How can I get to Estonia? How to choose the best transportation mode?
Tartu is situated in Southern Estonia and connects to the world through Tartu Airport and Lennart Meri Airport in Tallinn. The distance between Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, and Tartu is 186 kilometers, or about 2.5 hours by express coach or car.
Flying might be the easiest and fastest way of travelling, but as we all know it’s the most polluting at the same time. Therefore we encourage you to think about more sustainable transportation modes. We suggest using trains, buses and ferries. If you decide to come by car, please consider filling it up with some other EGEAns or an even wilder idea – try hitchhiking!
In order to motivate you for choosing the ecological means of travel, we will set up a travel reward in cooperation with EGEA Green! Our plan is to give recognition to those who have chosen sustainable means of travel.
Arrival to Estonia
Tartu Airport has connections to Helsinki. The distance between Tartu Airport and the city center is about 10 kilometers.
Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport has direct air links to numerous cities, including the nearby Baltic capitals, Riga and Vilnius. It is also easy to fly in direct from Amsterdam, Brussels, Copenhagen, Dublin, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Hamburg, Helsinki, Kiev, London, Moscow, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Prague, Stockholm, St. Petersburg and Warsaw.
*Tip: Nordica has special youth tickets (age 12-25) in their direct flights. More info here.
You can also reach Tartu easily from Riga Airport (245 km from Tartu).
From Stockholm and Helsinki, there is also a ferry connection to Tallinn. It is especially frequent from Helsinki, hence planning your route through there will not add much to the total duration of your trip. Different companies: Tallink, Viking Line, Eckerö Line.
Apart from that, Estonia has bus links with major cities in Germany, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and the Baltic countries: Ecolines or LuxExpress. Due to the relatively short distances, coach trips from Riga and St. Petersburg are a good alternative to air travel. Both cities have direct connections to Tartu.
Getting to Tartu from the Tartu Airport
You can easily get to the city center by taxi. The taxi stop is located in front of the terminal and the ride might cost around 10 EUR. The local airport staff can help you with ordering a car.
Getting to Tartu from Tallinn by express bus
From Tallinn Airport to Tartu: There are some express buses which also take passengers from the Tallinn Airport (stop “Tallinna lennujaam” in Estonian) on their way to Tartu (timetable). If you wish to get on the bus at the airport, it is necessary to buy the ticket in advance online.
From Tallinn Airport to the city center: There is a direct tram connection right next to the airport. The tram number 4 will take you to the city centre in 15 minutes and the ticket costs 2 EUR.
From Tallinn Airport to Tallinn Bus station: Tallinn Bus station is situated quite close to Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport and you can take a taxi or public transportation to get there (see the directions). As Tallinn Airport is a relatively small one, it is easy to find the area where public transportation and taxis are waiting in front of the building or next to it. It is a short distance by taxi and it should not cost you more than 5 EUR to get to the bus station. It is also possible to use public transportation, bus No. 2 from the airport stops not too far from the bus station (the “Autobussijaam” stop) and you need to cross 2 intersections to reach to the bus station. You can buy a ticket from the bus driver and it costs 2 EUR for one ride (ticket info and timetable). You can also get to the bus station with the tram.
From Tallinn Sea Port to Tallinn Bus station: It takes a little bit more time to get to Tallinn Bus station from Tallinn Sea Port and it’s easier to get there by taxi. Tram No. 2 (towards Ülemiste) or bus No. 2 takes you to Tallinn Bus station (the “Autobussijaam” stop) from the port and you have to cross 2 intersections to reach the bus station. You can buy a ticket from the bus driver and it costs 2 EUR for one ride (ticket info and timetable).
From Tallinn Bus station to Tartu: Buses leave almost every 30 minutes from 5.45 in the morning until 23.59 at night (timetable). Tickets cost approximately 10 EUR and can be purchased from the ticket office inside the bus station or from the bus driver. To get a student discount, you need to show your International Student Card (ISIC). Carrier SEBE offers a discount to people under 26. It will take you 2.5 hours to reach Tartu. Buses are comfortable and most of them have WiFi. Express buses also have touch screens and you can watch movies (you need your own headphones, but you can also purchase them from the bus driver).
If you arrive late in the evening you should spend the night in Tallinn. There are different hotels and hostels where you can find accommodation in Tallinn.
Getting to Tartu from Tallinn by train
Trains for Tartu from Tallinn train station leave 3-4 times a day, and it takes 2 hours to get to Tartu. The train station is situated just outside the Tallinn Old Town and seaport, a taxi or tram No. 2 (from the seaport) can take you there (“Balti jaam” stop). Trains are rather comfortable and with WiFi connection.
Source: University of Tartu (https://www.ut.ee/en/admissions/how-get-tartu) with small complements from organizers.