Parnu

Trip Start Jun 26, 2007
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Flag of Estonia  ,
Monday, August 27, 2007

Parnu is located on the main road between Tallinn and Riga on the south-west coast of Estonia. From the lonely planet description of Parnu it sounds very much like my local town Bournemouth in Dorset, England with its golden-sand beaches, the lush sprawling parks, a town popular with the youths and its nightclubs and is also a popular health resort for older visitors.
 
So let test this theory out, which is better my local English beach resort of Bournemouth or the Estonian beach resort of Parnu.  
 
I arrived in Parnu on the same day as the August bank holiday in England, so I wasn't surprised to find the weather at this beach resort was wet and miserable. Just like those nostalgic bank holidays in England. (draw, 0-0)
  
There isn't too many things to dos in Parnu, when its rains other than get wet strolling around the towns colourful houses, the grassy parks and their random statues. If you want to get out the rain you can visit the cinema or the local mud baths but unfortunately I never tried this. Still that a few more things that Bournemouth has to offer unless you want a ride on a hot air balloon. (1-0 Parnu)  

'Mudaravila' - Parnu mud baths, Parnu, Estonia
One of Parnu's mud baths can be found inside this beach side building

The golden-sand beaches between the two resorts is very similar but the Bournemouth beach is larger. The beaches in Parnu are segregated into male, female and mixed beaches. Me and Peter found this out the pervy way after a naked lady walked out of the Baltic sea. Whoops!!! We're on the woman's beach. Unfortunately this middle aged lady wasn't attractive so (1-1).

Parnu beach, Parnu, Estonia
A deserted beach in Parnu

When we arrived in Parnu, my traveling buddy was suffering from MacDonald's withdrawal symptoms but despite our best effects searching we couldn't find those famous yellow arches. So off we went to try the local cuisine. For lunch I had a sandwich and a slice of cake in the cafe around the corner from the tourist information for less than 60p. Might have gone for a proper meal but nothing is translated around here. In the evening we stop at another cafe 'Georg' where I picked a random meal from the Estonian menu and ended up with chicken, chips and salad for 2 (45 EEKs). Still you can't beat the English Fish & Chips however for not having a MacDonald's and the cheap prices its (2-1 Parnu).

Final category, Accommodation. After parting company with Peter I headed off to the river to the nearby Konse campsite which was an ideal distance (1km) from the bus station. A cozy campsite (60 EEKs for the tent and 60 EEKs per person) however it was a tad lonely being the only tent in a site predominated by Finnish camper-vans but a quiet night in makes a nice change from the busy Tallinn dorms. Since Bournemouth doesn't have a campsite in the town (3-1 Parnu).

Lonely tent at Konse campsite, Parnu, Estonia
A lonely tent at Konse campsite

Summary 

Parnu is much more backpacker friendly than my home beach resort of Bournemouth. But 2 days maximum here is long enough, unless you are lucky enough to catch some good weather.

P.S. Don't try using Parnu as a base to explore the nearby Soomaa National Parks as there are only 3 buses. The first is ridiculously early and the the two later ones will only leave you stranded at the National Park as there is no late bus back.   
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Comments

Neil B on

I was interested in reading your post as I too live in Bournemouth (well Penn Hill Poole actually) and my wife is Estonian. We have family in Parnu and visit Estonia's summer capital every summer. Unfortunately you took the weather with you. It really is a great place to visit when the sun shines. The beach is normally packed. It's a very chilled place and great for grabbing a cooling drink and people watching.

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