Tartu is an university town located in Estonia. It is the second largest city in the country. You can reach Tartu by air or road. We took our car with us on the ferry from Helsinki and then drove 2 h 30 min from Tallinn to Tartu. Unfortunately we only had one night in Tartu but still managed to do quite a lot. Here are some of my recommendations for your visit.
Stay at the Hotel Lydia. ❤ I believe Lydia is the best hotel in town with stylish rooms, good customer service, a parking garage and what's best – a great breakfast with Estonian and International delights. There's also a spa and a gym. It's located in the Old Town, so everything is at your fingertips.
Go on a brewery tour at the A. Le Coq factory/Beer Museum. I recommend this even if you aren’t a fan of beer as A. Le Coq makes all kinds of other beverages too. At the end of the tour you will be very knowledgable about beer brewing and you will be invited to sample a drink of your choice!
Stroll around the Town Hall Square and explore the Old Town.
Photograph yourself inside the National Geographic frame.
Admire the Kissing Students fountain and listen to the 34 Town Hall bells play beautiful melodies. Check out the times here.
Try some beer or cider from the local microbreweries.
Eat at least one piece of cake.
Walk over the Kaarsild bridge. The bridge was constructed in 1959 after the original was destroyed in World War II. Take some time to stroll the banks of the Emajõgi river. The river’s name translates to Mother River and it is 100 km long all in all. Ten kilometres of it go through Tartu. In summer, you can take a relaxing boat trip on the river.
Check out some of the cool street art Tartu has to offer.
Check out some of the cool statues around town! This here is the Bronze Pig. The other sculptures I discovered can be seen here.
Visit the Market Hall (Tartu Turg). You can find all kinds of fresh produce there. It was built in 1938 and has just been renovated.
Continue your shopping at the local Kaubamaja.
Discover the Tagurpidi Maja aka cool upside-down house. We went there by car but it is also possible to walk from the Old Town if you don’t mind some outdoor air.
Be prepared to take zillions of cool photos!
THINGS TO DO I SAVED FOR NEXT TIME
Visit the KGB Cells Museum. We tried to visit but contrary to the information on their website the place was closed. Has anyone managed a visit?
If you are into theater, then it’s worth getting tickets to a show at Vanemuine Teater. The theatre offers musicals, operas and ballets – something for everyone even if you do not understand the Estonian language!
The Estonian National Museum is located next to the upside down house. It’s been built on a former Soviet military airfield and opened just two years ago. The building itself looks very impressive. Unfortunately we had to start our drive towards Tallinn and had to give this a pass.
Tartu also has a spa that one of my colleagues has visited several times and raves about – the V Spa. She recommends it for couples and families with children alike.
Have you been to Tartu? Is there something I missed that I should aim to do next time?