Welcome to Tartu​

Tartu, with its population of around 100,000 in an area of 154 square kilometers, is the second largest city in Estonia. The first written records of Tartu date from 1030, making it the oldest city in the Baltic States. Tartu has played an important role in the development of Estonian culture and national consciousness: the first national elite stemmed from the local university, the first newspapers and cultural societies, the first national theater – all began their work here, and the first national song festival took place here as well.

 

Tartu — the 2024 European Capital of Culture

Tartu will be in the spotlight in 2024 as the European Capital of Culture. The year will be packed with events showcasing the historical and cultural heritage of the second-biggest city in Estonia and the rest of South Estonia.

Tartu2024 will bring over 1000 events to individuals of all ages. The year-long programme in Tartu and Southern Estonia presents the story of the Arts of Survival – the knowledge, skills, and values that will help us lead a good life in the future. As a community, we want to share this information while also learning from others. Inspired by culture, we build a better tomorrow.

Browse the full Tartu 2024 program here 

Learn more about the European Capital of Culture 2024 here

 

Hotels in Tartu

All participants of the conference will need to book their own accommodation. Discount rate booking opportunities are available in the accommodation booking form.

The nearest hotels and hostels to the venue are in the city center of Tartu. For more information visit our accommodation page https://bbbb2024hotels.publicon.ee/book-a-room/.

Dining out in Tartu

Tartu boasts over 200 places to eat: 25 restaurants, 90 cafés, and more than 50 bars, including a surprising number of ethnic restaurants, such as Japanese, Chinese, Indian, as well as American, and Italian. It is important to note that in Tartu you can get full meals in most cafés and pubs. The most famous places are Püssirohukelder (Gunpowder Cellar), Joyce, Crepp, Restaurant Antonius, Café Truffe, and of course, the ultimate meeting spot is Werner Café & Lounge, which has been in operation since 1895. Some of the places have won Hõbelusikas (Silver Spoon) awards.

Find your favorite restaurant or cafe here

 

Reasons to visit Tartu

A colourful combination of cultural heritage and modernness

Tartu, as the oldest city in the Baltics, offers exciting sights every step of the way, especially in the city centre, which is a unique national heritage conservation area. Here you can find examples of styles from medieval times to present-day modern architecture that are complemented with cozy cafes and unique restaurants, urban nature and the lively buzz of the student city. Tartu is the cradle of Estonian culture – from here the national university originated and the first newspapers and cultural societies started their work. In the year 1869, the first Estonian national song festival took place in Tartu and the first professional theatre (Vanemuine) began its work here in 1870.

A city full of flavours

Tartu is the centre of South Estonian flavours. Here you will come upon plenty of cozy cafes and diverse restaurants, on whose menus authentic Estonian food as well as dishes from different nations can be found. This area is known for various events that value good and healthy food.

Tartu Market Hall, which resembles an antique temple, is situated on the bank of the Emajõgi River. This temple of food, which just recently received a make-over for its 80th anniversary, is undeniably one of the city’s symbols from the standpoint of history, architecture as well as trade, and in addition to meat products, vegetables and fruit, natural juices and craft beer, for instance, are also found there – pure flavours and local raw ingredients directly from the producers! A varied selection of produce from regional farmers is also found at the outdoor market located in the immediate vicinity of the market hall, and at the Farmers' Market of the biggest shopping centre in South Estonia, Lõunakeskus.

Unique wooden neighbourhoods: Karlova and Supilinn ("Soup Town")

In the bohemian-like expressive Karlova and Supilinn, the exciting history, eye-catching architecture and colourful street art of the neighbourhoods meet – it truly is a "little wooden city", known for its old wooden houses and a bit of an eccentric atmosphere.

Colourful street art

There aren’t very many cities in Europe where graffiti is created in cooperation with city authorities. With its colourful and versatile street art, Tartu is just one of these cities. While strolling down main streets and smaller side streets, you will quite often encounter interesting masterpieces or slogans with graffiti motifs and drawings.

You can truly unwind in Tartu

Tartu is an excellent place to take a break and enjoy the moment, and that right in the city centre where enticing first-rate spas and treatments await. Both the V Spa water and sauna worlds as well as the Aura water park and health club attract visitors with various saunas, Jacuzzis and pools where there is also no shortage of fun water attractions for entertaining even the youngest members of the family. Wonderful city views, fresh air and the swaying waves of the Emajõgi River also invigorate the senses – all of this can be enjoyed strolling by the river, indulging in cozy riverside cafes, and on boat trips on the barge “Jõmmu” 

Museums for every taste

Tartu has been a valued cultural city through the centuries. 

