Ultimate guide to Parnu, Estonia Seaside Summer Paradise
Parnu is truly a hidden gem in the Baltic. During the warmer season it gets extremely busy. I fell head over heels with this little coastal town and I will tell you everything you need to know for you to have a fantastic time there.
Having visited so many beach cities in the world, I really did not expect to fall so hard for this tiny sleepy town. Sure do not expect some Miami beach grandiosity. But what Parnu lacks in glitz, it definitely makes up for with its unique charm.
Another reason why you’ll get smitten by Parnu is the people. Estonians are very reserved but in Parnu, you will find the people are much warmer and have the typical laid back seaside attitude
Where is Parnu?
Ok so I keep going on about Parnu. But you might be asking where the hell is Parnu even located and how does one get there?
I ‘ve already hinted at it and yes, Parnu is a very popular beach town in Estonia. Most people haven’t even heard of this beautiful Baltic country. You will find Estonia in Norther Europe by the Baltic sea. It is right across Finland.
On this note, I totally recommend exploring the Baltics. It is is such a beautiful part of the world and still feels untouched by mass tourism.
People are authentic there and just like me, you will most likely fall in love with the area.
How to Get there?
Luckily for all of us, the Balkans is really starting to be well connected with the rest of the world. Remember the days where flying was such an expensive affair, only reserved for the rich and famous?
There are so many airlines flying there nowadays. Yes, you have the usual full fledged airlines such as Lufthansa but you also have so many budget options like Air Baltics, WizzAir and Ryanair.
Parnu is a very small town and does not have its own airport. You will most likely end up flying into a major town nearby such as Tallinn or Riga in Latvia.
Then you can even catch a bus directly from the airport to Parnu or renting a car. The bus from Tallinn to Parnu is under 3 hours whereas the bus from Riga is less than 2 hours.
I have done both route and I must say they were both very pleasant. A very nice drive along the beautiful countryside.
Best things to do in Parnu
For such a sleepy town, Parnu packs a lot. I have a full article going into details.
I spent a considerable amount of time there and every time I thought I’ve seen everything, I just kept discovering more. That’s another reason why slow travel is so amazing. It’s like the gift that keeps on giving.
Right off the bat, I will tell you that there is a beautiful old town to wander about. You can also time your visit with the many festivals such as the electronic music festival Grind or the oyster and wine festival.
How about some time in a beautiful spa whilst simultaneously sipping some champagne?
Of course, we can’t forget some beach volleyball or other water sports.
Like I said, you don’t want to miss out on all the stuff you could add to your magical Parnu itinerary.
What & Where to eat in Parnu
I love food and I’m the type to easily plan my itinerary around it. All this to say that I can’t possibly be the only one like that. So let’s talk about food for a little bit.
When in Estonia, you will quickly notice the typical Eastern European suspects of Pork and potatoes. There is so much more. There are quite a few honorable mention. I’ve had the chance to sample a few restaurants and wrote an entire food guide for Parnu.
That said, one place that I kept going back to over and over again and constantly dream about is Vehverments Bar & Tostadas. Hands down, one of the best meals I’ve had in Parnu.
I know what you’re thinking about!
The name sounds a bit of a Latin and why would one travel to the Baltic and eat there.
Trust me! I am always looking for authentic restaurant showcasing the local cuisine and I do believe that they’ve done and amazing job using the local fresh ingredients along with a creative menu.
Where to Stay in Parnu
You can choose to stay in a hotel or rent an apartment. Whatever you do, don’t wait last minute.
Parnu is on the smaller side and there is limited housing options. During summer, it is a very popular destination for Estonians, Finns, Russians and residents from other neighboring countries to come and get some sun and enjoy the sea.
The fact that it is easily drivable for them make it even more inticing.
Is Parnu expensive?
I would say that compared to the places like Paris, Parnu is ok. However, people did tell me that cost of living has drastically increased in recent years.
On a touristic point of view, I would say the prices are average. Obviously bear in mind that summer only last a few months and the high season is in full swing.
How many days should you stay in Parnu
I always like to go for as long as possible in the same city in order to get a good feel. Parnu is the type of place where you could lounge around, go with the flow.
That said, I understand that most people are on a tight schedule. A weekend to three days will be plenty of time for you to enjoy the place at a good pace.
When to Go to Parnu
We’re talking about the Baltics here, so the best month to vacation for maximum sun and heat would be June, July, and August.
