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What to do in Pärnu?

Pärnu is one of the favorite vacation spots for many Estonians.

Pärnu is primarily known for its large beach and the title of summer capital. However, it is also a popular vacation spot outside of summer. If you are thinking of going to Pärnu on the weekend, you may often be faced with a situation where a large part of the accommodation is booked for the weekend.

The Estonian seaside city of Pärnu is a must-see destination for all travelers. The city is surrounded by pristine beaches and lush forests, and there are plenty of activities and attractions for visitors. There is something for everyone in Pärnu, from beautiful architecture to exciting local culture!

Nature is always close in Pärnu, like everywhere else in Estonia. Pärnu is surrounded by swamps, marshes and woodland, and there are numerous national parks nearby. This makes it a great location for cycling and hiking.

One of the reasons for Pärnu’s popularity is definitely Pärnu's attractions and the wide selection of Pärnu's spas, among which everyone can find something they like. There are various medical spas, more luxurious relaxation spas and also one of the largest water parks in Estonia. Buy Pärnu bus tickets and book a pleasant vacation for the weekend away from work and worries.

Pärnu has a rich past. It was an important Hanseatic trading town in the 13th century, with a large Teutonic castle. After Pärnu was plundered and conquered by Baltic pirates, Russians, Lithuanians, Poles and Swedes, not much remains of the medieval defense. The ancient city still retained its genuine appeal. The city has been home to many people over the centuries; from Estonians to Germans and Swedes - and even to Russian troops during World War II. The city has many activities that attract visitors - let's take a closer look!

Accommodation options

Due to the summer season, when many tourists visit the area, the area has a very wide range of accommodation options. This also gives the travelers a good opportunity to find suitable accommodation in Pärnu according to their own budget. As a city, Pärnu is extremely small, and most accommodation is concentrated in the city center and the beach area. It takes about 15 minutes to get from one area to another. Arriving in Pärnu by bus, you will immediately reach the city center, and there are accommodations all around, from hotels to cozy guest apartments.

Pärnu beach

Obviously, the main attraction of this city is the beach, and spending time on the beach is definitely one of the most popular activities in Pärnu.

Pärnu beach is nearly two kilometers long and has incredibly fine white sand. The water is quite shallow, which means you have to walk several hundred meters in water before you are completely submerged, but the shallow waters make it a great place for children to play and splash around.

Lifeguards are on duty on the beach from June 1st to August 31st every year, and it is also possible to rent sunbeds if desired.

Pärnu beach is only about a 15-minute walk from the city center, so the beach is always nearby, no matter where you are in the city.

Pärnu Pier

Pärnu pier is definitely one of the most famous attractions in this city. It was built in 1869 to allow ships to enter the port.

Care should be taken when walking on the pier as the stones can be slippery.

According to legend, couples in love must walk together to the end of the pier and confirm their love with a kiss there, as this will bring them eternal love.

Pärnu beach park

Apart from the beach, one of the quietest places to visit in Pärnu is undoubtedly the beautiful seaside park known as Pärnu Rannapark.

This extensive green area is located just before the beach and is the perfect place to get some shade, get away from the sand and just relax and take a walk.

There is lots of grass, lots of leafy green trees, and plenty of benches to sit and watch the world go by. The park also has a number of paths, so it's the perfect place for a little walk if you're a little tired of the beach!

Lottemaa

Located in the beautiful coastal forest is Lottemaa where you'll find Inventors' Village, a magical place known from Lotte's films, musicals and books. An adventure park, a high lookout tower, a maze and a playhouse are among the many other exciting places to discover. During the day, you can watch exciting short plays, meet Lotte, Bruno, Albert and other nice inhabitants of Inventors' Village. If the weather is warm, you can swim in the sea.

In Lottemaa, you can find more than a hundred attractions, themed houses, nice places to eat, gift shops and a beach. The whole family has a lot to see in Lottemaa, as well as exciting activities that will keep them busy all day.

The largest theme park in the Baltic States, Lottemaa, is located in a beautiful forest near the sea. The theme park is not located in the city of Pärnu, but it is only 6 kilometers away from it and is definitely worth a visit! The Lottemaa theme park is open in the summer.

Explore the city center on foot

Wandering away from the beach you can find the center of Pärnu - a beautiful collection of pedestrian streets, charming wooden houses and plenty of restaurants, cafes and bars. The center of Pärnu is ideal for exploring and there is a lot to see and experience here.

It's also a great place to shop for souvenirs, have a quick drink or dine at one of the city's great restaurants.

This is the liveliest area of Pärnu, and since it is about a 15-minute walk from the beach, it should definitely not be overlooked on your trip!

By bike in Pärnu

Cycling is one of the best ways to enjoy the charm of the small town of Pärnu. Since there are over 70 kilometers of pedestrian and bike roads in Pärnu, one of the best means of transportation in the region is a bicycle. With Lux Express, you can take your two-wheeled friend with you for free!

