Even though Viimsi is an easy bus ride away from the center of Tallinn, I decided to make my own mini-beach holiday on foot. I rented a small cottage on the beach near NOA restaurant for a couple of nights, and from there, I loaded my backpack with my camera, to walk north along the shoreline, towards the sandy beach of Haabneeme. A little further to the north was the Viimsi Open-Air Museum.
I couldn’t travel along the shore in every place, because there were intermittent industrial and port areas, making the beach route less accessible and pleasant, and in some spots, tricky to navigate. Fortunately though, from beginning to end, there was also a walking and cycling path paralleling the highway. The journey continued quite comfortably while I was able to soak in the sun and sea breeze, and the flower splendor along the roadside.
Viimsi Open-Air Museum: such views!
At the end point of the more than four-kilometer walk, was the Viimsi Open-Air Museum by the sea. To make my fair bit of foot travel even more worthwhile, and just next door, was the unexpected and surprising Paat Restaurant and its outside terrace! Yes, I was rewarded with a heavenly cold beer, complete with a nice lunch, seated by the seashore.
It’s easy to recommend the Paat Restaurant, because it has both the view, and is relatively inexpensive. The much acclaimed NOA also has stunning scenery, but the prices are significantly higher. Of course, its menu would also be considered more “fine dining” than casual, leaving Paat as perhaps a better choice for those looking to enjoy a more ordinary and less pricey meal. That’s exactly what I had in mind, and it suited me perfectly.
After my lunch, I headed to the museum – it’s directly next door to Paat. To my surprise, the door to the museum was locked! Then I noticed the phone number printed on the door; I called it, and a friendly young man came to greet me, and sell me an entrance ticket.
By sheer luck, I was able to enjoy a completely private visit in this beautiful area in the vicinity of the museum. I toured the old houses, and occasionally sat on the pebble beach, embracing the peaceful surroundings. What a great deal for only three euros! According to the young man at the box office, the museum is occasionally visited by tourist groups, but on this particular afternoon, my visit continued until the end, as a solo event!
(By the way, there’s also a Saturday market not far from here that I once visited, returning with a big box of delicious fresh sea-buckthorn berries!)
Museum’s address: Rohuneeme tee 53a, Pringi küla, Viimsi
Opening hours: every day from 10 AM to 7 PM, but you might want to double check on their website!
On the way back some quality time with a pizza in the OKO restaurant
After getting my fill from the open-air museum, I set off on the same route back to my rental cottage. The most wonderful part of the trip was walking along the waterfront of the sandy shoreline of Haabneeme. It’s a magnificent wide and shallow beach, which on this sunny day, not surprisingly, was quite popular with the locals.
The pearl of this spot seems to be OKO Restaurant, where I went to enjoy pizza and a glass of cold white wine.
OKO is amazingly stylish, and the pizza is so good that this place went immediately to my list of the Best Pizzas in Tallinn. Again, most of the clientele seemed to be local: couples and families in their fashionable summer clothes, laughing, drinking, and enjoying the night. Personally, I was completely exhausted by the wind and glorious sunshine of the day, so I think I stood out in a somewhat comical way from the rest of the crowd. I really didn’t mind at all, though, having that delicious pizza and glass of Sauvignon Blanc in front of me. A great end to a great day!
Address: Kesk tee 27, Haabneeme alev, Viimsi
Mo–Fri from 17
Sat–Sun from 12 on
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