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P채rnu City and County The Baltic Seaside experience resort that fascinates all year round

An internationally recognised vacation destination The best beach vacation Pärnu County is famous for its beaches, where the water is warm and the sand is white. The most popular place for a vacation is Pärnu’s central beach, whose shallow waters make it suitable for families with children. The water in Pärnu warms quickly – reaching almost 26 °C on hot summer days. We also take great pride in that the UK’s The Independent chose Pärnu beach as the best European beach vacation destination in 2010.

Appreciated by adventure tourists The Soomaa National Park is unique in Europe, evidence of which is the park joining the European PAN Parks Network of wilderness areas in 2009. A second international recognition came in 2011 when the Adventure Travel Trade Association listed the park among its top ten adventure travel destinations, praising Soomaa’s nature, culture and abundance of activities.

The island of Kihnu is included on UNESCO’s Heritage List The Kihnu cultural space, with its traditional way of life, customs, folk culture and island nature, was included on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2003.

Vacations for everyone The Romantic Coastline combines culture, nature and history The Romantic Coastline runs along the 250-kilometre long coast of P채rnu County, including Kihnu Island as well as inland areas where the Baltic Sea waterfront used to be. You can take peaceful walks along the enchanting coastline and appreciate idyllic villages and farmlands. Hikes in quiet bogs, coastal meadows filled with joyous bird songs and healing pine forests are all singularly charming. On your journeys you will see how the coast dwellers live, and experience unique customs and enjoy food made from fresh local produce.


Romantic beaches and exclusive spa treatments guarantee a therapeutic vacation A ladies’ beach more than 90 years old In the 1920s Pärnu beach was divided into three parts: the ladies’ beach, the gents’ beach and the mixed beach. A separate ladies’ beach was distinctive to that period and women in swimming costumes could enjoy themselves in privacy. Pärnu ladies’ beach is still open for the very same reason, and today women can sunbathe in the nude without being disturbed.

Tranquil vacation on a secluded beach When travelling along the coastline you can find several beaches covered with white sand and pine forests. The best known is undoubtedly Valgerand (White Beach). However, tranquillity and privacy can be found elsewhere, such as Matsi Beach to the North of the city and Reiu and Kabli Beaches to the South. For those interested in fishing and swimming there are Lakes Tõhela and Rae.


Mud and peat ease your stress In Pärnu you can enjoy treatments with Estonian natural resources. For instance, therapeutic mud is collected from Lake Ermistu in Pärnu County and therapeutic peat from a bog near Viljandi. These treatments make you feel relaxed and help curb your stress levels.

Cold therapy relieves your pain The idea of cold therapy originates from Japan. The treatment is administered in a special cold chamber at extremely low temperatures: from –100 to –120 ºC. A single session lasts from 1.5 to 3 minutes. In dry and cold air you get a peculiar stinging or pinching feeling which doesn’t resemble the usual sensation of cold. Cold therapy works especially well if you have joint ailments or pain.

Bovines on beachside meadows The Pärnu seaside nature conservation area covers 341 hectares of forests, lagoons and beachside meadows, which are low grasslands where bulrushes are regularly mown and Highland Cattle are herded. Many birds choose to nest in these maintained areas.


Play golf like in the old days In Valgerand near Pärnu, there are two golf courses and both have an 18-hole course as well as a pay-and-play type 9-hole course. Anybody can play golf here: beginners get friendly advice and master players can test their skills. You also have a unique opportunity to try out our antique hickory golf, originating from the beginning of the 20th century.

A hot sauna lifts your mood Saunas helped ancient Estonians recover from tiring field work. In today’s saunas all four elements – fire, water, air and land – are used for therapeutic purposes.The sauna hearth is doused with water and the body is stimulated with birch or juniper branches. The heat is followed by something completely opposite – a jump into cold water or snow. In the city you find modern saunas and water parks, but in our country farms you can also try out ancient smoke saunas and sit in a bath barrel admiring the stars.


