Tartu – City of Good Thoughts
Tartu, Estonia´s second largest city (population 100,000) located 185 km south of Tallinn, is considered the capital of Southern Estonia. Home to the Estonia´s top university, as well as a number of other institutes, research centres, biotechnology industries and several software companies, Tartu is the nation´s main centre of knowledge and study. The city´s academic credentials make it a great choice for all types of scientific and medical conferences.
Top reasons to choose Tartu for your next conference, event or incentive
City of Good Thoughts
Tartu (population 100,000), is Estonia’s second largest city as well as its main university town, a thriving hub of culture and innovation that draws in visitors from all over the world. Being home to globally-connected institutions such as Tartu University and the Estonian University of Life Sciences has made the ‘City of Good Thoughts’, as it’s called, a magnet for all kinds of conferences, particularly those related to scientific and medical fields. Not coincidentally, Tartu is also the focal point of Estonia’s active biotechnology sector as well as hotbed of IT development, the cradle of world-class companies like ZeroTurnaround, Fortumo, Playtech and Skype.
Amazing Old Town and historical sights
With a history that stretches back nearly 1,000 years, Tartu is the oldest city in the Baltics and is, naturally, packed with timeless charm. Nestled between leafy Toome Hill and the Emajõgi River lies the city’s Old Town, an area of cobblestone streets, neoclassical houses and grand university buildings, all towered over by the magnificent, 14th-century St. John’s Church. At the heart of Old Town is Town Hall Square, home to the majestic, 18th-century Town Hall and the unique Kissing Students fountain that has come to symbolise the city. Just beyond Old Town’s borders, visitors will find the quaint and colourful wooden house neighbourhoods of Karlova and Supilinn, near time capsules of early-20th-century living. Elsewhere in the city, across the river, stands the gargantuan Estonian National Museum, a newly-built structure that showcases Estonia’s cultural development.
If you’re looking for just the right blend of big-city sophistication and small-town cosiness, Tartu is the ideal choice. It’s large enough to host a respectable range of theatres, museums and restaurants, while its centre isn’t much bigger than a typical university campus, in other words, small enough to get around on foot. That means there’s no need to use public transport – you can usually just stroll to your conference venue, hotel or wherever it is you want to go. Tartu’s relatively tranquil atmosphere also makes it a great alternative for those who want to avoid the bustle of a capital city.
State-of-the-art conference hotels
Thanks to Tartu’s skyrocketing popularity as a conference and travel destination in recent years, new hotels have been springing up throughout the city centre. Many of these hotels were conceived specifically with meetings in mind. The city has around 1,000 guest rooms in total, representing a good mix of 3 to 5-star options, all affordably priced.
Tartu offers a full range of one-of-a-kind gathering spots for those who truly want to give their guests a night to remember. The grand hall of Tartu University’s Main Building, for example, will lend a touch of neoclassical elegance to any gala or reception while the 300-year-old Gunpowder Cellar roars with a beer-hall feel. A more modern edge can be found in the gigantic new building of the Estonian National Museum. Those looking for science- or history-related backdrop can consider hosting an event among the 19th-century stargazing gadgets in the University of Tartu Old Observatory, or in the AHHAA Science Centre, the Tartu Environmental Education Centre or the University of Tartu Museum.
Exciting tours and activities
You can easily boost the value of your conference programme by introducing your guests to this fascinating city and its surroundings. Start with a guided walking tour of Tartu, then continue by visiting some of the city’s dozens of museums, checking out the latest exhibition at the Tartu Art House, taking a quick boat cruise along the Emajõgi River or sipping suds at the A. Le Coq brewery’s Beer Museum. Out-of-town options include trips down the so-called Onion Route along the shores of Lake Peipsi, home to a unique community of Russian Old Believers, and visits to the Mooste Manor to experience Estonia’s nature and traditional way of life.
Dining for every taste
Being a cultural hub as well as home to 20,000 students has given Tartu an incredibly rich and varied dining scene. Classical gourmet, modern, ethnic, street food – you’ll find it all here! The city also boasts a surprisingly active café culture so there’s never a shortage of interesting places for a one-on-one discussion, a relaxing break or an evening of unwinding.
Getting to Tartu
Most visitors reach Tartu via Tallinn, from where more than 30 express buses make the 2.5-hour journey each day. Most bus lines pick up passengers at the Tallinn Airport en route to Tartu. See www.tpilet.ee for schedules and online ticket purchase. Buses arrive at the central Tartu Bus Station, which is within walking distance of most major conference centres and hotels. Trains from Tallinn’s Balti Jaam station near Old Town offer a more roomy way to reach to Tartu, making the 2-hour journey about nine times per day. A taxi from the train station to the centre of Tartu will cost around €5.
Direct flights to Tartu, operated by Finnair, depart from Helsinki once daily. Check the Tartu Ülenurme Airport’s website (www.tartu-airport.ee) for the latest schedules. To reach town from there, visitors can opt for the Airport Shuttle (www.tartaline.ee), which leaves 15 minutes after each flight arrives. The shuttle will take them to any requested destination in Tartu for a fixed €5 fee. Alternatively, travellers can take one of the taxis from the stand in front of the airport. The ride should cost approximately €11.
It is also possible to transfer to Tartu via Riga Aiport. Four Riga-Tartu buses depart each day (two directly from the airport) to make the 4-hour trip.
Holding events in Tartu comes with the added benefit of organisational support from the ECB as well as the Tartu Convention Bureau. Together these agencies run the active Tartu Conference Ambassador Programme and can assist you with everything from proposals and site inspection trips to advice on venues and activities.