands

Is there anything better than to drive at your own leisure in one of Europe's most culturally alive and naturally spellbinding countries? It is for you to find out!

If you have already experienced the Estonian capital Tallinn, it is time to explore further and discover how life feels and looks on some of Estonia’s biggest islands: Saaremaa, Muhumaa and Hiiumaa. Road trips in Estonia are a great way to relax and be adventurous at the same time in exactly the way you want – you are in the driver’s seat! You will also soon realise that island life beats differently from the mainland rhythm on these shores of the Baltic Sea.

Note: If you only have a weekend to spare, choose either leg 1 or 2 and then continue to leg 3. This way, you can easily visit at least one of the islands and not feel rushed. If you decide to stretch your road trip over 3-4 days, you can visit all three of the biggest islands and fit in more detours while on the road. Either way, you will be on a journey that will reveal more than you expected it to.

LEG #1: Tallinn - Virtsu - Saaremaa

From Tallinn, head to Virtsu Harbour and take the first ferry of the day to Saaremaa. If you’re doing this in the summer months, it is best to book a ticket in advance. On the way to Virtsu Harbour, you can stop at Saue Manor to have a quick peek at the most beautiful and valuable manors in the Baltic countries. Head straight to the harbour from there.

Saaremaa, the biggest island of Estonia, comes with a rich cultural and natural history. Its capital, Kuressaare, is home to a majestic and well-preserved 14th-century castle which makes for exciting exploration or a romantic background to your evening walk or dinner.

Kuressaare Castle is one of the most interesting and best-preserved fortresses in Estonia.

Photo by: Priidu Saart

After visiting the castle, drive to the Kaali field of meteorite craters. Many mythological tales have sprung from this field of 9 craters. The site is the rarest natural wonder in Estonia and one of the most spectacular crater fields in all of Eurasia. There are also remains of a huge stone wall from the Late Bronze Age surrounding the largest crater, indicating a possible ancient cult settlement on the site.

While you’re in Saaremaa, you can easily visit Muhumaa via the road that connects the two islands. On Muhumaa, make sure to stop at Koguva village where you can see examples of Estonian peasant architecture. Then take your time to drive around and find a perfect place to walk on a beach and enjoy the relaxing sound of the waves.

Muhumaa's natural beauty has a calming effect on the mind.

Photo by: Aron Urb

Return to Kuressaare for the night for a wider choice of hotels and restaurants. If you decide to extend your stay in Kuressaare, visiting one of its renowned spas might be a good idea to thank your body for all the driving you’ve been doing.

Fun fact: Kuressaare has the highest number of spas per capita in the world.

LEG #2 Tallinn - Rohuküla - Hiiumaa

Head to Rohuküla Harbour from Tallinn in the morning and take the ferry to Hiiumaa. Estonia’s second-biggest island will welcome you with its white beaches and untouched nature. The culinary scene in Hiiumaa is especially lively in summer but the historic lighthouses and island nature make it a perfect getaway destination in every season. Stay the night in Kärdla, the only town in Hiiumaa.

The Kõpu Lighthouse (built in 1531) in Hiiumaa is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world that has been in continuous use.

Photo by: Eerik Ülevain


LEG #3 Mainland ferry harbour - Haapsalu

Head back to the mainland in the morning and set your course for the small town of Haapsalu. Haapsalu’s cute wooden houses, charming restaurants and romantic seaside promenade will delight you. If you want to feel especially relaxed, it might be worth popping in for a treatment at one of the spa hotels. (Haapsalu is historically famous for its mud treatments.) Should you prefer a different type of treat, go for some freshly baked pastries at the cosy Müüriääre Cafe, walk around in the ruins of the medieval Haapsalu castle or take a stroll on the historic promenade.

The seafront promenade of Haapsalu is a great place to stretch your legs.

Photo by: Toomas Tuul


LEG #4 Haapsalu - Rummu - Tallinn

When you are feeling fully refreshed, the final highlight of your trip awaits you: the Rummu quarry. This submerged limestone quarry is not only a destination for industrial romance seekers but is a unique landscape of light blue waters and an ash hill that sparks every visitor’s imagination. There is a submerged prison on the site and in summer, you can even swim in the bluest waters in this environment where nature and industrial history perfectly (sub)merge. Talk about a road trip that offers it all!

Rummu quarry

Photo by: Hannes Rohtma, Visit Estonia

Last updated : 29.11.2021

In category: West Estonia, Islands