Throughout history, lighthouses have set the direction for those sailing the seas. You may follow their example when planning your next visit to Saaremaa. A number of lighthouses here allow planning an interesting lighthouse tour to visit different places.
When arriving from the mainland, you can set Viirelaid as your destination instead of the Muhu island. Viirelaid is an islet on the south-eastern coast of Muhu and last year a lighthouse keeper’s holiday complex opened on the islet. Although visitors are not allowed inside, the beautiful red lighthouse still is the centre of the complex consisting of a lighthouse keeper’s house, a seminar house offering splendid views of the surroundings as well as a sauna equipped with a jacuzzi. Everyone can enjoy peace and silence on the islet, no matter if you are a true sailor or not. Viirelaid is the place where time spends its holiday! www.viirelaid.ee
One of the most expression making lighthouses on Saaremaa is located at the end of Sõrve peninsula. It has a unique history dating back several hundreds of years. The first beacon was erected here to assist seafarers in 1646. Current lighthouse, built in 1960, is one of the tallest in the Baltic Sea. Time has taken its toll and due to safety reasons visitors cannot climb to its top but a detailed insight of most Estonian lighthouses is provided by Sõrve Visitor Centre next to the lighthouse.
One of the rooms in the former house of the lighthouse campus employees is filled with models (in scale 1:50) of lighthouses, placed in their true location on the map of Estonia. A special emotion is given by a walk to the end of the peninsula, with the sea rustling on your right and left. The end of the peninsula is so close to Latvia that if the conditions are right, you can see our neighbours with your own eyes. Be careful using your mobile phone here as Latvian coverage might take over the Estonian one. More info at www.sorvekeskus.ee
The lighthouse in Harilaid is a rather peculiar tower. It takes more effort to reach this lighthouse located on the territory of Vilsandi National Park than many other lighthouses. A 4 km hiking trail leads there from the parking area where cars have to be left. Passing the trail is still worth every step as such bright blue water, frothy waves or fascinating coast cannot be found in many other places in Estonia. And the lighthouse at the end of the trail is quite an award. In Harilaid peninsula, the sea merges land, piece by piece every year and thus the once landlocked lighthouse is fully surrounded by the sea today. In addition to relocation, it also changes its stand. Being left without a solid support by the sea, a heavy storm forced it to tilt a couple of decades ago and the lighthouse became famous as the Pisa Tower of Saaremaa. Years later, another storm pushed it almost straight again. To judge yourself whether the tower stands straight or askew, we recommend you see for yourself. More info at www.puhkaeestis.ee/et/kiipsaare-tuletorn
The only lighthouse open to visitors in Saaremaa County cannot be found on the island of Saaremaa but on the island of Ruhnu. From May to the end of August, climbing the almost 40 m high tower is rewarded with beautiful views on the island. The red metal cylinder shaped lighthouse was erected on the Håubjärre “mountain” on the eastern side of Ruhnu in 1877 and is the only lighthouse of its kind in the Baltic Sea area that can be seen yet today. The components of the lighthouse have been manufactured by Le Havre plant in France and the tower has been designed in the same office where the author of the Eiffel Tower, Gustave Eiffel was working. Allegedly it is him who designed the lighthouse. Find out more at www.puhkaeestis.ee/et/ruhnu-tuletorn