10 Things to Do in Tartu That You Shouldn't Miss

September 23, 2017 Flossie Demartino

Tartu (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈtɑrtˑu], South Estonian: Tarto) is the second largest city of Estonia, after Estonia's political and financial capital Tallinn.
Restaurants in Tartu

1. AHHAA Science Centre

Sadama 1, Tartu 51004, Estonia +372 745 6789
Excellent
77%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 429 reviews

AHHAA Science Centre

Science Centre AHHAA is a science theme park for families. We are is the biggest science centre in Estonia and the Baltic states, located in Tartu. The main purpose of AHHAA is promoting science, technology and the scientific approach to solve common disadvantages. AHHAA is open 363 days a year, which means you're always welcome to visit us!

Reviewed By Mikael F - Vantaa, Finland

Science Centre AHHAA is the biggest science center in Estonia and the Baltic states. It offers science, adventure and useful skills. The majority of the exhibits are 'hands-on'. So you can try everything yourself.
Although it is intended for children, adults can also have fun and learn new things. For example, there was an anatomy exhibition which was more for adults than small kids.

2. Tartu Toy Museum

Lutsu 8, Tartu 51006, Estonia +372 746 1777
Excellent
80%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
3%
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5 based on 123 reviews

Tartu Toy Museum

Located in an old wooden building in the heart of Tartu’s Old Town, the Toy Museum transports its adult visitors back to their most joyous childhood days and offers children plenty to see and do. The permanent exhibit 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 exhibit rooms also offer plenty to keep one busy. Alternating exhibits and children’s activities are organized at the museum. In Theatre House there is a theatre stage, Children’s Studio, and theatre puppets museum. Theatre House is a unique theatre which gets its inspiration from the Toy Museum, childhood, games and memories.

Reviewed By Alenka N - Tallinn, Estonia

Very-very nice museum with lots to see and pleasantly nostalgic items exhibited. Many rooms, plan for an hour visit. Price was 5€ per adult, but offers discounts for students and seniors. There's a large kids playroom there. Definitely worth a visit.

3. Tartu University Botanical Garden

Lai 38, Tartu 51005, Estonia +372 737 6180
Excellent
68%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
1%
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 197 reviews

Tartu University Botanical Garden

Come and visit one of the oldest Botanical Gardens in the world (founded in 1803). The Botanical Gardens were designed under the supervision of world-famous botanists, Prof Ledebour and Prof Bunge.The Botanical Gardens currently belong to the University of Tartu and they are used as a study base for students. The Botanical Gardens introduce new decorative plans and different methods of landscaping.Interesting facts:- there are 6500 species of plants from all climatic belts of the world in the Botanical Gardens, which makes it the most species-rich area in Estonia;- the palm house of the Botanical Gardens is the biggest in the Baltic States and also the richest in species.

Reviewed By nublex - Tartu, Estonia

This botanical garden boasts a big greenhouse with various tropical plants and palms, but its main attraction and charm lie in the park and Gardens around the palmhouse. During spring and summer it offers a beautiful walk on which you can see many rare and not so rare flowers and trees. When the flowers are blooming the atmosphere is lovely.

4. Tartu Town Hall Square

Pahni Kula, Tartu 51003, Estonia +372 744 2111
Excellent
62%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
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4.5 based on 169 reviews

Tartu Town Hall Square

Reviewed By Janneorro - Tartu, Estonia

Beautiful Town Hall that is partially open to visitors, famous Leaning House with art Exhibitions that exchange every now and then and signature of Tartu: Fountain with statue of kissing students. Especially nice during summer season: cafeterias have their terraces open and christmastime comes with special illuminations

5. Tartu Old City

Tartu 50089, Estonia
Excellent
52%
Good
39%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 410 reviews

Tartu Old City

Reviewed By jafischer - Riga, Latvia

An outstanding place, in the winter times especially during night. Beautifully illuminated and renovated buildings invite you to undertake a discovery tour. Be amazed by the tilted house and relax in one of the literally dozens of bars, restaurants, pubs and cafes. Really an outstanding, charming city.

6. Printing and Paper Museum

Kastani 48f | In The Courtyard, Tartu 50410, Estonia +372 5682 8117
Excellent
99%
Good
1%
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5 based on 53 reviews

Printing and Paper Museum

The Print & Paper Museum displays historic letterpress printing presses and typefaces, incorporates a paper art studio and a gallery where artists from around the world display their works. Most of the machines on display are in working order and sometimes you will see someone working on them. Every visit will include a guided tour, but the museum is best enjoyed by participating in a workshop. These can be arranged on the spot for an additional fee. Workshops range from printing a simple postcard to designing 3-dimensional paper objects. There is plenty to discover here for children, families and specialists alike. The museum is located in an industrial neighborhood, in the inner courtyard of the "Samelin" footwear company. Several old factory buildings nearby have been turned into creative hubs and you will be able to discover excellent dining and shopping nearby. Just ask the museum staff for pointers.

