Pärnu (Estonia)

January 7, 2020

Pärnu has green parks, shaded alleys, elegant architecture, a diverse array of events and history as a resort that dates back to 1838 then the first bathing institution was founded.

In 1996, Pärnu was nominated the Summer Capital of Estonia for the first time. Pärnu is truly green – parks, tree-lined alleys, flowerbeds and bushes in the front and back gardens of private homes make up one-fifth of its total area. Enjoying a walk in and around the city and combining it with curative treatments in the spas, is an idea of a perfect holiday which has proved successful through centuries.

Get acquianted with functionalist resort architecture masterpieces, admire romantic wooden villas, choose from nine excellent spas and wellness centres, enjoy high-class golf courses, surf centres and a racetrack, visit two National Parks and a truly unique Kihnu island. Pärnu´s attractions are plentiful and varied, catering to every taste.

Pärnu Logo

Pärnu Visitor Center

The first town emerged on the left bank of the Pärnu River no later than in 1251 when Hendrik (Henricus), the bishop of Ösel-Wiek, ordered for a dome church and a town around it to be built at the site of modern day Old-Pärnu. The town was destroyed already in 1263 when Treniota, the Prince of Samogitia, and his troops burnt down the church as well as the town. It is likely that a town was also emerging on the right bank of the Pärnu River because a commandery was appointed in New-Pärnu merely two years later, and there was probably also an active Town Council.

Medieval New-Pärnu was one of the biggest towns in Old Livonia according to its area (62,000 m2) and population, falling behind only Riga, Tartu and Tallinn. Hypothetically, New-Pärnu may have been home to around 1,100 people during the 16th century, 600 of which lived inside the town walls. The economy of the town was largely based on the activities of Hanseatic merchants and artisans. Dwellings were initially mostly made of wood, however, stone houses had already become dominant by the beginning of the 16th century. In addition to dwellings, there were also taverns, stone granaries with cellars, stables, garden plots and artisans’ shops. At least 25 artisan trades existed in the town at the start of the 16th century.

The birth of the resort was complicated. The idea emerged at the beginning of the 19th century. In 1838, at a time of economic instability, the number of visitors was modest. During the peak season around 150 summer visitors at most, stayed in Pärnu. However, in 1889 Pärnu saw a revival of the idea of the Resort . The growth of the resort became a key aspect, which shaped the development and the image of the town for the years to come.

In the 21st century, thanks to the vision of the Municipality of Pärnu, pursuing sustainable development of the resort, Pärnu has entered the world destinations map as a top-ranking resort by the Baltic Sea.

Alpacafarm © DreamBeachMedia

© Dream Beach Media

© Julia Kivela

City Cows ©Priidu Saart

© Priidu Saart

© Juhani Särglep

© Renee Altrov

hiking trail on the Pärnu beach © Juhani Särglep

© Juhani Särglep

Kihnu island © Innervisionteam

© Innervisionteam

Mole of Pärnu © Markus Kiili (1)

