Eesti Saaremaa.png
Location of Saaremaa in Estonia
Saaremaa is located in Scandinavia
Location in the Baltic Sea region
Saaremaa is located in Europe
Location in Europe
LocationBaltic Sea
Coordinates58°25′N 22°30′E / 58°25′N 22°30′E / 58.417; 22.500
ArchipelagoWest Estonian archipelago
Area2,673 km2 (1,032 sq mi)
CountySaare County
Population31,357 (31 January 2017)
Pop. density11.7 /km2 (30.3 /sq mi)

Saaremaa (ɑː/ MAH, Estonian: [ˈsɑːremɑː]; German and Swedish: Ösel)[1] is the largest island in Estonia, measuring 2,673 km2 (1,032 sq mi).[2] The main island of Saare County, it is located in the Baltic Sea, south of Hiiumaa island and west of Muhu island, and belongs to the West Estonian Archipelago. The capital of the island is Kuressaare, which in January 2018 had 13,276 inhabitants. The whole island had a recorded population in January 2017 of 31,357.


The island is called Saaremaa in Estonian, and in Finnish Saarenmaa—literally "isle land" or "island land".[3] In old Scandinavian sagas, Saaremaa is called Eysysla and in the Icelandic Sagas Eysýsla, which means exactly the same as the name of the island in Estonian: "the district (land) of island". This is the origin of the island's name in Danish Øsel, German and Swedish, Ösel, Gutnish Oysl, and in Latin, Osilia. The name Eysysla appears sometimes together with Adalsysla, "the big land", perhaps 'Suuremaa' or 'Suur Maa' in Estonian, which refers to mainland Estonia. In Latvian, the island is called Sāmsala, which means "the island of Saami". Saaremaa is believed by some scholars to have been the historic Ultima Thule.[4][5]