Baltic Coastal Hiking trail - Pärnu

Pärnu town and fishing villages

The littoral of Pärnu Bay
Ikla – Virtsu: 228 km
In many places, reeds, floodplains with pastures and wetlands stretch across the Estonian seacoast, which is why the itinerary often leads you along forest and country roads. In the second half of summer, coastal forests are rich with mushrooms and berries. Small fishing villages are located one after another throughout the seashore of Pärnu Bay. Near Pärnu, where the Pärnu River flows into the bay, the sea is shallow and it bathes a sandy beach. Pärnu is a popular resort city with many cafés, live music, SPAs, hotels and a beautiful Old Town. After Pärnu, you will reach Valgeranna, which is a well-known rest and swimming area with beautiful coastal forests and dunes. Further there are floodplains, so the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route goes along small country roads. From Munalaid Harbor, you can be take a small ship to Kihnu Island whose cultural heritage has been given UNESCO status. Here, locals wear national costumes and one of the favourite transport means for the women of the island is a motorcycle with a side-car.

2 J Smalinskis

ESection 31. Ikla - Kabli.

Along the Paths of the Historic Resort

Ikla is the start of the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route in Estonia. In the section connecting Ikla and Treimani, the route leads you along the old Pärnu–Riga road as meadows and reeds stretch across the seashore. After passing Treimani, the trail turns towards the sea and the next 2,8 km are covered across a narrow, sandy or rocky and occasionally thickly overgrown beach. After bypassing the Orajõe Brook, next to the parking lot the trail returns to the beach followed by a hike of ~ 4 km to Hotel Lepanina. There you will have to return to the old Pärnu–Riga road leading you to Kabli. Several good birdwatching sites are located on the itinerary. The coastal area up to Pärnu is a popular relaxation and swimming area.

2 Jagupi hoiuala J Smalinskis

ESection 32. Kabli - Häädemeeste.

Birds, Dunes and Forests

This itinerary is particularly recommended for birdwatchers. To cover the section of the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route connecting Kabli and the South of Häädemeeste, you will have to take the old Pärnu–Riga road because reedy meadows and lagoons stretch across the seashore. Before reaching Häädemeeste, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route branches off from the road and meanders through Jaagupi Nature reserve (going around the east side of the village) running up the backs of high dunes and scooting down to the deep troughs between the dunes covered with a sparse pine forest. Here you will find good places for picking berries and mushrooms.

4 J Smalinskis

HSection 33. Häädemeeste - Uulu.

Through Forests and Bogs

This section of the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route is suitable to hardy hikers who like to travel across uninhabited places. The itinerary leads you through Luitemaa Nature reserve with beautiful conifer forests and inland dunes covered with white carpets of reindeer lichen. In the summer and autumn, you will find suitable places for observing birds and animals, as well as picking mushrooms and berries. The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route winds along the west edge of Maarjapeakse Bog and after running through a mosaic of forests and clearings it leads you to Lepaküla and Uulu villages.

34 Parnu Mati Kose

MSection 34. Uulu - Pärnu.

Along the Wetlands to Pärnu

First, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route takes the old coastal roads surrounded by pine forests, but after passing Lottemaa Park it turns towards the sea and comes out at Reiu beach. Next, the hike continues across an overgrown beach (wide shoals when the winds create an outflow of water) and after a little less than 4 km you have to turn inland, cross a golf course and turn in the direction of Pärnu. Near the Raeküla district, it snakes along a small trail forming the border between the large coastal wetland and the forest. Having looped around the wetland for ~ 6 km, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route emerges at Pärnu beach. Further on, the road goes through the western part of Pärnu Old Town, crosses the Pärnu River and the Sauga River and ends in the Vana-Pärnu district.

7 Kapteini talu J Smalinskis

MSection 35. Pärnu - Liu.

