Around Parnu

There are quite a few worthwhile things to see in the area around Pärnu, everything from spectacular nature sites to historically interesting villages. Getting around is easiest by car. If you don’t have your own set of wheels.

Häädemeeste coast
Dotted with tiny villages and beaches, the coastline between Pärnu and the Latvian border was a popular resort area during Soviet times and is still a perfect place to find solitude and to see small-town Estonian life first-hand. The easiest way to travel the coast road is by car, but any of the seven daily Ikla-bound buses will get you there too. For a information about the area, contact the Lepanina Hotel, tel. 446 50 24.

Häädemeeste A teeming population of 900 and an inexplicably-high number of food shops makes Häädemeeste
the biggest town on the coast. Its main feature is the photogenic, stone St. Michael’s Church, which, when
built in 1874 under the supervision of architect Mathhias von Holst, became the focal point of the area’s Lutheran congregation. The Orthodox Church dating back to 1872 is worth a photo as well. Häädemeeste also sports a café and a tiny museum displaying a small collection of national costumes and an exhibit on local history. It’s open only by arrangement.

Kabli Stretched along 2km of coast road, Kabli lacks any real centre, but makes up for it with its sandy beaches. The north end of the town is home to a bird-watching tower, the Kabli Linnujaam, where twitchers flock each autumn to see watch rare species migrate. Another kilometre past the café is the Kapten Reeder Jakop Marksoni House Museum (tel. 449 84 42), a house that has remained miraculously
unchanged since Captain Markson had it built in 1889. Nowadays a member of the fourth generation will
guide you through her house and show you the museum out the back that displays such items as old maps, butter churns, and the hostess’ own hand-made dolls.

Where to Stay in Häädemeeste
Doberan Beach House Valgeranna, Audru district, tel. (+372) 444 03 58/(+372) 525 73 69,, Just as the name implies, this guesthouse is right on the beach. There’s a
large seaside deck and an indoor bar area.
9 rooms (doubles 600 – 900kr, triples 700 – 1000kr, quads 1000kr). Extra bed 100kr, caravan 200-250kr, tent 50kr.

The nearby island of Kihnu offers a glimpse of a side of Estonian life that you could never see on the mainland. Most islanders boast a fairly mixed heritage, with Swedish and Livonian as well as Estonian roots. The Swedish influence can still be heard in the distinctive island accent. The island’s women are known
for continuing to wear the traditional striped woollen skirts that their mothers, grandmothers and great grandmothers wore.

What to do when you get there
On the island you’ll find the Kihnu Museum, located in a 19th-century schoolhouse, a 16th-century church, and the cemetery where the island’s legendary hero, Kihnu Jőnn is buried. At the southern tip of the island stands a lighthouse built in 1864. Contact the travel agency Kihnurand, tel. 525 51 72, 446 99 24, for information about camping, farmstays and tours on Kihnu.

Getting There
A ferry runs directly from Pärnu to Kihnu (See the Getting around section) but you can also opt for the one at Munalaid Harbour, tel. 447 44 43, 50km outside of Pärnu. Munalaid itself is easily reachable by buses from Pärnu, theoretically timed to meet the ferries. During the winter months you can also get there by plane and the price is reasonable. Contact Avies, tel. 605 80 22,

Where to stay on Kihnu
Rock City Guesthouse Sääre village, Kihnu island, tel. (+372) 53 40 24 08/(+372) 446 99 56, rockcity@kihnu.
This inn/tavern represents some of the only overnight accommodation on the island. They’ll also arrange for bicycle rental, which you’ll need on the island, and guide services. Operates from June through August and requires booking ahead of time. Q9 rooms (doubles 500kr, triples 750kr).
Extra bed 175kr, tent 50kr/person.

Soomaa National park
In Estonian, Soomaa means Land of Bogs, which is exactly what you’ll find in this huge national wetlands park about an hour’s drive from Pärnu. Your main peat bogs mingled with rivers and forests make up a lush playground for wolves, brown bears and flying squirrels, as well as some rare bird species.Your first stop should be the Visitor’s Centre in Tõramaa (tel. 435 71 64, soomaa.,, where you can get trail maps to guide you through the bogs and meadows.
Day hiking is popular, but most locals will tell you that the best way to explore the park is by canoe. For that, see listing (p.29).

Only about 6km from Pärnu, Valgerand (White Beach) offers a quieter way to enjoy the forests and the shore. There aren’t a whole lot of ameneties right on the beach. but that’s sort of the point. just pack a picnic lunch, a few refreshing drinks and enjoy. It’s also home to the area’s 18-hole golf course.