Unforgettable sights, historic wooden architecture and captivating city life in Pärnu A story of a castle town The Pärnu Vallikäär (Riverside) invites visitors with an illuminated shorefront promenade, where a romantic footbridge arches over a moat and the highest fountain in Estonia pleases you with spectacular displays of colour. The amphitheatrelike concert venue calls you to take part in various cultural events. In a restored smithy located next to the Venus Bastion, you can observe traditional smithery and make yourself a souvenir coin. Scale models displayed at Vallikäär provide a visual overview of the development of Pärnu from a castle town into a modern resort. Both the passageway through the fort wall and the Tallinn Gate, which marked the beginning of the former coachway, are restored. Children can have fun on a sea-theme playground.


Parks and beaches are waiting for picnickers Pärnu County’s beautiful and unspoilt nature is much more than just delightful views and clean air. Pärnu’s green parks are its pride and joy. Lovely fountains, colourful flower beds and secluded benches in the cool shade of big trees provide ideal places for a picnic. However, there are also amenities of modern life because wireless Internet is available in many parks. You will remember the moments spent with your special someone by the lighthouse at the end of the pier at the mouth of Pärnu River. If you wish to enjoy real peace and quiet, you can take a trip to the countryside surrounding the city.You are welcome to our plentiful picnic sites, hiking tracks, bird watching towers and breathtaking sandy beaches in Kabli and Valgerand.

Ancient love story Pärnu is a city of romantic walks, lovers and first kisses. The legend of the pier here is part of the city, as the city is part of the legend. According to the ancient story, young lovers must walk together to the end of the pier and seal their love there with a kiss.


Beautiful wooden architecture You can spot many small and low wooden buildings in Pärnu. When coming here from either Tallinn, Haapsalu or Riga, colourful wooden houses line the streets. Their number is greatest when heading from the city centre towards the sea, where boulevards will lead you through the largest district of wooden villas in Estonia. Most of the old villas decorated with wooden lace have now been restored and many of them are happy to accommodate you.

See the pearls of Functionalism In Pärnu you have an excellent opportunity to get acquainted with fine Estonian architecture which can be observed in such pearls of Functionalist resort architecture as the Pärnu Beach Centre, the Beach Hotel and other beachside buildings originating from the 1930s and designed by Mr. Olev Siinmaa, who was then the city architect.

Discover the city on a bicycle In the summer a bicycle is undoubtedly the most convenient means of travel around Pärnu, with which you can easily make it to your favourite café or restaurant, concert or beach.You will have no problem discovering the city centre parks and getting to know the Jaanson track running along the river and, by pedalling through Pärnu, you can share in the mood of the city and take with you its smells, sounds and impressions.


Cafés, a herb garden and forests provide local food which is delicious and healthy A popular café combines old and new The Supelsaksad (Swimming Gents) Café, which was established by a family of artists in Pärnu, is located in a cosy 150-year-old wooden house which skilfully combines local history with colourful interiors. In 2011 the café was listed among the fifteen most innovative and dynamic companies in Europe. A year earlier the same café was awarded an interior design prize by the Estonian Association of Interior Designers.

Local food is healthy and delicious The Mahedik Café is the first café in Pärnu where mostly organic food is served. The menu includes dishes made of fresh Estonian produce, such as whole grain pastries.The staff there is dedicated to serving seasonal and diverse food and showing you that healthy meals taste excellent. The Good Food Festival held in the beautiful meadows of Vallikäär has become an important part of our food culture. It features Estonian food and cultural programmes and also promotes foreign food culture.


A sunset dinner The tower at the well-known Ammende Villa is ideal for couples who wish to enjoy a romantic dinner at sunset. Luxurious champagne, delicious food, aromatic wine and cosy candlelit moments with your sweetheart – each day only grants us one sunset which will never be repeated...

