4 easy beach day trips from Tallinn
As much as I enjoy exploring a new city, I also love getting outside them. And Tallinn is one of those destinations where you get the best of both worlds. The city has plenty to keep you busy, but there are also places just outside that make ideal day trips.
Beaches to visit in Tallinn – best day trips from Tallinn
One feature you may be surprised to read, is that there are many beaches in and around Tallinn, and Estonia. From Pirita in the north, to the beaches along the coast in Pärnu, natural beauty here extends beyond the forests.
Several notable beaches to visit in Estonia include:
- Mändjala beach on Saaremaa island. This beach is the southernmost beach in Estonia, located on the Gulf of Riga. The beach is a bit of a drive from the mainland, but you can spend the night if you wish. Options include hotels, guest cottages and nearby camping sites.
- Pärnu Rand is a popular sandy beach to the west of Estonia. Come summer, it’s not surprising to see locals from Pärnu, and other parts of the country, enjoying the beach. Pärnu Rand is also ideal for families with young children, as there are shallow warm waters near the bay. Couples aren’t forgotten here either, with a promenade along the beach to walk, and watch sunsets together.
Admiring the view at Kloogaranna Rand – Tallinn day trips
Easy day trips from Tallinn – 4 beaches, and all under 1 hour
We came across the following beaches from a mixture of 2 sources: internet sources and speaking with locals. Needless to say, you’ll need to hire a car to do these Tallinn day trips. There are other options available like Uber, and some public transport. However, having your own car lets you choose how long, or how short, you want to stay in one place.
Pirita beach – Tallinn day trips
I’m starting with Pirita beach as a day trip for one main reason: it’s the closest to Tallinn city center. By car, it takes about 15 minutes. This means you don’t need to hire a car, but can instead take a bus, or taxi service like Uber. The beach is located in the suburb of Pirita. It’s a quiet area that gives you a first glimpse into the natural beauty of the country.
“From Pirita in the north, to the beaches along the coast in Pärnu, natural beauty here extends beyond the forests.”
Map of the beaches and points of interest in this post
Reasons to visit Pirita beach
Pirita beach is where the locals go. And there’s no better way to discover authentic areas away from the crowds, than by following their lead.
The biggest beach in Tallinn is popular with every kind of visitor. From families to friends, or even nature lovers, there are plenty of activities to keep everyone happy. A small pine forest provides a backdrop to the beach, in case you want a little shade from the sun.
During summer, Pirita beach really comes to life. As well as a beach bar, there’s also a bowling club, bars and kiosks too. There are playgrounds for children, and also an area for ball games. Lifeguards are also on duty at Pirita beach, but typically only throughout the peak season.
Pirita beach faces onto the Gulf of Finland, with the port of Helsinki just a few hours away. In fact, taking the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki is a popular day trip in itself. However, if you plan on doing this, be sure to book your tickets in advance. Prices can skyrocket at the last minute as we found out.
Also, unless you’re planning to spend the night in Helsinki, I encourage you to take the earliest morning ferry. This way, you’ll have enough time to explore and be back in Tallinn by the evening.
Pirita Rand – beach day trips from Tallinn
Attractions in Pirita – best day trips from Tallinn
As well as the fantastic beach, Pirita is home to another top attraction. Across the road from the beach is the Memorial to the Victims of Communism (Maarjamäe in Estonian). The memorial pays tribute to the people that died under the Soviet regime. It’s a stark and poignant reminder of the country’s Soviet past, and absolutely worth visiting while in Pirita.
There are 2 parts to the memorial: plaques listing names of the victims; and the garden. Take note of the informative texts and stone tablets as you walk around the garden. It’s a fitting tribute to the people that died, and a serene place of remembrance.
Tallinn TV Tower
While in Pirita, you may also want to visit the Tallinn TV Tower. Standing at 314m, the tower’s the tallest, not just in Tallinn, but in Estonia too. At the top of the tower is an observation deck, with panoramic views of the city. Try and visit on a clear day if possible; there’s nothing more disappointing than arriving at a cloudy vista.
