PÄRNU, Estonia’s main seaside resort, comes into its own in summer, when it fills up with locals and tourists, and hosts daily cultural and musical events.
Rüütli, cutting east–west through the centre, is the Old Town’s main pedestrianized thoroughfare, lined with shops and a mix of seventeenth- to twentieth-century buildings, while parallel Kuninga boasts the largest concentration of restaurants. The entertaining Pärnu Museum is at Rüütli 53 (Tues–Sun 10am–6pm; €4, students €3), tracing local history from 9000 BC to World War II; ask for the information sheet in English. The oldest building in town is the Red Tower (Punane Torn; Tues–Sun 10am–5pm; free), a fifteenth-century remnant of the medieval city walls at Hommiku 11, a block north from Rüütli.
Follow Nikolai south from the centre and you’ll reach the Kunsti Museum (daily: June–Aug 9am–9pm; Sept–May 9am–7pm; €3), set in the former Communist Party HQ at Esplanaadi 10. It holds excellent temporary exhibitions of contemporary art. South of here Nikolai joins Supeluse, which leads to the beach, passing beneath the trees of the shady Rannapark. Just beyond the sand dunes lies Pärnu’s main attraction: the wide, clean sandy beach, lined with see-saws, changing booths and volleyball nets.