© Markus Kiili


© Priidu Saart

Mud treatment © Estonia Resort Hotel & Spa

© Estonia Resort Hotel & Spa

Pärnu Bay Golf Links

© Pärnu Bay Golf Links

© Andres Putting

Pärnu beach © Juhani Särglep

© Juhani Särglep

© Juhani Särglep

Pärnu river © Priidu Saart

© Priidu Saart

Pärnu Yacht Club © Juhani Särglep

© Juhani Särglep

Pärnu © Juhani Särglep

© Juhani Särglep

© dji camera

© Priidu Saart

Rannahotell © Kristian Pikner

© Kristian Pikner

Smoke sauna © Estonia Resort Hotel & Spa

© Estonia Resort Hotel & Spa

© Juhani Särglep

Spa treatment © Estonia Resort Hotel & Spa

© Estonia Resort Hotel & Spa

Surfing © Juhani Särglep

© Juhani Särglep

Swimming © Innervisionteam

© Innervisionteam

Tallinn Gate © Priidu Saart

© Priidu Saart

© Priidu Saart

Wooden house © Priidu Saart

© Priidu Saart

Pärnu was the first city in Estonia where water of high-grade mineralisation was found 500 metres deep in bedrock particles in the city area substratum. Curative water from a nearby borewell (130 metres deep) was used for medical treatment by Pärnu mud bath establishment. Calcium ion (Ca 2+) content in groundwater was 40.1 mg/l and magnesium ion (Mg 2+) 36.5 mg/l. Today mineral water is provided by a bore-well at Häädemeeste (Goodmen’s Mineral Water). The history and traditions of Goodmen’s mineral water date back to 1967. It was back then that the production of Goodmen’s mineral water started which later became widely popular in Estonia and Latvia. However, the factory did not survive the Soviet period and the production was ceased for decades. In 2012 a completely new factory was built in Häädemeeste, where the production of unique-quality mineral water, comparing to the one which decades ago had attracted many people, was restored.

Goodmen’s mineral water which is extracted from the depth of 610 metres is known for its high content of minerals.

Goodmen’s mineral water which is extracted from the depth of 610 metres is known for its high content of minerals. One litre contains 5.2-5.5 grams of minerals. It is the minerals that give the water its unique taste and healing properties. The Goodmen’s mineral water belongs to the group of chloride calcium-sodium waters which give the water many salutary advantages. The temperature of the water is 13°C.


Goodmen’s Mineral Water

Earliest known use:


Hottest Spring:


Chemical Elements:

Goodmen’s mineral water belongs to the group of chloride calcium-sodium

Cultural Heritage

More than water

Pärnu Mud Baths


The neoclassicist building of the Mud Baths is one of the most important symbols of the Pärnu resort. The building was designed by Olev Siinmaa and the Baltic German designers Erich von Wolffeldt and Aleksander Nürnberg; it was constructed in 1926-1927 in place of a bathing house that burned down in World War I. The history of the Pärnu Mud Baths can be traced back to 1838, then the bathing house by the sea offered warm sea baths in the summer and hot sauna in the winter. In the Soviet era, the Mud Baths started to serve the working people’s health; after Estonia regained its independence, it was left deserted and lost its function. In 2014, a cosy boutique spa (probably the best in Estonia) was opened in the historic mud baths building.

Pärnu Beach Hotel


Pärnu became a fashionable resort town after the completion of the grandiose Beach Hotel in 1937. This building is a brilliant example of modern holiday resort architecture. Drawing upon the ideas of the architecture competition, held in 1934, Olev Siinmaa and Anton Soans drew up the final project. The building, located in the Beach park, is elegant and presentable from all sides. The balconied seaside facade is open to the sun and the sea and the inland facade is enclosed, with its narrow strip windows in the passageways. An appropriate allusion to a ship, heading for the sea, is accomplished by the rounded finish given to the central part of the building. The south annex was completed in 1938.
Pärnu Beach Park

The green areas, boulevards and shady parks are an integral part of Pärnu as a resort town. The Beach Park was established in 1882 and was declared a nature protection zone due to is wide variety of plant species. The park is located right beside the beach and is a popular place for a walk or just to relax.

Since the summer of 2010, the traditional park area has been divided into different zones by themes and usage: main square, art square, party games and peace square. The park area adjacent to the sea has a modern and safe playground for children. A fitness trail passes through the park, and there are plenty of places to have a picnic.

Spas & Treatments

Facts & Figures

Estonia’s Declaration of Independence was first openly read out to the people in Pärnu City in 1918. Pärnu City has been nominated as the Estonian Summer Capital since 1996. Lonely Planet chose Pärnu to be in the Top 10 lesser-known beach cities to visit in 2018.


Number of inhabitants of the basic unit are 51 272


Area (km2) of the basic unit is 33,15 km2


Altitude (m.a.s.l.) is 9 metres


Number of beds are 5187