• Alex van Terheyden

Tartu Estonia - A weekend destination that is closer than you might think

Estonia gets a little bit of a raw deal sometimes (at least in my mind). Its people have to put up with the Arctic weather in the winter, being used by the EU & NATO for political purposes and constantly having to look over their shoulder as they get that feeling that Russia wants to take them back. It can't be easy being in this constant tug of war while getting frostbite! However, if we can ignore the icy cold weather the political posturing by Global Governments then we as keen travellers can look at Estonia as a destination that must be explored.

I've visited the Northern European Baltic country a few times now and each time hasn't disappointed despite the brisk cold winds that do your nose and ears no favours. Estonia, a country in Northern Europe, borders the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland. It includes more than 1,500 islands, its diverse terrain spans rocky beaches, old-growth forest and many lakes. Formerly part of the Soviet Union, it's dotted with castles, churches and hilltop fortresses. The capital, Tallinn, is known for its preserved Old Town, museums and the 314m-high Tallinn TV Tower, which has an observation deck.

There are 47 towns in Estonia, many of these locations were known by their German or Russian names before 1918, which were occasionally quite different from the ones used by Estonians. After the annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union in 1940, the Estonian names were used in Russian, leading to the use of some incorrect back-transliterations in Russian (e.g., Vilyandi, Pylva rather the correct Viljandi, Põlva). The five biggest towns in Estonia are

1.Tallinn

2.Tartu

3.Narva

4.Pärnu

5.Kohtla-Järve

I've had the pleasure to visit 3 out of the 5 of those cities. The ones highlighted to be more specific which will send you to my relevant YouTube adventures. Of course, you should visit Tallinn it's the capital of Estonia - but to overlook Tartu would be a serious mistake. Tartu for the moment at least is off the beaten track as it receives a fraction of the number of visitors Tallinn does. A suggestion from this traveller would be to check it out for a weekend. However, if there is no direct flight to Tartu how do you get there?


Map of Estonia - Tallinn to Tartu
Tallinn to Tartu

Unless you are Finnish, from St Petersburg or Latvia you are most likely going to be flying to Estonia. Tallinn is pretty much the one airport you will be needing to fly into if visiting anywhere in Estonia due to the small size of the country. Tallinn Airport is served by most of Europes major Airlines and depending on where you are flying from you are more than likely to be able to pick up a good deal if planned ahead. Kayak, Google Flights and Skyscanner should be the go-to websites for searching for the best flight deals. However, my personal favourite for European flight deals is Skyscanner. For some reason, Skyscanner works best when searching for European Flights over any of its rivals.

Upon arriving at Tallinn airport, what is the best way to get from Tallinn to Tartu in the south of the country? Thankfully for you, I made a very short video explaining exactly that predicament. Getting from Tallinn Airport to Tartu.

To truly understand the city of Tartu you really need 2-3 days. And given its size staying anywhere around the city will suffice. There are a variety of options to pick from. Over the years, I've had the fortune to stay in an array of hotels, apartments and various forms of accommodation while travelling. For the majority