Travel Guide Europe Estonia Tartu



Tartu Estonia

Tartu Estonia

© carosterns

Estonia's second largest town, Tartu lies 180 kilometres south from Tallinn. It is home to the country's oldest and most famous university, founded by king Gustav Adolf of Sweden in 1632. The whole town's life flows and ebbs around the university and students form a very visible and lively core of the population. The central old town is very compact and easily managed on foot and there is little of interest for visitors outside of it.




Tourism-wise, Tartu's most interesting neighbourhood by far is Kesklinn (or City Centre in English). This is where you will find most of the city's main sights. To the northwest of it is Supilinn (i.e. Soup City), a traditional part of town in which many wooden houses have been preserved. Karlova, southeast of the centre, is a bit similar, though not as famous. Vaksali is the neighbourhood around the Station where some wooden Villas have been preserved. While Tartu's outskirts are not so interesting, you might want to wander along Emajogi river in either direction to enjoy the beautiful countryside there.



Sights and Activities

  • Main building of the University of Tartu.
  • Town Hall Square (Raekoja). The kissing students fountain is a symbol of Tartu.
  • Statue of Oscar Wilde and Eduard Vilde (Kirjanike Oscar Wilde ja Eduard Vilde mälestusmärk).
  • Soup Neighbourhood (Supilinn). Neighbourhood where all of the streets are named after soup ingredients. Features charming old wooden houses.
  • Former Soviet Airfield (Raadi) (In Raadi, north of Tartu).




Summers, though warm, are not particularly inviting. Although temperatures of over 30 degrees are possible, they are around 20 degrees during the day on average. Winters are cold with snowfall. Average maximum temperatures are around -5 degrees Celsius while nights average around -10 degrees. Occasionally, when the winds blow east from Siberia, temperatures can plummit way below -20 degrees. Precipitation is fairly even throughout the year, but winters and spring tend to be a bit drier. On average, there are between 10 and 15 wet days with around 50 mm of rain or snow a month.



Getting There

By Plane

Tartu Airport (TAY) offers flights to Helsinki, Tallinn and Riga.

By Train

Tartu's train station is located only 1 km from the city center (end of J. Kuperjanovi street), but it is not in the city centre, and it is not well signposted either. The easiest way to find the train station is to follow Riia street uphill until you see the railway, and turn right along the tracks. The station building amply adorned with wooden carvings is a nice example of Estonian architecture. Inside, you won't find more than a kiosk (not even an R-kiosk!) and a ticket machine.

Elron operates several daily trains between Tartu and Tallinn via Tapa. The journey takes 2 hr (express train) to 2.5 hr (regular train) and costs €11 for 2nd class and €14 for 1st class on an express train, or €10 for 2nd class and €12 for 1st class on a regular train. There is free Wi-Fi and tables with electric outlets on trains. 1st class passengers get more comfortable seats and may book a specific seat online.

Trains also run between Tartu and Valga on the Latvian border, with one daily connection further to Riga (5 hr). Railway tracks likewise go in the direction of Russia, but you can only reach the small station of Koidula on the Russian border. This station is less than 1 km from the 24/7 checkpoint, which is open for pedestrians. Once you are on the Russian side, catch a taxi or simply walk to the bus station of Pechory (2 km from the border), and continue to Pskov by bus.

By Car

An excellent day trip is to drive from Tallinn to Tartu. Outside of Tallinn, it is a two-lane paved road with some construction ongoing to upgrade it. It takes two to two and a half hours. There are few sights of interest along the way. The terrain is flat and most of the road is bracketed by a birch trees and a few pines. Sam's Grill (about 1/2 way between Tallinn and Tartu) or a bit fancier Põhjaka Mõis are recommended as a place to stop. There is a gas station (Statoil) some kilometres away.

By Bus

Buses arrive at the small Tartu Bus Station at Turu 2, which is across the street from the Kaubamaja department store, 5-10 min walk from the central square of Tartu. The tiny building hosts a ticket office, luggage room, decent cafeteria, and R-kiosk. If you need more, head to the nearby shopping mall. When arriving from Tallinn, you can also get off the bus at one of the stops in the city centre.

Buses from Tallinn depart several times an hour between 05:00 and midnight, and stop at the Tallinn airport. The journey takes 2.5 to 3 hours and costs €2-10, before a discount available with an ISIC card. Some buses have free wireless internet and free drinks available. Note that Friday afternoon departures from Tartu to Tallinn (and Sunday night Tallinn-to-Tartu) are usually crowded during the school year as lots of students go home for the weekend.

