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Best Things To Do In Tartu, Estonia: A 2-Day Itinerary

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visit estonia tartu

Are you interested in visiting Estonia’s second city and are wondering about the best things to do in Tartu?

Estonia seems to be popping up more and more as a destination worth visiting on any European travel route, however, there is very little published about the country beyond the medieval charms of Tallinn’s Old Town. While we have already made the case for visiting Tallinn for longer than a day trip and venturing beyond the city walls, we also have developed a substantial argument for exploring outside of the city entirely.

Keen as we always are to see any country beyond its capital city, we set our sites on Estonia’s second-largest city of Tartu and we weren’t disappointed.

Often lauded as the intellectual capital of Estonia, Tartu is home to the country’s largest university (which happens to also be one of Europe’s oldest!) and is a thriving cultural hub — packed to the brim with a young and lively population, a vibrant arts and alternative scene, and a fascinating history.

Though it is, without a doubt, outshined by Tallinn, there are numerous fun and interesting things to do in Tartu, world-class restaurants, a killer craft beer scene, and an altogether more laid-back vibe compared to the Estonian capital. Tartu is a city of surprises and is a must-see destination on any Baltics itinerary !

Table of Contents

Getting To and Around Tartu

Before I jump into what to do in Tartu, we do need to discuss how to get to and around the Estonian city. Tartu is located about 185 kilometres southeast of Tallinn and, because it is the second-largest city in Estonia, connections between the two cities are frequent.

If you are planning on visiting Tartu from Tallinn via public transport, the bus is your best option. While there are trains available, they are less frequent and more expensive than buses (which is generally the case in all three Baltic States ).

Buses bound for Tartu from Tallinn’s main station take roughly 2.5 hours and leave every 15-30 minutes, so there is little need to book in advance if you want to travel more spontaneously. However, it is often cheaper to book bus tickets in advance online.

Though there are a few different bus companies you could take, we like Lux Express ( tickets available here ) as their coaches are comfortable, reliable, have free wifi, and entertainment units on each seat! Their fares are also very affordable, averaging about €10, but can be significantly cheaper if booked in advance.

Tartu's charming main square

Tartu is also very accessible from other major cities in Estonia and other surrounding countries. There is also a small airport in Tartu but as of writing in July of 2022, it only serves FinnAir from a very limited list of destinations.

Once you have arrived in Tartu, the best way to get around is on foot. The city itself isn’t all that large and most places of interest are located within walking distance of each other.

However, if there is a place that interests you that isn’t within easy walking distance or you have mobility problems, there is an extensive and easy-to-use bus system in Tartu. You can purchase tickets on the bus or online for €1.50.

If neither walking nor public transport are good options for you, there are taxis in Tartu as well and they are very affordable. While there isn’t Uber operating in the city, you can hail a taxi in almost exactly the same way using the Bolt app, which is also used is every other major Baltic city. It is not customary to hail a cab from the street, so Bolt can be an easier option than calling a taxi.

Tartu street art

Top Things To Do In Tartu: A 2-Day Itinerary

Though it may not seem like it due to its small size, there are plenty of fun and interesting things to do in Tartu, especially if you set your sites beyond the Old Town. Though very few international tourists visit this Estonian city and most of those who do are only there for a short day trip, we would recommend spending at least two full days in Tartu. This will give you enough time to get a good feel of the city and enjoy some of its unique culture and atmosphere.

Day One – Old Town & Karlova

Spend your first day in Tartu exploring the main attractions and learning a bit about the culture of Estonia’s intellectual capital. Everything on this day can easily be reached on foot with nothing more than a twenty-minute walk between sites and activities.

Raekoja Plats

The best place to begin exploring Tartu is its charming main square or Raekoja Plats. The small square is lined with a number of cafes and restaurants, beautiful cobbled streets, and the iconic Kissing Students fountain in front of the Town Hall (which also doubles as the tourist information centre!).

Though the fountain has been there since 1948, the statue that is here currently has only been in place since 1998. It symbolises the tradition for newlyweds and their guests to visit the fountain in order to ensure good luck in their marriage.

On the end opposite the town hall, there is a yellow National Geographic frame, one of 21 such frames in Southern Estonia . It was erected as part of the “Living on the Edge” campaign in order to strengthen the identity of the region and attract tourists.

There are also a number of interesting monuments and statues scattered around Tartu’s Old Town. One thing we loved about the city was that the plaques describing their significance were not only written in Estonian but also in English.

The iconic Kissing Students Fountain in Tartu

St John’s Church

This gothic brick Lutheran church in the Old Town may not be all that spectacular inside but it is one of the highest buildings in the city and it is possible to climb up the tower for great views over the city, making it one of the top things to do in Tartu.

There aren’t too many stairs and even those who aren’t all that physically fit should be able to climb up, but the stairs can be narrow and dark in some places, so proceed with caution. The fee for entry is €2 for adults and €1.50 for students and other concessions. Children under 7 can enter for free.

The church has existed in some form or another since the 14th century when it was originally erected as a Catholic Church but it later shifted to being part of the Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church when the nation ceased widely practising Catholicism.

The bell tower of St. John's Church in Tartu

University of Tartu Botanical Garden

If the weather is fine and you fancy strolling around some beautiful gardens for an hour or two, the Tartu Botanical Gardens is a fantastic stop if you’re wondering what to do in Tartu! Part of the university’s school of botany, these gardens are massive and incredibly peaceful to wander through.

There are a number of different gardens to explore plus a lovely duck pond. It is free to enter the outdoor gardens, but the greenhouses do charge an entry fee of €3.

The rose garden at the Tartu Botanical Gardens

Emajogi River

The Emajogi River, which runs through Tartu between Lake Vortsjarv and Lake Peipsi, is the only navigable river in Estonia and had shaped Tartu through history into the city it is today.

While it is obviously not the only thing that connects Tartu with neighbouring towns and countries these days, there is a lovely riverside to stroll along with many cafes and trendy bars, bench swings, and a lovely park.

It is definitely worth taking a stroll along the river and maybe popping in for a drink at one of the numerous cafes along the banks.

After a stroll along the river, it is time to head out of the Old Town and explore Tartu’s cool and trendy Karlova neighbourhood. This is the epicentre of most of Tartu’s fantastic street art and where the annual Stencibility Street Art Festival takes place. This street art festival is becoming quite famous with hundreds of artists applying each year.

Exploring Karlova was our favourite part of Tartu and if you’re keen to learn more about this alternative area of the city, then we highly recommend taking a Karlova Street Art & History tour with Tartu Pseudo Tours .

We learned way more about the area, the art, and the people who live there from our guide, Maarja, than we would have done had we just wandered around on our own. The tour costs €10 for adults and €8 for students and they require a minimum of five people. Their prices do increase if there are fewer than five on the tour.

Political street art in Tartu

Day Two – Museums & Aparaaditehas

On the second day of your Tartu itinerary, take the time to go beyond the main sites of the Old Town and explore some more offbeat attractions in the city. Spend this day digging deeper and visiting a couple of the interesting museums that Tartu has to offer.

The KGB Cells Museum

The KGB Cells Museum is situated a bit outside of the Old Town and is very much worth visiting, especially if you are interested in learning about life in Tartu and Estonia in general during both the Nazi and Soviet occupations. The museum is located in a building known as the “Grey House” which was the former KGB headquarters in Tartu in the 1940s and 1950s.

Though the museum itself isn’t large, it is quite well-curated with a lot of information so I would recommend planning to spend at least one hour here. While the information on the plaques in the museum is printed in Estonian, there are translations available in English and a few other languages so it can be enjoyed by international visitors.

If you’re interested in learning about Estonia’s heartbreaking Soviet past, then a visit to the KGB Cells Museum is one of the best things to do in Tartu.

KGB Cells Museum in Tartu

Estonian Printing & Paper Museum

If the KGB Cells Museum was a bit too heavy for you, then a visit to the Estonian Printing & Paper Museum will be the perfect thing to lift your spirits. This unique museum is one of the only of its kind in this area of Europe and really encapsulated the artistic nature of Tartu.

The €5 entrance fee (€2 for students) includes a 60-minute tour of the museum where you learn how to make paper (and make it yourself!) and also see and learn about their massive collection of printing presses and make some of your own prints as well. The museum also gives you a great insight into how the nature of printing had changed in Estonia in the past couple of decades, especially when compared to the antiquated means used during Soviet times.

Making prints at the Estonian Print & Paper Museum!

Aparaaditehas

After spending the majority of your day in museums, take the time to explore the hip and new creative complex of Aparaaditehas. Similar to the Telliskivi Creative City in Tallinn (they share an owner) and quite reminiscent of the Fabrika complex in Tbilisi, Georgia, this trendy area has a number of cool restaurants, shops, and cafes with a very artistic vibe.

It is housed in a former Soviet Widget factory and the building was abandoned and dodgy until the complex was built there a couple of years ago. Since then, it has made the area surrounding more desirable to live in and given locals a number of more restaurant and hang out options than before.

Because of the popularity of Aparaaditehas, there are talks of creating more such creative complexes in Tartu. As of right now, the reaction by the public to this complex has been generally positive as it has boosted the economy and desirability of this area of Tartu and so far there haven’t been noticeable negative effects of gentrification.

Aparaaditehas is a favourite haunt for young locals to hang out, so follow their lead and browse some of the shops or kick back at a cafe with an excellent Estonian craft beer.

The Aparaaditehas Creative Complex

Where to Eat in Tartu

Unsurprisingly, due to both its artistic reputation and large student population, Tartu has a number of great places to eat and drink. While there are definitely some options for those on a shoestring budget (it is a student city, after all), there are also some great high end and inventive restaurants. One thing is certain, it is very hard to eat poorly in Tartu. Here are some of our suggestions for the best places to eat and drink in the city:

Krempel Kohvik – A modern, hip cafe in the Old Town, Krempel Khovik is a great option for a filling but healthy breakfast. They have an extensive menu and serve all three meals per day along with some great coffee. Prices are affordable and it also has a chilled-out atmosphere and fast wifi.

A delicious breakfast salad from Krempel Kohvik

Trikster Tihane – Located in the Aparaaditehas complex, Trikster Tihane is a great option if you’re looking for a healthy lunch, dinner, or snack after spending your day wandering around Tartu. Also, like most everywhere else, they have a wide range of Estonian craft beers to enjoy.

Aparaat – Another great restaurant located in the Aparaaditehas complex, Aparaat is a fantastic option for both lunch or dinner. They offer an affordable set lunch menu and their dinner menu is extensive and tasty. This was one of the first restaurants that opened in the creative complex and is perennially popular amongst locals.

Barlova – If you are looking for the best place to sample Estonian craft beer while chilling out in a cool and relaxing atmosphere, then look no further than Barlova. Located in the trendy Karlova neighbourhood of Tartu, this is one of the best places to grab a beer if you want to experience the true, laid-back culture of Tartu.

Estonian craft beer from Barlova

Where to Stay in Tartu

Even though Tartu doesn’t have nearly the amount of tourists as Tallinn, that doesn’t mean there aren’t a number of great accommodation options to choose from. Here are some of our top picks:

Hotel Soho – This cool boutique hotel is located in the heart of Tartu’s Old Town and is a good option for those travelling on a mid-range budget. They have a range of rooms available and also offer breakfasts included in the room rate. Click here to see their availability!

Riia Kvartal Apartment – For travellers who would rather have their own apartment rather than stay in a hotel, this one-bedroom flat in central Tartu is a great option. Conveniently located close to all the city has to offer, the apartment is comfortable and fully furnished. Click here to see their availability

Looming Hostel   – If you are travelling on a budget, then Looming Hostel is a great accommodation option in Tartu. This small, environmentally-friendly hostel has a couple of dorm and private rooms on offer, good common areas, and a nice roof terrace. It is also possible to purchase breakfast at an extra cost. Click here to view their availability on Hostelworld or Booking.com!

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other accommodation options in Tartu!

Tartu at dusk

Tartu is a fascinating city filled with interesting and unique things to do. While two days here will give you a good feel for Estonia’s second-largest city, you could easily spend a few more days soaking up the arts and culture of this intellectual capital.

Are you planning on visiting Estonia’s second city? Are you wondering what to do in Tartu? Let us know in the comments!

visit estonia tartu

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About Maggie Turansky

Maggie is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. Originally from the US, she has lived in five different countries and has travelled to dozens more, both solo and with her partner, Michael. She particularly loves exploring Spain and spending time in the Caucasus and the Baltics. Read more about Maggie

Hello We ( Canadians) are planning a trip to Tartu in Sept. We are coming on the train from Tallinn and spending a day or two there. What are the must see sites or your suggestions of places to see within maybe 20 min walk from the train station.

Hi Bill, I recommend following the suggestions outlined in this itinerary if you’re going to be spending a couple of days in Tartu. It’s a small city so you’re able to see most of these sites within a 20-30 minute walk of each other. Hope you have a great time!

It felt good reading your post. Info well put and organised. Thank you.

