Getting to Tartu

Transport to Tartu


Air

Tartu has an airport (TAY) very close by (ca 10 km away in Ülenurme). The flight connection is set to resume between Tartu and the Finnish capital Helsinki (HEL) in March 31, 2024. after a long break caused by covid. There will be 12 scheduled flights per week between Tartu and Helsinki. Flights from Tartu will depart at 6.00 a.m. and 3 p.m., while those from Helsinki leave at 1.50 p.m. and 11.55 p.m. Tickets can be purchased via Finnair's web page.

The closest airports are:

  1. Riga (Latvia). Requires a bus/train connection to Tartu (approx. 5 hours).
  2. Tallinn (Estonia). Requires a bus/train connection to Tartu (approx. 2.5/2 hours).Half-hourly buses have direct connections from Tallinn airport to Tartu bus station.
  3. Helsinki (Finland). Requires a boat trip across the Gulf of Finland (~3.5h) to Tallinn and from there a bus/train to Tartu.

Train

  1. From Tallinn
    Trains from Tallinn are less frequent (ca 12 trips per day) than buses. But “Ekspress”-labeled trains run a tiny bit faster with a total trip time ranging from 2h - 2.5h. The closest train station (Ülemiste) from the airport is a 1 km walk away.
  • Tickets (for a particular day and time) can be searched and bought via Elron website.
  • E.g. for trips from Ülemiste station to Tartu: LINK

1st class tickets will reserve you a seat. Standard class tickets are assigned on a first-come-first-serve basis. Standard tickets can also be bought on the train from the wagon attendant (cash or debit/credit card).

  1. From Riga Currently, there is no direct train connection between Riga and Tartu, two different tickets will need to be bought with a change of trains on the Valga / Valka border twin-town.
  • Riga-Valga schedules/tickets: LINK
  • Valga-Tartu schedules/tickets: LINK

Bus

  1. From Tallinn Bus trips from Tallinn are very frequent (every half an hour during rush hours, otherwise every hour during daytime) with a total trip time of about 2.5h. Most (but not all!) buses departing Tallinn central station (“Tallinna bussijaam”) for Tartu will stop at the airport (“Tallinna lennujaam”).
  • Tickets (for a particular day and time) can be searched and bought via TPilet website. We suggest buying the tickets beforehand (they need to be bought for a specific trip) - there might not always be a place when buying the ticket on the bus.
  1. From Riga The bus option is also scarce but faster (5h) than train: currently there are 2 direct connections available via Lux Express. We suggest buying tickets beforehand (they need to be bought for a specific trip) - there might not always be a place when buying the ticket on the bus.

Bicycle / hiking / motorcycle / car

The road is an adventure - you make your own schedule. There are no motorways in Estonia, only a few of the main highways have dual carriageways in parts. Estonia has right-hand traffic and an extensive road system, the quality of which varies. The speed limit on the highways is 90 km/h and 50 km/h in urban areas unless specified otherwise. While driving in Estonia, passengers are expected to wear seat belts and lights must be switched on at all times. Estonian laws against driving under the influence of alcohol are strict and follow a zero tolerance policy.


Department of Geography,
University of Tartu

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