Pärnu, Estonia - Where? Why?
Pärnu is a historical resort town that has offered different holiday opportunities for centuries. Its perfect location between two capitals – Tallinn and Riga – location makes it an excellent place to rest from city life and relax both the body and mind.
Pärnu – a city between two capitals:
Tallinn 129 km, 1h40
Riga 189 km, 2h30
TOP reasons to visit Pärnu
- Beach of Pärnu and beach promenade
The sandy Pärnu beach is less than a 15-minute walk from the centre of the town. The beach promenade of Pärnu is the favourite place for romantics during all four seasons. The two stone jetties located where the beach meets the river invite guests for a walk along a 2 kilometre long path leading straight onto the sea. The Pärnu Beach Park located right off the beach is a nature reserve and is a popular place for walks or relaxation. British newspaper The Independent proclaimed Pärnu as one of the best beach vacation destinations in Europe in 2010!
- Architecture: churches in Pärnu, old wooden buildings, classism, art nouveau style
Pärnu charms its guests with its historical architecture. St. Elizabeth’s Church in Pärnu downtown is one of the most distinguished sacral buildings of the baroque era in Estonia. One of the best organs in Estonia is situated in this church, making the church a popular concert venue. St. Catherine’s Church is one of the most stylish and richest baroque churches in Estonia. It was built on the order and with the financing of Catherine the Great and the Pärnu Russian congregation is still practicing there today. The Apostolic Orthodox Transformation of Our Lord Church, built in the old Russian style, is adorned with 6 bell towers decorated with gilded crosses. The interior includes an altar wall with 11 icons and murals made of 11 large figurative compositions.
Walking along the avenues from the centre of the city to the sea, you will pass through the largest district of timber villas in Estonia. The unique villas decorated with timber lace please the eye and are a joy to discover, as most of them have been restored and house a hotel or a café. The pearls of resort architecture are the Pärnu Beach House, Mud Baths and Beach Hotel that are located right on the waterfront. The latter is one of the most distinguished examples and chef-d’oeuvres of modern Estonian beach architecture. The Pärnu Kuursaal, which have always been an important centre of resort life, are also located in the beach district.
- Year-round cultural events, art and handicraft
The cultural life in Pärnu is enriched by numerous museums and art galleries. The so-called river of time set up in the Pärnu Museum takes you through 11,000 years of exciting history. Interactive technologies have been used for the exposition in order to create a memorable experience for the entire family. The Museum of New Art in Pärnu surprises you with contemporary exhibitions and is also the location for the international documentary film festival. All children and adults are welcome at the Maarja-Magdaleena Guild where different handicraft workshops are open for five days a week. With the help of the craftsmen, you can make jewellery and try your hand at woodworking, felting, glass melting, and spinning the pottery wheel.
- Greenery parks and health tracks of over 40 km
The city boasts large green parks and long avenues of trees, where it is nice to take a walk or a bicycle ride. The entire coastal area of Pärnu is a part of the nature preserve, with footpaths, a hiking trail, and observation towers established for better access.
- Spa hotels
Pärnu is a resort city of age-old traditions and a wealth of experience – the first bathing house in Pärnu was opened in 1838, allowing people to enjoy warm sea baths in the summer and the joys of sauna in the winter. The resort owes its popularity to the great location, gentle beach, fresh air, and green parks, but also the hustle and bustle of the city, as well as the high-quality treatment and relaxation services. The spas allow you to pamper your mind and your body any time of the year. In addition to the traditional treatments, you can also enjoy real Estonian spa procedures, such home beer or peat treatment, while in the Sun room, the sun is shining all year round! The truly courageous ones can try out the icy “hug” of the ice chamber, where the temperature is -100 oC.
There is more to see and experience in Pärnu County
- Kihnu Island (that has UNESCO heritage status) and Museum
Kihnu Island is a unique fusion of the present and the past. The culture of Kihnu Island has been awarded UNESCO heritage status and should captivate anyone who is interested in cultural heritage, unique wildlife and friendly people. Women of the island wear körts, national skirts knitted by themselves, as a part of their everyday clothing. The sights of Kihnu Island include the cemetery, church, lighthouse, and museum. The Kihnu Museum displays a wealth of items related to the daily life – tools, clothes, handicrafts, furniture. The museum also features a display of famous Kihnu men and the artwork of Kihnu naïve artists.
- Natural beaches, bogs and ancient forests
You will find natural beaches, tranquil endless bogs and ancient forests in Pärnu County. Lots of hiking routes and bird observation towers are waiting for you. The floods in Soomaa National Park, also known as the fifth season, offer unforgettable sights during spring. The national park offers possibilities to hike on boardwalks as well as trails running on the ground, but you can also book a canoeing trip or a snowshoe or kicksled hike.
Pärnumaa wildlife is closely linked to culture and history; all of these are combined in the Romantic Coastline route – a 250 kilometre journey down the coast of Pärnumaa with exotic diversions to the Kihnu Island and the interior.
- C.R. Jakobson Farm Museum
The Carl Robert Jakobson Farm Museum in Kurgja presents the life, work, and farm established by Carl Robert Jakobson, one of the leaders of the Estonian 19th century national awakening. Today, cattle are still bred on the territory of the museum, and the old farm buildings such as the cowshed, granary, sauna, mill, and threshing barn have been restored. You can try your hand at farm work and get acquainted with old customs. The visitors can enjoy Estonian national dishes at the café and buy local handicraft from the shop.
Main Events in Pärnu city & county
Pärnu City Orchestra winter concerts, Ice Cup international basketball tournament, Pärnu Spaa Week, Pärnu Restaurant Week
Open Day of Rural Tourism, Pärnu Plant Fair, Museum Night, Opening of Estonian Motorcycling Season, Festival Baltic Herring West, Dandelion Flower Festival
Good Food Festival – Grillfest / June 9–10, 2017
Opening of Pärnu Summer / June 21
Pärnu Hanseatic Days /June 29 – July 1, 2017
Night of Ancient Bonfires / August 26, 2017
& Kihnu Island Sea Party, Pärnu Music Festival Järvi Academy, Villa Ammende Opera Days, Pärnu Film Festival, Mihkli Fair, Weekend Festival Baltic electronic music festival, International Exhibition of Nudes, Night of the Arts August Insomnia, etc
Jüri Jaanson’s Two Bridges Run, Researchers’ Night, Mushroom Festival, Kihnu Island Violin Festival, Pärnu Café Week, International Music Day concerts