Thanks for your comment, Amit 🙂

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Raekoja Square (Raekoja plats), Tartu, Estonia, Baltic States, Europe

Getty Images/Robert Harding World Imagery

Tartu lays claim to being Estonia’s spiritual capital, with locals talking about a special Tartu vaim (spirit), created by the time-stands-still feel of its wooden houses and stately buildings, and the beauty of its parks and riverfront. Tartu was the cradle of Estonia’s 19th-century national revival, and escaped Soviet town planning to a greater degree than Tallinn. Its handsome centre is lined with classically designed 18th-century buildings, many of which have been put to innovative uses.

Spending Diaries

Attractions, must-see attractions.

University of Tartu Museum

University of Tartu Museum

Atop Toomemägi are the ruins of a Gothic cathedral, built in the 13th century by the knights of the Livonian Order after driving the pagan Estonians from…

Estonian Print & Paper Museum

Estonian Print & Paper Museum

A treat for word nerds, design hounds and print junkies alike, this interactive museum focuses on the history of printing and paper-making. Machinery from…

Estonian National Museum

Estonian National Museum

This immense, low-slung, glass-clad building is arresting – both Estonians and architecture lovers purred when it opened in late 2016. The permanent…

Tartu Old Observatory

Tartu Old Observatory

Built as part of Tartu University in 1810, this intriguing observatory on Toomemägi is a must for fans of astronomy and the history of scientific…

Tartu Art Museum

Tartu Art Museum

If you've been socialising in Tartu's pubs and can't really see straight, don’t use this building to anchor your eye. Subsidence caused by the nearby…

KGB Cells Museum

KGB Cells Museum

This former KGB headquarters and prison, known as the ‘Grey House’, was donated to Tartu City Museum by the family to which they were returned after the…

Aparaaditehas

Aparaaditehas

Aparaaditehas (the Widget Factory) is an old 14,000-sq-metre Soviet-era industrial complex where refrigeration equipment and secret submarine parts were…

Tartu University

Tartu University

Fronted by six Doric columns, the impressive main building of Tartu University was built between 1803 and 1809. The university itself was founded in 1632…

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Art and Culture

Jan 26, 2024 • 6 min read

Travel writer Daniel James Clarke visited Tartu, one of the European Capitals of Culture 2024. Here's what he spent.

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  • 1 Understand
  • 3.1 By plane
  • 3.3 By train
  • 3.5 By boat
  • 4.1 On foot
  • 4.3 By taxi
  • 4.4 By bicycle
  • 5.1 Museums
  • 5.2 Parks and squares
  • 5.3 Churches
  • 5.4 Other buildings
  • 5.5 Bridges
  • 5.6 Modern architecture
  • 6.1 Festivals
  • 9.2 Mid-range
  • 11.1 Budget
  • 11.2 Mid-range
  • 12 Stay safe

Tartu (formerly known as Dorpat or Yuryev ) is the second largest city in Estonia with a population of 94,000 (2019).

visit estonia tartu

Tartu is a Hanseatic city and a university town. It is the oldest city in Estonia , dating back to 1030. Its ancient name of 'Tarbatu' was shortened to 'Tartu' in Estonian and to 'Dorpat' in German. Although large parts of the town were destroyed in World War II , Tartu still has a charming old town surrounded by large parks (some of which used to be fully built-up neighbourhoods before the war).

Tartu is 185 km southeast of Tallinn , the capital of Estonia. The Emajõgi River, which connects the two largest lakes of Estonia, flows for 10 km within the city limits.

  • 58.379939 26.722082 1 Tourist Information Centre , Raekoja plats ( ground floor of Tartu town hall building ), ☏ +372 744 21 11 , fax : +372 744 21 11 , [email protected] . Sa 10:00-17:00, Su 10:00-16:00 .  

Since Tartu is a student town, English is widely understood. As usual, the older people are more likely to only speak Estonian and Russian; however most can understand English if you speak clearly.

Map

  • If arriving on a commercial flight, your main option is Tallinn , which is only 180 km away with buses and trains to Tartu running directly from the airport.
  • Alternatively, Riga (250 km from Tartu) may be an option as well - buses from the Riga Bus Station to Tartu are operated by Lux Express .
  • Airport Shuttle . Bus operating between the airport and the city. Free . ( updated Jul 2019 )

Buses arrive at the small 58.378083 26.732128 2 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 (2½ 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, websites and timetables use the Estonian name Pihkva ).

Bus and train schedules within Estonia are easily available online – read more under Estonia#Get around .

visit estonia tartu

Elron operates several daily trains between Tartu and Tallinn via Tapa. The journey takes 2 hr (express train) to 2½ 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. Tickets are 10% cheaper online. 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 walk to the bus station of Pechory (2 km from the border), and continue to Pskov by bus.

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 halfway between Tallinn and Tartu) or a bit fancier Põhjaka Mõis are recommended as a place to stop. There is a gas station (Statoil) some km away.

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.

Tartu can be easily explored by walking. It's only a 20-minute walk from the train station to the old town, and a beautiful 30-min walk from old town to the Estonian National Museum.

Tartu has a network of 14 intracity bus lines and 2 night bus lines. See online information about local buses .

Load a Pilet.ee mobile app to buy tickets. For longer stays, buy a bus card for €2 at one of these places (cards from elsewhere in Estonia can also be used), then load money to card at the same place or online . You can also buy tickets with contactless card on bus. You will get automatically 1-hour ticket or 1-day ticket, if you're using it for 3rd time that day. QR-tickets can only be bought for 1-hour. All tickets have to be scanned on bus.

Bus network details (times and lines) see here: http://tartu.peatus.ee/#city/eng [dead link]

Important lines are:

  • 9 and 9A circle around town, 9 goes clockwise and 9A anticlockwise
  • 25 to Tartu Railway Station according to train schedule
  • 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.
  • E1 to/from airport

Read more under Estonia#By taxi .

Tartu can be easily seen by bike, because of its small size. Tartu has 750 city bikes, and 500 of them are electric. Electric bikes can be recognized by a lightning bolt and missing gears. There are 69 bike docks in Tartu. If the bike dock is full, you can lock the bike near the dock using lock in basket.

Prices are €5 for 1 day, €10 for a week and €30 for a year. 10 day bus tickets can also be used. Bikes can be used for 60 minutes after which you have to bring them back to dock, where you can get another 60 minutes. If you don't bring the bike to dock in 60 minutes you have to pay €1 for every hour you're late. If you don't bring the bike back in 5 hours, you have to pay €80.

For unlocking bikes you need to download Tartu Smart Bike app or use bus card. Available bikes can be seen online.

visit estonia tartu

  • 58.37824 26.722996 3 Statue of Oscar Wilde and Eduard Vilde ( Kirjanike Oscar Wilde ja Eduard Vilde mälestusmärk ).  
  • 58.388868 26.708707 4 Soup Neighbourhood ( Supilinn ). Neighbourhood where all of the streets are named after soup ingredients. Features charming old wooden houses.  
  • 58.400218 26.75403 5 Former Soviet Airfield ( Raadi ) ( In Raadi, north of Tartu ).  

visit estonia tartu

  • Tartu University Museum , Toome Hill. Summer: Tu-Su 10–18. €6 or €12 with Observatory and Art Museum
  • 58.381981 26.728915 9 Tartu City Museum , Narva 23 . Classicist style structure was built as a town palace in 1790. The building is popularly called Catherine's House. The legend has it that Empress Catherine II made a short stay there. It is not true, though. The permanent exhibition provides a good insight into Tartu's long history up to 1920. ( updated Aug 2018 )
  • 58.382327 26.721367 10 Estonian Sports and Olympic Museum , Rüütli 15 . M-Su 11-19 . The Baltics' biggest museum designated to sports, with several interactive exhibits. There's a winter sports exhibition in Otepää town, about 45 km from Tartu. €6, concession €5, family €15 . ( updated Oct 2018 )

Parks and squares

visit estonia tartu

  • 58.384264 26.721848 11 Botanic Garden of the University of Tartu , 38/40 Lai .  
  • 58.380178 26.716875 12 Toome Hill . Many monuments, statues and historical buildings  
  • 58.398063 26.739299 13 Raadi Park ( cross of Vahi and Narva maantee streets ).  
  • 58.378944 26.723301 14 Barclay Park .  
  • 58.36 26.7644 15 Tartu Tammik ( cross of Ihaste and Idaringtee streets ).  
  • 58.358531 26.719184 16 Pauluse Cemetery ( Pauluse kalmistu ), Võru 75a .  

visit estonia tartu

  • 58.382642 26.720167 17 St. John's Church ( Tartu Jaani Church ). 14th century church is famous for its thousands of medieval terracotta figures.  
  • 58.380251 26.714577 18 Cathedral ruins ( on top of the Dome Hill ). From the 13th century and were dedicated to apostles St. Peter and Paul. Today the choir part houses the Tartu University History Museum, and the towers are reconstructed to sightseeing platforms.  
  • 58.371742 26.715592 19 St. Paul's Church , Riia . An outstanding redbrick Finnish National Romanticist style building by the famous Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen.  
  • 58.390245 26.72865 20 St. Peter's Church , 104 Narva St . A Neogothic Lutheran church from 1903, built on the grounds of the first general Estonian song festival, which took place in 1869.  
  • 58.382624 26.709971 21 Roman Catholic Church , 1 Veski St . A beautiful revivalist redbrick building from 1899.  
  • 58.36436 26.728772 22 St. Alexander's Orthodox Church , 19a Sõbra St . A two-story church, designed by architect V. Lunski, with cupolas inspired by the Old Russian church architecture. It was deconsecrated 40 years ago but reconsecrated in summer 2003.  
  • 58.382638 26.722463 23 Uspensky Orthodox Church , 1 Magasini St . An early classical church, built in 1783 with typical Russian classical elements, on the same place where the Dominican cloister of St. Mary Magdalene Church, founded before 1300, formerly stood.  
  • 58.368573 26.734693 24 Tartu Salem Church ( Tartu Salemi kirik ), Kalevi 76 . A Baptist church.  

Other buildings

  • 58.379419 26.719089 25 Gunpowder Cellar . Dug into the side of the hill in 1767 as part of the complex of the bishop's citadel. It was used as a gunpowder cellar until 1809. Until 1982, it served as a storage room for many different enterprises, and was later developed into an eating place. Today, the building hosts a bar/restaurant of the same name..  
  • 58.379443 26.715617 26 National Court , Lossi 17 ( Dome Hill ). In 1763, a military barracks was erected in this place. Onto its ruins was built the university hospital in 1808, which functioned until 1990. Since 1993, the national court is again in Tartu, which is Estonia's supreme judiciary court.  
  • 58.378811 26.72007 27 Old Observatory , Lossi 40 ( on the old castle ruins on the Dome Hill ). The observatory, designed by university architect J.W. Krause, was built at the beginning of the 19th century. Working place of many famous astronomers including Struve; indeed the observatory is a point on the world heritage listed Struve Geodetic Arc spanning from the Arctic Sea to the Black Sea.  
  • 58.378001 26.717486 28 Old Anatomical Theatre , Lossi 38 ( On the Dome Hill ). One of the first buildings of the re-opened Tartu University, built in 1803-1805 according to the drawings of university architect J. Krause. Today the visitors are offered an exhibition of the history of medicine with preparates.  
  • 58.38073 26.724252 29 Barclay House , Raekoja 18 . Late 18th century building. Duchess Barclay bought the house in 1819 after the death of her husband, Barclay de Tolly. The riverside wall of the building is actually a reused part of the old town wall, while the other side was built on a new foundation. This is why the house is now askew and is popularly called the Tower of Pisa.  
  • 58.374625 26.72901 30 Tartu Centre for Creative Industries , Kalevi 13, 15, 17 ( Kalevi St is the continuation of Ülikooli St after Riia St ). Congregates several creative enterprises and creates therefore a creative atmosphere. The three buildings of the centre were built between 1830 and 1913 and represent different architectural styles: historicism and Art Nouveau.  
  • 58.3831 26.7222 31 Remains of the Town Wall .  

visit estonia tartu

  • 58.379596 26.717675 32 Angel's Bridge ( Toome hill ). Built in the 19th century and spans Lossi Street.  
  • 58.378934 26.715897 33 Devil's Bridge . Built in 1913 in honour of the 300th jubilee of tsarist Russia's Romanov Dynasty, which is memorialised on the bridge by the dates 1613-1913.  
  • 58.380796 26.726022 34 Arched Bridge ( from the main square, look towards the river ). Stands on the site of the original stone bridge of Tartu which was built in 1784 and blown up by the Soviets in WWII. This new bridge is only for pedestrians and allows you to do one of the most loved cultural activities of Tartu, walk over the top of the arch after a big night in the club. Just don't let the cops catch you.  

Modern architecture

During the last decade, Tartu has seen several interesting pieces of modern architecture being built. They are well worth a visit and give an insight of how people in modern Tartu think and live, in addition to traditionally history-driven image of the city. Some of them are right in the city-centre. See the yellow markers on the official Tartu Modern Architecture map . The map is in Estonian only, but selected images speak louder than words.

