Estonia: Paldiski and Countryside Drive

Where did I go: Paldiski and surroundings, Estonia

When did I go: December 2016

During our 4 day stay in Tallinn we wanted to explore Estonia outside its Capital. For this, we had a half a day tour of Estonia’s north east coastal region with Estonian Experience. Here are a few highlights of our tour.

Fools Land

Our first stop was a small suburban estate by the coast. This had many large houses with varying.  Our guide explained that these were built after Estonia became a Republic. However, there was no services such as water or electricity for the houses, and the winters by the sea were harsh. Today you can still see homes that were abandoned or never completed. Today, it is known as “Fools Land” by Estonians, and I can see why.

Baltic Coast

Our second stop was on the Baltic Coast. It was mid winter, but the coast still looked beautiful.

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Keila-Joa Waterfall

Keila-Joa is the second largest waterfall in Estonia. It is in the Keila-Joa park, which is also home to the Keila-Joa manor estate. The water fall first powered a water mill back in 1555, today, this waterfall provides hydro electric (green energy) to about 1,000 homes.

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Paldiski

Next, we arrived at Paldiski which is sea port town, which dates back to the 1300s. The deep harbour remains open even during the cold winter months is one of the rare access points for large ships along the Estonian coastline. Therefore, Paldiski has always been a key military target for many invading forces throughout history.

We stopped at Cape Pakri, the north-westernmost point of the Pakri peninsula.  The original light beacon was built on this spot in 1724.  Due to the cliff-edge is crumbling to the sea, the beacon is now hanging precariously close to the cliff face.

A replacement lighthouse was built further inland in 1887, and stands 52 meters high.

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We were also able to see many residential blocks of flats in Paldiski built in the Soviet-era.

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Padise Manor and Monastery

Our next stop was the impressive Padise Manor and the Monastery.

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The Padise Monastery was first built in 1254. Around 1400 was the peak of the monastery, when it owned extensive lands in Estonia as well as Southern Finland for trade and agriculture.

In 1622, the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf granted Thomas von Ramm Padise Monastery and its surrounding lands. Padise monastery was then rebuilt as a residence to accommodate the von Ramm family. The family continued to live in the monastery until 1766 when it caught fire and a new building was constructed in 1848.   The manor and the lands of Padise were nationalized in 1919. From 1919 to 1991 the manor was used as school and manufacturing electrical equipment. In 1997, Olaf Thomas von Ramm purchased the Padise Manor back from the Padise municipality, and the manor house has been renovated into a boutique hotel and restaurant.

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The house was beautifully restored and decorated for Christmas.

Tea/coffee and cakes were laid out for us, and provided a welcoming break in a sumptuous surrounding.

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After coffee and cake, we went to explore the ruins  of the  monastery.

The climb to the top of the tower is a bit tricky, but the views are worth it.

After exploring the Monastery, we headed back to Tallinn, and were back by lunchtime.

Below is a map of our half day road trip.

Map

We really enjoyed our tour with Estonian Experience. Our tour guide, Hanno was very knowledgeable and he told us about the history  and stories behind the all places we visited. He also very patiently answered all our questions about everything, from life under the soviet rule to Estonian customs. The tour was very well organised and all the places we visited were expecting us, and the 4 hours flew by. I can highly recommend this tour with Estonian Experience and Eva-Maria

My friends and I received discounted rates for this tour from Estonian Experience. As always, opinions and photos here are my own.

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