Tartu (historically known as Dorpat or Yuryev)  is the second largest city in Estonia with a population of 100,000. It is a Hanseatic city and a university town. Dating back to 1030, it is the oldest city in Estonia.
Tartu is 185 km south-east of Tallinn, in the center of Estonia. The Emajõgi River, which connects the two largest lakes of Estonia, flows for the length of 10 km within the city limits.
Being a student town, English is widely understood. As usual, the older people are more likely to only speak Estonian and Russian; however most can understand English if you speak clearly.
Tartu Airport (IATA: TAY, ICAO: EETU) is located 10 km from the center of the city. Only one (Dec 2012) scheduled airline operates to/from Tartu Airport: FlyBE (partner with Finnair), with flights to/from Helsinki. An airport shuttle  provides door-to-door service from the airport at €4. Alternatively, a bus stop is in front of the terminal, where you can catch a bus to the city center. The bus fare is €1 and tickets can be bought from the bus driver. However, these buses run very infrequently (see the schedule).
Alternatively you can fly from airports in Tallinn 180km away or Riga 250km away.
All "Lux" express buses stop at Tallinn Airport (stop "Tallinna lennujaam" in Estonian) on their way from Tallinn to Tartu. If you wish to get on the bus at the airport, it is advisable to buy the ticket in advance (online , printing out the ticket yourself).
Bus schedules and fares within Estonia can be accessed here  or here .
Buses between Tallinn and Tartu depart several times an hour between 5AM and midnight. The journey takes 2.5 to 3 hours and costs €8-11, before a discount available with an ISIC card. Some buses have free wireless internet and bus attendants available. Note that the Friday afternoon departures from Tartu to Tallinn are usually crowded during the school year as a lot students go home for the weekend.
Lux express operates 2 daily buses between Riga and Tartu, one leaving Riga at 8:40AM and another at 6:45PM. A one-way journey takes 4 hours and costs €15-18.
Eurolines also operates a bus from Kiev to Tartu, departing Kiev on Tuesdays and Fridays at 8:45PM. The buses return from Tartu to Kiev at 12:45PM on Thursdays and Saturdays. The journey takes 18 hours and costs €45.
Tartu's train station is located 1 km from the city center.
Elron operates several daily trains between Tartu and Tallinn, via Tapa. The journey takes 2 hours and costs around €9 for second class, or €13 for first class. Trains have free internet access.
Trains also run between Tartu and Valga, Rakvere, Narva, and Koidula, a border station with Russia. Direct trains between Tartu and Riga are scheduled to resume after the completion of track construction.
Tartu Sadam AS operates ferry services between Tartu and Lake Peipus and Lake Lämmijärv.
Tourist Information Centre, Raekoja plats, 50089 Tartu. E-mail: email@example.com, tel +372 744 21 11, fax +372 744 21 11. Hours: Sat 10-17, Sun 10-16.
Tartu's Old Town navigable by foot, but if you want to go out of Old Town, then luckily Go Bus Tartu provides a public transport service with Automen.
AS Sebe operates a network of 19 intracity bus lines and 2 night bus lines around Tartu. Single tickets cost €0.75 from a newsstand or €1 from the driver. 10 single tickets from a newsstand cost €8. A ticket for 1 day costs €2, 1-hour ticket costs €1. 10-day ticket costs €8. On line 37, which is being operated by Automen, the ticket costs €1.
Since 2011, all public transport buses are colored red with white curvy decorations.
Important lines are:
8 to Lõunakeskus and Anne Kanal(popular beach);
32 to Lõunakeskus;
5, 6 and 6A to Tartu Railway Station;
2, 3, 3A, 5, 9 and 14 to Central Market and Bus Station
Bus line 69 is free, and runs between the bus station and the Lõunakeskus shopping center on the edge of town. Note that as this is a sponsored line, its buses do not have the red-and-white color scheme of regular municipal buses.
Town Hall Square. The kissing students fountain is a symbol of Tartu.
Soup Neighborhood. Neighborhood where all of the streets are named after soup ingredients. Features charming old wooden houses.
Former Soviet Airfield, (In Raadi, north of Tartu).
Ahhaa science center.
Estonian National Museum, J. Kuperjanovi 9, ☎ +3727350422, . Tuesday - Sunday from 11:00-18:00. The museums exhibition house showcases a permanent exhibition "ESTONIA. Land, People, Culture" and couple of temporary exhibiton. It also has a gift shop and a cafeteria.
