Pärnu Seawall – Pärnu, Estonia - Atlas Obscura
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Pärnu, Estonia

Pärnu Seawall

Legend says lovers who hold hands while venturing along this stone jetty and kiss at the end will remain together forever. 

This promenade of piled up boulders stretches over a mile from the swampy marshlands into the sea, giving walkers great views of the Baltic coastline. At its start, it looks like a great rocky road to the horizon.

The stone wall, which was built between 1863 and 1864, sits atop the remains of a 17th-century seawall. The original wall was constructed under the orders of Catherine the Great of Russia, who inherited control of the southern Estonian town after the Russians conquered Pärnu from the Swedish in 1710. Remnants of the old Russian seawall become visible at low tide beneath the wobbly rocks.

The current seawall also has a couple of legends at its foundation. According to one tale, the jetty was built because an elderly townsman wanted to head toward the horizon to be closer to the Moon and stars. A more popular bit of local lore says that if a couple holds hands while journeying along the wall and kisses at its endpoint, they’ll remain together forever.

Hopping from rock to rock on the jetty is a challenging but rewarding experience, whether you do so while holding hands with a lover or not. A red-and-white channel marker pinpoints the end of the pier, about the size of a full grown adult, to prevent any night-time boating accidents. You’ll likely find locals enjoying a small picnic at the end, greeting passing boats and enjoying their tasty treats while the waves lap soothingly against the stones.

Know Before You Go

Before striding out across the stones, be sure to check the water levels! At high tide the wall is completely submerged, and it can be dangerously slippery in the rain.