Pirita is the most popular beach area in Tallinn. Even though you might not expect it, the Baltic Sea is fairly warm during summer months with temperatures up to 20-25C. So you can actually go swimming! Pirita beach is the most popular beach in Tallinn with kilometers of white sand. The beach is crowded by Estonian standards, but it is still an enjoyable place to go if you want to have a refreshing swim. To get there, take buses no. 1A, 8, 34A, or 38 from Viru Center to the “Pirita” stop, it is a 20-minute bus ride.
Pirita is also great for cycling. You can rent a bike from CityBike in the Old Town and pedal about 7 km to Pirita. There is a great bike path right on the seaside all the way to the Pirita beach area and further from there. You can also cross the Pirita river and then follow the river through the pine forest up to TV Tower and further if you want.
Things to see and do in Pirita
Other than swimming and sunbathing, that is then.
The area was developed for the 1980 Moscow Olympics as Tallinn had the honor of hosting the regatta. Check out what is left of the Olympic village along with the giant concrete Pirita Spa hotel and the Olympic Rings still proudly standing on the end of the pier.
Pirita Convent (Ruins of Bridgettine Convent) has seen many different eras during its over-500-year existence. The monastery was destroyed in the 16th century, and the ruins were only renovated for the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The ruins of the monastery are now used as a concert venue, but you can see it with a ticket as well.
Climb, jump, exercise at the Pirita Adventure Park. The park has six different tracks with ranging difficulties, there are also activities for children. The adventure park is only open during summers.
Further down from the Pirita area, you can also find the Tallinn TV Tower. The structure itself is over 300 meters tall, and you can get up to the 170-meter level. The TV tower also played a big role in the Estonian Singing Revolution that ended with gaining independence from the Soviet Union. The museum explains what happened here really well. Take buses 34A or 38 from Viru bus terminal or from Pirita to “Teletorn”.
On the way to (or back from) Pirita, you should make a stop at Maarjamäe Castle at the Estonian History Museum. This is the best place for an overview of 20th-century history in Estonia. The museum was refreshed in 2018, so don’t expect anything dusty or outdated here. Also, on the same grounds, you will find the new Film Museum that covers the history of the silver screen in Estonia.
Close to the museum and unmissable as you pass by it is the Maarjamäe Memorial – unmistakably Soviet and dedicated to soldiers who fought in the Second World War. Right next to it is also an all-new memorial, the impactful and imposing Memorial to the Victims of Communism. The walls of the memorial list the names of people who are known to have died in Soviet prison camps in Siberia and who were never laid to rest in Estonia.
Where to eat and drink in Pirita
Kalevi Jahtklubi Resto is a great place right in the yacht harbor of the Pirita river. The menu features several seafood options, and in the off-season, it offers superb lunch specials. The place itself is very relaxed, in summer you can lounge outside and with colder weather enjoy the fireplace indoors.
On the way to Pirita, you can make a stop at Tuljak. The building dates from 1965 and has been lovingly restored to the original glory. The building might be a trip back to Soviet times, but the food is modern with a few twists on local classics.
A little further down the beach towards Viimsi, you can find a lovely little Buxhöwden Bakery in Viimsi. They have a wide variety of sweet and savory pastries, go just to have a look. It never stops at a look though….
One of the best restaurants in Tallinn is NOA, a little further from Pirita. NOA has two sides, an à la carte restaurant, and NOA Chef’s Hall. Choose your side, but book ahead just in case, NOA is very popular with locals. It should also be mentioned that the sea view from NOA is unparalleled. NOA Chef’s Hall has one Michelin star and is a truly memorable personal food experience well worth the money.