Satisfy your inner thrillseeker by trying Walk on the edge. As the name suggests, you’ll be walking on the edge at a height of 175m on the 22nd floor. You’ll be attached to the ledge with a safety harness, and the walk can last up to 30 minutes. Check the website for further details on price information, as well as safety requirements.
There’s an entrance fee to the tower, with different ticket options available, such as family or group tickets. Do yourself a favor and get your ticket in advance. Lines build up quickly, and booking ahead saves time and money too.
At the top of the tower is also a cafe and restaurant. They have an a la carte menu, as well as a kids menu too.
Kloostrimetsa tee 58a, 11913 Tallinn
Stop by the Tallinn TV Tower when in Pirita
Pirita Convent Ruins – Tallinn day trips
If you’ve enough time in your schedule, swing by ruins of Pirita Convent. During its time (1417 to 1575), it was one of the largest convents in northern Europe. The convent was a place for both nuns and monks.
Merivälja tee 18, 11911 Tallinn
Watch the sunset in Pirita
There’s nothing I love more than a dreamy sunset. And from Pirita — depending on the time of year you visit — it’s spectacular. We visited in early May, and sunset takes place around 8.30pm.
This gave us plenty of time to enjoy dinner beforehand in Tuljak. Almost every local we spoke to recommended this fine dining Estonian establishment, and we completely understand why!
Not only is the food top quality, but so is the service too. The icing on the cake was getting a window table so we could watch the sun begin to set. It’s a restaurant that lives up to its reputation, and for any couples reading this — it’s perfect for a romantic dinner.
Watching the colors of Tallinn from Pirita beach
Where to stay in Pirita
Given its close proximity to Tallinn city center, it’s not necessary to stay overnight in Pirita. However, if you do fancy staying a bit longer in the area, there are two nearby options.
Pirita Marina Hotel & SPA is within walking distance of the beach. This comfortable hotel has a wellness center, mini golf course, and some rooms with sea views.
Pirita Beach Apartments & Spa is situated right on the beach. Accommodation is basic, yet clean, and with amenities that include a spa, sauna, outdoor pool and hot tub.
Day trips from Tallinn – Vääna-Jõesuu
It’s fair to say that you probably won’t find this beach in many travel books or guides. We came by the village, and beach, of Vääna-Jõesuu by sheer coincidence. As you follow the road out of Tallinn to the west, you’ll eventually meet the coastal road.
While on our way to Laulasmaa Rand (rand means beach), we decided to stop at a local café for coffee. It was here, that we happened to check the map and find that another beach was also nearby.
Vääna-Jõesuu is located in Harju County, which is about 20 minutes’ drive from Tallinn. We didn’t find much here aside from some wonderful Scandinavian style wooden houses, and of course the beach.
Vääna-Jõesuu Rand – day trips from Tallinn
Given the way we discovered Vääna-Jõesuu beach, we simply followed our own directions according to the GPS. We didn’t see any obvious signposting to the beach, or towards a parking area either. Maybe this will change by the time of your visit.
Vääna-Jõesuu isn’t the easiest of beaches to reach. We had to first drive down a residential road and then also pass through an open space of forest. Finally, we caught a glimpse of the sea between the gap of 2 houses.
The perfume of sea air hits you the second you step out from the car. Lucky for us, we visited Vääna-Jõesuu on a perfectly sunny day with clear blue skies. It doesn’t get any dreamier than that does it?! However, being early May, there were also some light winds around, meaning you still need your jacket.
Traveling during the off-peak season also means less, or in our case, nobody around. I’m certain that come summertime, Vääna-Jõesuu is a whole other scene.
It was an exhilarating feeling having an entire beach to yourself. Sure, it was far too cold to swim or bathe, but it didn’t matter. Standing there with nature at its raw and remote finest is a memory I’ll always treasure.