Reviewed By mart m

We arrived early and got a comprehensive tour with hands-on paper making and press printing experience. Maarja was an excellent guide. The museum showcases various printing machines from different ages and most of them are still in active use. It is also possible to buy postcards, notebooks and posters that are made there. All in all we were very positively surprised.

7. The Kissing Students Fountain

Raekoja Plats | In front of the City Hall, Tartu 51004, Estonia +372 744 2111
Excellent
55%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
1%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 222 reviews

The Kissing Students Fountain

The Kissing Students' sculpture and Fountain is one of the most recognised symbols of Tartu. A Fountain has stood in the same place since 1948, when newlyweds and their guests would visit it for luck, and people would also take a dip in it. The sculpture was created by Mati Karmin and completed in 1998. Since 2006 the Fountain has been surrounded by tiles bearing the names of Tartu's sister cities: Bærum, Deventer, Ferrara, Fredriksberg, Hafnarfjorður, Hameenlinna, Kaunas, Luneburg, Pihkva, Riia, Salisbury, Tampere, Turu, Uppsala, Veszprem and Zutphen. They are situated in the direction that the cities lie from Tartu, marking the distances.

Reviewed By HughMc - Cheadle, United Kingdom

Tartu is an old university town and it is thus not surprising that the statue outside the town hall is of two students kissing under an umbrella. Given my last 5 days in Tartu the umbrella is highly significant! It is also an identifiable meeting point and photograph opportunity.
The town square has a number of nice eating places around it although the adjoining streets have better restaurants, pubs and wine bars. The town square is also linked to the river and a bridge which make very pleasant walks.

8. Tartu University

Uelikooli 18, Tartu 51014, Estonia +372 737 5100
Excellent
58%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 108 reviews

Tartu University

Reviewed By acorna - Vilnius

Tartu university is old, closing to its 400th anniversary. Though not the oldest in the Baltic States, but at present it is the highest ranking one. Though average traveller possibly will not be interested much in its study and research quality, but everybody who visits Tartu city, admires stately classic building with white Colonnade and probably notices a house with painted windows and people looking through them - professors of Tartu University. The paintings are renewed in certain periods, so coming several years later you will probably see different faces looking through the painted windows.

9. University of Tartu Museum

Lossi 25, Tartu 51003, Estonia +372 737 5674
Excellent
63%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
7%
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4.5 based on 76 reviews

University of Tartu Museum

Ideas Rule the World - 400 Years of University History The University of Tartu Museum gives an overview of the history of science and university education from the 17th century to the present day - come and experience the rich legacy of the University and explore its tales of science, art, astronomy, medicine and student life! The Museum is situated in the centre of Tartu on Toome Hill, the historic heart of both Tartu and the University campus. The permanent exhibition of the Museum gives an overview of the history of the University of Tartu and science. Each year a new annual exhibition is opened to visitors. The Museum's White Hall is one of the most prestigious venues in Tartu and invites you to visit its display on the history of the University of Tartu. Morgenstern Hall introduces the history of student organisations and the Museum building. The Treasury is home to the truly rare gems of the University, which have rarely, if ever, been on display. The Crazy Scientist's Office invites both young and old researchers to take part in its interactive explorations, experiments and construction workshops. The towers of Tartu Cathedral and their viewing platforms are open to visitors from spring to autumn. On the ground floor of the museum you can find the Cathedral Shop that offers different products on the tales of Toome Hill as well as the historical and contemporary scientific achievements of the University of Tartu, souvenirs, jewellery, both books and films on the history of the university as well as objects inked to the deeds of famous professors and much more. The University of Tartu Museum other branches are the University of Tartu Art Museum, the Old Observatory and the Old Anatomical Theatre (the Old Anatomical Theatre is currently closed due to renovation).

Reviewed By genibre69 - London, United Kingdom

I don't get how people are calling this great- I wouldn't say it's worth the €5 fee. The temporary exhibits are somewhat interesting- Estonian explorers through the ages and children's experiences during WWII on the top- but the permanent treasury exhibit is just... Mediocre. The White Hall has some intriguing details on the university's history but the mad scientist room is completely irrelevant for adults. The ticket included a climb to a tower for a view of the city... But there is no view in the summer! Lush greenery covers everything so you may just see a steeple poking through the trees. This would be way better in the fall or winter when the trees lose their leaves. Save your euros and just wander the grounds for free for some great photos.

10. St. John's Church

Jaani Street, Tartu 51007, Estonia +372 744 2229
Excellent
53%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 97 reviews

St. John's Church

Reviewed By acorna - Vilnius

It is a beautiful gothic church with some additions of baroque period but lacking any opulence of the latter. Actually it is very austere and rather bare inside, but maybe this is even for the best, because gothic architecture can be admired at its purest. Main attraction of St. Johns are terracotta figurines, of which now only (!) 200 survived (it is said there were over thousand of them). Entrance to the church is free, one euro is charged for photography.

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