Tartu County boasts beautiful countryside and one of Estonia’s most important cities, Tartu. To the east, explore the relatively undeveloped sandy coastline of Lake Peipsi, one on Europe’s largest lakes, and learn about the Old Believers and visit their quaint lakeside villages.
Tartu is Estonia’s second largest town and is known for many things, including being the student capital. In the 19th century, Tartu was the cradle of Estonia’s national revival. For the best view over the city, head to the top of Toomemägi Hill.
Start your visit in the Town Hall Square at the ‘Kissing Students’ fountain. Admire the Town Hall and just a short walk away is the University of Tartu, which was established in 1632 and is one of the oldest universities in Europe. Tartu University Botanical Gardens was founded in 1806 among the ruins of Tartu’s Old Town wall and is the longest running maintained gardens in the Baltics.
No trip to Tartu is complete without a visit to the newly built Estonian National Museum (read also the feature). Both kids and adults will find plenty to do among the interactive exhibits at the Science Centre AHHAA and Tartu’s Toy Museum also offers something for every age where you can learn about the history of toys and take part in workshops.
For something a little different, stop at the Tagurpidi Maja (upside-down house) for a dizzying adventure. Everything is upside-down! The floor is on the ceiling, along with all the furniture. And just outside of town, in the historic Ülenurme Manor is the Estonian Agricultural Museum.
The positively eccentric districts of Supilinn and Karlova is where you’ll find the locals. Supilinn or Soup Town is known for its colourful wooden houses, and streets named after vegetables. Karlova is known for its quaint cafés and shops, as well as its ornate colourful houses. Visit the Aparaaditehas, an old Soviet era factory that has now been converted into a creative space for local artists, shop keepers, restaurants and events.
You can read more about Tartu in our annual Tartu In Your Pocket Guide, available at the tourist information point at Tartu Town Hall, as well as online.
Visit www.southestonia.ee/eng for more info.