With a rich history dating back to the 11th century, Tartu is one of the oldest cities in Estonia. It lies on the banks of the Emajõgi River and centres around a prestigious university that has attracted students since the 17th century. In addition to its university museums, Tartu boasts a state-of-the-art science centre.
Things to do in Tartu
Tartu is home to the largest science centre in the Baltic States, the Teaduskeshus AHHAA, which is packed with interactive exhibits exploring the worlds of science and technology. Learn about wood ants and sea horses in the Hall of Nature and solve logic puzzles in the Aha, Cubed! exhibit, then ride a bicycle high above the Hall of Technology. You can check to see what’s happening in the planetarium or experience an immersive show in the 4D Adventure Cinema.
Art enthusiasts shouldn’t miss a visit to the Tartu Kunstimuuseum, which houses an impressive collection of works by both Estonian and international artists. It occupies a unique, leaning building overlooking the Town Hall Square and regularly hosts thought-provoking temporary exhibitions of contemporary art.
The University of Tartu Museum explores education in the city from the 17th century to the modern day through exhibits featuring vintage science, astronomy and physics equipment. Its collections are housed within three buildings - the monumental Tartu Cathedral, the Tartu Old Observatory and the University of Tartu Art Museum. A highlight is the Crazy Scientist’s Office where you can interact with a variety of mechanical “toys”.
Getting around Tartu
Tartu is around two hours’ drive from Tallinn and Tallinn Airport, which has flights to destinations across Europe. Trains connect to the Tartu railway station from towns and cities across Estonia and buses travel throughout Tartu. The centre of Tartu can easily be explored on foot.