  • 58.365397 26.730392 1 Karlova Theatre , Tähe 66 , ☏ +372 5398 6153 .  
  • 58.382206 26.718079 2 Toy Museum and Theater House , Lutsu 2 . W-Su 11:00-18:00 .  
  • 58.383885 26.721816 3 Tartu New Theatre ( Tartu Uus Teater ), Lai 37 .  
  • 58.376336 26.724025 4 Vanemuine Theatre , Vanemuise 6 .  
  • 58.379615 26.734264 5 Harbour Theatre ( Sadamateater ), Soola 5B .  
  • 58.376572 26.734618 6 AHHAA Science Center , Sadama 1 , ☏ +372 745 6789 , [email protected] . Su-Th 10-19:00, F-Sa 10-20:00 . Interactive and entertaining science center. €15, students and seniors €11, family €35 . ( updated Dec 2019 )
  • 58.375514 26.734257 7 Aura Waterpark ( Aura Veekeskus ), Turu 10 , ☏ +372 7300 280 . Pool: M-F 06:30-22:00, Sa-Su 9-22:00 . Swimming pool, water park, fitness center Pool: €4-5; Water park: €6-7 .  
  • Lodi River Cruises , Emajõe 3 , ☏ +372 551 8386 . Offers various cruises for up to 30 people along River Emajõgi.  
  • Estonian National museum ( ERM ), Muuseumi tee 2 . Tu-Su 10:00-18:00 . ( updated Dec 2019 )
  • Football: JK Tammeka play soccer in Meistriliiga, Estonia's top tier. Their home ground Tamme Stadium (capacity 1600) is 500 m south of the railway station. The playing season is March-Nov.
  • Hanseatic Days . Third week of July, exact dates vary from year to year. Medieval festival featuring fairs, festivities, exhibitions, concerts, dances, merchants and tradesmen. Most events are free .  
  • tARTuFF . Film festival in August. Themes include love and tolerance.  
  • PÖFF - Black Nights Film Festival . Film festival at the end of November.  

visit estonia tartu

  • 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.  
  • Estonian University of Life Sciences , Ülikooli 18 .  
  • 58.377127 26.729304 1 Kvartal , Riia 2 . Shopping centre next to Kaubamaja. Has a spa. Opened in 2016. ( updated May 2024 )
  • 58.358589 26.676562 2 Lõunakeskus , Lääneringtee 39 ( take bus no. 69 from the city centre. ). Features a wide range of small boutiques, as well as a big department store Maksimarket. Has a cinema and indoors adventure park ( updated May 2024 )
  • 58.377888 26.730839 3 Tasku , Turu 2 . Shopping centre near the bus station. ( updated May 2024 )
  • Loov Gallery , Kalevi 13 . M-F 12:00–18:00 . Loov Gallery sells souvenirs produced by young Estonian artists, ranging from jewelry and accessories to paintings.  
  • 58.365649 26.744634 4 Prisma Sõbra , Sõbra 58 . A hypermarket.  
  • 58.34784 26.743858 5 Tartu A1000 Market , Tehnika 13 . A hypermarket.  
  • 58.37801 26.728183 6 Tartu Kaubamaja , Riia 1 ( 100 metres from the Bus Station ). Department store with several floors full of fascinating things to buy. "Kaubamaja" belongs to Kaubamaja consortium.  
  • 58.376038 26.696824 7 Veeriku Ostukeskus , Vitamiini 1 ( northwest of the railway station ). A shopping centre.  
  • 58.361376 26.72175 1 12 Tooli , Võru 148 A , ☏ +372 5854 7053 . A fast food restaurant. €1–10 .  
  • 58.3753 26.7206 2 Opera Pizza , Vanemuise 26 , ☏ +372 742 0795 . ( updated Sep 2023 )
  • 58.375026 26.724047 3 Pappa Pizza , Riia 7 , ☏ +372 7427933 . M–Sa 11:00–22:00, Su 12:00–22:00 . pizzeria ( updated Nov 2015 )
  • 58.380531 26.722056 4 [formerly dead link] Ruunipizza , Raekoja plats 6 , ☏ +372 7433575 , +372 51929211 , [email protected] . 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 .  
  • 58.38082 26.724723 5 Taverna Restaurant/Pizzeria , Raekoja plats 20 .  
  • 58.355124 26.720799 6 Sirius Aardla , Võru 83 , ☏ +372 5567 1497 , [email protected] . A fast food restaurant. €1–10 .  
  • 58.374657 26.728678 7 Spargel , Kalevi 13 . M 11:00-21:00, Tu–Su 11:00-23:00 .  
  • Kebab Master , Riia 2 ( Kvartal 1. Floor ). 10:00-21:00 . ( updated Mar 2021 )

visit estonia tartu

  • 58.362263 26.704425 8 6Teist Kannu , Suur kaar 53 ( in the Tammelinn district ), ☏ +372 738 1484 . A pub restaurant. €10–20 .  
  • 58.37388 26.723201 9 Asian Chef , Võru 2 , ☏ +372 7 355 029 , +372 53 300 464 . Su-Th 11:00–23:00, F-Sa 11:00–01:00 . Authentic Asian cuisine, good price soups and meals of the day.  
  • 58.38184 26.722723 10 Pizzeria La Dolce Vita , Kompanii 10 .  
  • 58.37921 26.719073 11 Püssirohukelder ( Gunpowder Cellar of Tartu ), Lossi 28 ( in the side of Toome Hill in Pirogov Park behind Tartu Town Hall ), ☏ +372 7 303 555 , [email protected] . Su—Tu 12:00–22:00, W—Sa 12:00–01:00 . Built inside an ancient gunpowder cellar. €10—20 .  
  • Suudlevad tudengid , Raekoja plats 10 , ☏ +372 730 1893 .  
  • 58.377671 26.730499 12 Yakuza Sushi Bar , Turu 2 ( at Tasku Shopping Center ), ☏ +372 741 2732 . Japanese food.  
  • 58.380525 26.720977 13 Werner restaurant , Ülikooli 11 , ☏ +372 742 6377 . Cosy restaurant with good food in a relaxed environment. ( updated May 2024 )

58.379911 26.720747 1 Pirogov Park ( located just "behind" the city hall ). small park where consuming light (<6%) alcohol is allowed between 15 March and 15 October (as it's a designated picnic area). It's the only public place in the city where drinking is legal so in the evenings it's full of students and homeless. ( updated Oct 2018 )

  • 58.381901 26.721288 2 Café Crepp . French-themed, serves delicious pancakes  
  • 58.38053 26.721116 3 Café Werner ( Kohvik-restoran Werner ). Excellent café since 1895.  
  • 58.381526 26.721469 4 Café Krempel , Rüütli 12 , ☏ +372 445 1510 , [email protected] . M-F 08:00-18:00, Sa Su 09:00-18:00 . A cosy café which also offers vegan dishes (breakfast only on Sunday) in which you can apparently get in touch with strangers. ( updated Oct 2018 )

In a typical pub, a 0.5 l beer usually costs €3.50-5. Almost all popular beers are near or more than 5% alcohol content.

  • 58.37788 26.72162 5 NAIIV . Culture and bar. ( updated Sep 2017 )
  • 58.369731 26.727672 6 Barlova . Cosy and chilled. ( updated Sep 2017 )
  • 58.379454 26.72236 7 Illegaard , Ülikooli 5 . Jazz Club. Many sporting events (mainly football) are broadcasted.  
  • 58.38077 26.722528 8 Underground , Küütri 7 .  
  • 58.383479 26.721999 9 Möku , Magasini 5 , ☏ +372 740 4514 . M-Sa 12:00-03:00, F-Sa until 04:00 . A nice, somewhat (more) alternative-hipstery bar. ( updated Oct 2018 )
  • 58.383475 26.721969 10 Genialistide klubi , Magasini 5 ( Between Magasini 3 and Lai 37 ). An alternative club with concerts, theater performances, seminars, etc. The bar Möku resides on the ground floor.  
  • 58.373872 26.711599 11 Klubi Rock & Roll , Tiigi 76A .  
  • 58.383616 26.738639 12 Illusion . According to girls more into Genialistide klubi, Illusion is where people get drunk and start fights, and the music is bad. So, the latter basically means main stream music.  
  • 58.378017 26.722768 13 Shooters . Drinking and party, as flat and fun as is it might sound. ( updated Sep 2017 )
  • 58.377831 26.724467 14 Night Club Maasikas ( Strawberry ).  
  • 58.371867 26.714218 1 Hostel Looming , Kastani 38 , ☏ +372 56994398 , [email protected] . An eco-friendly boutique hostel. Dorm from €12 .  
  • 58.380397 26.722962 2 TerviseksBBB , Raekoja Plats 10 , ☏ +372 5655382 , [email protected] . English speaking, overlooking the Town Square, Excellent kitchen and bathrooms. 4 bed dorm: €15. Private room (1 person): €22 .  
  • 58.385507 26.709009 3 Hostel Tartu Student Villa , Tähtvere 48 . Self-service accommodation in apartments with all comforts. €20/night .  
  • 58.377522 26.733135 4 Hotell Tartu , Soola 3 ( right across from the bus station ). 3-bed dorm bed: €20 .  
  • [dead link] Tartu Student Village , 3 different locations: Raatuse 22, Narva mnt. 27 and Pepleri 14 . Best rooms go quickly so book ahead.  
  • 58.380549 26.699614 5 Rainbow Guest House ( Vikerkaare Külalistemaja ), Vikerkaare 40 ( 10 minute walk from downtown. ).  
  • 58.378465 26.708583 6 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 .  

visit estonia tartu

  • 58.370856 26.738316 7 Aleksandri Hotell , Aleksandri 42 , ☏ +372 736 6659 , [email protected] . €50–60 .  
  • 58.369904 26.775278 8 Hotel Starest , Mõisavahe 21 , ☏ +372 7400 674 , +372 56 203 823 , [email protected] . 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 .  
  • 58.379726 26.722064 9 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 .  
  • 58.378786 26.722609 10 Barclay Hotell , Ülikooli 8 , ☏ +372 7 447 100 , [email protected] . 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 .  
  • 58.378816 26.732193 11 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 .  
  • 58.380368 26.721625 12 Draakon , Raekoja plats 2 ( In Town Square ), ☏ +372 7 442045 , [email protected] . BBC TV. Wheelchair accessible. Single: €65; Double: €100, breakfast included .  
  • London Hotel , Rüütli 9 , ☏ +372 7 305 555 , [email protected] . Single: From €60, Double: From €70 .  
  • 58.356969 26.678055 13 Hotel Sophia , Lääneringtee 39 , ☏ +372 638 0850 , [email protected] . €80–100 .  
  • 58.365143 26.713761 14 Tamme Hostel , Kungla 2 E ( near the Tamme Stadium ), ☏ +372 744 8408 . €81 .  
  • 58.3698 26.701 2 Tartu University Hospital ( Tartu Ülikooli Kliinikum ), Ludvig Puusepa 8 ( in the Maarjamõisa district; southwest of the railway station ), ☏ +372 731 9401 , [email protected] . Daily 08:00-19:00 . ( updated May 2024 )

In emergencies, ☏ 112 (free from all phones) . This includes social services, although for non-urgent matters you could contact the social services directly.

  • Tallinn – The financial and cosmopolitan centre of Estonia. Beautiful and expensive.
  • Soomaa National Park – About 60 km south of Tallinn and second largest national park in Estonia, known for its swamps and bogs (Soomaa means "land of bogs" in Estonian), and its "fifth season". Surprisingly, swimming is popular there and is said to rejuvenate the skin.
  • Põltsamaa – The centre of Estonian winery and wine production just a dozens of km northwest.
  • Viljandi – A beautiful, ancient and hilly city, known for its annual Viljandi Folk Music Festival, beautiful old town and overwhelming and picturesque park around the old castle.
  • Otepää – A small town set in the hills of south Estonia and best known winter sports centre in the Baltics, and the Winter Capital of Estonia. Surrounded by lakes, hills and ski jump towers.
  • Zwiebelberg – A region at Lake Peipsi, popular for its numerous onion sellers along the stretch between Kolkja and Varnja.
  • Mustvee – Almost halfway to Narva , the border city with Russia famous for the Hermann castle, is this small and relaxing fishing village.

visit estonia tartu

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Women paddle on boat on river.

Visiting Estonia? Here’s what the locals love

Looking for the best festivals, nature parks, or adventure activities? We asked resident experts to reveal their favorites.

Despite being the smallest of the Baltic states, Estonia’s dizzying shift from Soviet state to high-tech hub catapulted the nation onto the world stage. But digital innovation is not this compact country’s only draw. To help maximize your trip, we consulted local experts, ranging from film directors to tour guides and musicians, for their best tips.

