There are countless beaches in Estonia, one for every preference. With over 2,355 islands and 2,357 miles of coastline, that is no overstatement.
“I still believe in paradise,” said Leonardo DiCaprio as Richard in the famous Danny Boyle drama thriller, The Beach. “But now at least I know it’s not some place you can look for. Because it’s not where you go. It’s how you feel for a moment in your life when you’re a part of something. And if you find that moment, . . . It lasts forever.”
We quite agree, except it IS where you go, at least in the movie business. And where you go determines how you feel, especially when you’re dealing with overpaid actors and truckloads of expensive gear.
Estonia is not really famous for its beaches, but that’s exactly the point–who wants to shoot in Bali or Brazil when that’s where everybody else is shooting and in the places everyone has seen? So welcome to Estonia–a country full of unknown beaches that you can make your own for almost as long as you like. Whether you’re on a remote island or near a charming resort town, you’ll always find yards of lovely sand for filming that breathtaking love scene.
The best known of those Estonian beaches is in Pärnu, the regional champion of holiday resorts. Pärnu has a bit more than 50,000 residents. Small enough to be charming, even though it is a proper town, it is the fourth-largest in Estonia, in fact. Pärnu may become crowded during the summer, as it draws visitors from as far away as Finland. And there’s good reason for that: Its beautiful beach boasts soft white sands and shallow water, making it a safe and family-friendly spot.
Movie makers might want to pay attention to something else, though: the Pärnu Beach House, a ship-shaped building from 1938 which hasn’t lost all its charm, despite its [MEMc1] restoration in 2005. A mushroom-shaped balcony on its seaside end is what makes the Pärnu Beach House a distinct and somewhat symbolic building. Another unusual asset is that there are bathrooms nearby, something not every Estonian beach can brag about.
Another pristine sand beach lies near Narva-Jõesuu, a town in Ida-Viru County in northeastern Estonia. The five-mile-long beach is lined with pine trees, and it is really the loveliest in Estonia. As with Pärnu, it’s probably the architecture that makes Narva-Jõesuu worth a visit. It used to be a tony resort town during the first Estonian Republic, and its former glory still shines through. Today, though, most “locals” are Russian or Russian-speaking, so you might want to hire an interpreter who knows that пляж is the word for “beach.”
Fun fact: Narva-Jõesuu marks the northeastern end of the E9 European Coastal Path that begins 3,125 miles away in Cabo de São Vicente in Portugal, so if you want your road movie to end (or begin) in an adorable resort, then Narva-Jõesuu should be an ideal choice.
If tranquility is what you’re after, consider Ruhnu, an island connected to the mainland by a weekly (yes!) boat during the off season. What’s unique about Ruhnu beaches is what is called its “singing sand.” When you walk on it, it emits a high-pitched tone, which is both amazing and creepy at the same time. It’s not hard to imagine Guillermo del Toro getting all powered up on Ruhnu beaches, and there’s not much he’d have to CGI in post-production.
There are countless other beaches on the island nation of Estonia, one for every preference. With over 2,355 islands and 2,357 miles of coastline, that is no overstatement. Neither is the fact that picking one as your next movie location will save you a solid 30% as cash rebate on eligible production costs. What’s not to love about shooting on an Estonian beach?
Used photos: Visit Estonia