Regular buses also run between Tartu and Narva (3 hr), Viljandi (1 hr), Pärnu (2.5 hr), and Kuressaare (6 hr).

Tartu is a stop of international buses running between Saint Petersburg (8 hr) and Riga (4 hr). These buses typically run overnight, which makes their schedule from Tartu somewhat inconvenient. Another international route is from Tartu to Pskov in Russia (4 hr, note that websites and timetables use the Estonian name Pihkva).

By Boat

There are also ferry services between Tartu and Lake Peipus and Lake Lämmijärv. Check with the Tourist Information Centre, or inquire at the river directly.



Getting Around

By Public Transport

Tartu has a network of 19 intracity bus lines and 2 night bus lines. Single tickets cost €0.75 from a news stand or €1 from the driver. 10 single tickets from a news stand cost €8. A ticket for 1 day costs €2, 1-hour ticket costs €1. 10-day ticket costs €8. On lines 6A, 31, 32 and 33, which are being operated by Automen, the ticket costs €1. Bus network details (times and lines) see here: http://tartu.peatus.ee/#city

Important lines are:

  • 8 to Lõunakeskus and Anne Kanal (popular beach)
  • 32, 6 and 7 to Lõunakeskus
  • 7 and 20 to Tartu Railway Station
  • Bus line 69 is free, and runs between the bus station and the Lõunakeskus shopping center on the edge of town. As this is a sponsored line, its buses do not have the red-and-white color scheme of regular municipal buses.

By Foot

Tartu's Old Town is navigable by foot, but if you want to go out of Old Town, there's public transportation.




  • Opera Pizza, Vanemuise 26.
  • Pappa Pizza, Riia 7, ☎ +372 7427933. M–Sa 11–22:00, Su 12–22:00. pizzeria
  • Ruunipizza, Rüütli 2, ☎ +372 7433575, +372 51929211, e-mail: info@ruunipizza.ee. M–Th 08:15–22:00, F–Sa 08:15–23:00, Su 09:15–22:00. Different pizza and pancake dishes (both as desserts and as main courses), soups, rice dishes, etc. Mostly €4–€6.
  • Taverna Restaurant/Pizzeria, Raekoja plats 20.
  • Spargel, Kalevi 13. M 11:00-21:00 Tu–Su 11:00-23:00.
  • Asian Chef, Võru 2, ☎ +372 7 355 029, +372 53 300 464. Su-Th 11–23:00, F-Sa 11–01:00. Authentic Asian cuisine, good price soups and meals of the day.
  • Pizzeria La Dolce Vita, Kompanii 10.
  • Püssirohukelder. Built inside an ancient gunpowder cellar
  • Suudlevad tudengid, Raekoja plats 10, ☎ +372 730 1893.
  • Yakuza Sushi Bar, Turu 2, Tasku Shopping Center. Japanese food.
  • Werner restaurant. Cosy restaurant with good food in a relaxed environment.




  • Hostel Looming, Kastani 38, ☎ +372 56994398, e-mail: info@loominghostel.ee. An eco-friendly boutique hostel. Dorm from €12.
  • TerviseksBBB, Raekoja Plats 10, ☎ +372 5655382, e-mail: terviseksbbb@gmail.com. English speaking, overlooking the Town Square, Excellent kitchen and bathrooms. 4 bed dorm: €15. Private room (1 person): €22.
  • Hostel Tartu Student Villa, Tähtvere 48. Self-service accommodation in apartments with all comforts. €20/night.
  • Hotell Tartu, Soola 3 (right across from the bus station). 3-bed dorm bed: €20.

Tartu Student Village, 3 different locations: Raatuse 22, Narva mnt. 27 and Pepleri 14. Best rooms go quickly so book ahead.

