- Duration: 2.5 hours tour
- Activity level: easy (bus and walking)
This bus tour begins at the port and at first takes you to discover the beach area. Pärnu has long been famous as a resort town, a good geographical location and sandy beach opening to the south are key factors in the development of the resort which goes back to 1838 when first spa treatments with heated sea water were offered.
The tour takes in historic buildings on the beach, 1930s functionalist style buildings, modern spa hotels and handsome parks. A short stopover on the beach for taking in views is included.
The bus tour continues in the centre where Kuninga street is lined with pretty 17th century merchant homes and two churches can be seen: Apostolic Orthodox Transformation of Our Lord Church, built in the old Russian style, and St. Elizabeth’s Church, one of the most distinguished sacral buildings of the Baroque era in Estonia. The latter is famed for its wonderful organs and many concerts.
The tour will then continue in Vana-Pärnu residential area across the river Pärnu, where the town was originally founded in the 13th century. Pretty detached houses of the area, views of the river and port and insights into local life will be included.
The tour then continues to the countryside and the small town of Audru. Here there is one of the few surviving 17th century country churches which was erected under the patronage of Count Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie (he also supported the establishment of another 37 churches in Sweden). The former manorial estate complex still has 14 buildings (all listed) which mostly date from the 19th century, unfortunately the mansion was destroyed in World War II.
The town has a beautiful park set on the river Audru with 4 bridges spanning it. From Audru a road along the first polder in Estonia takes us to Valgerand beach. The polder was created in 1938 to protect against flooding. Today it is a major stopover site for migrating waterfowl and an internationally important Natura 2000 habitat.
Valgerand (white beach) is a popular holiday spot which also features an 18-hole golf course. A secret holiday house for Soviet ministers is also located near the beach which once featured a private cinema and a sauna complex. Currently famous as Villa Andropoff, the tour stops for a coffee break* in its imposing main building with red-brick vaulted ceilings. A short walk on the beach weather permitting (100 m) is also included. The tour then returns to Pärnu.
*There is a ten step stairway to the cafe in Villa Andropoff. Coffee break includes: tea/coffee, cake, water.
- 00:00 departure from the port
- 00:05 bus tour in the beach area
- 00:40 bus tour in the town centre
- 00:55 bus tour in Vana-Pärnu residential area
- 01:30 bus tour to Audru and Valgerand
- 01:45 coffee break in Villa Andropoff and a walk on the beach (weather permitting). WC available
- 02:15 return trip to Pärnu
- 02:30 back at the port
Length of journey: ca 50 km
- coach transport
- guide services