Purify yourself in a traditional smoke sauna

“Estonians are ‘sauna people’; it’s in our genes. Smoke sauna is our sacred place, a ritual for healing and transformation,” says Anna Hints, director of the award-winning Smoke Sauna Sisterhood documentary. Find this UNESCO-recognized experience at the Mooska farm near Suur Munamäg i , the highest hill in the Baltics. Visitors will learn about the construction, heating, and family traditions of smoke sauna. A typical smoke sauna has no chimney; a fire is lit, and the room fills with smoke.

Smoke billows outside of a cabin.

Canoe at sunset during “fifth season” in Soomaa

“Estonians are modern Vikings, but [also] remain the last pagans of Europe,” says Aivar Ruukel, nature guide in Soomaa National Park . It’s why so many locals (and now travelers) flock to the park during “the fifth season,” a yearly weather period, usually between March and April when Soomaa transforms into a floodplain big enough to sink Lower Manhattan. It’s the best (and sometimes only) time to take a sunrise canoe trip through the temporary water channels. Then, when it all freezes, the “sixth season” begins, perfect for ice skating in the wild across the frozen landscape.

Hear the distinctive sounds from a Native community

Spend a day with the Seto s , an Indigenous ethnic minority of just a few thousand people whose land spans the Estonian-Russian border. “Seto cuisine and culture are unique. [They] remained untouched because of [ Setomaa village’s] isolated location on the southeast corner of Estonia, [just] on the edge of the Eastern and Western worlds,” says Anzelika Gomozova, head of the Seto community.  

One of the best times to visit this pocket of Estonia is in August during Seto Kingdom D ay ,   a yearly cultural celebration in Setomaa. Sample traditional staples such as sõir , a quark cheese made from pressed fresh curd and produced by local masters like Inara Luigas at her café Inara Vanavalgõ Kohvitarõ in Põlva County. Then watch the community join in a leelo   performance, a polyphonic style of folk singing that was added to the UNESCO List of Intangible Culture in 2009.

Explore some of Estonia’s 2,000 islands by ferry

In western Estonia, ferries take passengers to   Hiiumaa Island ,   where they can climb iconic Kõpu lighthouse . Nearly 500 years in operation, Kõpu is one of the oldest continually working lighthouses in the world. Nearby, on Ristna Cape, surfers can catch some of the biggest swells of the Baltic Sea before taking the ferry to the larger Saaremaa Island ,   home of the Angla windmills . Learn more about these historical agricultural machines and the local folk culture at the onsite museum. The island is also where visitors can find the crater field from the Kaali meteorite , a rare natural wonder dating from 7,500-7,600 years ago.

A circular pond with water.

Photograph bird life with professionals

Estonia has a wide variety of landscapes in a compact area, so there’s lots of wildlife. “But you have to be patient before its treasures show up,” says Sven Zacek, Estonian nature photographer. You can book a photography tour led by experts like Remo Savisaar to snag the best shots of large wild game, such as wild boar, lynxes, wolves, and 156 species of birds in Karula Nature Park , Estonia’s smallest national park.  

An owl caught mid flight.

Discover why Estonia is a dream for digital nomads  

Home to more start-ups per person than U.S.’s Silicon Valley, Estonia is a tech-lover’s dream. While you shouldn’t be working on vacation, digital nomads can switch from business to adventure and relaxation at places like the Entrepreneurs Forest or the Haani Creative Hut , which promotes efficient productivity and intentional rest in the middle of secluded nature. “After the COVID-19 pandemic, people have found new ways of integrating traveling, work, and leisure. Many follow a new success formula of workation: work + vacation,” says Lisanna Elm, project manager of the remote working network Kupland .  

A cabin with a woman sitting out front.

Sing along with the Baltic’s largest choir

Get to know Estonian culture through the Estonian Song Festival , one of the largest choral events in the world. Every five years, tens of thousands of choir singers meet at Tallinn Song Festival Grounds to perform popular songs and a few classics such as the “ Laul Põhjamaast ” and “Mu isamaa on minu arm.” “People need memorable moments,” says singer and songwriter Anu Taul.   “A personal musical journey in pure nature or on song festival grounds stays with you forever.” First held in 1869, the event, which runs simultaneously with the Estonian Dance Festival ,   has become an essential part of Estonian identity. The next celebration will be in July 2025.

Visit a European Capital of Culture  

“Tartu is the gate to south Estonia—to the rich cultural region with sparkling life of local communities, indigenous languages, and traditions,” says Kuldar Leis, head of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 . Experience the traditional wonders of the nation at one of the dozens of South Estonia’s Community Program events. Choose from cozy fests like “Aigu Om!”   in Viitina village, organized by world music artist Mari Kalkun or celebrate Midsummer and Night of Ancient Lights around bonfires with the locals.

( For more tips on what to do in Estonia, see our Explorer’s Guide .)

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Things to Do in Tartu, Estonia - Tartu Attractions

Things to do in tartu, explore popular experiences, ways to tour tartu.

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Juris P

Top 10 BEST Things to do in Tartu (Estonia)

Looking for the best things to do in Tartu? Read this travel guide and let it help you plan your trip!

Tartu is a famous 11th-century city in Estonia and the second largest after its capital Tallinn. It is located in the southeastern part of Tallinn at a distance of 186 km and the northeastern part of Riga at a distance of 245 km.

Tartu houses various renowned universities and is also ‘Estonia’s major administrative center featuring the Supreme Court of Estonia, Ministry of Education and Research, and National Museum of Estonia.

Tartu can be reached by flight from Helsinki or Tallinn to Tartu Airport. It can be reached by train from Tallinn , Valga, Rakvere , Narva, and Koidula to Tartu railway station and waterways through Tartu Sadam Ferry service from Lake Peipus and Lake Lammijarv.

The intellectual city of Tartu has a gorgeous Estonian setting and is a major tourist destination . From traveling in its ancient historical Old town to exploring the gorgeous Tartu landmarks and partying the night away in nightclubs, you can enjoy all flavors of enjoyment in Tartu.

Tartu is also renowned as the originator of Estonian Song Festivals. So, if Tartu is your next vacation spot, this travel guide will help you with the best places to see and the things to do in Tartu.

Follow me on Instagram and Tiktok for more Finland and Europe travel tips ! 🏕️🏕️🏕️

Do you need help planning your trips? Start here!

❗️Be insured before your trip and get a SafetyWing FREE insurance quote 📚 Read our post about why you should always have insurance ✈️ Find out how to find cheap flights using Skyscanner or find deals now 🛌🏻 Book your accommodation through Booking.com 🎭 Find awesome and hassle-free tours through GetYourGuide 🚘 Explore Europe on an epic road trip with Discover Cars

Table of Contents

Raekoja Square

Wondering what to do in Tartu? Start with Raekoja Square. It is the biggest tourist attraction in Tartu, also known by the name of Townhall Square, and is an essential landmark of the Old Tartu town; it features a Trapeze shaped square surrounded by neo-classical buildings on both sides, the heart of Tartu in Estonia around which the entire village has been evolved.

Initially, this place was known by the name Great Market, Adolf Hitler Platz from 1941 to 1944, and Soviet Square during the Soviet era.

It is Tartu’s most significant cultural hub, hosting various major events, musical concerts, and celebrations. It houses the town hall of Tartu and Barclay de Tolly House featuring the Tartu Art Museum.

Where to stay in Tartu? Check out this list of beautiful hotels, grab bargains, and how to book it!

Tartu Town Hall

 Tartu Town Hall

The town hall of Tartu is its core administrative unit located in the Townhall square area. Initially, the city of Town Hall was used for trading by the settlements in the Toome Hill castle area and the Emajogi riverside port. During the medieval period, municipal power slowly emerged after the massive Great Fire of 1775 that destroyed Tartu. The city was rebuilt again with the construction of the current Town hall building.

It is the third construction of a Townhall in the same location. It follows Neoclassical architecture with a beautiful blend of Rococo and Baroque styles. The three-storeyed building features a high hip roof and a ridge tower with a giant clock and the Carillons, played daily. The building is very appealing and draws the maximum tourist crowd.

Are you planning your travels? Here’re my top travel resources!

I’m a serial planner both in life and in travel – I have bucket lists, things to do, see, and everything. So, I always love when my life is sorted easily using tools and resources that would make my general planning a little smoother and easier. Therefore, in my many years of traveling the world, I’ve seen myself returning to these travel resources repeatedly. And here I am, sharing my tips to make your life easy and breezy so you can stress less, travel heaps, and focus on the fun part of travel!

  • Booking.com  – I book all my hotels through this website and don’t honestly use anything else. They always have the best prices, in my opinion.
  • Airbnb  – If I’m traveling long-term to one destination, I book my flats through Airbnb.
  • Skyscanner  – The best place to find cheap flights on flexible dates. I use this a lot to score cheap flights within Europe!
  • SafetyWing  – Always travel insured! Never leave your home country without one. It is worth the extra money, I promise you!
  • GetYourGuide  – Hands-down, the best place to find cool and unique tours if you don’t feel like winging it, and go straight to a local expert. I use this a lot in new destinations to get acquainted with the area!
  • My Pretty Wild World Travel Diary (coming soon)  – A book you can write down your travel plans, create itineraries, track down your budget, and dot down memories along the way! A handy book you can keep and read later to revisit memory lane.
  • Pretty Wild World Travel Planning Printables (coming soon)  – Are you a nut like me when it comes to planning? Yes? Good. My travel planning resource in one zip file is an easy-to-use printable planner that comes with tips that helps you plan your travels during the planning stage, a pre-flight checklist, an itinerary planner, and so on.

Visit Soup Town (Supilinn)

Soup Town Tartu Estonia

The Estonian neighborhood of Supilinn is one of the things to see in Tartu. The reason why Supilinn is known as the Soup Town is due to its innovative names of the streets like Kartulli ( Potato in English); Herne (Pea in English); Oa (Bean in English); Marja (Berry in English); and Meloni (Melon in English).

The neighborhood features the pre-war wooden architecture building in different styles. All buildings have slanted rooftops and cross-section windows with a pure Bohemian ambiance.

The houses have different colorings according to style and mood, which makes the entire area look like a painted watercolor picture. Do not miss this exciting destination when you are in Tartu. Toome Hill

This is an important heritage destination in Tartu sightseeing. The destination features Toome Hill, housing the 600 years old Tarbatu settlement, which is also the original settlement of Tartu.

Toome Hill has a major military history associated with it, which currently features a beautiful lush green park and various historical attractions.

Lossi Street separates the hill into the eastern and western parts. At the same time, the eastern part of the mountain features the Old Anatomical Theatre and a 19th-century Observatory.

The part of the west features 13th-century cathedral ruins offering panoramic views of Tartu city from its ruined areas and the sanctuary housing the University’s history museum.

Apart from these, the classic yellow and white-colored Angel Bridge and the dark-stoned Devil Bridge are the other major attractions close to Toome Hill.

Emajogi Riverfront

 Emajogi River

Sitting or strolling by the beautiful Emajogi riverfront is one of the most relaxing things to do in Tartu. Emajogi flows by the entire town area of Tartu from Lake Vortsjarv via Tartu and finally enters Lake Peipus. It flows along a stretch of almost 10 km through Tartu. There are three courses in Emajogi River.

The upper course is from Vortsjarv to Karevere Bridge; the middle course is from Karvere to Kavastu while the lower course is through the Alam-Pedja Nature reserve.

Surrounded by the beautiful lush greeneries, the riverfront is a perfect bliss to relax amidst the calm environment, take pictures of the panoramic surroundings, and watch several boats sail by the water body.

Hold up! Have you thought about the importance of travel insurance?

Remember this:  anything can happen. Travel is fun, but your health is more important; thus, I always, always, always recommend getting insured during the duration of your trip. I have benefitted from having one multiple times, and it has been covered for thousands of euros!

The latest one is not necessarily “health” related – it was during the peak of the unspeakable terrible C that consumed the world. I was living in Vietnam when I received an email from SafetyWing (my travel insurance) that if I want they’ll fly be back home to Finland as the world goes through a global emergency alert. I flew back fully covered, and dealing with  SafetyWing  was a breeze despite the roar of people in contact with them trying to get back home.

I can’t highly recommend them enough. Otherwise, I rarely get sick; hence I don’t always need to head to a hospital, but knowing that I have travel insurance makes me feel safe at the very least.

Read my post about  why you should get travel insurance  for more information. Otherwise, you can get a free quote from  SafetyWing  – they’re the best, in my opinion.

Luke Manor and Manor Park

Luke Manor and Manor Park

One of the list of things to do in Tartu is this Neo-Baroque Park at Luke Manor, one of the gorgeous destinations in Tartu. Luke Manor is an old wooden manor from 1557 that follows the Heimat and Neo-Baroque architecture.

The main centers of the manor were destroyed in the period of the Second World, leaving behind its few structures like- The ‘gardener’s house, a handicraft studio, a renovated workers’ house, a cascading pond, and a small pavilion.

The vibrant green park surrounding the manor areas belongs to the 19th century, which features a terrace and a fierce lion sculpture, and is further divided into different sections for exploration.

