Getting to Tartu
By planeFly in through Tallinn or Rīga. Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport sits just outside Tallinn's center on the way to Tartu. From there, it's a breeze to rent a car, hop on a bus, or use the Airport Shuffle service. Riga International Airport links to Tartu via Lux Express buses.
Hit the road and drive to Tartu – a comfortable 2-hour drive (185 km) from Tallinn and a 3.5-hour journey (260 km) southwest of Riga. Driving not only gets you here but also lets you enjoy Estonia’s scenic attractions along the way. Check out Visit Estonia for ideas.
By busA smooth 2.5-hour bus ride from Tallinn to Tartu is a breeze. Lux Express buses run frequently from Tallinn bus station and the airport. Find schedules and tickets on Tpilet or the Lux Express page. You can also hop on a Lux Express bus in Rīga, Latvia, and drive straight to Tartu!
By trainWith 11 daily runs, trains between Tallinn and Tartu are quick and comfy, getting you there in two hours. Find the schedule and tickets on Elron's homepage. A train ride from Rīga is an option too – schedules and tickets via Pasažieru Vilciens.
BusAll public transportation is free during the festival with your festival wristband – collect yours when you get your badge! Tickets can be bought directly from the driver with cash outside the festival period or paid with your bank card at the validators next to the doors. Purchase a 2 € bus card from R-Kiosks, shopping centers, or other selling points for frequent travel during your stay. Find more information about the tickets and schedules here.
TaxiFor newcomers, taxis are great. Most drivers speak English and all taxis have meters. Use the Bolt app for easy taxi booking – no Uber in Tartu. You can also call a taxi the old-fashioned way – find more information about taxi services in Tartu here.
BikeIn June 2019, the Smart Bike Share system was unveiled in Tartu. The system has 750 bikes in 69 bike-share stations across the city. A total of 510 bikes are electric and the remaining 240 are regular bikes. So, if you're up to an extreme experience (or not so extreme, depending on the weather, of course) you can also come to the venue by bike. In order to rent a bike, you must have a valid Tartu bus season ticket or you must purchase a bike-share membership. You must create a bike share account, either online or via the mobile app (Tartu Smart Bike), and connect it to a credit card. Additional info from the City of Tartu page.
If you're up for some fun, rent a Bolt scooter. Find one on the street or using the Bolt app, unlock it, and zoom around town.
sTARTUp Day takes place in South Estonia in a town called Tartu. It is a green city full of students, intellectuals, and creatives. Home to one of Northern Europe’s oldest universities, Tartu offers a wide variety of landmarks and places to visit, including museums, cultural objects, resorts, and bars both in winter and summer. We've picked out some spots to go see that could interest you!
Photos by Peeter Paaver, Evelin Lumi, Maanus Kullamaa, Kelin Lääts
The Upside Down House is a dazzling adventure for everybody, both children and adults. The house is literally turned upside down – upstairs is downstairs and vice versa. Every element, including furniture, decorations, and plants is upside down. Don't worry, you don’t have to climb on the ceiling, the ceiling is just the floor (etc.). Positioned right next to ERM, Upside Down House is a fun stop while visiting Tartu and looking for a bit of wonder.
The Tartu Festival Arena is a smaller counterpart of our main Festival Arena in Tallinn. Although smaller, our venue also provides spectacular views and is a great place for enjoying open-air concerts or having a walk with your loved one. Many parks, leisure tracks, and the vicinity of the Emajõgi River make the Tartu Festival Arena a great place for a stroll or a photography session. In winter, you can also rent ice skates and have a blast in the skating rink.
The Toomemägi Park offers fantastic views of the Old Town of Tartu and holds the heart of Tartu’s history. On those hills stood the fortress of Toomemäe, which was first mentioned in 1030 AD and therefore became the founding date of our lovely city. Through the times, many bastions have been dug and conquered here, leaving only a hint of its vivid history visible today. You can still see the occasional remnants of the stone wall, also with the beautiful ruins of Dome Cathedral.
The Botanical Garden of the University of Tartu is a must-see landmark for photographers and lovebirds. This beautiful venue has been here since 1803 and hasn’t changed very much since. The beautiful park with a pond and hills offers magnificent colors in every season and has been the favorite spot for students to have a picnic.
Source: Visit Tartu (https://visittartu.com/)
The Estonian National Museum (ERM)The Estonian National Museum is a new and spacious museum with lots of topics to cover. You can see exhibitions ranging from 8000 BC to this day, different cultural segments, and objects from every aspect of life today and before. ERM is a great place to spend hours with family and friends to get insight into what defines us as Estonians. The very first sTARTUp Day event also took place there in 2016.
TYPA – Printing and Paper Art CenterTYPA is a truly hands-on experience for every visitor. Have you ever wanted to make your own notebook? Well, we have! The museum shares practical insight into the magnificent world of printing technology and paper, making it one of our favorite museums in town.
Rüütli Street is located in the heart of Tartu, connecting the town square and the Botanical Garden of the University of Tartu. Of course, there are many cozy bars on the way! Kivi, Trepp, and Vein ja Vine are only a few of the many venues you may discover from Rüütli Street. Near them, on Magasini Street you can also find Möku - a bar that’s always filled with all sorts of interesting people, also a regular place for many international students. You can be sure that you’ll never get bored there, make sure to also try their famous dumplings!
A little further from the old town of Tartu, two yet different worlds exist. In a bunker under the Toomemägi, there is an old gunpowder cellar with bricks more than 300 years old. Today, this fragment of history – Püssirohukelder, serves as a unique beer restaurant with the highest pub ceiling in the world.