The biggest attraction of Parnu (Pärnu) is the beach, which runs along the edge of the city, and can accommodate about 40,000 people. During summer, Parnu comes to life around the beach. There's an opportunity for dining and shopping, renting a Segway, surf equipment and bikes, so you can enjoy riding along the nature trail by the river, and see the famous cows of Parnu.
Parnu has a very original natural environment. Walking trails, observation towers, and urban meadows with cows. The goal of keeping cows in the city is to restore traditional human activities on the coastal meadows. If the animals don't keep up the coastal meadows, they will fade and grow over.
The tallest fountain in Estonia and the unique amphitheater-like Vallikäär venue in Parnu are also worth exploring. Vallikäär attracts passers-by with its illuminated promenade by the shore and the romantic arched pedestrian bridge over the moat. Here you can see forging in the restored smithy and stand under the gates that mark the beginning of a restored former postal road to Tallinn.
Parnu Food and Parnu Festivals
Local food culture is high-level. There are many cafés, and in October of every year, a Café Week takes place. In April there's Restaurant Week. The main aim of Café Week is to introduce cafés to the people of Parnu, as well as people living elsewhere in Estonia, and increase the community's tea and coffee awareness.
The best feature of the summer capital is of course its spas. Parnu has 8 large spas and in March of each year Parnu Spa Week takes place. For visitors with children the theme park Lottemaa is a real treat. It's 6 kilometers outside of the city, and the fictional story Leiutajatekula (Inventor's Village) is the basis of its design.
Also of interest are the cultural center of the Mary Magdalene Guild, and the 3 meters high elephant slide on the beach.
Heno and Steiner buildings Parnu
These 2 houses on Pühavaimu Street are one of the older and more colorful architectural and historical monuments of Pärnu. In the 1670's, the building for the apothecary Heno emerged, followed by building for the alderman Steiner in 1647. A street divided the two houses until the early 18th century.
A merchant called Hans Diedrich Schmidt joined the buildings into one. Over the years, the complex of buildings has changed many times. It was rebuilt, extended, and renovated. Towards the end of the 19th century, the two houses merged by a columned intermediate structure.
The House of Arts in Parnu operates in the building at 8 Pühavaimu Street.
Endla Theater Parnu
A fire destroyed the first building of Endla Theater in 1944. The decision made in the Soviet times was not to restore it in its original location. The theater was a national symbol too important for the Estonian people. The new building from 1967 is in the Stalinist central square. It's an empty space in those days reserved for the Executive Committee of Parnu Oblast in 1952.
The size of the square made the theater, built according to the Soviet standard design, look like a little pavilion. Extensive reconstruction of the theater finished in 2001, by the 90th season of the professional Endla Theater. It included a new smaller hall, called Küün (Barn) in homage to the first theater building of Parnu from the 19th century.
Endla Society Building Monument
This modest, grey monument marks the site of the building that belonged to one of the first song and music cultural societies founded in Estonia. The Endla Society is from 1875. The society's activities grew and its members decided to build a building for its activities.
Architects G. Hella, A. Jung and E. von Wolffeldt designed the Jugendstil building, built between 1908-1911. On February 23, 1918, advocate H. Kuusner read out the Estonian Declaration of Independence, the "Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia", to the public from the balcony of the Endla Theater.
The monument to the Endla Theater designed by the sculptor M. Karmin is from 1989.
Parnu Shopping and Fun in Port Artur
Have you noticed the ruins of a historic building in the center of Parnu ? Perhaps not because they've been combined with a modern architectural solution.
But the old building has retained its name, Port Artur, which is familiar to visitors of Parnu. It was here, at the beginning of the 20th century, where Estonian men gathered to be sent off to the Russian-Japanese war.
Next to the old building, a completely new and modern one, named Port Artur 2, arose on the site of an old railway station.
Now this center is a hub for the city. It's on the edge of Old Town, in the vicinity of the concert hall and the bus station. With its 80 stores and services, the 20,000 square meters of Port Artur cover everything from food and consumer products tot carting and virtual reality gaming.
Visit Lottemaa Adventure Park In Parnu
If you're travelling with the little ones, you can't miss out on Lottemaa. An active day in this awesome theme park creates a wonderful feeling for children. Spend a sunny morning on Parnu beach playgrounds and in the park. You never get bored !
Villa Ammende Parnu
Villa Ammende is the greatest Art Nouveau style villa in Parnu, a 5 minutes walk from the beach. After the Ammende family moved to Germany in 1927, this grand building has operated at different times as a casino, library, military headquarters, sanatorium and restaurant.
Since 1995 this building has been in private hands. After going through a thorough renovation, the interior an external architecture have been restored almost to their original state.
New functions for the Villa
The house now serves as a hotel, restaurant and museum of Art Nouveau lifestyle. The villa has enchanting Art Nouveau halls, salons, balconies, and small details, such as huge vases of fragrant lilies, beautiful silverware and chandeliers.