About Tartu

Tartu is often called the 'Athens of Estonia'. It is Estonia's second largest city with approximately 100,000 inhabitants. Because of its world-famous university, the city is widely known as the intellectual capital of Estonia. Founded by the King of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus, in 1632, the university made Tartu the centre of Estonian education and science for centuries.

Tartu has the same status in Estonia as Cambridge or Oxford in the United Kingdom, Heidelberg in Germany or Uppsala and Lund in Sweden. Tartu also hosts the Estonian University of Life Sciences, the Estonian National Defence College, the Estonian Supreme Court and the headquarters of the country's largest newspaper. Home to several scientific research institutions, hospitals, the country's oldest professional theatre, and several museums, Tartu has always had the honour of generating fresh ideas.


Tartu is located in the south of Estonia, approximately 180 kilometres from Tallinn, 250 kilometres from Riga, 560 kilometres from Vilnius and 80 kilometres from the border with Russia.


It takes roughly 2.5 hours to get from Tallinn to Tartu by bus and two hours and fifteen minutes by car. Tartu is 180 kilometres from Tallinn, 250 kilometres from Riga and 560 kilometres from Vilnius.

  • Coach: There is a frequent bus service to Tallinn (buses leaving and arriving every half hour) and bus connections to other Estonian towns. It costs approximately €12.00 to travel to Tallinn by bus.
  • Railway: It takes about 2.5 hours to get from Tartu to Tallinn by train.
  • Taxi: A taxi between Tartu and Tallinn costs approximately €180.00.


Despite its northern latitude, Estonia's climate is relatively mild because of its proximity to water. The coldest months are January and February, when the temperature can vary from -5ºc to -10ºc, although it can drop to below -30ºc, particularly at night. From May to September the average temperature during daytime is 18ºc to 25ºc, but it can rise to above 30ºc. Snow is almost a certainty from December to April. Pleaseclick hereto check the weather forecast.


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