The island of Abruka lies off the southern coast of Saaremaa, approximately four kilometers from the port of Roomassare. It is 8.78 square kilometers in size.
Abruka is the site of a Central European-type of broadleaf forest. It is considered rare because, here we are, in Northern Europe.
Abruka also has two lighthouses, one a metal construction and the other of reinforced concrete. Both were built at the beginning of the last century, i.e. around 1920. Needless to say, there is also lots of beach.
Abruka was first permanently settled in the Middle Ages, when the Bishop of Western Estonia and the Islands established a horse breeding farm there. The highest population on the island has been 150. Today, there is a permanent population of around thirty.
There are some smaller islets off the coast of Abruka, namely Vahase, Kasselaid and Linnusitamaa (translation for the last one: Bird Poop Island).
The broadleaf forest is inviting to anyone who has even a slight interest in nature. It covers 92 hectares and is a relic of the times when the weather was warmer in our latitudes. The lindens, birches, maples, oaks, elms and ash trees rise to 30 meters. They are extensively covered with various mosses and lichens.
The underbrush consists mainly of hazel and hawthorn. The first blooms to open in April are the pink blossoms of the botanically named mezereon specie. The blooms are heavily scented, the entire plant is poisonous, and it is a protected species. Those foreboding words said, nothing stops us from enjoying its blooms and scent among the bare and leafless landscape of early spring. There are also wild currants and on the edges of the forest, many briar rose bushes.
The entire forest area is very rich in plant species. The plants are similar to those found in Western Europe and Caucasian forests. The forest is especially rich in bee orchid species, such as anacamptis pyramidalis, epipogon aphyllum and very many others. They are rare not only in Estonia, and are therefore protected species. Please enjoy, but do not pick!
In addition to the broadleaf forest, there is also a distinctive alder marsh wood. The trees grow on hillocks, above the marshy ground. The water around the hillocks is brown and brackish, and the peaty ground moves underfoot. Most plants grow on the hillocks, leaving only a few species to grow in the water, the most noticeable being yellow iris and a specie of fern.
Abruka is definetly worth at least a day trip. Pack a lunch and take a boat from Roomassaare. There is scheduled service in the summer and a boat can be arranged at other times. A store supplying basic foodstuffs operates in the summer and there are camping facilities available.
Island of Abruka in Google maps
360° aeropanorama of Abruka
More information: www.abrukainfo.eu