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.
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 – read more under Estonia.
The 1 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.
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.
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.
Paldiski is a 45-km drive from Tallinn.
- 1 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.
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.
- There are two grocery stores
- Konsum - supermarket with pharmacy
- Maxima - Modern products and Russian-style borscht
- The locals shop and a few kiosks, located in a dilapidated lot, which sell various supplies.
- Kaubamaja - Slavic products, Russian beers, confectionary
- Second hand stores - Slavic-style clothes
- Laulasmaa – 20 km east to the east from Paldiski towards Tallinn there is this small coastal village.
- Nõva – 20 km towards Haapsalu is this beautiful coastal village with untouched pine forests and a clean beach.