Location: South – Eastern Estonian coastline
To sum up: The Baltic summer playground
Value for money: Prices vary considerably but in general are still much lower than most places in Europe given that Pärnu caters more to locals more than tourists.
With its long sandy beach, hit clubs, beautiful town centre, and old-fashioned resort town feel – Pärnu is one of the best places to be over the surprisingly warm and wonderfully tempered Baltic summer. The biggest party of the year here is Midsummer Night Festival– an ancient but popularly revived Pagan party festival on June 23rd – when the sun never sets in the sky. On top of its party town image, Pärnu is regionally known as a luxury spa destination that attracts people from throughout North Eastern Europe. Despite its relative obscurity, you’ll find that all but the older generations of Estonians have a respectable command of English so you shouldn’t have any problems getting around. This is a little-known gem that delivers massive value on all fronts.
Who‘s it for
The party crew and anyone else interested in a quality alternative summer vacation spot. While massively popular within the Baltic’s, few nations are aware of it and you won’t have to share the gorgeous beach with bus loads of pasty Brits, sock n’ sandal Germans and all the other unfortunate tourist stereotypes that rampantly take over most of Europe in the summer. On top of this, those interested in a luxurious spa and relaxation get-away will wonder where Pärnu has been all their life.
- If coming mid-summer book somewhere to stay well ahead since most places will be packed.
- Pärnu is more off the beaten track, don’t expect as much to be handed to you on a plate as it is in Tallinn.
- The main beach. It’s clean, beautiful, safe and generous enough in space for even the most crowded days. Clubs and bars are nearby and beach parties are common throughout the summer.
- Go to a local spa and sauna complex for relaxation times. Even if it’s not normally you’re thing you’ll be massively satisfied. Estonia Spa comes highly recommended. The Urdo-finnic people (Finnish, Estonian and Hungraina) invented the Spa/Sauna complex centuries ago – and this is one of the best places to experience it.
- A free guided walking tour of the town. It’s only an hour, informative, gives you your bearings and its free.
- The Club scene. Made largely up of young Scandanavians, Latvians and Estonians. Club Sunset on the beach is the place to be on any given clear night or failing that – Mirage which is located closer to the centre.
The must do’s
Get here by June 23rd for the Midsummer festival. Its fame is legion in the Baltics as it provides massive amounts of fun to all types and ages.
Avoid like the plague
Visiting outside of Late Spring or Summer. This place is completely dead the rest of the year round – think if Ibiza relocated its business to Northern Greenland and you have Pärnu in the winter time. But if a ghost town ambience is appealing to you then feel free drop by – if you can find accommodation that’s actually open.
Having fallen in love with/in Tallinn, I didn’t want to leave and ended up with only one full day and night in Pärnu. In a way everything should have worked out badly, but I ended up having a blast. Travelling in mid august (early Autumn), I’d barely arrived at the beach when it started raining and didn’t stop for the rest of the time I was there. Instead I took a visit to Estonia Spa – an amazingly luxurious complex which gave me full access to its vast facilities for less than 8 euro. Returning, I discovered that I had a 4 bedroom room to myself in an empty hostel which was otherwise occupied only by Swedish girls. I later hung out with a bunch of them that night along with the cute local guide from my free town tour who brought along her friends. Basically it was me and 9 Swedish/Estonian girls. We had an amazing dinner at a Russian restaurant, went to some really cool bars and clubs and had lots of drunken fun. A whirlwind of awesomeness. I’ll definitely return here in the summer for a longer stint so that I might actually enjoy it’s main draw card – the beach.
Comfortable, modern coaches leave frequently for Parnu from both Tallinn (about 2 hours) and Riga (about 2.5 hours).
Desire to return