Reflecting our cultural history, the Estonian National Museum (ENM), founded already in 1909, is undoubtedly the most spectacular pearl on Tartu’s museum landscape, which as a national museum is an interpreter of Estonianness, a carrier of fundamental values and a keeper of continuity. In October of 2016, the ENM was re-opened in a new building, surprising visitors with its unique architectural solution, on the grounds of the former Raadi Manor and on the former Soviet-era airfield. The total exhibition area of 6000 m² is furnished by the 4000 m² permanent exhibition of Estonia’s cultural history Encounters and the 1100 m² permanent exhibition dedicated to the Finno-Ugric peoples Echo of the Urals. In the Temporary Exhibitions Hall (900 m²), the exhibitions change on average once a year.

With their rich collections, the museums of the University of Tartu are places that present great joy of discovery with plenty of exciting things to explore. The University of Tartu Museum, located in the historical cathedral, introduces the history of science and university education from the 17th century to the present day – here, the rich historical heritage of the university can be discovered, and stories about science, art, astronomy, medicine and student life can be explored. From May to October, the towers of the cathedral are also open, from where a beautiful view of the city unfolds. The main building of the University of Tartu is home to the University of Tartu Art Museum, which is the only place in Estonia where antique art can be seen.

 The 19th Century Tartu Citizen's Home Museum introduces a citizen’s house of the 1830s with Biedermeier style interior; the KGB Cells Museum offers an insight into the cells of Tartu’s NKVD/KGB detention prison.

In the Printing and Paper Museum (TYPA), it is possible to see the process of making paper as well as various printing presses, auxiliary equipment related to books and printed matter, and the largest collection of type pieces in Estonia. Take part in any of the workshops offered to make the visiting experience even more eventful.

The Tartu Art Museum (Tartmus) is the largest art museum in Southern Estonia. It was established in the year 1940 under the leadership of the members of the art society Pallas. Tartmus collects and introduces modern Estonian art but has also always remained true to its Palladian roots. In the Tartu Toy Museum and Theatre House, located in the heart of the city, every grown-up will re-discover their childhood and each child will have a wonderful experience. The permanent exhibition showcase toys with which children around here have played with throughout the ages, you will see artist-made dolls, souvenir dolls from different nations and traditional Finno-Ugric toys.

 

Spas around Tartu

Rakvere and Aqva Spa

Rakvere (about 130 km and a 1.5h drive from Tartu) is famous for its castle on Vallimägi Hill and the largest animal statue – Tarvas – located on the edge of Vallimägi Hill.

Aqva Spa Rakvere offers a wide variety of relaxation and fun. In Aqva Spa there is a Sauna centre with 8 different saunas as well as a Water park with slides and different pools. In the Spa centre, you can choose different treatments or enjoy the day packages that include different water park and sauna centre visits and procedures.

More info from their homepage http://www.aqvahotels.ee/en

Kubija Hotel & Nature Spa

In the middle of South Estonian pine forests and lakes, you can find the cosy and comfortable hotel Kubija Hotel & Nature Spa. In the hotel, you can enjoy pampering body treatments, visit the spa and sauna centre or find harmony with nature and with yourself.

More info from their home page https://www.kubija.ee/en/.

Pühajärve

On the shore of Lake Pühajärve, you can visit Pühajärve Spa & Holiday Resort. In addition to the traditional hotel and spa, the complex includes a modern and bright 2-storey water and bowling centre. The surroundings of Lake Pühajärve and the nearby town Otepää offer lots of opportunities for different activities (even an adventure park!) as well as just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful Estonian nature.

More info from their homepage www.pyhajarve.com/en/

Värska

Close to the Russian border, Setomaa and its capital Värska offers an interesting insight into the unique, centuries old Seto culture. There are several museums and historical places nearby, as well as many interesting natural sights to visit.

Värska Water park with its many attractions, pools and saunas is an ideal place for relaxing, as waterfalls and intense jets of water give you good massages and the leisure area with bubbles shakes your body.

More info from their homepage https://spavarska.ee/en/water-park-2/

Practical information about Estonia and Tartu

Travel information about travel to Estonia and Tartu

Information about Conference Venues