Rocca al Mare

The perfect sunset

Swamp forest in Rocca al Mare, photo: Tallinn Environment Department
Rocca al Mare has been a popular natural area for centuries, thanks to the beautiful sandstone shore, fairytale-like large boulders, and romantic views. The area was named after a summer manor built by a local baron in 1863 (‘cliff by the sea’ in Italian). Today, the promenade, which is 2.5 km long, offers plenty of outdoor activities. At the west end of the promenade, there is the Estonian Open Air Museum and in the other end, Stroomi Beach. Meanwhile, you can also visit Tallinn Zoo, which has the world’s largest collection of mountain goats and sheep. The protected Kakumäe outcrop is located in the area of the Open Air Museum, on the shore of Kopli Bay.

In addition, Rocca al Mare is one of the best places for birdwatching in Tallinn: 189 bird species have been seen here, including 63 protected species. Rocca al Mare is located on the so-called West-Tallinn bird migration route and is an important stopping point and feeding area for protected birds as well. On colder days in July and August and with low water levels, nearly 16 types of waders can be seen in Stroomi Beach. From August to October, ducks, geese, and other waterfowls can be seen in the shallow bay of Rocca al Mare. Migrating forest birds can be seen from the bird observation tower during migration season. Nesting birds can also be seen: red-backed shrikes, Blyth’s reed warblers, marsh warblers, etc. The sedge warblers have the most nests in Rocca al Mare, followed by common rosefinch, and several forest species, such as the great tit, chaffinch, and blackbird. The south-eastern, central, and southern parts of Mustjõe swamp forest have the highest bird species diversity.

Rocca al Mare is also an important feeding spot for bats both during the summer breeding and in the autumn, after the baby bats have learned to fly. Seven species of bats have been registered in the area: the northern bat, whiskered bat, Daubenton’s bat, common noctule, Nathusius’ pipistrelle, and parti-coloured bat.

Rocca al Mare is also diverse in terms of habitat types. There are coastal meadows and flood plain meadows, as well as cultivated plant and ruderal plant communities. There are a total of 195 vascular plant species in the area, including four rare species (Atriplex longipes Drejer, slim-stem small reed grass, common saltmarsh grass, and Rumex aquaticus) and one protected species (early marsh-orchid).