Museum and Churches

Things to do in Tartu: St John's Church in Tartu Estonia

One of the renowned museums of Tartu is the Estonian National Museum which gives you a detailed insight into Estonian local folk culture and art and pays tribute to the famous Estonian folklorist ”Jakob Hurt”.

It showcases the traditional Estonian culture through national costumes, handcrafted items, wood-crafted beer tankards, carpets and lines, and other materials.

Other best museums to explore are – Tartu Art Museum, Toy Museum, and Estonian Sports Museum. Tartu also has a collection of beautiful churches, among which ‘St. Paul’s Roman Church, Roman Catholic church, Dome Church ruins, and ‘St. Peter’s Church reflects the brilliant Estonian architecture and is a must-visit.

Toome Hill

Toome Hill was given as a gift from Emperor Paul I to the University of Tartu in the early 19th century and has since become a public park.

It has been an important part of the local population for hundreds of years. Originally it was used to graze cattle, then became the site of an episcopal castle, which served as the heart of medieval Tartu. In the early decades of the 19th century, it was turned into a public park on the initiative of the university’s plantation committee. This involved building alleys of trees, roads and bridged gulleys, making Toome Hill a popular destination for locals.

Today, Toome Hill is still popular with locals and tourists alike who come to enjoy its lush green landscape and beautiful views over Tartu city centre. It is home to several important buildings including the anatomical theatre, observatory and clinic – all major focal points for intellectual activities in Tartu. There are also several monuments dedicated to notable figures in Estonian history such as Aleksander Kuperjanov who fought in the War of Independence against Russia.

University of Tartu Botanical Garden

University of Tartu Botanical Garden

The University of Tartu Botanical Garden is one of the most beautiful and unique places in Estonia. It has been open for more than 200 years, having been founded by world-renowned botanists, professors Ledebour and Bunge.

The garden contains more than 10,000 species and varieties of plants from all over the globe, including rare protected plants. Visitors can experience a variety of different ecosystems in the greenhouses, such as the rainforest or desert climates. Additionally, new decorative plants are constantly being introduced to the garden for visitors to enjoy.

The garden offers study programmes and excursions for visitors of all ages. A ticket must be purchased to visit the greenhouses, but entrance to the garden itself is free. Children can also enjoy themselves on an outdoor playground while adults admire the beauty of nature around them.

The University of Tartu Botanical Garden is an oasis in an urban landscape – a place where one can reconnect with nature and appreciate its beauty without leaving the city. It is a testament to Estonian culture and heritage – a place that must be seen and experienced at least once in order to understand its true value and importance.

St. John’s Church

St. John's Church

Tartu St. John’s Church is a stunning Gothic-style church that dates back to the 14th century and is one of the oldest churches in Estonia. It is also unique among all European churches due to its many original terracotta sculptures, with almost 1,000 sculptures from nearly 700 years ago still surviving today.

Visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the Old Town of Tartu from the viewing platforms at St. John’s Church, which have been carefully designed to maximize visibility of the historic city below. Additionally, an arts and crafts shop offers souvenirs for visitors looking for mementos of their trip.

Access to the church is free for individuals but there are some charges for groups; €1 per person entrance fee, as well as €3 per adult and €2 per pupil, student or pensioner access to the viewing platform. St. John’s Church also offers guided tours and excursions for groups upon request.

The historical significance of St. John’s Church cannot be understated; despite being more than seven centuries old it has survived countless wars and political changes throughout its lifetime and remains an important part of Tartu’s cultural history today.

The collection of ancient terracotta sculptures are testament to this rich history and provide a unique insight into European art during the Middle Ages – making St. John’s Church a must-see destination for anyone interested in learning about Estonia’s past!

Karlova

Karlova in Tartu is a charming district that appeals to locals and tourists alike. Its unique bohemian atmosphere is composed of historic wooden houses, secret yards, cafes and greenery. What sets this part of the city apart from the rest is its street art ; the Karlova Days festival held each spring serves as an introduction to the area.

The district was established during the 19th and 20th centuries on lands of Karlova Manor. Dating back to the 18th century, Kalevi Street marks the oldest settlement, with buildings displaying a distinct architectural style from those in other parts of Karlova.

This vibrant corner of Tartu boasts many attractions for lovers of culture and nature alike, including strolls around cobbled streets and picturesque courtyards; visits to one-of-a-kind cafes popular with locals; and explorations of hidden gardens full of seasonal blooms.

What are my favorite travel must-haves?

As a frequent traveler, I’ve learned a lot throughout my years of travel, and there are five items that I always carry with me regardless of where I go and how long the trip is. Here are my five travel must-haves!

  • Warm packable jacket  – I always carry a light jacket, even when heading to warm countries. There hasn’t been a time I never used it, especially in airports and planes.
  • Transparent toiletry bag  – I often bring a carry-on if I’m only traveling within Europe for a few days. Life is so much easier to go through security checks with a transparent toiletry bag.
  • Kindle Paperwhite  – I love a good read and always take my Kindle everywhere. It keeps me entertained during long flights and waiting times.
  • Powerbank  – I don’t know how I could travel without one! Having a power bank saved me a ton since I carry a lot of electronic devices with me.
  • Travel Adapter  – I never leave my luggage without a travel adapter! I carry one with me all the time. It is just one of that travel-must haves that doesn’t hurt to have in your bag at all times.

Planning to visit Estonia? Check out these posts!

  • Best time to visit Estonia
  • Estonia Points of Interests:   Places to visit ,  Visit Helsinki on a day trip ,  Castles to visit , and  Islands to visit
  • Places to visit in Estonia:   Tallinn ,  Rakvere ,  Pärnu ,  Tartu ,  Haapsalu ,  Harjumaa , and  Viljandi
  • What to do in Tallinn:   Day trips from Tallinn

Where to stay in Tartu

Activities to do in tartu.

About me

Evan Kristine a.k.a Pretty Wild World is a professional blogger with over 10 years of experience in content creation. Originally from the Philippines, she's been living in Finland for 15+ years working as a chef and entrepreneur in Tampere, Finland.

She's an expert in Finland travel and explores the country often sharing her insights and tips in this blog and social medias. She also splits her free time either going for weekend getaways in Europe on her holidays or exploring different home decor ideas for her future house in the lush Finnish forest.

This blog curates the best of travel, interior design, minimalist fashion, DIY wedding hacks, and a bit of beauty. Its a safe space for everyone who have various interests!

Evan Kristine is also the food blogger behind at The Kitchen Abroad and on her free time, she enjoys decorating her 75m2 apartment and shares her experience over at Solía Avenue .

A true master of her own life and despite her busy schedule juggling life as a chef, blogger, and entrepreneur, she still finds time to read 50+ books a year and indulge in several hobbies like hiking, working out, yoga, and painting.

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Estonia: the 9 essential things to do in Tartu

visit estonia tartu

📌 Read in / Lire en : Français ( French )

When someone says “ Estonia “, you instantly think “Tallinn”. That’s normal, the Estonian capital is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe – at least in our opinion. But the country has many other treasures to share with its visitors. Among these is Tartu. Located in the south of the Baltic State, not far from the Latvian border, this city, famous in particular for its university, represents a masterful link between nature and modernity. We guarantee it won’t be long before you succumb to its charms. Need a little guide? Here’s what to do in Tartu, Estonia.

🔝  Passing through Tallinn?  Don’t miss  our must-sees  in the Estonian capital, as well as our selection of the most  romantic hotels .

🗒️ Two things to know before your trip to Tartu

Before we begin our list of must-do things in Tartu, let’s answer the two questions most often asked by travellers.

How do you get to Tartu?

If you go to Tartu, chances are you will pass through Tallinn. So, what routes are there from the Estonian capital?

  • By car : By road, it’s about 162 km from Tallinn to Tartu and the journey takes about two hours by car. It mainly follows the E263 motorway, which is in good condition and well-maintained. Be careful, though, the speed will be different depending on the season of your trip – no more than 100 km/h in winter.
  • By bus : There are regular buses between Tallinn and Tartu throughout the day. The best-known company in Estonia for long journeys is  Lux Express . The journey times vary between 2h15 and 2h30 depending on the bus and the possible waiting time. This is obviously the most economical solution.
  • By train : there are also regular trains between the two cities. This takes approximately 2h30. The train is generally slower than buses but can be more comfortable (with two classes of travel on offer) and features breath-taking views of Estonia’s beautiful landscapes. This is our favourite way to travel in Estonia!

Which hotel should you  choose in Tartu?

There is no shortage of small, charming hotels in Tartu, but here are three that are quite notable:

  • The Antonius Hotel . This four-star boutique hotel is located in the historic centre of Tartu, close to the Town Hall Square and the Cathedral. It offers elegant, spacious rooms, a restaurant, a sauna, and a hot tub.
  • The Barclay Hotel . This modern, elegant hotel is vicinity of the station, about 15 minutes’ walk from the city centre. Rooms are comfortable and well-equipped, and the hotel has a restaurant, bar, and free parking.
  • The Art Hotel Pallas by Tartuhotels . This three-star hotel is located in the centre of Tartu, a short walk from the Town Hall Square. It offers modern and comfortable rooms, a restaurant, a bar, a terrace, and private parking. The hotel is also close to many popular tourist sites, shops, and restaurants.

🗺️ If you haven’t found what you’re looking for yet, have a look at the guest map below. But be quick, prices have an annoying tendency to rise.

🔝 What are the must-do things in Tartu?

Now let’s tackle the heart of this article and have a look at the essentials of Tartu.

Explore the historic centre of Tartu

Let’s start our list of things to do in Tartu with the most obvious: a stroll through its historic centre, a cultural gem not to be missed. Its cobbled streets and historic buildings hold fascinating stories and a cultural richness almost unmatched elsewhere in the Baltics. Ancient churches, bustling public squares, monuments, and public gardens will transport you to another time. Tartu’s old town is also known for its vibrant university, with plenty of cafes, restaurants and bars welcoming students and locals alike.

The main building of the University of Tartu, the enchanting hill of Toome, the Church of St. John, and the Leaning House are all only a few steps from the Town Hall Square. We promise you a great trip!

visit estonia tartu

Discover Estonian culture at the National Museum of Estonia

Among all the things to do in Tartu, the Estonian National Museum is a must. Located the Raadi estate, in the centre of the city, it opened its doors to the public in 2016. Well, that’s the new version, anyway. Before its destruction in World War II, the Raadi Manor had housed the Estonian National Museum. The new building is 355 meters long, with an area of ​​34,000 m². In addition to the exhibition spaces, it includes an auditorium, a restaurant, a café, an educational centre, a library, a research laboratory, an archive reserve, and offices. Ah yes, and what can you learn there? Pretty much everything you need to know about Estonian culture. If you have not yet been able to familiarize yourself with the country and its inhabitants, we advise you start there. Here is the official website .

Take a walk in Toomemägi Park (Toome Hill)

Toomemägi Park is a peaceful retreat in the heart of the city of Tartu. This green park offers a calming atmosphere to relax and enjoy nature. There are hiking trails for walkers, as well as shaded areas for resting. From the top of Toomemägi, you can enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. The park is also a meeting place for the inhabitants of the city, who gather there to relax, play with their children, and have picnics, allowing you to immerse yourself in local life!

visit estonia tartu

Visit the Estonian Natural History Museum

The Estonian Natural History Museum is a must-visit for nature and science lovers. It houses an amazing collection of specimens of flora and fauna, both local and from around the world. Interactive exhibits will introduce you to, for example, the biodiversity of boreal forests. The museum also offers activities for children, such as science workshops and demonstrations, making learning fun and accessible to all. What’s more, the establishment knows how to make you want to come: “In the botanical garden, you can enjoy the warmth of the tropics, meet turtles, see insectivorous plants and 70-year-old cacti”, says its  website .

Visit the University of Estonia in Tartu

Founded in 1632, this university is the oldest in Estonia, and still one of the most prestigious. Its library is an essential place for lovers of books and history. It houses thousands of rare works, dating back several centuries, as well as collections of manuscripts, maps, and photographs. Here you can discover the oldest surviving Estonian texts, as well as works by famous authors from all over the world.

The Chapel of the University of Tartu is another place worth visiting. This historic building, distinguished by its Baroque architecture, frequently hosts classical music concerts, as well as important university ceremonies, such as graduation.

visit estonia tartu

Head to Lake Peipsi for some outdoor activities

No, it’s nothing to do with the soft drink! Lake Peipsi, also known as Lake Chudskoye, is a transboundary lake located between Estonia and Russia. Considered one of the largest inland lakes in Europe, it offers visitors a magnificent landscape, with clear waters, lush forests, and white sand beaches.

It is a popular destination with locals for the outdoor activities found there, such as fishing, windsurfing, swimming, and boat trips. This lake is also an ideal place for birdwatchers, as it is home to a wide variety of migratory birds and native species.

visit estonia tartu

(Re)discover contemporary art at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tartu

The Tartu Art Museum, also known as Tartmus, was established in 1940 with a mission to collect, preserve, and promote contemporary art. The museum is in a “twisted” house – which leans more than the Leaning Tower of Pisa – on the town hall square, built in 1793. The art collections and the professional library are located at Rüütli 23. The museum offers exciting encounters between the old and new arts of the 20th and 21st centuries. It builds bridges between the past and the present and addresses important topics in our current societies. Want to know more? Visit the  official museum website .