Adventure sports
Lustipark Paide mnt 4a, tel. (+372) 55 57 57 91,,
All sorts of wet and wild fun can be had at the ‘Lust Park’. Although nudity is encouraged while indulging in the floating sauna and the fact that something called a ‘banana ride’ is on offer, the owners insist
that it’s not a swinger’s club. Regardless of the kind of ‘watersports’ you’re into, Lust will certainly leave you satisfied. See website for complete range of activities and prices.

Riisa Rantšo tel. (+372) 56 69 42 70,,
Welcome to the swamp! Not to be confused with the Ranna Rantšo place located closer to Haapsalu, this outfit at the edge of a bog in Soomaa Park, offers a load of nature activities and accommodations
for the city slicker. There are also a few sauna options, bicycle rentals and camping opportunities. If you’d rather take a trip down the river in a canoe, that can be arranged too.

Seikle Vabaks E-3, Mihkli 10, tel. (+372) 56 50 05 50,,
The folks over at the Seikle Vabaks are prepared to offer you the adventure of a lifetime. They’ll combine many adventurous activities with hiking in the wilderness and turn it into a suitable package for you and the gang. There are loads of wicked things to do such as bogwalking, snowshoeing (when there’s snow), kicksledding, sea kayaking and some nifty GPS games. Packages, including a tour guide, planned route, equipment and a small meal, start from 250 kr per person. Jõesuu village, 30km from Pärnu, tel. (+372) 506 18 96,, www.soomaa.
A launching point for a slew of adventurous, and even weird ways to experience the Soomaa National Park. Here you can see how ancient dug-out canoes were made, go on guided hikes, arrange horse carriage trips, and of course take various canoe tours ranging from half-day excursions to two-day affairs with overnight camping. You can even float down-river in a sauna built on a raft. Call ahead to reserve and see website for full list of activities and services.

Audru Golf & Country Club Jõõpre, Audru district, tel.(+372) 505 98 68,, www.audrugolf.
A 9-hole ‘pay-and-play’ course with a tiny clubhouse about 8km from Pärnu. There are also practice areas for
putting, chipping and driving. They also offer a unique oldfashioned golfing experience using restored antique golf clubs. You’ll need a green card though and the rental of these clubs is 300kr. One day green-fee costs 200-250kr equipment rental is extra.
Open 10:00 – 18:30.

White Beach Golf Valgeranna village, Audru district, tel. (+372) 444 34 53/(+372) 510 49 17, golf@andropoff.
The new 18-hole course connected to the Villa Andropoff resort rivals the Baltics’ best. Playing the course requires a green card and costs 510 – 570kr. The 9-hole course costs 300-350kr and is open to everyone. See website for additional prices and details.
Open 09:00 – 19:00.

Horseback riding
Maria Equestrian Centre Kõpu village, Tõstamaa district, tel. (+327) 523 60 66/(+372) 447 45 58,,
Offering everything from horseback riding to something called a ‘Girlfriends Package’, the Maria Horse Farm is the perfect escape from the modern world. They even have various sauna experiences for those who want to have a stranger in a funny hat beat them with twigs in the 100c heat and afterwards take a naked dip
among the lily pads. Tractor packages are also available – for those who want to ride a tractor… perhaps even postsauna.
See website for the full range of activities, prices and packages available.

Sassi Horse Farm Kabriste village, Audru district, tel. (+372) 56 46 73 01/(+372) 447 45 32, Riding@,
Though it’s home to teams of cats, dogs, ducks and other animals, Sassi Horse Farm cheifly exists as a heaven for horse-lovers. The farm offers both week-long and weekend riding and accommodation
packages in a picturesque area near the sea. Guests stay either in one of the two modern detached houses, or in one of four small, rustic cabins. If the idea of viewing rare birds gets your feathers excited, they now have a bird-watching tower on the premises. Hourly riding lessons are also available for 250kr/hr. Q19 rooms (doubles 650kr). Extra bed 150kr.
House for 4 to 8 people 1200kr. Cabins starting from 200kr/person, tent 50kr +each person 50kr.

Tori Stud Pärnu mnt. 13, Tori district, Pärnu county, tel.(+372) 503 18 92/(+372) 446 60 80, info@torihobune.
The Tori Stud farm has a long and successful history of breeding and training prize horses. Visitors to the farm can participate in riding lessons, trail riding, tours and a wide variety of other horse related outdoor
activities. They also have group packages available and two different riding camps in the summer for the kids.