Paldiski, approximately 40 minutes drive from Tallinn (47 km from Tallinn city centre to the west), is the favourite destination for history buffs – it was a highly restricted submarine and rocket base during Soviet times, and after the Russian military left in 1994 much of it fell to ruins. But apart from being covered in crumbling barracks, the Pakri peninsula on which Paldiski sits is also worth visiting for its striking limestone cliffs and a home to some rear local wildlife.
Taking the scenic, coastal route to Paldiski offers many beautiful sights. Stop at the Türisalu cliff
, with its height over 31 metres, it’s one of the most impressive limestone cliffs in the country, opening to a scenic view of Naissaar island and nearby Vääna-Jõesuu sandy seashore. Nearby areas include Keila Joa
, which has the third highest waterfall in the country, and a 19th-century Neo-Gothic manor house.
Scenic areas also include Laulasmaa, the home of a popular beach area named after its “singing sands”. The beach is a perfect place for swimming during the summer, not to mention walking and jogging. The picturesque setting of Laulasmaa is also home to the Arvo Pärt Centre that combines the composer’s personal archive with an information and music centre. The centre regularly hosts concerts and events.
For spa treatments and relaxation there is Laulasmaa Spa and Conference Hotel. Golf lovers can visit the 18-hole Niitvälja golf course, in a beautiful natural setting surrounded by trees and dotted with bodies of water. At the Niitvälja stables, opposite the golf course, you can put your horse-riding skills to the test indoors on sand, outdoors in a field, in the open air, or cross-country.