Take a cruise on the Emajõgi River

Cruising the Emajõgi River is a must-do for any traveller visiting Tartu. This watercourse is the largest in the country and, during the cruise, travellers can discover the main sights of the city, such as the Tartu Cathedral, the National Museum of Estonia, and the Botanical Gardens of the University of Tartu. Cruises are usually organized by local companies and offer English commentary to help travellers learn about Tartu’s history and culture.

visit estonia tartu

Head to Soomaa National Park for an epic hike

Soomaa National Park is a must for nature lovers and adventurers wishing to experience the wild beauty of Estonia alike. Located about 130 km west of the city of Tartu, the park is easily accessible by car in just 1 hour 40 minutes. The park is home to forests, marshes, rivers, and grasslands, providing a variety of landscapes to explore. The Soomaa Swamps are particularly noteworthy, offering the unique experience of navigating through water during the flood season.

visit estonia tartu

That’s our list! We hope you now know what to do during your getaway in Tartu. If you have any other ideas, feel free to share them in the comments.

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Exploring tartu: 6 must-visit places, 6 amazing day trips from tallinn, public transport in tallinn, 5 things you don’t want to miss in tallinn .

Exploring Tartu: 6 Must-Visit Places

Did you know that Tartu is the oldest city in all of the Baltic? It was first mentioned in records dating to 1030. Estonia’s second most populous city, Tartu, also hold the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture in 2024. Meaning you are not alone if you are planning a trip to the ‘city of good thoughts’.

In this article we’ll take a look at 6 must-visit places in the university city of Tartu that promise to leave you with only good memories:

1. Estonian National Museum (ERM)

The Estonian National Museum   or ERM, as locals call it, is a place where you can lose yourself for hours exploring and learning about the past and present of Estonia’s history, culture, and identity. The museum was founded on April 14, 1909 (before Estonia was even an independent country) with the aim of protecting the material and spiritual cultural heritage and present Estonia’s history and traditions. The first permanent exhibition was opened to visitors in 1927, featuring 60 mannequins in Estonian folk costumes and a Setu smokehouse (one-roomed dwelling with no chimney, one of the oldest and most primitive types of housing) with original furnishings.

Today there are two permanent exhibitions “Encounters” and “Echo of the Urals”. The first gives you an opportunity to look at the everyday activities and domestic life of Estonians, as well as how they have coped with social changes through the ages. The second exhibition gives an overview of the life and circumstances of Finno’Ugric people and their connection with Estonia and Estonians.

Be ready to walk a lot, as ERM is large, with over 6000 square meters of exhibition space. The building itself is a modern architectural work of art, built especially for the museum and opened in 2016.   With a minimalist aesthetic, the building elegantly overlooks a former Soviet military airfield and reflects Estonia’s journey through time. There’s also a restaurant where you can freshen up before, after or in between visiting the exhibition, and a museum shop where you can buy a souvenir to remember the trip by. Visit the museum’s website  to get more information about the exhibitions and tickets.

visit estonia tartu

2. Tartu University Museums

The history of the University of Tartu   is remarkable for Estonia, as it is the oldest in Estonia and one of the oldest and most respected educational institutions in Northern and Eastern Europe in general. Its foundation dates back to 1632, when the Academia Gustaviana was founded. It was not until 1919, however, that studies in Estonian began. Today, the University of Tartu is the only one in the Baltic States to rank in the top 1.2% of the universities worldwide.

The main building of the university is a symbol of the city, attracting both culture and history lovers. It is also the home of the Tartu Art Museum, which has a unique display of antique art in Estonia. You can see full-size plaster replicas of the finest sculptures of Greek Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic art, bought for the museum in 1860.

The Mummy Chamber in the art museum is a real historical treasure, which offers you the possibility to see two real Egyptian human mummies and one dog mummy. These are the only remains of the former Egyptian collection of the university, which was evacuated to Voronezh in Russia in 1915.

You can also take a guided tour of the magnificent Classical-style main building lobby and the   lock-up room in the attic, where students who had broken the rules of public order or misconduct would sit.

Just a few hundred meters from the main building, in Toomemägi Cathedral, is the Tartu University Museum, which presents the history and research activities of the university. In addition to the permanent exhibition, the museum regularly hosts interesting temporary exhibitions.

On the eastern slope of the Toomemäe is Tartu Observatory, that was once one of the world’s most important astronomical centers. The observatory houses a permanent exhibition on astronomy and space exploration. You can admire the Arabian Nebula, learn about constellations, and count falling stars.

If you want to find out more about the exhibitions and museums, click HERE .

visit estonia tartu

3. Leaning House

The Leaning House, also known as Barclay de Tolly house is located in Tartu’s Town Hall Square, between Kompanii and Magistri streets. The history of this 3-storey classicist building dates back to 1793, when it was originally built as a dwelling house.

In 1819, the building was sold to Princess Auguste Helene Barclay de Tolly, wife of the famous commander, Prince Michael Barclay de Tolly. The building was therefore known as the Barclay House for a long time. In 1879, the building was taken over by a new owner, the pharmacist Theodor Köhler, who established a pharmacy on the first floor of the building, which remained in operation for more than a hundred years. At the beginning of the 20 th century, the famous Estonian writer Oskar Luts also worked there as a pharmacist.

Today the building is named after its current significant lean, caused by the subsidence of the ground. The old town of Tartu, where the house is located, is built on the boggy banks of the Emajõgi River, and the foundations of the houses of that time rest on wooden rafters. Over time, the water table has subsided, causing one side of the house to sink. As a result, the peculiar appearance of the house has attracted curiosity and attention, making it a tourist attraction. Today its home to exhibitions of the Tartu Art Museum, an education centre and a shop. It is certainly one of the most unique buildings in Tartu and well worth a visit. Get more information about the exhibitions and tickets HERE .

visit estonia tartu

4. Town Hall

Tartu Town Hall  building is located in the old town, on Town Hall Square. Construction of the building began in 1782 and it was completed in 1789. The building, is eclectic, incorporating three different styles of architecture. The three-storey building’s high-hipped roof and haricot tower follow the tradition of the Baroque palaces of the low countries, while its main façade is decorated with rococo-style cartouches. Early classicism dominates the design of the walls and the interior. The uniqueness and architectural significance of the building lie in the ability of the of the architect Johann Heinrich Bartholomäus to maneuver between several different styles to create something that fits perfectly into the urban environment, providing both a beautiful visual look and reflecting the spirit of the university city.

The basement of the Town Hall and the left side of the ground floor housed the prison cells with the guards’ quarters. On the right side of the first floor was the vault. On the two upper floors were the council chambers.

Over the years, the Town Hall has undergone many changes. Today, the first floor houses a pharmacy. The Tartu City Council and the city administration traditionally still operate in the Town Hall building.

In 2001, the Town Hall got its own belltower, which melodies can be heard from every day at 9am 12 noon, 3 pm, 6 pm and 9 pm.

One of the city’s most prominent symbols, the fountain with a sculpture “The Kissing Students”, adorns the front of Tartu Town Hall. The fountain has been on the same spot since 1948, but the sculpture was only completed in 1998 in a competition by Tartu city. The sculptor is Mati Karmin, who was inspired by the moment he saw his sister’s eldest son and his girlfriend kissing in the rain.

visit estonia tartu

5. St. John’s Church

St. John’s church  is a medieval brick Gothic building, known for its terracotta figures. It is one of the few surviving medieval buildings in Tartu. Built in the 14th century, it is one of the oldest churches in Estonia and unique in Europe. The church is decorated with terracotta figures, which are special because they are not stamped out of molds, but made one by one from clay, so that each one is unique. Today, around 1,000 sculptures have survived, dating back nearly 700 years. According to one theory, they depict former townspeople.

Throughout history the church has been in ruins several times, most recently between 1944 and 2005. In 1999 a new steeple and two new bronze bells, named Peter and Paul, were installed. There are 135 steps to climb up to the top of 30-metre-high bell tower, but the wonderful view of Tartu is worth it.

visit estonia tartu

6. Toome Hill Park

Toome Hill is where the city of Tartu began. It is believed that around the 6th-7th centuries the earliest ancient Estonian fortress – Tarbatu Fortress – was built on Toome Hill. The place is also home to one of the few surviving medieval buildings – Tartu Cathedral, built in the 13th-16th century. Throughout history, the cathedral has been plundered and raided by the Livonian wars, which is why it has been in ruins for a long time. After the re-opening of the University of Tartu, the choir section of the cathedral was converted into a library, and after the completion of the new library in 1981, it was replaced by the University of Tartu Museum.

The area, formerly used as a pasture for cows, was a gift from Peter I to the university. Over the years, Toomemägi has been used for a variety of purposes, including for military purposes – notably, after the Great Northern War, the Russian army built a gunpowder dungeon on the hillside near the city. After the re-establishment of the University of Tartu in 1802, university buildings began to be constructed on the site, including the Classical Anatomical Museum and Tartu Observatory, which was built on the site of the former bishop’s castle.

Today, most of Toome Hill is covered by a park and is undoubtedly one of the favorite places of locals in the city.

visit estonia tartu

The only question left, is where are you going to visit when you come to Tartu?

To learn more about this and similar topics Estonian National Museum Leaning House St. John’s Church Tartu Tartu Cathedral Tartu Town Hall Tartu University

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Guided tour in Tartu Old Town

We will talk about the distant and recent history and the importance of the University of Tartu. We will look for medieval heritage in the urban space and discover places in the Old Town where you can take photos that will definitely impress your friends and acquaintances on Instagram.

You can also send your guests for a walk or a bike ride with me as the tour can be booked in different languages: English, German, French, Russian, Lithuanian, and Spanish.

See you in Tartu!

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Designated a City of Culture for 2024, here's why you should visit Estonia's second city this year

Editor's Pick Estonia 2023 Travel A Long Weekend

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Welcome to Tartu, a leafy university city built around the banks of the Emajõgi River – a spot that comes alive in the summer as all manner of food, drink and entertainment venues spring up along its banks. Second in size only to Tallinn, Tartu is often referred to as Estonia’s spiritual and intellectual heart, yet once you arrive you'll find that it’s also a surprisingly compact place. With everything within easy reach that means there's plenty of time to explore – even on a short break – and there’s always something to see or do thanks to the creative types who are drawn here by its unique charm. There’s plenty of history to be found here too though, from the imposing buildings in the Town Hall Square to the green space of Toomemägi park – a gift from Emperor Paul I to the University of Tartu. For 2024, Tartu has been awarded the title ‘City of Culture’; a yearlong celebration designed to highlight the richness and diversity of cultures across the continent. Tartu has chosen the ‘The Art of Survival’ as the underlying theme for its celebrations and, with a varied programme of 300 events taking place across the year, 2024 is surely the perfect time to explore this wonderful city. Join us on a tour of the area and its Michelin-recommended establishments: restaurants Joyce and Hõlm and the Lydia Hotel .

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London in the Summer: 10 Things to See and Do

What better time of year to explore the capital? Discover our list of Inspector-approved activities for enjoying the warmer weather.

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3 Days in London

The Michelin Inspectors' top tips on where to eat, drink, stay and have fun in one of the world's busiest and most exciting cities

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2 Days in Bordeaux and Saint-Émilion

Just 2 hours from Paris by train, Bordeaux is a haven for lovers of ancient buildings and fine wines. It's also just 30 minutes away from the village of Saint-Émilion, a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover our choice of the best non-touristy restaurants, bars, wineries, and hotels in both destinations.

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Exploring Six Popular Tokyo Neighbourhoods

Tokyo—one of the world’s largest cities. This time, we’ll be introducing various Tokyo neighbourhoods where restaurants and hotels from the MICHELIN Guide are concentrated. Let’s head off to explore Tokyo in search of new discoveries.

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Where Semma's Vijay Kumar Goes in NYC

From cheap eats to special occasions, the chef behind One MICHELIN Star Semma reveals his go-to spots.

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Paris in Summer: 14 Must-Sees to Live Like a Local

In July and August, Paris is transformed into a seaside resort. Terraces, beaches, and swimming on the banks of the Seine... Open-air swimming pools, music festivals, and cinemas... For a successful weekend or extended stay in the City of Light, follow The MICHELIN Guide's recommendations!

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Hackney: London's Hipster Paradise

Discover the best and trendiest places to eat and stay in Hackney, Shoreditch and beyond

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Outstandingly Affordable Key Hotels in Spain

To gain a Key, hotels must represent outstanding quality in five categories. One of those? Value for price.

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Beat the Heat at These 9 MICHELIN Hotels in Asia Where You Can Enjoy a Mountain Breeze

Here are nine hotels in Asia that take you away from the downtown bustle and into the cool mountain breezes.