Kloogaranna Rand – best beach day trips from Tallinn
Unlike Vääna-Jõesuu, Kloogaranna Rand was one of the beaches we’d intended to visit. The beach is close to the village of Kloogaranna, which also sits in Harju County. It’s much smaller in size, and population too (121 according to a popular internet site).
From Vääna-Jõesuu, it’s a short and easy drive to reach Kloogaranna Rand. Unlike the first one, there are signs leading to the beach, and also a good-size parking area.
Getting from the parking area to the beach is a very short 2-minute walk. A long sandy stretch greets you as you make your first step from concrete to sand. Once again, we arrived to find no one there, aside from a group of swans enjoying the sea water. If you do visit on a less windy day, take a picnic, and enjoy the scenery at Kloogaranna.
Doing some swan watching at Kloogaranna beach – Tallinn day trips
What else is there to see in Klooga?
On our way to our second beach of the day, we came across a road sign leading to Klooga Memorial. Without realizing what it was, we soon discovered it was a former concentration camp used during the holocaust.
Truthfully speaking, I didn’t want to see more, because I find the subject too horrific. You drive down a long, narrow road with tall, looming trees on either side. For a place so remote, serene and picturesque, it’s saddening to think about its tragic past.
Eventually, you reach 2 triangular walls. Here, you see the sign leading to the memorial, plus descriptive text in Estonian and English. If you keep driving down the narrow path, you eventually arrive at the outdoor exhibition. Large concrete blocks await, with text describing the horror of what took place at Klooga in September 1944.
The exhibition is open all year round and is free to enter.
The entrance to Klooga Memorial – day trips from Tallinn
Day trips to Tallinn – Laulasmaa
The phrase ‘saving the best till last’ springs to mind when I think of Laulasmaa. This was the final destination on our beach day trips from Tallinn, and what a place.
Laulasmaa also is located in Harju County, like the other beaches. Where it differs is that it has a wide-open bay, making it ideal for beach and nature seekers.
Hestia Hotel Laulasmaa Spa – where to stay in Laulasmaa
A great place to stay, spa and eat is at Hestia Hotel Laulasmaa Spa. You’ll see signs turning off the main road from Kloogaranna Tee. A great sense of calm arrives as you pull into the parking area. Lush, green forest surrounds the hotel and spa, and you also get your first glance of the sea upon entering.
There are 147 rooms in total, ranging from superior rooms to suites with your own sauna! Hestia Hotel Laulasmaa Spa is also very family friendly, with family rooms available, and plenty of children’s facilities too.
We did, however, have lunch at the hotel restaurant, Restaurant Wicca, which I can highly recommend. The menu comprises of Estonian dishes made using local produce. Our dishes were full of flavor, color and incredibly healthy. We left feeling satisfied and ready to finally see the beach.
Enjoying the serenity of Laulasmaa Rand – best beach day trips from Tallinn
Laulasmaa Rand – easy day trips from Tallinn
The walk from the hotel’s main doors to the beachfront is short and pleasant. You pass a life-size chess board, which I’m sure is popular during summer. However, spring’s a quieter affair. It’s just you and the elements — a feeling that intensifies once you arrive at the beach.
It’s sandier and less rocky than the previous beaches. Again, there’s no-one but us there, but it’s easy to picture it full of people come the summer season. There’s not more to add about Laulasmaa Rand other than this: enjoy every second you spend there.
Extra tip: Stop by a quaint and typical Estonian cafe before you turn into the road leading to Hestia Hotel & Spa. It’s called Cafe Ott and Matilda and is on Kloogaranna tee.
Which of these day trips and beaches most appeal to you? Have I convinced you to get outside Tallinn city center? Let me know in the comments below.
Till next time, happy boutique travels x
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A very empty Laulasmaa Rand – day trips from Tallinn
Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience; a demographic (late 20s onwards) that enjoys glamping over camping, staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels, sampling the local food and wine, cultural activities, and indulging in a spot of wellness on their travels. Read more here…