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Paldiski is a town (population: 4,000) on the shore of Baltic Sea, in Harjumaa county in northwestern Estonia.


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.

Get in

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.

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 Kapellskär, Sweden; Hanko, Finland; and Lübeck, Germany.

Get around

Paldiski can be explored on foot. For the lighthouse, 5 km north, try taking a taxi, hitch or walk anyway.


  • 1 Pakri lighthouse, Majaka tee (4 km from Paldiski centrum), ☏ +372 55576087. 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), ☏ +372 6742013. 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


  • Peetri Toll also serves food.
  • Peetri Pizza, Rae 17, ☏ +372 6742095. Mon–Sun 11–21. Pizzeria with very good ratings online. (updated Nov 2015)


  • Peetri Toll, Mere 10, ☏ +372 53423425. This is a new tavern. 
  • There is also an alcohol shop in town.


  • 1 Pakri Hostel, Kivi 4, ☏ +372 58140153, ✉ info@pakrihostel.eu. Very bad ratings. Check them first before deciding to stay here. Dorm from €16. (updated Sep 2017)
  • 2 Paldiski Tuule B&B, Tuule 2, ☏ +372 5145116, ✉ info@tuule.ee. A new bed & breakfast. From €30 single. 

Go next

  • 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.

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