Green Pärnu – good to relax
Parks inviting you to walk, elegant architecture, and a rich calendar of events have made Pärnu one of Europe’s most versatile destinations.
Tourism has been putting bread on the table of the people of Pärnu since 1838, when the first bathing establishment founded in the city of Pärnu, aspiring to become the representative resort of Tsarist Russia, began to host travellers from all over the world.
Although beach holidays and spa treatments are an inherent part of the resort town, the city of Pärnu is not just a holiday mecca, but also a great place for one to call home.
The advantages of Pärnu as a living environment and as a travel destination have not gone unnoticed by the general public – recently, the international sustainable tourism organisation Green Destinations selected Pärnu as one of the 100 most sustainable destinations in the world.
Forest green Pärnu
Pärnu really is a very green city – as much as a fifth of the city’s area is taken up by various green spaces: wooded areas, alleys, and parks with indigenous trees and gardens.
The sea, the rivers, the beaches, the promenades, and the abundance of parks and wooded areas make Pärnu a place of varied nature, unlike any other in Estonia.
- In 2021, the European Union of Protected Areas (EUPA) awarded the Matsalu and Soomaa national parks a high-quality label in recognition of the sustainable development of nature tourism in the areas
- In 2020 and 2021, Pärnu was selected as one of the world’s top sustainable destinations by Green Destinations, an organisation promoting sustainable tourism
- In 2020, Pärnu won the award for the most sustainable tourism destination in the Baltic Sea
- The Europarc Federation quality label for sustainable tourism has been awarded to both Matsalu (2015, 2020) and Soomaa (2020) national parks
- In 2019, Pärnu was selected as the best wellness and health tourism destination in Estonia at the European Destinations of Excellence competition
- In 2018, Lonely Planet ranked Pärnu in the top ten of little-known coastal cities to visit
- In 2009, Soomaa National Park in Pärnu, part of the pan-European Network of Protected Areas, won first place in Estonia’s undiscovered treasures competition
- The island of Kihnu in Pärnu County, together with the Kihnu cultural area, is entered on UNESCO’s World List of Oral and Intangible Heritage
Green Key label
Together with its participation in the Green Destinations project, Pärnu has started to encourage the wider use of the Green Key label in the destination. It is an international eco-label that recognises a company for operating in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.
Currently, the eco-label is possessed by the following companies (2023/01):
- On the beachfront promenade, the historic Mudaravila building has been revived and modernised by Hedon SPA & Hotel, both restaurants in Hedon also have the Green Key: Akord and Raimond.
- The private Rosenplänter Boutique Hotel, housed in a more than 300-year-old historic building.
- Pastoraat Cafe in the heart of Pärnu.
- Villa Wesset hotel and restaurant, named after Elias Wesset, the best-known confectioner of the time.
- The Voosemetsa tourist farm is located on the edge of the original pine forest.
- Pärnu Hotel and hotel restaurant in the center of Pärnu.
- Pivarootsi Windmill Holiday Village
offers active activities and accommodation.
Meadow green Pärnu
In the districts of the City Centre, Mai, Raeküla, and Vana-Pärnu, there is a 375-hectare Pärnu coastal nature reserve with about 250 hectares of semi-natural communities in need of maintenance, mostly coastal meadows, which are maintained by the Highland cattle from spring to autumn.
With the help of urban cows, the species richness, uniqueness, and beauty of the rare coastal meadow is preserved. In order to better inform locals and visitors of the flora and fauna of the protected area, and to provide them with the opportunity to see them up close, the meadow has been made accessible to visitors (the birdwatching towers at the beaches of Mai and Raeküla; information stands; the hiking trail with a viewing platform near SPA Tervise Paradiis, etc.).
In recent summers, the Blue Flag has flown on Pärnu beach.
The Blue Flag is an internationally renowned eco-label showing that a bathing area is managed in an environmentally friendly way, the bathing water is clean, and its surroundings are also clean and safe.
There are information stands on Pärnu beach with beach use requirements, information about nearby protected areas, and information about the Blue Flag movement.
There are also three eco-friendly water towers with clean drinking water on Pärnu beach, from which everyone can fill up their drinking water bottles.
Sea green Pärnu
Although the lungs of the city are a priceless (natural) asset, the jewel of Pärnu – no matter how you look at it – is the white sandy beach and the sea. The sea is the main attraction that draws people there from all over the world.
The development of the coastal area is currently a priority for the city of Pärnu. So far, it has completed the beach promenade, a wide network of light traffic routes, a reconstructed Beach Park, a new project of urban cows, etc.
The attractiveness of the beach and easy accessibility speak of an environmentally friendly lifestyle and create a good visual identity for the area, believe the people of Pärnu.
Bicycle green Pärnu
The beautiful nature of Pärnu is worth exploring by bike or on foot. Every year new light traffic routes are reconstructed and established in Pärnu. Currently, there are already more than 70 kilometres of them.
In spring 2018, three bicycle counters were set up across the city to collect statistics on cyclists. According to the counter, an average of 895 people use a bicycle on a daily basis, and the number of cyclists is growing.