  • Rainbow Guest House (Vikerkaare Külalistemaja), Vikerkaare 40 (10 minute walk from downtown.).
  • Kastani B&B, Kastani 3 (on the other side of the cathedral hill). Small guest house. The lady who runs it speaks a little English but she is delightful and you can communicate without too much hassle. Best to email ahead. Single: €25.
  • Hotel Starest, Mõisavahe 21, ☎ +372 7400 674, +372 56 203 823, e-mail: info@starest.ee. In the Annelinn suburb, is a quality budget hotel. All rooms are equipped with Sat-TV and an internet connection. Located just few minutes by car from Tartu Town Hall square, with frequent bus service from right in front of the hotel. Single: €29, double room €36.
  • Domus Dorpatensis Guest Apartments, Raekoja plats 1. Apartments are located in a historical house on the main square. They offer spacious and clean apartments with all the equipment and privacy needed. €35.
  • Barclay Hotell, Ülikooli 8, ☎ +372 7 447 100, e-mail: barclay@barclay.ee. 49 rooms including 2 suites with saunas. Amenities include safe-box, hairdryer, cable TV, mini-bar, phone and complimentary wireless internet. Restaurant serves authentic Estonian food. From €50.
  • Hotel Dorpat, Soola 6 (on the banks of the Emajõgi River, near the bus station). 200 standard rooms and 5 business class rooms. Double: €100, breakfast included.
  • Draakon, Raekoja plats 2 (In Town Square), ☎ +372 7 442045, e-mail: draakon@draakon.ee. BBC TV. Wheelchair accessible. Single: €65; Double: €100, breakfast included.
  • London Hotel, Rüütli 9, ☎ +372 7 305 555, e-mail: london@londonhotel.ee. Single: From €60, Double: From €70.

You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)





  • Tartu University, Ülikooli 18. Established in 1632, it's one of the oldest universities in Europe. The main building was built in 1804-1809 according to university architect Johann Wilhelm Krause's plans in classical architecture. It includes the historic lock-up on the attic, Assembly Hall and the Tartu University Art Museum which displays ancient art. edit
  • Estonian University of Life Sciences, Ülikooli 18.



Keep Connected


Estonia is one of the most connected nations on earth when it comes to internet, boasting 'Internet access is a basic human right'. You will find no shortage of Wi-Fi hot spots around the city, with most hotels and hostels offering high speed internet and Wi Fi included in their prices. Access to wireless, free internet is widespread in Tallinn and Tartu. As with most cities you will find the Wi-Fi spots in most good cafes, bars, pubs, libraries and public areas. Outside of the city you will even find Wi-Fi spots in petrol stations! You can also find internet cafes around town but with the advent of internet enabled phones and wireless connections all over the city many of these establishments may not be around for so long. On the open road you will often find petrol stations which offer wireless internet access too. Most hotels also have a computer with internet access available. The departure lounge at Tallinn airport has several free internet access points for passengers


See also: International Telephone Calls

The international phone code for Estonia is 372. The general emergency number is 112, but you can also use 110 for police only if you prefer.

For local calls, dial the 7 or 8 digit number given. There is no "0" dialled before local numbers

GSM 900 and 1800 networks cover the whole country. Main operators include AS EMT, Radiolinja Eesti and TELE2. Mobile access is available everywhere, even on the smaller islands and at sea. Prepaid (pay-as-you-go) SIM cards and their top up cards can be bought from R-kiosks (ask for a "kõnekaart" - calling card in English). Popular brands are Smart, Simpel, Diil and Zen. Start-up packages are in a range of €1.55-10.

If you use your own cell phone and don't buy a local SIM card, switch off data roaming to avoid high costs for internet. Only use wifi in that case.


Eesti Post is Estonia's national postal service with generally fast and reliable services for sending postcards, parcels and letters. It can take up to 4-5 days to send mail to Western Europe though, longer outside the continent. Domestic services are much faster though. Post offices are generally open from 9:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:30am to 3:00pm on Saturday, though some variations might be possible depending on the post office. Some larger central ones might be open evenings and on Sundays. There is no need to buy stamps at the post offices though; just get your stamps at some shops or kiosks and drop your mail off in any of the small orange post boxes, which are abundant throughout the country. Within Estonia, the postage cost for a letter up to 50 grams is €0.45. To other EU countries, Norway, Switzerland, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine the cost is €1 and to the rest of the world €1.10.
If you want to send packages to other countries, it is best to use international courier companies like TNT, UPS, DHL or FedEx, as they offer fast, reliable and competitively priced services.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 58.370884
  • Longitude: 26.714828

Accommodation in Tartu

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Tartu searchable right here on Travellerspoint.


as well as king_golo (4%), Peter (1%), tarmo (1%)

Tartu Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Tartu

This is version 19. Last edited at 8:15 on Apr 3, 18 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License