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Argentina: Chef Sebastián Weigandt’s Favourite Haunts in Mendoza

A culinary journey exploring the flavours of Mendoza through the eyes of Sebastián Weigandt, owner-chef of the one MICHELIN Star restaurant Azafrán, enabling you to discover markets, restaurants, hotels and bars chosen by a true gastronomic connoisseur.

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2 New Three Star Restaurants in The MICHELIN Guide Nordic Countries 2024

Discover all the winners from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden

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Where Daniel Boulud Goes In New York

The chef who has made Manhattan home for more than three decades spills on where he eats, drinks, and enjoys the city.

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Seven of the Most Luxurious Hotels in Paris

There are nearly 1,500 hotels in Paris, spanning every need and desire. The seven below represent the absolute peak of service, accommodation and sheer extravagance.

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Where to go in 2024: The best places to visit

Editor’s note: Sign up for Unlocking the World, CNN Travel’s weekly newsletter . Get news about destinations, plus the latest in aviation, food and drink, and where to stay.

So many places to see in the world. So many people eager to see them.

International tourism reached about 90% of pre-pandemic levels in 2023, and the United States issued a record number of  passports . And if you visited any popular destination over the summer, you’d probably argue it was more crowded than ever.

So maybe it’s time to look at places that are still largely undiscovered, or alluring in the offseason, or frequently overlooked for their larger first cities or neighbors. Maybe it’s time to head to places that are making it easier for tourists to visit and those that pay close attention to encouraging tourism that’s sustainable.

With those things in mind, CNN Travel chose 24 places to consider as you make your 2024 plans:

Sumba, Indonesia

For those looking for a beach destination that prioritizes community consciousness and sustainability, the Indonesian island of Sumba delivers.

With its remote villages, untouched forests, ancient rituals and world-class surf breaks, Sumba is the perfect antidote to the crowds of Bali, which is just an hour’s flight away. It might not be internationally famous yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s small. Sumba is more than 4,000 square miles in size (more than 10,000 square kilometers) – twice the size of Bali.

It was the  Nihi Sumba  resort that brought this island into luxury seekers’ sights when it first opened in 2012. More than a decade on, Sumba has welcomed several new luxury eco-resorts. These include  The Sanubari,  a series of beachfront villas that opened in 2022, and  Cap Karoso , located on the island’s southwest.  —Karla Cripps

Turkey’s Black Sea coast

Far less known than the Mediterranean yacht-magnet resorts of Turkey’s Turquoise Coast, the  Black Sea region, also known as Karadeniz,  offers a very different side of the country. Less touristed and with a cooler, damper climate that produces verdant scenery and  delicious black tea , the region has historic towns and villages as well as beaches and adrenaline-producing activities.

In summer, it’s a refreshing escape from Turkey’s more sweltering regions. Visitors can explore ancient streets that still echo to the clang of blacksmith hammers in Safranbolu, soak up beach life in Amasra and climb to where one of the world’s oldest monasteries clings to a cliff at Sumela.

For thrill-seekers, there’s white water rafting, and when winter brings heavy snowfalls, the region’s eastern Kaçkar Mountains transform into a  heli-skiing paradise .  —Barry Neild

Tartu, Estonia

Pucker up. Tartu, in southern Estonia, has been named a European Capital of Culture for 2024 — with  special attention paid to kissing . One of this university city’s most celebrated sights is its statue of two students locked in a passionate embrace, but here in the “City of Good Thoughts,” the love-in is more high-minded than carnal.

Tartu is renowned as Estonia’s intellectual center, home to its oldest university as well as the must-visit Estonian National Museum and the impressive Science Centre AHHAA, the largest science museum in the Baltics.

The Old Town is the perfect place to base yourself, but just north of the city center on the banks of the Emajõgi River, Supilinn (“Soup Town”) is also worth a visit. This historic neighborhood filled with pretty, wooden houses was formerly a slum but is now becoming one of the city’s most desirable addresses.  —Maureen O’Hare

Tainan, Taiwan

Celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2024, Tainan has become a Taiwan hotspot on the international stage. This southern city has surpassed the capital, Taipei, to boast the highest overall hotel occupancy rate in Taiwan in the past two years.

What makes it so special? Tainan is considered the street food capital of Taiwan and is loved for its beef soups and oyster omelets, otherworldly natural landscapes (check out Tsao Shan Moon World), scenic sunsets over salt farms, colorful old temples and cool new museums.

It was also listed among Booking.com’s top 10 sustainable tourism destinations in 2023.  —Maggie Hiufu Wong

Northwest Michigan

Refreshing, unsalty Lake Michigan lures boatloads of tourists in summer, but the shoreline, quaint towns and rolling countryside of Northwest Michigan have plenty to offer year-round.

On Grand Traverse Bay, Traverse City makes a great home base for exploring wineries on the Old Mission and Leelanau peninsulas or picking cherries or apples in season. Then fall’s foliage is ripe for peeping, followed by winter’s inviting blankets of snow.

From Traverse City, the scenic M-22 highway winds up the Leelanau Peninsula and hooks back down through Leland, home to a  historic fishing village  and a collection of interesting  shops and galleries .

Glen Arbor is another town worth perusing on the way to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore , where off M-109 an all-sand, 3.5-mile hike over massive dunes to the Great Lake and back preps hardy hikers for a delicious dinner.

Farm Club , a farm-restaurant hybrid seven miles from downtown Traverse City, serves beautifully prepared dishes showcasing the region’s ingredients — many grown on site — in a minimalist, barnlike space that spills outdoors.  —Marnie Hunter

Trans Dinarica Cycle Route, Balkans

Launching in 2024, the Trans Dinarica Cycle Route will be the first and only bike route to link all eight countries of the Western Balkans. The 100-stage trail is designed for cyclists of all abilities and its 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) is made up of quiet asphalt roads, forest trails and bike paths.

Riders can enjoy Albania and Croatia’s spectacular coastlines, Kosovo’s national parks, Montenegro’s rugged mountains and lush woodland and sparkling rivers throughout Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Riders can get more information and sign up for news of route updates, maps, accommodation and services at  transdinarica.com .   —MO

Culebra, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is large and makes for a great island escape. But what if you want an escape from your great island escape? That’s where little Culebra comes in. It’s about 20 miles (32 kilometers) off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico and world away from  San Juan’s noisy, rum-soaked nightlife .

The emphasis here is on outdoor activities and unwinding. Be sure to check out  Flamenco Beach , curving for about a mile around a sheltered bay. It has little in the way of waves, making it a superb spot for snorkeling and swimming. And a graffitied tank — a US military relic — offers a striking photo op.

Much of the island is  a natural refuge , and you can also go hiking, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and fishing. Take  a day trip  or  stay over  and make it your main destination.  —Forrest Brown

This southern African nation is trying hard to make a break on the tourism scene, having recently introduced a  quick-approval tourism e-visa . While major tourism infrastructure might not be up to speed yet, it’s a chance to explore a country still off the travel radar.

The capital of Luanda has a reputation as a pricey party city, but out in the wide-open spaces beyond, Angola has some jaw-droppingly spectacular scenery and cultural treats. Second city  Lubango  offers Portuguese colonial architecture, an impressive Rio-style Christ the King hilltop statue and access to the Tundavala Gap, a giddying plunge from cool tablelands into shimmering dusty plains.

Also worth a look: the dramatic 1,300-foot-wide (396 meters) Calendula Falls and Atlantic coastline surfing paradises such as Barra do Kwanza and Cabo Ledo.  —BN

Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada

Not to be confused with St. John’s, the capital of Newfoundland, Saint John is located in New Brunswick — also on Canada’s east coast. This charming little city is an excellent base from which to enjoy the nearby  Bay of Fundy , famed for having the world’s highest tides.

The city itself is filled with historic architecture, including the  Saint John City Market , a National Historic Site of Canada. Built from 1874 to 1876, it’s filled with shops and food venues. A five-minute walk away is the  Saint John Arts Centre . Set in the city’s historic Carnegie Building, it’s the only former Carnegie Library in eastern Canada.

In terms of accommodation, there are seaside cottages, hotels, motels, campgrounds, historic inns and B&Bs. Food here is as excellent as you’d expect from a maritime city in Canada, with a broad range from cheap eats to fine dining.  —KC

South Korea

With word that “Squid Game” — still the most-watched show on Netflix — is set to return with a new season in 2024, it’s time once again to embrace the K-wave.

Thankfully, travel to the country is easier than ever before. The government is waiving its K-ETA requirement — the electronic travel visa for South Korea — for travelers from  22 countries  till the end of 2024 as part of its Visit Korea Year campaign.

This is a country that truly has it all. After exploring futuristic cities such as Seoul and Busan, the cultural and historic side of old Korea awaits at Andong, dubbed the “Spirit of South Korea,” or the seven cemeteries of the ancient  Gaya Tumuli , newly inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2023.  —MHW

Sandwiched on the Adriatic coast between Greece and Montenegro, it’s astonishing that Albania wasn’t more popular as a beach destination before. But its wallet-friendly prices have seen tourism boom here over the past few years — so much so that in 2023, record numbers of Italians flocked across the Adriatic for their bargain summer breaks.

2024 sees the opening of a new airport at Vlorë, on the coast, which will make those beach trips easier. But there’s far more to Albania than its coast. The country has a rich culture, including Christian and Muslim history, with historical centers in towns such as Berat and Gjirokastër, as well as jaw-dropping mountain landscapes (Theth is the most popular).

In 2023, Albania got Europe’s first wild river national park, around the 168-mile (270-kilometer)  Vjosa River  — or to go really off the beaten track book a self-drive tour with  Drive Albania .  —Julia Buckley

Stretching about 2,700 miles from top to toe, long and slim Chile offers a little something for everyone.  In the north, spectacular landscapes simulate  Mars on Earth  in the Atacama Desert, where the 51-room  Our Habitas Atacama  emphasizes sustainability.  The new hotel is a good fit for the “world’s leading green destination,” a title Chile just picked up at the World Travel Awards for the second year in a row.

The natural world puts its best foot forward all over the country: Thousands of miles of Pacific coastline to the west, the towering Andes in the east and lakes, volcanoes and wild Patagonia in the south.

World-class skiing in July and August — a welcome break from the sweltering Northern Hemisphere — is two hours or less from the capital, Santiago. And the new high-altitude Parque Nacional Glaciares near the city protects land in the country’s most populous and  historically little-protected  area.  —MH

Abrolhos Islands, Western Australia

Every year there’s another installment in the soap opera surrounding the Great Barrier Reef — will it be de-listed by UNESCO? Has the coral regrowth gone well this season?

For tourists who’d rather not wade into the situation, there’s another way to experience some of Australia’s gorgeous underwater bounty. About 37 miles (60 kilometers) off the coast of Western Australia, the lesser-known  Abrolhos Islands  are home to some of the most beautiful scenery of the country’s Coral Coast, above and below the water.

Humpback whales pass through in the Southern Hemisphere’s winter, and lucky travelers may catch a glimpse of Australian Sea Lions. There are no hotels on the islands, so intrepid visitors can either overnight in the town of Geraldton or splash out for a liveaboard boat, which provides opportunities to watch brilliant sunsets over the Indian Ocean and scuba dive in the early hours when the fish are at their most active.  —Lilit Marcus

Macedonia, Greece

Athens and the islands get more crowded every year, but in northern Greece, the region of Macedonia is relatively free from overtourism. Yet it has everything visitors flock elsewhere in Greece to see: archaeological sites, history-rich towns and beaches galore.

This was the land of Alexander the Great. His father, Philip II of Macedon, is buried at Vergina, where his tomb has been turned into a world-class  subterranean museum  displaying the finds. Nearby, there are Byzantine remains in the hilltop city Veria, and superb wineries such as  Kir-Yianni  in the rolling hills around Naousa.

Thessaloniki — the region’s capital and Greece’s second city — is a gastro hub as well as a mishmash of architectural and archaeological eras. Near the city are the sandy beaches of Halkidiki; toward the border with Thrace are archaeological spots like ancient Philippi, and the city of Kavala, whose Ottoman past shows in every building . —JB

It may be most famous for the engineering marvel that is the Panama Canal, but this Central American country is so much more than a transit destination.

Not only does Panama have a vibrant capital city with a historic old quarter that’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the country also holds over a dozen national parks, including Parque Nacional Volcán Barú, the highest point in Panama.

Panama City is also the only world capital with a tropical rainforest within its city limits. Visitors keen to delve further into Panama’s cultural landscape in a sustainable way can book community-based tourist adventures through a digital portal called  SOSTUR Network , which connects travelers with rural communities and tourism businesses.  —Tamara Hardingham-Gill

Galicia, Spain

Empty beaches bordered by the wild Atlantic Ocean and framed by the rugged landscape of the  Islas Atlánticas National Park . Mouth-watering seafood. And a historic city forever entwined with the famed  Camino de Santiago.  Welcome to Galicia, an autonomous region in the northwest tip of Spain.