Aromas and flavours of the herb garden On the Tamme horticulture farm you can see a model herb garden which also features vegetables and edible decorative plants. Walk around in the paradise of smells and flavours and enjoy a cup of delicious herbal tea with a slice of herb pie made by the hostess herself. You can purchase preserves of berries, vegetables and herbs, as well as various blends of herb teas and other interesting products.

Pick berries and mushrooms yourself Keep your eyes open when hiking in our forests because there is nothing better than taking a break from a hike and picking naturally growing strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or mushrooms. Ask your guide for the best places to do just that; cranberries, however, are alongside our wooden bog tracks.




Valgeranna Adventure Park



Pier Bogshoeing Bicycle Wooden villa Architecture by Olev Siinmaa


Beach Seminars in nature Coastal meadow Pärnu Museum Mud and peat treatment

Festival “Night of the Arts”

Cold treatment



Pärnu Ice Festival

Kihnu Island Tõstamaa Museum of New Art

Russian farmstead Award-winning restaurant or café

Soomaa National Park

Ammende Villa


Tamme farm’s herb garden

Wakepark and wakesurfing

Berry and mushroom forests


Romantic Coastline Festival

Estonian food pihlakakodumajutus.

Taste genuine Estonian food In Pärnu County you can enjoy real Estonian food.You can find food made on old wood stoves, and also preserves of berries from people’s own gardens and fish and meat smoked by the locals themselves. The Estonian food range also includes dairy products from Pärnu County farms, such as yoghurt, butter and cream cheese.

Join the locals’ festivities The coast dwellers have lived on their handicraft, fish and cucumbers for centuries. The Pärnu County Pickle Festival enables you to share in these valuable traditions. This is just one of many open-air events showing you the life of coast dwellers, where you can talk to the locals and purchase the products they have made. You can do the same by joining other Romantic Coastline festivals. For example, our summer favourites are the music-filled Kabli Sunset Festival and the Kihnu Sea Party promoting fishing traditions. The autumn comes with the Oktoobervest Beer Festival, full of farm romantics, the Mushroom Festival flaunts its seasonal gifts and the Mihkli Fair surrounds you with genuine village life. The springtime open-air events start in May with the Dandelion Festival and the RäimeWest Fish Festival.


Enjoy the diverse culture and history of Pärnu County all year round 11,000 years of history The Pärnu Museum has found a home in a centuries-old granary. The exhibition of our city’s and county’s history is vivified by a 13th or 14th century river gate which was discovered during renovations, and through which the Hanseatic goods were traded. The so-called time-river created in the Museum takes you through 11,000 years of exciting history, and its interactive solutions guarantee a memorable experience for you and your whole family.

Festivals fill the city with music Various cultural events take place in Pärnu all year round, many of which have become annual traditions. Throughout the summer, parks and seaside cafés are filled with ear-catching music. The “Night of the Arts” Street Festival inundates the city centre and beaches with good food, enjoyable music and other fine arts.


Hustle and bustle in the winter When the weather gets colder, most events in Pärnu move from the parks into the concert and exhibition halls, but the Pärnu Ice Festival takes place outside in the coldest period – in February – when the sea and river are frozen over. With its open-air concerts, workshops, exhibitions, fairs and dance productions it fills the entire city centre and the historic Vallikäär.

Kihnu follows the wisdom of ancestors Kihnu and Manija Islands are the home of a unique native culture preserved on Pärnu County coastal islands for more than six hundred years. The cultural space, which was included on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2003, keeps alive Kihnu’s folklore, handicraft and customs. The island of Kihnu is known as the home of seamen, fishermen and seal hunters. The men spent long periods of time at sea, entrusting the women with the everyday island life. Women have become the preservers and passers-on of local handicraft, dances, games and music. Their everyday clothing still includes a self-made striped Kihnu skirt called kört. The rules of life on Kihnu have changed with time, but to a considerable extent the ancestral wisdom is still followed. Many traditions and rituals are still alive, for instance, weddings on Kihnu Island last for three days, and it is especially interesting to visit the island on a day of popular or church celebrations.


