Prangli Island, Estonia (Population 150)
Estonia may not be known as an island-hopping paradise, but did you know that the country boasts more islands than sun-kissed Greece with over 1,521.
Far from the tourist throes of Tallinn and situated in the scenic Gulf of Finland on Estonia’s Western shores, Prangli Island measures just 6.5 square kilometres.
Seaworthy vessels destined for the island can be boarded in Tallinn harbour, as you cross the 25 kilometres of Baltic Sea through the seal-rich waters of the Kolga Bay archipelago, for either a day trip or longer sojourn in one of Prangli’s iconic wooden cabins.
Bypass cormorants and wheeling Arctic terns flying overhead, against the thick backdrop of fir forests that distinguish the island, before mooring at Prangli’s northernmost Kelnase harbour.
Equipped with just the essentials – one shop, a church, and a bar, Prangli offers an escape to the remoter quiet of Estonian wilderness, where an ancient culture is still tangible and nowhere more so than in the island museum, housed in a characterful wooden shed. Discover ancient artefacts of rustic village life and learn about the island’s Soviet past.
Although home to just over 100 residents, people have dwelt on this island for centuries, with the first settlers arriving from Sweden. This Nordic influence lingers today, in the saunas and cosy cabins that can be found to remedy any dip in the icy Baltic waters.
The majority of Prangli dwellers continue to be engaged in the active fishing trade. On deserted shores, you will likely encounter Prangli style boats, once used by seal hunters, equipped with flat bottomed keels specifically designed to be dragged over ice. To this day, you can enjoy a fresh daily catch of plaice and cod. Prangli reached the zenith of inhabitants during the Soviet era, when the island became part of a fishing collective, its smooth beaches regularly patrolled by border guards.
Best visited during the tourist season between May and September, all six kilometres of the island can be traversed by bike hire, as you encounter unspoilt villages and remote beaches dotted with the holiday homes of mainlanders.
Sure, it may be remote. But you’ll still get WiFi.