Green Pärnu

Source: Priidu Saart, Visit Estonia

Green Pärnu


Ave LääneVisit Pärnu

Inviting parks, elegant architecture and a busy calendar of events make Pärnu one of the most diverse destinations in Europe. Tourism has been financing Pärnu since 1838 when the first baths in the city were opened, and Pärnu, which aspired to become the favourite resort of Czarist Russia, started hosting holiday-makers from all over the world.  

Although the main attractions of the resort town are the beaches and therapeutic procedures, the city of linden trees (‘pärn’ in Estonian) isn’t just a vacation mecca, it’s also a wonderful place to live. The advantages of Pärnu as both a place to live and travel have not gone unnoticed by the general population – Green Destinations, an international organisation focusing on sustainable tourism, featured Pärnu on its list of top 100 sustainable destinations in the world.

A green tourist destination has to meet more than a hundred criteria pertaining to nature, the environment, the climate, culture and traditions and the wellbeing of its residents.

Forest Green Pärnu

Pärnu is a very green city in the most literal sense – one-fifth of the area of the city is covered in forest groves, tree-lined avenues, parks and home gardens.

The sea, rivers, beaches, promenades, parks and forest groves make Pärnu a place with unparalleled natural diversity in Estonia.

Sea Green Pärnu

The lungs of the city are an invaluable resource, but the real pearl of the city is the white sandy beach and the sea. The sea is the main thing people come here to see from all over the world.

Developing the beach area is the main priority of the city. There is a beach promenade, a wide network of light traffic roads, a reconstructed Beach Park, cows to manage coastal meadows, etc.

Pärnu residents believe that the attractiveness and accessibility of the beach demonstrate an environmentally friendly lifestyle and create a good visual identity for the area.

As a living organism needs constant work to function efficiently, the city continues to develop access points to the beach area so that the popular Pärnu central beach as well as its nearby area can fit 5000 more guests than it does today.

Meadow Green Pärnu

In the city centre and in the Mai, Raeküla and Vana-Pärnu districts of the city lies a 375-hectare coastal meadow nature reserve with ca 250 hectares of semi-natural ecosystems, mostly coastal meadows, that are managed by Highland cows from spring until autumn.

Thanks to the Urbancows project, the diversity, uniqueness and beauty of the coastal meadows is preserved. In order to introduce the plant and animal species of the coastal meadow to locals and guests, the city created tourism infrastructure comprised of bird watching towers on the Mai and Raeküla beaches, information stands, a hiking trail with a viewing platform by Tervise Paradiis Spa Hotel and more.

Blue-Green Pärnu

For the past few summers, the Blue Flag has been waving at Pärnu beach. The Blue Flag is an internationally recognised ecolabel showing that the beach is managed in an environmentally sustainable way, the water is clean and the surrounding environment is clean and safe.

You can read the Pärnu beach terms of use, an introduction to the nearby nature reserves and information on the Blue Flag movement on information stands.

As an extra eco-friendly gesture, Pärnu beach also has three water fountains with clean drinking water, from which anyone can fill their water bottles.

Bicycle Green Pärnu

The nature of Pärnu can be discovered by bike or on foot. Every year, new light traffic roads are constructed in Pärnu – currently, there are more than 70 km worth.

In spring 2018, three bicycle counters were erected around the city that gather statistics on light traffic users. According to the counter, an average of 895 people use bicycles every day, and this number is growing steadily.

International recognition

  • In 2018, Lonely Planet included Pärnu in its list of top ten lesser-known beach cities
  • In 2019, Pärnu was chosen as the best health and wellbeing destination in Estonia by European Destinations of Excellence
  • In 2020, Pärnu was chosen as one of the top hundred sustainable destinations in the world by sustainable tourism organisation Green Destinations
  • In 2020, Pärnu was the recipient of the award for the most sustainable tourist destination by the Baltic Sea
  • Kihnu island, as part of the territory of Pärnu, and Kihnu culture are on the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list
  • In 2009, Soomaa national park in the Pärnu area, which belongs to a European nature reserve network, won first place in a contest for hidden gems

Last updated : 11.12.2020

In category: For the green traveler, West Estonia, Nature & Wildlife