Work with masters Forge a souvenir coin in the historic Venus Bastion Smithy, make clay art in the cosy Maripott ceramics workshop located in an old wooden house, or visit the Maarja-Magdaleena Guild of a few dozen artisans, which, in 2010, was awarded the title of the Innovator of Estonian Tourism.You are welcome to realise your ideas, and under the guiding hand of a master your unique works of art will take shape and remind you of your vacation for many years to come.

A retro outing on a retro bus If you step on a TA-6 wooden bus made in 1961, you will step several decades back in time. Hard benches and loud backround noise are guaranteed on the bus, which starts its journeys from P채rnu, and will take you to the T천stamaa Manor estate to see former aristocratic country life. You will travel with a speed of up to 75 km/h and your trip will be made more spirited by a musician who will be joining you.The 5-hour trip introduces you to local nature and sights.You will visit the T천stamaa Manor and enjoy a picnic on the shore of beautiful Lake T천hela or on the Kastna beach near the manor ruins.


18 years of exhibitions of nudes The international exhibition of nudes entitled “Man and Woman”, held at the Museum of New Art in Pärnu, has become a summer tradition. In time, exhibitions have come to include an exhibition of dolls and exciting performances.

A piece of Russian culture in an Estonian farm Amidst the woods and bogs of Audru Parish, there is a little Russian cottage on the Sanga-Tõniste farm. Peeking in you will feel as if you were in a real Russian village where Yemelya lies on a stove nibbling cookies, porridge is cooking, the samovar is steaming and blushing maidens are greeting guests. On this Estonian farm with a fascinating history you will learn about Russian national culture and traditions, and you can see Russian national costumes, taste Russian food and become acquainted with Russian applied art.


Forests, bogs and water bodies invite you to spend active time outdoors A place with five seasons Springtime in Pärnu County brings blossoming plants, returning birds and melting snow, and is the time for those interested in taking river trips as the water level is high and boats move faster. Memorable experiences are gained in the flooded areas. Soomaa is the largest flooded area in Estonia and the locals there tolerate the flood waters as they have had centuries to adjust to them. There is a saying that there are five seasons in Soomaa: spring, summer, autumn, winter and flood.

Discover the coast in a kayak A kayak trip is just the right pastime for those loving nature, seas and crazy adventures. Discover the Pärnu County coast with a tour-guide, paddle to islets, or see the city’s sights from the river or the bay.


A lot of fun from a watery joyride P채rnu beach, with no rocks and shallow waters, is the safest place for surfing in Estonia and Scandinavia. On the beach promenade you will find a surf club and a surfing area where beginners can take lessons and rent the necessary equipment. Watery activities are also available in the city centre; for instance, try cable wakeboarding in our summer wakepark. This environmentally friendly and easy sport is enjoyable for both kids and their parents.

To the sea with local fishermen In P채rnu County you can be a real fisherman, which means getting up at daybreak when nets are cast into cool waters and taken out the next morning with their daily catch.You can fish with our coastal fishermen all year round. The P채rnu River is a singular sight in the winter too when its icy lid is dotted with fishermen late into the night. Pikeperch, bass, pike, roach and crucian carp mainly bite here, but if you are really lucky, you may even catch a sea trout.

The adventure park attracts everybody In the adventure park in Valgerand near P채rnu, both adventurous adults and kids over a metre tall can safely climb the attractions built high above the ground. The bridges and various obstacle courses on the trees allow you to experience something unique and enjoy views so much more different than those when walking on the ground. If there are at least a dozen adventurers in a group, you can all climb the trees and go on a photo hunt.


A popular place for bird watching Both P채rnu County and the whole of West Estonia are important migration passages for millions of migratory birds who pass through here every spring and autumn. In special observation towers erected on the coast you can watch the birds on your own or take a guided tour. Both expert ornithologists as well as beginners discovering the world of birds will find this experience fulfilling.

