Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia and the oldest town in the Baltic states. Tartu is situated in southern Estonia and connects to the world primarily through Tallinn, Estonia’s capital. 

Tartu is often considered the intellectual centre of Estonia especially as it is home to the nation’s oldest and most renowned university — the University of Tartu. Tartu houses the Supreme Court of Estonia, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Estonian National Museum and the oldest Estonian-language theatre — Vanemuine. It is also the birthplace of the Estonian Song Festivals.  

Tartu is the European Capital of Culture in 2024.

Travel to Tartu

The biggest airport in the region is the Riga International Airport (RIX). The Latvian national carrier airBaltic is the largest carrier that serves the airport, followed by Ryanair. The airport is located in the Mārupe Municipality west of Riga, approx. 10 km from its city centre.

Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport (TLL) is the largest airport in Estonia as well as the only airport offering international services. The Tallinn airport is located on the edge of that city, on the road to Tartu. The distance between Tallinn airport and Tartu is 180 km.

Tartu Airport.  The return of regular scheduled flights at Tartu Airport is not expected before March 31, and the airport will continue operating in one shift with arrivals and departures outside of working hours needing special agreements.

From Riga, St-Petersburg, Vilnius and Warsaw, Tartu can be reached by bus.

Lux Express Group is the largest international express routes coach operator in the Baltic region offering bus services in 7 countries. Lux Express operates international and Estonian domestic routes. See more: https://luxexpress.eu/en/

From Tallinn, Tartu can be reached by bus or by train:

There is a bus stop in front of the ground floor exit from the airport. I.e., you will have to go from the first floor (where the arrivals are) to the ground floor. Drivers sell tickets, but buses can occasionally be full (i.e., you will not be admitted to the bus), so booking a ticket in advance over the internet is a very good idea. The bus timetable and online ticket booking system is available here: www.tpilet.ee/en. When booking, please indicate Tallinna lennujaam (Tallinn airport) as your starting point.

Train is another option for reaching Tartu. The train stop Ülemiste is not as close to Tallinn airport as the bus stop, but trains are never completely full, so you can always find a spot. You can buy ticket on the train or you can just take a seat and the conductor will come to you and sell you the ticket. See www.elron.ee/en for the timetable.