KGB Museum, Riia 15b, ☎ 7461717, . This nondescript building was known as the Gray House and was the headquarters of the Estonian KGB. It tells the story of how the prisoners were treated there, and some stories about the Estonian resistance heroes, the Forest Brothers. The museum is small and does not have a very big sign, so look carefully.
Parks and squares
Statue of Oscar Wilde and Eduard Vilde in Tartu
Botanic Garden of the University of Tartu, 38/40 Lai St..
St. John's Church. 14th century church is famous for its thousands of medieval terracotta figures.
Cathedral ruins, (on top of the Dome Hill). From the 13th century and were dedicated to apostles St. Peter and Paul. Today the choir part houses the Tartu University History Museum, and the towers are reconstructed to sightseeing platforms.
St. Paul's Church, Riia. An outstanding redbrick Finnish National Romanticist style building by the famous Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen.
St. Peter's Church, 104 Narva St. a Neogothic Lutheran church from 1903, is built on the grounds of the first general Estonian song festival which took place in 1869.
Roman Catholic Church, 1 Veski St. a beautiful neo-Historical redbrick building from 1899.
St. Alexander`s Orthodox Church, 19a Sõbra St. A two-story church, designed by architect V. Lunski, with cupolas inspired by the Old Russian church architecture. The congregation was driven out 40 years ago. The church was reconsecrated in summer 2003.
Uspensky Orthodox Church, 1 Magasini St. an early classical church built in 1783 with typical Russian classical elements. It´s located on the same place as the St. Mary Magdalene Church of a Dominican cloister founded before 1300.
Small Building of the Vanemuine (former German) Theatre, 45a Vanemuise St.. A gorgeous Romanticist building
Catherine´s House, Narva 23. The Classicist style structure is built as a town palace in 1790 and houses nowadays Tartu City Museum. The building is popularly called Catherine´s House. The legend has it that Empress Catherine II made a short stay there. However, this legend is not true.
Gunpowder Cellar. dug into the side of the hill in 1767 as part of the complex of the bishop’s citadel. It was used as a gunpowder cellar until 1809. Until 1982 it served as a storage room for many different enterprises, and was later developed into a eating place. Today, the building hosts a bar/restaurant of the same name. Has the Guiness world record for a pub with the highest ceiling.
National Court, 17 Lossi (Dome Hill). Construction of the building began in 1763 as military barracks. Onto its ruins was built the university hospital in 1808, which functioned until 1990. Since 1993, the national court is again in Tartu, which is Estonia’s supreme judiciary court.
Old Observatory, Lossi 40 (on the old castle ruins on the Dome Hill), . The observatory, designed by university architect J.W. Krause, was built at the beginning of the 19th century. Working place of many famous astronomers including Struve.
Old Anatomical Theatre, 38 Lossi St (On the Dome Hill). One of the first buildings of the re-opened Tartu University which was built in 1803-1805 according to the drawings of university architect J. Krause. Today the visitors are offered an exhibition of the history of medicine with preparates.
Aristocratic dwellings and former teachers' college, Lai Street.
Barclay House, 18 Raekoja Square. late 18th century building. Duchess Barclay bought the house in 1819 after the death of her husband, Barclay de Tolly. The longitudinal wall of the building toward the river was built on the basis of the old town wall, while the other side was built on a new foundation. This is why the house is now askew and is popularly called the Tower of Pisa.
Remains of the Town Wall.
Tartu Centre for Creative Industries, Kalevi 13, 15, 17 (Kalevi St is the continuation of Ülikooli St after Riia St), . Congregates several creative enterprises and creates therefore a creative atmosphere. The three buildings of the centre were built between 1830 and 1913 and represent different architectural styles: historicism and Art Nouveau.
Angel´s Bridge, (Toome hill). built in the 19th century and spans Lossi Street.
Devil´s Bridge. Built in 1913 in honour of the 300th jubilee of tsarist Russia’s Romanov Dynasty, which is memorialised on the bridge by the dates 1613-1913.
Arched Bridge, (Stand in the main square and look towards the river). Stands on the site of the original stone bridge of Tartu which was built in 1784 and blown up by the Soviets in WWII. This new bridge is only for pedestrians and allows you to do one of the most loved cultural activities of Tartu, walk over the top of the arch after a big night in the club. Just don't let the cops catch you.
