Tartu – City of Good Thoughts
Tartu, the second biggest city in Estonia, is a university town and a city of youth. Lying on the banks of the River Emajõgi, the museum-rich Hanseatic city of Tartu has time-honoured university traditions. Tartu is a modern city with rich historical heritage and culture.
It is the cradle of Estonian Song Celebration, Estonian theatre and Estonian state. Tartu is the intellectual capital of Estonia where national awareness and Estonian culture were born.
Be ready for a crisp winter weather when you are visiting Tartu in February during Miss Valentine competition. However there are plenty of nice and cozy cafés, restaurants, great SPAs and swimming pools where you can forget about the cold outside. Take a walk around city hall (Raekojaplats 1) to discover the special flair of this lovely university town.
If it is your first time in Tartu, it is best to take a taxi to get to your final destination in the city. Most taxi drivers speak some English and Russian and all taxis are equipped with meters. The prices are also reasonable.
You will find more information about accommodation possibilities, places to visit and transportation on the official tourism website.
Places to visit in Tartu
Science Centre AHHAA
Sadama 1, Tartu
Phone: +372 745 6789
Open hours: Fri-Sat 10:00 – 20:00, Sun-Thu 10:00 – 19:00
Science centre Ahhaa is extremely interactive. A giant energy machine, or Newton’s apple tree, the Hoberman sphere, the adventurous elevator journey inside the Earth, mini-labs, stock market, gift shop, planetarium and much more interesting can be found here.
19th Century Tartu Citizen’s Home Museum
Jaani 16, Tartu
Phone: +372 736 1545, +372 5564 2066
Open hours: Wed-Sun 11:00 – 15:00
The 19th Century Tartu Citizen’s Home Museum is situated in the vicinity of St. John’s Church, in an old and most peculiar part of Tartu, which was built up in the first half of the 18th century. It is housed in one of the oldest remaining wooden dwelling houses of Tartu, erected in the 1740s. The plot is located in the part of the Old Town surrounded with the town wall. The oldest written references to buildings at this plot are from the late 16th century.
Estonian Sports Museum
Rüütli 15 Tartu
Phone: +372 730 0750
Open hours: We-Su 11:00 – 18:00
Its permanent exhibition offers an experience for different target groups – from children to professional athletes – that is both educational and entertaining. In addition to the traditional overview of sports history, you can also test your skills on special simulators, use the computers to find out more information, visit the cinema, take part in a virtual Olympics, have a picture taken of yourself in the company of old weightlifters, take a look at sports newspapers and listen to music from different times.
St Anthony’s Craftsmen´s Guild and Workshops
Lutsu 5, Tartu
Phone: +372 742 3823, +372 5858 8245
Open hours: Tue-Fri 12:00 – 18:00
St Anthony’s Courtyard, where the activity of St Anthony’s Guild is organised, is situated in Jaani Quarter, the historical centre of Tartu. This is a place where art is created and loved and where genuine master craftsmen work. This is a place where history and today meet.
Tartu Toy Museum
Lutsu 8, Tartu
Phone: +372 746 1777
Open hours: Wed-Sun 11:00 – 18:00
The permanent exhibit of the museum displays toys that children in Estonia have played with throughout the ages. The display also includes artist-made dolls, souvenir dolls from around the globe and traditional Finno-Ugric toys. The museum has play and workshop rooms, and the exhibition rooms also offer plenty to keep one busy. Alternating exhibits and children’s activities are organized at the museum.
Tartu Art Museum
Raekoja pl 18, Tartu
Phone: +372 744 1080
Open hours: Wed-Sat 12:00 – 18:00, Sun 11:00 – 18:00
The collection of paintings of the Tartu Art Museum consists mainly of Estonian art of the 20th century. There are only a few examples from the 19th century. Therefore, the selection of works by Johann Köler, and his contemporaries such as Karl Ludvig Maibach, Paul Raud and others is relatively random and small.