Tartu Tourist Attractions, Landmarks, Monuments and Sightseeing

(Tartu, Tartumaa, Estonia)

Town Hall photoThere are many sights worth exploring within Tartu, which are particularly plentiful within the Old Town centre, where endless historical tourist attractions reside. Sited at the very heart of Tartu is the Town Hall Square, which is perhaps better known to many as the Raekoja Plats and close to some of the most popular of all the city's attractions.

Tourists will also find numerous recreational activities and attractions around the city, such as saunas and hiking trails. There is a particularly popular walking path on the outskirts of Tartu, which stretches for around 5 km / 3 miles into the scenic countryside and starts on the western side of the Emajoe Tänav.

View of the Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats)

Town Hall Square (Raekoja Plats)

Address: Raekoja Plats, Tartu, Estonia, EE
Many important attractions are either based on the Raekoja Plats or close by. The square itself is presided over by the Town Hall (Raekoja), which is a magnificent landmark and was built in the 1780s. Featuring a tower topped by a weather vane, Tartu Town Hall also features a prominent statue of lovers (Suudlevad Tudengid), who are kissing beneath an umbrella fountain. Soon after its completion, a clock was added to ensure the punctuality of the local university students.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free


Some of the very best beaches in Estonia lie on the westerly Baltic Coastline of Parnu Bay, although for many this may be a little too far to travel, being around 170 km / 106 miles from central Tartu. However, much closer to home is an extremely sandy beach, which is located on the northern side of the Emajogi and just a short walk from the Kroonuaia Tänav. Here attractions include a sandy volleyball court and a number of nearby eateries. A further beach can be found on the southern side of the Emajogi, at the very beginning of the footpath.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Image of the University Botanical Gardens (Botaanikaaed)

University Botanical Gardens (Botaanikaaed)

Address: Lai Tänav, Tartu, Estonia, EE
Tel: +372 737 6180
Another attraction worth looking out for next to the university is the Botanical Gardens, which were founded at the beginning of the 19th century and contains some 7,000 different plant species, many impressive plant collections, rose borders with over 200 varieties of rose, landscaped rock gardens, a subtropical house, and a huge glasshouse measuring 22 metres / 77 feet in height and containing some tall palm trees. A stroll through the Tartu Botanical Gardens is completely free of charge and something not to miss out on. The Botanical Gardens also comprise a large arboretum, with trees from all over Europe and East Asia, including a number of stately old Japanese maples.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free, charge for entry to the palm house

Picture of the university

University / St. John's Church

Address: Ulikooli Tänav, Tartu, Estonia, EE
The university has long been an integral part of life in Tartu and was established in 1632, by the King of Sweden, Gustaf II Adolf, when it was actually based upon the Swedish University of Uppsala. Science has always been one of the strongest offerings by the University of Tartu (Ulikooli)) and many leading scientists and physicists once studied here. The university's main building is a particularly eye-catching landmark and boasts stylish Corinthian columns, with this particular structure dating from 1803. On the northern side of the university you will find the beautiful brick-built St. John's Church (Jaani Kirik), which was constructed around 700 years ago.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

View of Toomemagi (Cathedral Hill)

Toomemägi (Cathedral Hill)

Address: Toomemägi, Tartu, Estonia, EE
Cathedral Hill is referred to locally in Tartu as the Toomemägi and provides an impressive backdrop to the Town Hall. The Cathedral Hill has become a prominent local landmark and is actually a beautifully landscaped public park, complete with a series of pathways and mature trees. This hill has played an important part in the history of Tartu and is in fact the reason that the city stands here today, being used as a stronghold from as long ago as the 5th century. Cathedral Hill is connected to the Raekoja Plats by the Lossi Tänav, which heads beneath the Inglisild (Angel's Bridge).
Open hours: daily
Admission: free

Photo of the riverfront

River Cruises

The summer months is Estonia present tourists with a range of different attractions, many of which are only possible because of the fine weather. River cruises are always popular with visitors and the Pegasus ship is amongst the best, being operated by Atlantis and departing from the dock close off the Narva Maantee and passes some imposing landmarks as its sails along the River Emajogi. Also popular are hydrofoil trips, which sail from the city's harbour to nearby Piirisaar, departing several times each week.
Open hours: daily
Admission: free