Paldiski is a town and Baltic Sea port situated on the Pakri peninsula of north-western Estonia. Since 2017, it’s the administrative centre of Laane-Harju Parish of Harju County. Originally a Swedish settlement known as Ragervik, it became a Russian naval base in the 18th century. In Estonian the name was spelled Baltiski until 1933 when the Estonian pronunciation Paldiski became the official name. Understand : During Soviet times and early years of independent Estonia, until up to 1994, the city was a “closed city”, i.e., off-limits to foreigners, non-resident Soviet citizens, even non-resident Estonians themselves, because of its military importance. Today, it’s open to everyone and deserves a visit by those interested in the grey world of the Soviet Union (Paldiski and the Pakri peninsula are covered with abandoned bunkers, piles of unidentifiable junk and various military debris).
The scenes taking place in a location introduced to the audience as “somewhere in the former Soviet Union” in the film Lilya 4-Ever were shot in Paldiski.
Access : Coordinates: 59.35, 24.05 / Best to take the train one way and the bus the other way to enjoy both sides of the ride. Bus and train schedules are easily available online The central bus stop to get in and out is along Sadama street in the centre. But there are other stops between and including the railway station.
By train : There is a train service to/from Tallinn Balti Jaam, at least three a day. The trip takes about 1hr 10min and it costs €3. By bus : Buses depart almost hourly during daytime to/from Tallinn Balti Jaam. The trip takes about 1h 10min and it costs €3. On the way back to Tallinn, the most central bus stop in Paldiski is probably the one on Sadama or on Kivi street. They also have a timetable posted there.
By car : Paldiski is a 45-km drive from Tallinn. By boat : There are regular ferries between Paldiski’s harbour and Kapellskar, Sweden Hanko, Finland and Lubeck, Germany. Get around : Paldiski can be explored on foot. For the lighthouse, 5 km north, try taking a taxi, hitch or walk anyway.
Attractions : Pakri lighthouse, Majaka tee (4 km from Paldiski centrum) . May-Sep: M-Su 10:00-20:00 Oct-Apr: Sa Su 12:00-18:00. A view of the Baltic sea, but rather expensive compared to the lighthouses on Hiiumaa island. Right before it, on the other side of the road, you can find the former and old lighthouse, falling apart and dangerously located at the cliff. €5/3 adult/student.
2 Amandus Adamson Studio Museum (Amandus Adamsoni Ateljeemuuseum). Old summer studio of Amandus Adamson.
3 Orthodox Church (EELK Paldiski Nikolai kirik). closed
Activities : If you have a good map that has many foot paths (like OpenStreetMap, which many mobile Apps like OsmAnd, MAPS.ME, etc. use), you can walk around the port and continue north along the cliffs towards the lighthouse.
Eat : Drink : Accommodation :
Go next : Laulasmaa / Nova / Haapsalu