During the last decade, Tartu has seen several interesting pieces of modern architecture being built. They are well worth a visit and give an insight of how people in modern Tartu think and live, in addition to traditionally history-driven image of the city. Some of them are right in the city-centre. See Yellow markers on official Tartu Modern Architecture map: . The map is in Estonian only, but selected images speak louder than words.
Cinamon. The biggest movie theater in Tartu.
Ekraan. A popular movie theatre. It has two movie screens and first-rate Dolby SR/DTS sound system.
Lodi River Cruises, Emajõe 3, ☎ +372 551 8386, . Offers various cruises for up to 30 people along River Emajõgi.
Soolakamber, Mõisavahe 21, . Salt chamber has two separate treatment rooms. One chamber is for adults and the other is for children. Natural salt treatment has no harmful side effects and it stimulates body's immune and defense mechanisms.
Hanseatic Days, . 22-24 July 2011. Medieval festival featuring fairs, festivities, exhibitions, concerts, dances, merchants and tradesmen. Most events are free.
Stencibility street art festival, . Held annualy in the end of April.
Tartu University, Ülikooli 18, . Established in 1632, it's one of the oldest universities in Europe. The main building was built in 1804-1809 according to university architect Johann Wilhelm Krause's plans in classical architecture. It includes the historic lock-up on the attic, Assembly Hall and the Tartu University Art Museum which displays ancient art.
Tartu Kaubamaja, (100 metres from the Bus Station), . Department store with several floors full of fascinating things to buy. "Kaubamaja" belongs to Kaubamaja consortium.
Lõunakeskus, (take bus no. 1 from the city centre or free Lõunakeskus bus (number 69).), . Features a wide range of small boutiques, as well as a big department store Maksimarket.
Annelinna keskus, (At Annelinn, a small suburb of Tartu. Take bus 1, 5, 15, 17 from the city centre, just opposite the Kaubamaja.), . There is a Selver (big department store), as well as clothes shop, lots of small boutiques and other small shops.
Domus Dorpatensis Guest Apartments, Raekoja plats 1, . Apartments are located in a historical house on the main square. They offer spacious and clean apartments with all the equipment and privacy needed.€35.
Guesthouse Kastani, Kastani 3 (on the other side of the cathedral hill), . Small guest house. Lady who runs it speaks a little English but she is delightful and you can communicate without too much hassle. Best to email ahead. Single: €25.
Hostel Looming, Kastani 38, ☎ +37256994398, . An eco-friendly boutique hostel.Prices start at €15.
Hostel Tartu Student Villa, Tähtvere 48, . Self-service accommodation in apartments with all comforts.€20/night.
Terviseks, Raekoja Plats 10, . English speaking, overlooking the Town Square, Excellent kitchen and bathrooms.4 bed dorm: €15. Private room (1 person): €22.
Hotell Tartu, Soola 3 (right across from the bus station), . 3-bed dorm bed: €20.
Tartu Student Village, 3 different locations: Raatuse 22, Narva mnt. 27 and Pepleri 14, . Best rooms go quickly so book ahead.
Vikerkaare Guesthouse, Vikerkaare 40 (10 minute walk from downtown.), .
Hotel Starest, Mõisavahe 21, ☎ +372 7400 674, + 372 56 203 823 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . In the Annelinn suburb, is a quality budget hotel. All rooms are equipped with Sat-TV and an internet connection. Located just few minutes by car from Tartu Town Hall square, with frequent bus service from right in front of the hotel.Single: €29, double room €36.
Barclay Hotell, Ülikooli 8, ☎ +372 7 447 100 (email@example.com), . 49 rooms including 2 suites with saunas. Amenities include safe-box, hairdryer, cable TV, mini-bar, phone and complimentary wireless internet. Restaurant serves authentic Estonian food.From €50.
Hotel Dorpat, Soola 6 (on the banks of the Emajõgi River, near the bus station), . 200 standard rooms and 5 business class rooms.Double: €100, breakfast included.
Draakon, Raekoja plats 2 (In Town Square), ☎ +372 7 442045 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . BBC TV. Wheelchair accessible.Single: €65; Double: €100, breakfast included.