Pärnu is Estonia’s fourth biggest city, but with a population of approximately 40,000 people, it’s probably fairer to call it a town. Pärnu is known as Estonia’s summer capital due to its long beach, making it a big holiday destination. I recently visited Pärnu just before the peak season, and I really enjoyed it.
Having visited the top 10 cities/towns of Estonia based on the population of the 2018 numbers, I would rank Tallinn as my favourite city in Estonia followed by Viljandi, Kuressaare and Pärnu.
Estonia is one of my favourite countries in the world, and I like it so much that I decided to move to Tallinn with my wife to live back in February 2021. There are many reasons why Estonia is one of the best countries in the world. I have visited every country in the world, so I am comparing Estonia with all the world’s other countries when writing this.
Although it might not officially be a Nordic country, for me, Estonia feels Nordic in a lot of ways, and I feel at home there. I feel Estonia is entirely different from the two other Baltic countries, Latvia and Lithuania, and is similar to Nordic countries such as Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Especially Finland, which capital is just a cheap ferry ride away from Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.
I like the culture, sights, the food and the excellent value for money. Excellent because the other (in my opinion) Nordic countries are very expensive, while Estonia is a lot cheaper. You can compare the prices of accommodation and restaurants in Copenhagen and Tallinn, and you get an idea.
Below are some of the experiences I recommend doing in Pärnu.
Stay at Rannahotell
Rannahotell is one of the best hotels in Pärnu, located right at the beautiful beach. I stayed in a beautiful contemporary room with a comfortable bed, couch, working desk, Tv, shower and a balcony with a beautiful view. The hotel has an impressive 8.7 Booking.com rating at the time of this article as well as a 4.5 TripAdvisor score. Rannahotell offers a daily breakfast buffet with a large selection of food, even ice cream, which is unusual. The staff are friendly and helpful. Overall a really nice hotel in an excellent location for a beach holiday in Pärnu.
Steffani’s has two restaurants in Pärnu, and they are both very popular. I had pizza of Steffani’s several times doing my visit, which makes some of the best pizzas I’ve tasted in Estonia. The prices are higher than at well-known chains such as Peetri Pizza and Pappa Pizza, but the quality and taste were also on a higher level.
Located on Nikolai 32, Supelsaksad is a charming café in a wooden house with great food. Supelsaksad was included in the White Guide, a guide of the best places to stay in the Nordic countries and the Baltics. I liked this café more than Mon Ami, which is higher ranked in the White Guide and with higher prices, but the quality of the food I experienced was disappointing. Supelsaksad, on the other hand, has great value for money, a contemporary design and a nice atmosphere.
Enjoy the beach
Located about 15 minutes walk from the centre, the sandy beach is probably the main attraction of Pärnu. A nice place to relax or take a walk.
A walk in the town centre
Pärnu’s centre is relatively small and easy to explore on foot. Here are some photos.