Bogshoeing P채rnu County is the land of marshes and bogs. You can discover most of them by walking along wooden tracks, but in places without such tracks you can bogshoe. Bogshoes are very environmentally friendly because they do not allow you to sink into the bog and damage the delicate soil. You can have a wonderful experience both in the autumn when the bogs are full of colour and in the winter when snow tracks offer hints of animal life.


A joyful trip on a kick-sledge It is a great joy to glide through snowy forests and over slippery ice in a light and fast kick-sledge. If you care for beautiful winter nature, this is the entertainment for you. On a sporty trip you will enjoy snowy views, hot tea, great company and fascinating stories about the surroundings. We guarantee you blushing cheeks and a good mood!

A seminar in a bog Nature lovers in P채rnu County can organise seminars and other business activities outside the office, amidst flowers and tweeting birds, even if it is just for a day. Wireless Internet is generally available in parks, and bogs as well.

Fresh air does you good Clean sea air, pine forests and bogs spreading across the countryside invite you to cleanse you body and soul. In our parks you may spot yoga practitioners or hear the infectious sound of laugh therapy.


It pays to invest in Pärnu Pärnu was already a well-known seaport and Hanseatic town in the Middle Ages, having claimed its place on the trade route between the eastern and western countries. Business here became more active at the beginning of the 20th century together with urbanisation and the first factories. In the beginning of the previous century, Waldhof, Europe’s largest wood processing company, was based here. The economic structure of Pärnu County today includes metal, textile and electronics industries as well as recreation. Thanks to major foreign investments, many of the larger companies belong to international groups. Henkel Makroflex, which manufactures polyurethane construction foams; AS Wendre, which manufactures household textiles; AQ Lasertool OÜ, which processes metals and is an Aros Group company; Scanfil OÜ, which manufactures electronics and is a Sievi Capital Group company; Efore OÜ, which is also a manufacturer of electronics and an Efore Group company; and Laesti AS, which processes timber and is a Norvik Group company – all of which have settled here in this supporting environment.These are just a few examples of companies which find the location of Pärnu County, between the Nordic Countries, Russia and Central Europe, logistically the most beneficial for their development, and which also appreciate the excellent work culture and skilled workers we have here.

• Approximately 45,000 people live in Pärnu city, which is at the centre of Estonia’s largest county. • The Pärnu Resor t is considered to have been created in 1838 when the first bathing facility was opened here. • The oldest settlement in Estonia, dating back 11,00 0 years, is located in Pärnu County. • The coastline of Pärnu County is approximately

250 km long.

• Pärnu County includes more than 175 islets and 8 islands of which the two largest – Kihnu and Manilaid – are on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. • Pärnu County has about 700,000 foreign visitor s each year.

Pärnu Visitor Centre Uus 4, 80010 Pärnu, Estonia Tel +372 447 3000, +372 5330 4134




Published by the Pärnu County Tourism Foundation and Pärnu City Government. Photos by Varje Härm, Indrek Aija,, Kihnumua, Aino Valt, Romantic Coastline, Ivar Kadak, Olev Mihkelmaa, Medical SPA Tervis, SPA Estonia, SPA Viiking,Villa Andropoff, Andres Adamson, Kerli Sosi, Margit Kurvits, Mehis Palotu, Scandic Rannahotell, Kickbike Estonia, Ruth Huimerind, Mahedik, Aiki Leit-Teetlaus, Urmas Luik, Juss Piho “Tähised”, Ave Lääne, Tõiv Jõul, Kaire Ilus,Valgeranna Adventure Park, Seikle Vabaks, Indro Maalman, private collection of Ivar Kokka. Cover photo by Piret Hallik-Sass. Translation by Päevakera. Design and print by Ecoprint © 2011


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Pärnu City and County  

The Baltic Seaside experience resort that fascinates all year round

Pärnu City and County  

The Baltic Seaside experience resort that fascinates all year round