Discovering Pärnu by bike opens up a completely different picture of the city - it may happen that you reach places you would never have been by walking. For example, the Jaanson trail along the river gives a good overview of the whole city of Pärnu. You should definitely stop by some of the cafes. Pärnu is characterized by a large selection of different restaurants and cute cafes. Supelsakasad, located on Supelus street, is definitely one of the most popular cafes in the city. In addition, several new places have opened in the heart of the city, such as Pastoraat, where you can have a good breakfast in addition to everyday food. As another new place, the Gastronoom restaurant can be highlighted, which also quickly found its way to both visitors and locals of Pärnu.

Rattaga Pärnus
By bike in Pärnu

The old town of Pärnu

Nothing of Pärnu's violent past can be seen in the city's old town. This house is known to be the oldest building in the city of Pärnu. The year of construction is 1658, when the building was erected on the foundations of the old church of the Holy Spirit. It was a refuge for the sick and disabled.

The rest of the old town is their unique fusion of new and old. Nothing in this old town resembles Tallinn, a UNESCO-listed medieval city. The streets have their own face and beauty, and getting to know them is one of the nicest activities in Pärnu.

Red Tower

The Red Tower  is the second oldest building in Pärnu. This tower is the only remaining building of the medieval castle. It is a former prison, where the Pärnu Museum is now located. During the last hundred years, the building's condition has been used as a city archive and also as a warehouse.

Pärnu Museum

Although it is not common to visit hometown museums, even locals prefer to hang out here from time to time. Maybe it has something to do with the cute cafe and ever-changing exhibits.

The newly renovated and reopened museum offers you the best insight into this lovely little town and its history. Over 83,000 exhibits and 11,000 years of history make it one of the best museums in the city.

Tallinn gate

Tallinn Gate is the only preserved entrance gate to the old town of Pärnu. It was designed by Erik Dahlberg, who also designed the Narva bastions. The Tallinn Gate was completed in 1669.

Catherine's Church

Catherine's Church was a gift from the Russian empress. As the name suggests, after visiting Pärnu in 1764, Catherine the Great ordered the construction of the church.

Several Baltic Orthodox churches were inspired by this style. The Russian congregation still manages this church.

Traditional wooden houses

One of the best places in Estonia to see traditional wooden houses is Pärnu. There are many of them and most of them are in beautiful pastel shades. The doors of these houses are also worth paying attention to, as many of them have beautiful details.

Spas

Spas and health complexes line the beach in Pärnu. Pärnu was already known during the Soviet Union for its sanatoriums, which brought nearly 300,000 visitors.

Sanatoriums offered respite and recuperation time for Soviet workers and, if needed, also provided treatment for health concerns. Especially popular activities in Pärnu at that time were mud baths and water therapies.

Most sanatoriums either closed their doors after the collapse of the Soviet Union or turned into spa and health centers.

Pärnu Mudaravila, one of the first spas, which opened as a bath house in 1838, developed into a sanatorium for mud baths during the Soviet era and is today known as Hedon Spa & Hotel.

Pärnu MiniZoo

Although the name may conjure up images of bunnies and other cute creatures, the zoo is actually home to many snakes, geckos and two Nile crocodiles. Most of the nearby schools have attended classes here at least once, as it is one of the most unique locations in Pärnu and Estonia.

Pärnu Museum of New Art

The region's only contemporary art museum features a wide range of works by artists from around the world. Sometimes special events are also organized where you can even interact with the artists.

Since 1992, the Museum of New Art was known as the Chaplin Art Center. Charlie Chaplin's name was chosen to reflect the character's enthusiasm and versatility as an actor, director and composer. Every summer there is an exhibition "Man and Woman", which changes every year and is definitely worth a visit.

Supelsaksad cafe

The Supelsaksad cafe's different lampshades, wavy wallpaper and bright blue furnishings fit the old dollhouse very well.

This well-known Pärnu restaurant offers a variety of dishes such as beef carpaccio with black garlic aioli, pickled mushrooms and parmesan, octopus, salmon, shrimp and sun-dried tomato salad or duck fillet with oven-roasted vegetables. Be sure to leave room for a slice of cheesecake or the place's fabulous Napoleon cake.

Mary Magdalene Guild

Craftsmen Mary Magdalene Guild was founded in 2007 and its studios are located in a charming wooden house next to the Steiner garden. Join one of the weekly workshops where artisans teach techniques such as weaving, ceramics, doll making and painting to learn their trade secrets. Their work can be purchased in the on-site shop, where shelves are stocked with fabrics, ceramics, cards, housewares, toys, and decorative items.

Pärnu beach promenade

The promenade goes along the beach and makes the beach attractive even in bad weather. In the evenings, you can see the color plays of the fountains. A playground, mini golf and ice cream parlors are nearby. In addition, there are rest areas, food and drink options, and there is fun and music in the evenings.

Pärnu vallikäär
Pärnu vallikäär

When visiting Pärnu, it is good to know:

Public transport in Pärnu is completely unique in Estonia. Namely, with the local joint card, you can travel both in the county and in the city, and all public transport is county specific. The card can be bought at the Pärnu bus station, but common cards from other cities are valid (money must be on it).

Outside the summer season, many accommodations in Pärnu run good discount campaigns.

Taxi transport is safe in Pärnu and there are no problems with false taxis.

Good ideas about activities can be found on visitparnu.com.

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