The food of Saaremaa, Muhu, and Ruhnu features smoked fishSource: Alina Birjuk

Saaremaa, Muhu, and Ruhnu – Estonia's Culinary Region for 2024

Estonia's island cuisine features fish straight from the sea and fresh produce from the fields and the forests with a focus on sustainability.

Estonia's annual Culinary Region

Every year, Estonia chooses a region of the country to showcase its traditional cuisine. This is an opportunity for the local community to cooperate, develop new culinary tourism services, and introduce their region through their area's food culture. 

This year, gourmets are invited to indulge in the coastal flavors of Saaremaa, Muhu and Ruhnu

Isolated up until after the Soviet occupation, these islands have revived and recreated their tourism industry based on sustainable standards. As you plan your trip, you'll find various certified ecotourism sites, which you can recognize by the Green Key and EHE quality seals.

Combine foodie experiences on these three islands with historical attractions, cultural immersion, and unique island landscapes. On Saaremaa, Muhu, and Ruhnu, you'll find wonderful beaches, well-kept nature trails, and opportunities for sustainable travel.


The trip from the mainland to Saaremaa passes through Muhu — but passing by Muhu without stopping would be a grave mistake. Here, you'll find Alexander at Pädaste Manor, the only island restaurant recommended by the MICHELIN Guide.

In addition to relaxed fine dining, you'll find enough to spend at least a day exploring. Sample the hearty black bread, see how many colorfully painted doors you can spot, admire intricate traditional embroidery, or just sit back and relax by the sea.

As the MICHELIN Guide has said, Muhu is "a place where time has – and continues to – stand still, both for the serene atmosphere and the fact that it appears untouched and unbothered by the outside world."

Explore Muhu Island

From an exquisite restaurant to a Nordic winery to an ostrich farm – surprises await even the most experienced traveler.

Estonia's beloved "black bread"

This dark rye bread made with sourdough starter takes pride of place on almost every table in Estonia. It embodies long-standing traditions, as its preparation involves hands-on work from the field to the plate.

For over a decade now, “Muhu leib” has been the brand to beat. If you are on Muhu, you must stop by the bakery for a taste fresh from the oven.

Muhu maize

Source: Aaron Urb

Source: Rivo Veber


Estonia's largest island is bigger than the entire country of Luxembourg. Its capital, Kuressaare, has long been a bustling port in the region, as the imposing Kuressaare Episcopal Castle still bears witness today.

Culture lovers are sure to find something interesting to suit their tastes among the island's year-round events.

Saaremaa for foodies

Enjoy a meal celebrating local island flavors at one of these eating establishments.

Iconic island ingredients

Saaremaa's climate tends to be milder than on the mainland. The soil may be poor, but it is suitable for juniper, mushrooms, and berries. Islanders like to pick juniper berries and use them to marinate meat and season other dishes. Mushrooms are often dried and served in soups or sauces.

Fresh fish is the island's star ingredient. Look for the catch-of-the-day at local markets and check restaurant menus or their daily specials.

Regional, handcrafted products from small producers on supermarket shelves are clearly marked with the EHE seal.

Saaremaa is known for its quality drink industry and small food producers.

Try handcrafted gin, sample craft beer at Estonia's oldest microbrewery, and sample freshly smoked fish.


With less than 100 permanent residents and 70 kilometers from Kuressaare, this island is a picture-perfect example of peace and quiet. Even so, you'll find basic amenities and delightfully homegrown culinary experiences

The Ruhnu Cultural Center is in the heart of the village and brings the community together for events in all seasons. Keep an eye on the calendar to coordinate your visit with a special exhibit or movie screening. 

Isolation has made island culture different from the mainland — most notably, as they say on their website, "Smile and people will smile at you!"

Immerse yourself in rural Ruhnu Island

Ruhnu is the quietest — and smallest — of the three islands. But there isa lot to discover here!

Get inspired