Overlooking the sheltered waters of Pärnu Bay, Pärnu is one of the most popular resort towns in Estonia. Clustered with elegant architecture and designer boutiques,it’s a stone’s throw from a Baltic Sea beach and a waterfront park filled with Neoclassical spa buildings.
Things to do in Pärnu
Spend a few hours wandering the tree-lined streets of Pärnu to admire the city’s colourful architecture, including the aptly-named Red Tower and the Tallinn Gate. Don’t miss St. Elizabeth's Church, which is renowned for its Baroque design, or St. Catherine's Church, a Russian Orthodox landmark topped by several ornate towers.
Interested in the local history? You can delve into the past at the Pärnu Museum, which details the people and events that have shaped the region. Also of note is the nearby Museum of New Art where you can get up close to modern and contemporary works by artists from Estonia and beyond.
A short drive from the centre of Pärnu is a sweeping stretch of sand, which becomes packed with swimmers and sunbathers during the summer months. In addition to the cafes and restaurants lining the waterfront promenade, there’s a children’s playground where young visitors can let off some steam. At the eastern end of the beach is the Pärnu Coastal Meadow Walk, an elevated boardwalk featuring several viewing platforms where you can learn about the region’s native flora and fauna.
Getting around Pärnu
Pärnu is around 1.5 hours’ drive from Tallinn and Tallinn Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Regular trains connect from towns and cities across Estonia to the Pärnu railway station, which is a 10-minute taxi ride from the city centre. Buses travel throughout Pärnu while the centre is compact enough to explore on foot.