Even then, do not expect tropical level of heat. It gets comfortable and hot enough for you to walk around with a shirt on. At night when the temperature drops, a sweater is recommended.
Is it worth Going?
Of course it’s worth going.
My friends are already all tired of hearing me rave about this region of the world.
And here is the kicker, before traveling to Parnu, it was so hard for me to find relevant information on google about it. All the articles seem to have been from two decades ago.
Which ended up being so much fun for me in a way. I had to go for a sports retreat and decided to try my best to cover the town so I could come back and write the most comprehensive guide on the town.
All this to say, that if you love small underrated beach towns, you will definitely fall in love with Parnu, just like I did.
Internet in Parnu
Ok let’s talk about the big elephant in the room.
We are currently living in a different era. Long are the days where we did not care about staying connected. Today’s reality is that so many of us work online or remotely. Thus, we always want to know about the quality of the internet when we’re heading to a lesser known place.
I’m very happy to report that the internet speed and quality was exactly like I am used to back home. Just make sure that your rental has WIFI to begin with.
While perusing for an apartment to rent, I noticed that many of them were still quite old and did not offer any WIFI. Luckily I believe this is also rapidly changing as more and more hosts are realizing the importance of the internet.
What to Pack
This can be a bit confusing because whilst Parnu is a sea town, it is still not your typical tropical weather. So yes, you definitely want to bring your swimsuits and bikinis. That said, also make sure to bring things like sweater, light summer scarves, a jacket.
It would be useful to pack something to wear for rainy times. Parnu isn’t London but it’s highly possible to experience some rain. It rained one days out of the entire week I was there and we’re talking very intense showers.
Worst case, you could hit the local thrift shop Humana, like I did and scored a rain poncho for 1 euro.
How to get around Parnu
One of my favorite things about Parnu is that it is a small walkable town. If you love walking, there is no need to worry about anything.
Bolt is also widely used as the local taxi service. I’ve used the service extensively whilst there, extremely cheap and reliable.
Let’s talk about Parnu Beach
I like to believe that I am somewhat of a beach connoisseur, going as far as admitting to being somewhat of a beach snobs.
The first thing that will strike you is how shallow the main beach is. You will have to walk for a while before getting to the deep end.
On the brighter side, because it was so shallow, allowed for the water not to be freezing and warm up a bit during summer.
Best Instagram Photo Spots in Parnu
Hate it or love it, we all love to get some great travel pictures. And Parnu is jam packed with cute spots to get amazing photography.
The old town alone is a photographer’s paradise for beautiful pictures.
Also keep your eyes peeled for those amazing photo spots
Reasons why You Should Go to PArnu
If this guide hasn’t hyped you enough to check out Parnu, I don’t know what else will. Perhaps, you can check out my quick and short video of Parnu highlights.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, well a video must be worth a million words.
Parnu Insider Tips: Be a savvy traveler
- If you’re planning to take a bus connection in and out of Parnu, do purchase your ticket online ahead of time. I made the mistake of just showing up to the bus station on the morning of and had to wait 6 hours to find the next empty spot.
- Do not wait last minute to secure your Parnu accommodation, unless money isn’t an issue than you will easily find a room at one of the many 5 star seaside resort
- If you don’t feel like splurging on fancy dining, head to the local Rimi grocery store for the tastiest salad bars and freshly cooked meals using local ingredients. Whilst I love fine dining, I was also totally addicted to Rimi’s cheap and cheerful cheesy baked potatoes and pork ribs.
- Do get lost and walk around town. It will help you see the city’s charm. Watch out! You might fall in love with the city and already start planning a future trip.
- You can pick up a local sim card for internet at the bus station when you arrive. They also sell them pretty much anywhere. Might be handy, in case you’re stuck with a rental without WIFI.
- If you only check out one restaurant, do eat at Vehverments Bar & Tostadas. The funky wall papers are a reason enough to visit.
- If you need to pack light, you can hit the thrift shop Humana for things like sweaters and rain coats.
- Don’t skip the spa, it was one of my favorite Parnu activity, even better, save it for a rainy day
To Wrap it up
I truly hope that you will find this Parnu guide helpful. This blog features a whole section on Estonia and Parnu to help you make the most of your vacation in this beautiful gem of a town.
Most importantly, I hope that you fall in love with this little charming city head over heels, the same way I did.