When most Tallinners think of Pirita, they think of the popular Pirita beach, which can get packed with thousands of nearly naked bodies on any sunny weekend. But there’s much more to Pirita than suntan lotion and bare skin.
The region has a history that goes back at least as far as the early 15th century, when the now-famous Pirita convent was founded on the banks of the Pirita River. Pirita stayed fairly rural through the centuries, but after World War II, partitions of land were given out to Estonians to build homes on, and Pirita began to evolve into the residential district it is today. The 1980 Moscow Olympics also had a major impact on the region. When Pirita was to host the yachting events, image-conscience Soviet authorities built the entire coastal Pirita highway, the TV Tower, an extensive beach house and the Olympic Yachting Centre for the occasion.
Pirita is a popular recreation destination with many nature trails and boat rental to admire the beautiful riverside. The crown jewel of nature exploration is Tallinn Botanical Garden featuring around 8,000 species of live plants.
On the way to Pirita, Maarjamäe is a worthwhile stop. Here you’ll find Tallinn’s most monumental war shrines, Maarjamäe War Memorial and the Memorial to the Victims of Communism, as well as the Maarjamäe History History Centre.
Reaching Pirita from the centre is simple. Take bus No 1, 1A, 8, 34A, or 38 from the underground stop at the Viru Centre. For the Song Festival Grounds get off at Lillepaviljon stop and for the Maarjamäe museums and memorial area get off at Maarjamägi stop. For the beach, convent or river area, get off at the Pirita stop, which is the first one after you cross the river.
Check the Pirita sightseeing, restaurant and leisure venues here.