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We have seminar building where we can fit up to 55 persons, we have there music system, data projector, wc, bar, coffee, buffee or meals with courses
"The greatest party that did happen
It’s not difficult to live fabulously and spend a weekend on a private island — if you know how to reach Viirelaid.
Although a private island vacation may seem like a pipedream for those of us without yachts, helicopters and villas, I found myself on my way to an islet Viirelaid in the Baltic Sea to celebrate a birthday of a friend who was not superrich - or at least had managed to keep if perfectly secret through many years.
For those shy of venturing too far off land - or on budget - , Viirelaid is a perfect place. It’s just a few minutes boat ride from Estonian mainland. And you don’t even need to rent a car to get to the harbour that is two hours drive from the capital Tallinn
So he did not buy it, of course, just rented for a weekend for the fifteen best friends he had. There were more beds and he had more friends but to be honest, to keep the feeling of a remote and untouched island you should not try to organise a mini version of FYRE Festival there (and after all, we all know in how isolated place that might end).
Despite its proximity to the shore, the islet with just one single household maintains its secluded and very remote feel. Just sheep, mosquitos and the people taking care of guests live there.
A boutique hotel on a private island with a flawless beach — you've probably had a dream like this. Well, this is not Viirelaid. That islet is for people who have dreamed of wild Nordic outdoors, being surrounded by unpredictable sea, wind and rocky beaches. Of long days and night sky with stars you can clearly see. Of authentic Nordic food, lazy mornings with freshly brewed coffee and rainy evenings with a good book.
The journey to Viirelaid and the atmosphere there is probably something similar to that experienced by explorers - after a trip to the unknown, a new and exotic cultural space awaits. Just that there is not much to discover after “discovering” Viirelaid. Standing in the small harbour you can see absolutely everything there is. In fact, even more - it doesn't have to be a very clear weather for both mainland Estonia and Saaremaa to be visible.
We could have swam to Viirelaid, the islet is one kilometre from Estonia’s biggest island Saaremaa. Or get there by kayak. But it is much more comfortable to arrive safely and with dry clothes after a ten-minute boat ride.
After all, we were on our way to a truly hedonistic weekend in wilderness that we had been dreaming about for some time.
There are quite often tea ceremonies and yoga retreats in Viirelaid but what interested us was one special dinner hold once a month, which was served by an Estonian top chef, a different chef on every occasion, and where everyone could book a place.
But of course, it is too big a challenge for a group of friends who travel often, to find a day that suits for everyone or a chef that everybody likes.
But when a friend declares that the islet has been booked, a cook invited and a boat waiting in the harbour, all the arguments are forgotten and everything else cancelled.
There really is no problem of overbuilding or overtourism in Viirelaid as on many paradise islands: one lighthouse, one household and 500 sheep. Not too many people have ever wanted to live there. Most of the time it has been just one single family. Gabriel Grigoriev from Saaremaa, Laimjala, was the keeper of lighthouses and moved there. One of his sons, Peter, took over after his death in 1970.
Today it is owned by group of friends who renovated the house. When we approached the buildings we found the house's veranda doors wide open, and a large platter of freshly smoked fish on the table waiting for us.
There was another house, a very modern one in the place where a cowshed used to be - that could have been used as a dining room on rainy days. We did not need it for that reason on a warm and sunny day but we needed it to protect the yard from sea breeze.
From the third side the yard was protected by a new sauna. And then there was the red lighthouse, a landmark that stood out clearly in the middle of the islet - albeit it was not possible to get lost in Viirelaid.
We were surrounded by true Nordic island luxury with a proper sauna, terrace and a jaccuzi to enjoy sunset and a private chef!
We had appetisers on the terrace and then enjoyed dinner by the sea.
By midnight - it was still not completely dark,- we moved in to the house, very happy but tired from the journey, sauna, sea and winds.
There were sixteen bedrooms in the main building and although the islet is a perfect place to camp in the summertime, there was enough room for us all to sleep in proper beds and have a hot shower. An do I have to mention that all rooms had sea view? There really is nothing to block it.
The morning was the most beautiful and calm morning I have ever seen. The sun was high up, as always in Estonia in summertime, no matter how early you wake up. The smell of fresh coffee filled the house. We had breakfast outdoors, tried to guess the names of the birds singing and did absolutely nothing at all for the rest of the day.
Viirelaid would be a great place any time of the year. In spring and autumn you can watch thousands and thousands of migratory birds. In case of a proper cold winter that allows for thick ice, all official ice roads in Estonia can be opened. There isn’t one to Viirelaid as the goal of creating ice roads is not to provide a tourism attraction, but to make the lives of locals easier - and no one lives there - but it makes a great weekend outdoors to drive from mainland to Hiiumaa island, from Hiiumaa to island Saaremaa and then park your car and have a transfer organised to this winter wonderland.
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