Since 1996, Pärnu has been known as the Estonia's Summer Capital. There’s a popular Estonian saying that if you haven’t seen your friends during the year, you’ll meet them all in the summer in Pärnu. Beach life, dozens of festivals, night clubs, big party crowds, concerts and funfairs - Pärnu has it all.
If you don’t like crowds, you might prefer the quietness of autumnal or wintry Pärnu and so why not spend your weekend walking on an peaceful beach, relaxing in a spa or a cosy villa or enjoying the windier days surfing. Many organisations organise conferences and seminars all year round.
Plenty of sand, sun and water
Pärnu is famous for it’s beach life and made it’s way to the list of Russian imperial resorts already in 1890.
Long, white sandy beaches, shallow waters and “the best Sun in Estonia” attract Estonians and visiting guests alike. Beautiful beach promenade is ideal for walking and roller skating. Plenty of playgrounds, water fountains and play areas attract families with kids.
If you are feeling adventurous, try water skiing, jet skis, yachting or paddle a canoe or a kayak down the Pärnu river to the open sea and nearby islets.
Are you planning a beach holiday? More information is available at the coastal Pärnu section.
History is everywhere in Pärnu
With a history dating back as long as 11 000 years, Pärnu is a true pearl for any architecture and history lover. The city itself was established 1251 and became one of the rich vibrant Hanseatic cities during medieval period. These days, medieval traditions are kept alive in yearly Hanseatic festivals: you can admire the costumes, take part in tournaments, learn how to make handicraft and enjoy traditional food such as fire-grilled boar and lamb. Sea and sailing have played a big part in the development of Pärnu: Pärnu Yacht Club was founded in 1906 and the first big international boat race was organised already in 1883.
As a seaside resort town, it’s current architecture feels light, airy and stylish – exceptional samples of true funk architecture side by side with romantic wooden villas, modern glass and steel and a touch of luxurious Russian influences. Be sure to visit one of the best Art Nouveau villas in Estonia, villa Ammende, which is also known for its exquisite cuisine.
Places to visit:
- Rannapark (Beach Park) & Vallikäär
- Eliisabet Church was built 1747 and is now a popular location for concerts. It’s organ has a distinct, beautiful sound.
- Jekateriina Church is one of the most beautiful apostolic baroque churches in Estonia
- Tallinna Gates, also called as Kuningavärav (King’s Gates) is a part of former medieval fortification system: once, this beautiful baroque gate used to mark the beginning of a postal road and now leads visitors to Pärnu beach district.
- Red Tower (Punane Torn) was the corner tower of Pärnu’s medieval defence wall. Serving as a “hot spot” for handicraft, the former court yard is a popular place for art fairs.
A touch of luxury and comfort: wellness and SPA’s
In 1838 the first spa & bathing establishment was opened and nowadays Pärnu is a health resort of international stature. Being a member of European Spas Association, Pärnu welcomes its guests from around fifty countries.
Enjoy the SPA hotels with all the modern comforts and indulge yourself in gold massages, chocolate treatments and pearl baths. Most hotels take pride in being family friendly, offering child care services and playrooms.
Explore the culture in Pärnu
It is said that in Pärnu, anyone and everyone can become an artist. Versatile architecture, beautiful parks and court yards, numerous galleries and art centres – all combined with colourful crowd and easy-going flow of life is, without a doubt, a fertile soil for discovering your creativity.
Enjoy the handicraft workshops, art galleries, modern art centres or take a painting class: there is more in you than you might take!
Pärnu is also the place for innumerable music and art festivals events - The Pärnu International Documentary and Anthropology Film Festival, David Oistrakh festival, Organ festival, Bacardi Feeling Beach festival, Pärnu Blues Days, Hanseatic and Handicraft days - to name but a few.
When coming to Pärnu, be sure to visit a local tourism information & Visitor Centre for best tips on what’s going on at the moment, events, maps and more. And be sure to book your accommodation in advance if planning a trip for the hottest beach time: number of people in Pärnu is six times higher during summer.
Pärnu has something for everybody- families, backpackers, youngsters, romantic couples, sports enthusiasts, people interested in culture and art- you name it! There’s always a reason to revisit Pärnu.