Having just read a surprising article by a UK newspaper, on supposedly the best beaches in EUROPE (! see the link at the bottom) I feel compelled to write the following:
With due respect to the beauty of the natural resources in the UK, I feel the above list could have been compiled of, for example, Estonian beaches solely, without much discount on quality. I do not normally like to push my own country – it would feel too pushy, or what. But I will make an exemption here, because as a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, so a beach is a 100% Estonian thing, us being a half-amphibian people who do not survive well if away from water. Notice it from our behaviour – you can try to invite us away from Estonia, but sooner or later we start crawling back, from wherever we are in the world, until reach our primeval location – an Estonian beach. During the summer season from June to August we even refuse to leave anywhere at all, staying put by that beach.
To be fair, I quite believe a similar list could be compiled for any European country individually – if it has a coastline. (Sorry to the Swiss and the rest of Central Europe, of course, but then they have their own, different options.) I do, however, know only Estonian beaches well enough, and therefore the story is about those.
In no particular order, and – let the pictures to do much of the talking also in this case. : -)
OK, so many others have a lot more, but Estonia also has a whole 1500+ small or big islands and, in difference from many other islands in the world, almost all these are also b e a c h e s for their full shoreline. Because the sea around Estonia is so shallow and – the Swedes and Finns may have their proud Nordic granite, but the sand from it washes over to us! So our beaches are nearly always sandy, too. Or a nice combination of flat sand and high boulders.
Nautse-Kõinastu, Muhu island
I can’t unfortunately find a pic of THAT scene in a famous Estonian comedy “Men Do Not Cry”, where a little boy complete with a halo “walks over water”, but it was filmed exactly here. For full two kilometers or so you can walk, drive, or ride through knee-high water on beautiful firm sandy bottom, from one island to another.
Naturally then, you can also sunbathe, build sandcastles or, if wish, frolic around in any position, on that beautiful generous sandy beach or should I say in that full bay?
Kuressaare, Saaremaa island (Ösel)
We love Visby, too, and Gotland is Ösel’s nearest neighbour to the West, but when I saw in the list a pic about a beach in Gotland (No. 24), it immediately reminded me of Kuressaare spa hotels. Views towards the Georg Ots Spa hotel, and from it:
Mändjala, Saaremaa island
Some love it more secluded and pine forests are so good for your health, too. Breathe – and cleanse; from inside out.
Saxby, Vormsi (Ormsjö) island
You do not need to sweat for your tan in a desert, from head to toe covered by sand dust, if visually more appealing destinations in fresh air are available:
(Quite deserted that island otherwise, though the 10 or so sparsely located villages should guarantee there is at least some food available.)
Luidja, Hiiumaa island
Essentially the same as above, for those who feel more safe on a larger island with more people around (and the ferry has a better bar or two, too!):
http://nagi.ee/photos/photo_sizes.php?id=4729499&size=l (this one is stubborn – you have to click it yourself)
Ristna, Hiiumaa island
Surfers’ paradise, but profis only, please – the northwards facing sea here is often outright evil!
Not surfer material? Perhaps just sit on the beach and contemplate the Elements. (It can be a near-religious experience!) God did not feed you? Then turn that SUV around and drive back to the township of Kärdla, the coffee-drinkers’ capital in Estonia. The best strawberry cake I’ve ever had (and I do a lot of tasting) was here. Second helping mandatory!
A special tip (sshhh!): Go on the first Saturday of the eighth month of the year, and you will be especially rewarded…
Accidentally also, these above, on the islands, must be the beaches that would feel homeliest to our visitors from Scotland. (A special tribute, as we are forever indebted to you for creating the whisky.)
http://www.loodusemees.ee/aa/mi/101015aa372.jpg (only for Scots, and please click on own risk)
Back to the mainland:
Nõva in North-West Estonia
Fishermen’s romance in an other windsurfer heaven in Estonia, where (this time) even beginners are welcome. Best strawberry fields are around here and even a special kind of mega-sized mega-sweet wild strawberry – the muulukas (Fragaria viridis – I did not make it up!). Only in Estonia!
All-in-all, it is not a co-incidence an ex-president of Estonia (the one with immaculate taste we had) kept a summer cottage somewhere in this area.
Toila-Oru, in North Estonia
For those who prefer higher places in life, or wider horizons. Like, in fact again, the first ever president in the history of the (tararat-tat-taaa!) Free Estonia – Konstantin Päts, whose pre-WWII summer residence was here. In regions closer to Russia, or is that a co-incidence. Well, at least the park has survived. And the views…
Speaking of North Estonia – what’s wrong with the capital’s First Beach – Pirita?? OK, it could be a tad cleaner, especially as the summer progresses, but where else can one enjoy such generous bits of sandy beach and shallow waters, to such back-drop of views? Within easy reach of Estonia’s best hotels and restaurants (or even night-clubs, for that matter) – for any taste indeed.
The best bit – you can actually (almost) walk there, and walk back to the city. Or ride, or roller-blade.
Moving now out of Estonia, towards the Southern resources (and republics):
Laulasmaa or Häädemeeste or Kabli, near Estonian-Latvian border
Aren’t the most romantic places always somewhere in the South?
They even have a special “Will You become mine?” package for those void of own ideas for That Important Moment (quite true! and I do not mean the wedding, though these, too, but I mean popping ‘the question’, of course!) :
Indeed, all primeval instincts rise to the surface when you are one-to-one with sea like this. Even grown-up women cannot help. Or men (please peek on your own initiative because these are randomly found private photos!):
Which is pretty much all I have to say about beaches in Estonia. Because Pärnu made it to the European list, and indeed – isn’t Pärnu such a heaven for the post-retirement age group, the main tourism target anyway (who else nowadays has the time, or the money). Why the Estonian young and lively also kind of love Pärnu, I cannot fathom (because aren’t indoor nightclubs so-oo yesterday?). From politeness? (A very deeply intrinsic feature for the Estonians, meaning it nearly never surfaces, but we do have it!) When Tallinn looks like it could burst at the seams from all the globe-trotting tourists trying to “do” the Old Town in four hours, on one and the same day, the locals politely withdraw to the countryside.
Finally, in the mood of the Baltic co-operation, the little there is – there are some noteworthy places south of Estonia, too, and let them indeed do their own marketing, but here is at least one:
So indeed – where was Montenegro, where was Italy’s Adriatic coast, is Spain all “done” by now, and – not a sole beach in mainland Germany? At least the naturalist beaches there could have been mentioned, or what.
Sopot was right on spot, though, and well done about Puglia. Link to the original article: