Tartu is situated in Southern Estonia and connects to the world through Tartu Airport, Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport and Riga Airport in Latvia. The distance between Tallinn, Estonia's capital, and Tartu is 186 kilometers, or about 2.5 hours by express coach. Distance between Tartu and Riga Airport is 245 kilometers.
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Tartu Airport has connections to Helsinki. The distance between Tartu Airport and the city center is about 10 kilometers.
Tallinn Airport (Lennart Meri) has direct air links to numerous cities, including the nearby Baltic capitals, Riga and Vilnius.
You can also reach Tartu easily from Riga Airport (245 km from Tartu).
From Stockholm and Helsinki, there is also a ferry connection to Tallinn. It is especially frequent from Helsinki, hence planning your route through there will not add much to the total duration of your trip. Apart from that, Estonia has bus links with major cities in Germany, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic countries. Due to the relatively short distances, coach trips from Riga and St. Petersburg are a good alternative to air travel. Both cities have direct connections to Tartu.
Airport Shuttle bus leaves from Tartu Airport to the city in after the plane has arrived and waits for anyone who needs a ride to the city. The shuttle will drop you off at any place in Tartu city and the ticket (5 EUR) can be bought either in cash or with a debit/credit card from the driver. If booked earlier, the shuttle also picks you up from anywhere in Tartu and takes you to the airport (5 EUR).
The taxi stop is also located in front of the terminal. The taxi might cost around 10 EUR to the city center.
From Tallinn Airport to Tartu: Every hour, there is a bus which also take passengers from the Tallinn Airport (stop "Tallinna lennujaam" in Estonian) on their way to Tartu. If you wish to get on the bus at the airport, it is possible to buy the ticket from the airport, though there might not be enough places available in the bus. Therefore it is advisable to buy the ticket in advance online, printing out the ticket yourself either at home or from a self-service desk at the airport. Please also note that the bus tickets are valid only for the marked time on your ticket (it might take 35-45 minutes from the arrival to getting on the bus).From Tallinn Airport to Tallinn Bus station: Tallinn Bus station is situated quite close to Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport and you can take a taxi or public transportation to get there (see the directions). As Tallinn Airport is a relatively small one, it is easy to find the area where public transportation and taxis are waiting in front of the building. It is a short distance by taxi and it should not cost you more than 5 EUR to get to the bus station. It is also possible to use public transportation, bus No. 2 from the airport stops not too far from the bus station (the "Autobussijaam" stop) and you need to cross 2 intersections to reach to the bus station. You can buy a ticket from the bus driver and it costs 1.6 EUR for one ride (ticket info and timetable).From Tallinn Sea Port to Tallinn Bus station: It takes a little bit more time to get to Tallinn Bus station from Tallinn Sea Port and it's easier to get there by taxi. Tram No. 2 (towards Ülemiste) or bus No. 2 takes you to Tallinn Bus station (the "Autobussijaam" stop) from the port and you have to cross 2 intersections to reach the bus station. You can buy a ticket from the bus driver and it costs 1.6 EUR for one ride (ticket info and timetable).From Tallinn Bus station to Tartu: Buses leave almost every 30 minutes from 5.45 in the morning until 23.59 at night (timetable). Tickets cost approximately 10 EUR and can be purchased from the ticket office inside the bus station or from the bus driver. To get a student discount, you need to show your International Student Card (ISIC). Carrier SEBE offers a discount to people under 26. It will take you 2.5 hours to reach Tartu. Buses are comfortable and most of them have WiFi. Express buses also have touch screens and you can watch movies (you need your own headphones, but you can also purchase them from the bus driver).
If you arrive late in the evening you should spend the night in Tallinn. There are different hotels and hostels where you can find accommodation in Tallinn.
Trains for Tartu from Tallinn train station leave 3-4 times a day, and it takes 2 hours to get to Tartu. The train station is situated just outside the Tallinn Old Town and sea port, a taxi or tram No. 2 (from the sea port) can take you there ("Balti jaam" stop). Trains are rather comfortable and you can use WiFi in the first class.
If it is your first time in Tartu, it is best to take a taxi to get to your final destination in the city. Most taxi drivers speak some English and all taxis are equipped with meters.
Once you get comfortable in Tartu you will learn how to get to places by public transport, by bike, or on foot! A bus ticket costs 1 EUR if you buy it from the bus driver and is valid for one ride.Tartu bus terminal is situated near the center of town and is close to the student dormitories and the University Main Building.Tartu train station is a little bit farther from the city center, for first time travelers it is best to take a taxi from there to your destination.