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12.07.2007 Beach season in Tallinn

Beach season in Tallinn


Although the air and water temperatures don’t seem very convincing yet, beach season in Tallinn’s public beaches has begun.

Tallinn boasts five public swimming beaches: Pirita, Stroomi, Harku, Kakumäe and Pikakari. Lifeguards certified to give first aid are on watch on all five on weekdays, 9am–8pm, and weekends, 9am–9pm. Basic facilities at the beaches include changing stalls, toilets and parking lots (without guards), and mobile ice cream vendors (payment in cash only). Pets are not generally allowed.

The oldest, largest and most popular of the beaches is the 2-km-long Pirita beach, with a magnificent view onto the Old Town and the busy sea traffic on the Gulf of Finland. The beach is separated from the neighboring Pirita and Merivälja residential districts by a pine forest. This beach has ballgame courts and separate playgrounds for children. Lockers are available, as are facilities for renting water sport equipment and chaise longues, shops selling beach gear and cafés in the beach house. Music is played on the beach and there are frequent competitions and other events. At the far side of the beach there is a separate area for nude sunbathing. The parking lot is not under surveillance, like in the other beaches, but a parking fee is charged. The beach is 6 km from downtown (buses 1, 1A, 8, 34, 34A and 38). The address of the beach house is Merivälja tee 5.

Another well-worn summer hot spot is Stroomi beach, situated in Pelguranna, opposite the Open Air Museum on the other side of Kopli Bay. Between the beach and highrise residential buildings is a spacious green area where beachgoers can find shade on the grass for a picnic. Courts for various ballgames, trampolines and outdoor cafés can all be found on this beach. Children can romp around the playgrounds and try driving electric cars. A temporary youth center is set up, concerts are frequently organised, and there is always loud disco music playing. The beach house provides lockers and showers, and a shop for buying beach gear and borrowing chaise longues. Visa and MasterCard are accepted. The beach is 4 km from downtown (buses 3, 40, 48). The beach house is located at Pelguranna 30.

On the western city border in the Haabersti district, Harku beach lies on the shores of a lake, so it has slightly warmer water for swimming than the sea. The swimming beach on a sandy stretch of shore is fairly treeless and lies close to a residential area. The lakeshore is shallow and the bottom is muddy, 12 meters at its deepest. The beach has courts for ballgames, climbing trees for children, a kiosk selling food, and showers. The rowing base nearby provides an opportunity to practice rowing and surfing, play mini golf, use the gym and rent pedalos (paddle boats) and rowboats. The Season Surfclub is also at the rowing base. Harku Lake is by the Paldiski Highway, 7 km from downtown (trolley 6, buses 22, 36, and 46).

Kakumäe beach is also in Haabersti, on the landward side of the small Kakumäe peninsula. The peninsula is full of single-family houses, at a bit of a distance from the swimming beach. The woods separating the residential area from the beach are thick and boggy. This quiet, secluded beach has ball courts, a kiosk selling food, showers and a bicycle parking lot. Children can use the swings and a climbing tree. The beach is 11 km from downtown and is not very busy, at least on weekdays. Buses 21 and 21B go from the central railway station (Balti jaam) to Kakumäe. From Kakumäe Road, which follows the length of the peninsula, turn onto Sooranna Street to take you straight to the beach.

The city’s newest beach, Pikakari beach, is located on Paljassaare peninsula, near Katariina pier. The beach opened last summer to great local curiosity, as its location, formerly a military-industrial zone, had strictly limited access up until only a few years ago. The previous nature of the area is still visible in the ramshackle industrial buildings, soiled dwelling houses and poor roads, but constant development has already yielded visible results. Pikakari is the windiest of Tallinn’s beaches and waves from the wake of ships hit the coast more powerfully than in Pirita. A small, slightly bushy, wooded area gives some protection against landward winds. The sea floor is partly sandy, partly rocky, and the water gets deep quickly, reaching over a person’s head 30 meters away from dry land. The beach has courts for ballgames, places for making fires, swings for children and a kiosk selling food. Park rangers patrol the area, and you’re likely to meet surfers and fishermen. There is also a bird protection area and bird viewing tower on the peninsula. The beach is 6 km from downtown. To get there, drive to the end of Paljassaare Road (bus 59 from the central railway station, or Balti jaam) and walk further down a gravel road about 300 meters. The view back onto town and onto the sea from the beach and the pier are well worth the trouble, especially on a summer’s evening.

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