Galicia’s regional capital city,  Santiago de Compostela , has long been on the tourist map thanks to its striking 12 th -century cathedral, which is the endpoint for the hundreds of thousands of walkers who  embark on the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage  each year. But even if you weren’t planning on packing your walking boots, bustling Santiago should be on your radar.

And for spectacular views, head to  Cabo Fisterra , a rocky peninsula home to the picturesque Finisterre lighthouse. The former lighthouse residence is the  Hotel O Semáforo de Fisterra . Lighthouses are a bit of a theme in Galicia — there are 19 in total, including the UNESCO-protected 1st-century  Tower of Hercules , believed to be the world’s oldest surviving Roman lighthouse.  —Francesca Street

Singapore’s offshore islands

The city-state of Singapore shows urbanism at its finest: biophilic skyscrapers, neon-lit supertrees and six-star hotels all outdoing each other to redefine “luxury.” But venturing off the peninsula is quickly becoming a more interesting option.

Singapore is developing some of its smaller, uninhabited islands by, well, not developing them. Just a ferry ride away from the mainland, Lazarus Island is now home to a few rentable tiny houses made with reconstituted wood and powered by solar energy. Nearby, Sisters’ Island will open the country’s first marine park — including a sea turtle hatchery and coral protection area — in 2024.

Already open for exploring is St. John’s Island, where a 1.7-mile trail highlights native plants and flowers while shining a light on the island’s colorful history, which included a period as a quarantine center during a cholera outbreak. It’s a fitting place to think about life after a pandemic.  —LM

Mérida, Mexico

The Yucatán Peninsula is best known for its tropical beaches, but venture inland, and you’re in for an unexpected urban treat.

“Mérida’s uniqueness comes from a blend of Mayan and colonial heritage,” said David Casanova, who has a  real estate YouTube channel  on Yucatán state’s capital city with his wife, Megan Sequeira Casanova. “The city’s excitement starts with its diverse cuisine and friendly locals and expands to its year-long favorable weather.”

In town, Paseo de Montejo is lined with historic mansions, museums, art galleries and local vendors. The Casanovas tout the city’s boutique hotels, including  Kuka y Naranjo . For nearby getaways, there’s Progreso Beach (less than an hour away), fascinating Mayan ruins and underground water caves called cenotes.

If you’re concerned about personal safety in Mexico, the  US State Department  rates Yucatán and Campache states as the two safest as of December.  —FB

A longtime travel favorite thanks to its diverse landscape and spectacular architecture, Morocco has bounced back determinedly after a devastating earthquake this past September.

While visitors tend to congregate in popular cities such as Marrakech, Rabat and Fes, the country certainly isn’t short of less crowded spots that are arguably just as alluring. Standouts include Tétouan, the city near the first  Regis Hotels and Resorts Morocco property , and the historic Meknes, which is among the country’s nine UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Morocco is proving to be a world leader when it comes to sustainable tourism, with the launch of various initiatives to boost its renewable energy generation. The country is also home to a number of significant eco-friendly hotels, including the Berber-run  Kasbah du Toubkal , located at the base of the spectacular High Atlas Mountains.  —THG

Florida’s freshwater springs

How would you like to immerse in water clear as gin any day of the year? You can do that in some of the 1,000 or more recognized  fresh-water springs  scattered around northern and central Florida.

These  pristine natural pools  provide stable temps and visibility for swimming, tubing, snorkeling, diving, wildlife viewing and more. Here are a few of the best:

Wakulla Springs  has a swimming area in 70 F (21 C) degree water, and the state park offers a boat ride tour. The  depth at the vent  is about 185 feet (56 meters).  Rainbow Springs  is considered one of the most beautiful in the state.  Ginnie Springs , a privately owned site, is renowned for its diving and cavern.  —FB

Texas Hill Country

In the heart of Texas, Hill Country boasts its own natural springs. One prime spot,  Krause Springs  in Spicewood, lures visitors with more than its spring-fed pool and natural swimming hole — there’s also a butterfly garden full of magical wind chimes. And the  Blue Bonnet Cafe  — home to some of the world’s most divine cream pies — is just a short drive away in Marble Falls .

Meanderers will also find rolling hills and hiking trails, winding rivers,  wineries , barbecue, music and dance halls, plus an explosion of wildflowers in March and April. And in 2024, April also brings a celestial spectacle to Hill Country — the total solar eclipse on April 8.

Gruene Hall  in New Braunfels is legendary among Texas’  historic dance halls , and Luckenbach, a tiny hamlet outside the larger German-influenced town of Fredericksburg, has a dance hall and regular pickers’ circles under the oak trees.  —MH

One of the smaller and lesser-known emirates of the United Arab Emirates, Fujairah is as mellow as it is beautiful. Filled with spectacular mountain ranges and pristine beaches, it’s significantly less developed than the likes of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, offering an authentic and tranquil vibe that’s hard to beat.

Fujairah has a cooler climate compared with the other emirates because of its mountainous setting, but the winter months are definitely the most pleasant time to visit.

Snoopy Island, a snorkeling spot that looks like the famous cartoon dog lying on his back, is a top draw thanks to its crystal-clear waters and coral reefs, while the cascading waterfalls of the Wadi Wurayah National Park are another must-see.  —THG

The jaw-dropping landscapes of Greenland — an autonomous territory of Denmark situated northeast of Canada — are set to get a little more accessible for international travelers this year.

New international airports are opening in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk, and the coastal city of Ilulissat. These aviation hubs promise longer runways that will be able to handle larger commercial aircraft. The climate crisis is a visible, real threat in Greenland, and investment in the tourism sphere is increasing as changing climates  pose roadblocks to traditional industries.

Learn more about how Greeenland is adapting, and the stories of the Inuit people who’ve lived in the region for thousands of years at the  Icefjord Centre  in Ilulissat on the West Coast. Colorful Ilulissat is also home to the UNESCO-listed Ilulissat Icefjord, which offers the staggering sight of a bay filled with floating icebergs. In general, nature is the main event in Greenland, with other highlights including whale watching, dog sledding and Aurora Borealis sightings.   —FS

Before the pandemic, Uzbekistan was poised to be the  next big thing  in travel thanks to a series of ambitious reforms to transform the country into a world-class destination.

Now, its time has finally come.

Offering visa-free access to citizens of 86 countries, Uzbekistan’s untouched landscapes and well-preserved architecture are ready and waiting to awe visitors.

For greater insights into Uzbekistan’s position at the heart of the fabled Silk Road, a historic trade route that ran from China and India to the Mediterranean, the cities of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva await. Meanwhile, the mountainous Uzbek village of Sentob — about 3.5 hours from Samarkand — was added to UNESCO’s list of “ Best Tourism Villages ” in 2023. It’s been cited for its commitment to sustainable development, with a focus on nature, organic food and eco and mountain tourism.

Getting around the country is easy thanks to the high-speed Afrosiyob Express train, connecting capital Tashkent with Samarkand and Bukhara.  —KC

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Frescoes cover the interior of the Rock Church at Sumela Monastery in Turkey's Black Sea region. - imageBROKER.com/Alamy

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COMMENTS

  1. Tartu

    Tartu is very compact, with most sights, restaurants and nightlife nestled across a couple of parallel streets. Being the second largest town in Estonia and a hot bed for creative and scientific culture, there is always something on from theatre performances to concerts and festivals. Did you know, that Tartu is the oldest town in the Baltic ...

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    Visit Estonia Pro. English. Home. What to do. Where to go. Planning. Digital nomad. Map of Estonia. Search. ... Tallinn Tartu Pärnu Narva Haapsalu Viljandi. Tallinn. Tartu. Pärnu. Narva. Haapsalu. Viljandi. All cities. These places to stay in Estonia offer so much more than just a place to sleep. Dream of escaping to a cabin in the woods or ...

  4. See & Do

    Load more ( 182) Tartu offers something for everyone - whether you are interested in culture or nature, on an adventure trip or a family holiday. You can find the museums, adventure parks, sports and water centres, shopping centres as well as historic buildings, nature reserves and much more on the website.

  5. Best Things To Do In Tartu, Estonia: A 2-Day Itinerary

    Estonian Printing & Paper Museum. If the KGB Cells Museum was a bit too heavy for you, then a visit to the Estonian Printing & Paper Museum will be the perfect thing to lift your spirits. This unique museum is one of the only of its kind in this area of Europe and really encapsulated the artistic nature of Tartu.

  6. Tartu travel

    Tartu lays claim to being Estonia's spiritual capital, with locals talking about a special Tartu vaim (spirit), created by the time-stands-still feel of its wooden houses and stately buildings, and the beauty of its parks and riverfront. Tartu was the cradle of Estonia's 19th-century national revival, and escaped Soviet town planning to a ...

  7. | Tartu linn

    16 May Finnair resumes flights to Tartu. 15 May The Future of Europe's Ballet Gathers in Tartu. 27 March Air traffic between Tartu and Helsinki to begin on 31 March. 14 March A collaboration exercise for first responders to take place in the city of Tartu on 19 March. 12 March City looking to begin reconstruction of Sõpruse Bridge and its ...

  8. Tartu

    Tartu is a Hanseatic city and a university town. It is the oldest city in Estonia, dating back to 1030. Its ancient name of 'Tarbatu' was shortened to 'Tartu' in Estonian and to 'Dorpat' in German. Although large parts of the town were destroyed in World War II, Tartu still has a charming old town surrounded by large parks (some of which used ...

  9. Estonian National Museum

    The largest museum in Estonia with nearly 6,000 m² of exhibition space invites you to discover the everyday life of Estonians throughout history at the permanent exhibition 'Encounters' and to learn about the life of the Finno-Ugric peoples in the permanent exhibition 'Echo of the Urals'. The museum experience is complemented by temporary exhibitions. There is a restaurant and a ...

  10. Visiting Estonia? Here's what the locals love

    Visit a European Capital of Culture "Tartu is the gate to south Estonia—to the rich cultural region with sparkling life of local communities, indigenous languages, ...

  11. 10 Best Things to Do in Tartu, Estonia

    In fact, Tartu is actually the oldest city in Estonia and dates back to the 11th century. Found in the country's southeast, the city presents a welcome contrast to the ever-popular capital. This means that Tartu is truly one of the most important destinations to visit in this Baltic nation.

  12. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Tartu

    8. 'The Kissing Students' sculpture and fountain. 311. Points of Interest & Landmarks. The Kissing Students' sculpture and fountain is one of the most recognised symbols of Tartu. A fountain has stood in the same place since 1948, when newlyweds and their guests would visit it for luck…. See way to experience (1) 9.

  13. Top 10 BEST Things to do in Tartu (Estonia)

    Other best museums to explore are - Tartu Art Museum, Toy Museum, and Estonian Sports Museum. Tartu also has a collection of beautiful churches, among which 'St. Paul's Roman Church, Roman Catholic church, Dome Church ruins, and 'St. Peter's Church reflects the brilliant Estonian architecture and is a must-visit.

  14. Estonia: the 9 essential things to do in Tartu

    Visit the University of Estonia in Tartu. Founded in 1632, this university is the oldest in Estonia, and still one of the most prestigious. Its library is an essential place for lovers of books and history. It houses thousands of rare works, dating back several centuries, as well as collections of manuscripts, maps, and photographs.

  15. Exploring Tartu: 6 Must-Visit Places

    Estonian National Museum . 2. Tartu University Museums. The history of the University of Tartu is remarkable for Estonia, as it is the oldest in Estonia and one of the oldest and most respected educational institutions in Northern and Eastern Europe in general. Its foundation dates back to 1632, when the Academia Gustaviana was founded.

  16. Guided tour in Tartu Old Town

    If you are in Tartu for the first time, you have a few hours of free time, and you are interested in the most exciting sights of the city of Tartu, then come and have an adventure with me! We will talk about the distant and recent history and the importance of the University of Tartu.

  17. Why You Need to Visit Tartu, Estonia in 2024

    Jenny Elliott | March 8, 2024. Destinations Europe Estonia Arts & Culture. Jenny Elliott. The most vibrant neighborhood in Estonia's cultural heart is named for soup but is known for art. It doesn ...

  18. A Long Weekend in Tartu

    Editor's Pick Estonia 2023 Travel A Long Weekend. Welcome to Tartu, a leafy university city built around the banks of the Emajõgi River - a spot that comes alive in the summer as all manner of food, drink and entertainment venues spring up along its banks. Second in size only to Tallinn, Tartu is often referred to as Estonia's spiritual ...

  19. Tartu

    Estonia's overall art scene is colourful and varied, besides the multitude of different trends, galleries and exhibitions, the lively and playful street art is represented, offering great experience. Tartu is well-known as a city decorated with street art, today's interpretation of art is encountered almost every step of the way through graffiti and colourful messages.

  20. Where to go in 2024: The best places to visit

    Tartu, in southern Estonia, has been named a European Capital of Culture for 2024 — with special attention paid to kissing. One of this university city's most celebrated sights is its statue ...