The Most Beautiful Views of Pärnu Bay and Smoked Fish

The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route meanders on the outskirts of the west of Pärnu, crosses the Audru River and turns towards Valgeranna, the southern side of which is surrounded by a thick forest and a white sandy beach, while to the north you will find a golf course. After passing Valgeranna, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route advances between the polders across the northern part of Pärnu Bay. From the Audru polders you will see the most spectacular views of Pärnu Bay. After Audru reeds, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route turns south and leads through coastal fishing villages with small ports and berths. Here you can see the daily life of fishermen and if you are lucky, then also taste smoked fish.

3 J Smalinskis

MSection 36. Liu - Munalaid.

Bays, islands and birds

The itinerary is suitable for birdwatching. The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route takes roads and trails because coastal meadows, reeds, shallow and overgrown coves cover the seashore. After passing Liu Port, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route changes its direction several times as the coastline is rugged and difficult to access, so the itinerary must be adapted. The best sightseeing and birdwatching areas are located near Kavaru village, in the surroundings of the Port of Peerni and near Munalaid Harbour where you can see panoramic views of Pärnu Bay and Kihnu Strait with their islands (Sorgu saar, Manilaid, Kihnu) and coastal meadows with cattle grazing there.

1 Munalaid sadam J Smalinskis

ESection 37. Munalaid - Tõstamaa.

Pastures, Forests and Coastal Meadows

Wetlands stretch across this section of the seacoast, so the sea is only accessible in a few places. Starting from Munalaid Harbour, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route winds through Lao village and continues along the roadside up to Tõstamaa. The first exit to the sea is to the south of Seliste, the second one is near the Port of Värati (on the way to Värati there are beautiful coastal meadow landscapes with cattle), while the third one is located in Suti village.

8 J Smalinskis

MSection 38. Tõstamaa - Matsi.

Pastoral Idyll of Estonia

In this section of the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route, you will see a traditional rural landscape. The littoral is notched by shallow coves, peninsulas and capes surrounded by coastal meadows, reeds, shallow lagoons, marshes, as well as hard to access islands. When walking along the small country roads, overhung by red rowans in autumn, you can see ethnographic-like individual farmsteads and farms with cows and goats. The landscapes of farmsteads interchange with the remains of rock fences, farmland and juniper forests. Access to the sea and rest areas are located south of Ranniku and near Kastna village.

3 Matsi rand J Smalinskis

ESection 39. Matsi - Varbla.

Beaches and Forests

Matsi beach is one of the rare sandy beaches in the subsequent section of the trail leading to Haapsalu. The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route takes you on a small stroll through Kulli village and for the next 5 km leads you along small trails surrounded by wide forests and dunes. In autumn, their surroundings are rich in berries and mushrooms. After bypassing Uue-Varbla Manor, the trail reaches Varbla village.

3 J Smalinskis

MSection 40. Varbla - Pivarootsi.

Coastal Manors

The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route goes along coastal roads, yet the sea is only visible in two places as its shore is dappled with shallow coves, small islets, damp coastal meadows, reeds, lagoons, bogs and lakes that have separated from the sea. In the surroundings of Varbla-Allika, you will see farmland scenery, while the Allika-Tamba section mostly goes through beautiful forests. After bypassing the Paatsalu and Illuste Manors, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route continues on a road crossing wetlands in Nehatu Nature reserve and near Muriste village it meanders along a road, on the side of which there is an impressive rock fence. Before reaching Pivarootsi Manor, vast pastures and a view of the bay appear in sight.

3 Dzelzcelja linija J Smalinskis

ESection 41. Pivarootsi - Virtsu.

The Gate to the Estonian Islands

In this section, an ~ 3,7 km stretch of the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route goes along the former Virtsu-Rapla narrow-gauge railway. The most fascinating place in this section is the Puhtulaiu Peninsula: it is an island that has nowadays merged with the continent. It is covered by a broad-leaved forest with interesting plant and mushroom species, giant trees and memorial sites in honour of important people. Ferries go from the Port of Virtsu to Muhu Island which is connected to Saaremaa Island via a dam.