Tartu (Estonia) en

09.12.14 - Guillaume - 716lavie
- Infos Pratiques -

Getting there by bus

There are buses regularly leaving from Tallinn, which will cost you aorund 10 euros.

You’ll find all the schedules on Tpilet.

- Le résumé -

Tartu is the country’s second city, the university city situated inland. People say that Tartu’s quiet is conductive for generating ideas.

Tartu’s residents are very proud of their city, and we notice a classic Tartu-Tallinn rivalry, just like in any other country between two big cities. Of course it’s not the case for everybody, and differs in varying degrees, but the fact remains that Tartu’s inhabitants are attached to its calm nature, its old houses, its security, the healthy competition within the younger generation etc…

I arrived in Tartu late June, when the university year was already done, and it was raining, let’s say it straight out, I wasn’t won over right away. It took me several days to grasp the soul of this city where the city center wasn’t very big.  And then I found myself at a party at the art school, and over there, there were lots of students, djs, live electronic music, as well as a BBQ outside with a hamburger stand.

All of a sudden, I understood the soul of this city, a city that doesn’t give away too much at first, but that relies a lot on the charm of its residents.

Unfortunately it’s also the seat of some skinhead groups, and we wonder how this could have happened, when you see such an open minded city, with students coming from around the globe.

Check out 716’s Tartu photo album

- Un peu d'histoire -

Tartu being largely a student city, you can find a lot of street art, and nice ones at that.

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- Hôtels -

Villa Margherita
Tähe 11/13
Tartu 50108
Tel : +372 7311820
the website

This is a hotel located in the old “Karlova” neighborhood. It’s a nice area to take a stroll in, because there are still wooden houses there; I walked by this hotel/coffee shop/ restaurant by accident, and the atmosphere seemed good, which is why I’m mentioning it here.


- Guide -

Like a Local Guide
the website

I looked for a local app and this is the only one I found. The text is supposed to be written by volunteers. In Tartu’s case it’s quite simple, because there’s only one writer who wrote everything :), almost anyways.

- Lieux -

Tartu’s Art Gallery (Tartu Kunstimaja) 
Vanemuise 26
51014 Tartu
Tel : +372 5301 2277
the website

An art gallery that notably showcases young local artists, don’t hesitate to go upstairs. The entrance is free, the women at the reception didn’t speak English that day so it was a little complicated, and there was no one to explain the pieces, so I missed something about one of them. But since the whole idea is to take your time in Tartu, anyone would enjoy coming here.

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Tartu’s covered market (Tartu Turg)
Soola 10
51014 Tartu
the website

“I think it’s always important or/and interesting to go check out the market.”

Read 716’s entire review on Tartu’s market

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-Tartu’s Museum of Sciences (Ahhhaa Science Centre)

Sadama 1
Tartu 51004
Tel : +372 745 6789 (ticket desk)
Open Sunday-Thursday from 10 am- 7 pm, and Friday and Saturday from 10 am-8 pm.
the website

If you’re in Tartu, don’t miss out on the Ahhaa, the country’s pride and joy. I found that that all the kids’ games weren’t equal in terms of the fun factor, some aren’t interesting, and for some, you’re not even sure what you’re supposed to do in the first place. That being said, it’s still a museum going in the right direction, the equivalent to our Cité des Sciences at Villette: a huge amount of work was put in it to explain various scientific phenomenons. I recommend you try out the bike on a rope in the air:).

The coffee shop isn’t bad, and you can go in without having to go through the museum entrance.

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4 Võru maantee
 It’s a shop full of surprises that you can find in Roūge, the city where the very pretty Suurjärv lake is located. They sell a bit of everything, local products, lots of vinyls!, art classes also. For those that like to dig for vinyls, I recommend that you plan to stay for an afternoon, maybe nothing will come of it, but if I were to go again, I’d definitely bring my portable vinyl player with me:). I bought some good honey here.
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Suur Munamägi
Haanja kula
Haanja kula
“Suur Munamägi (big egg) is the highest peak in the country and the Baltic states, Estonians laugh because it’s only 318 meters high, but that’s still the height of the Eiffel Tower.”
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- Restaurants -

Paris Pariis
Jaani 20
the website

It’s a crêpe shop run by Matthieu Chillaud who’s from Bordeaux, who came here to teach Political Science at the university, and who settled in quite nicely.The crêpes are very filling and it’s comfortable.

We had a long talk after the meal, and he explained to me that Estonians didn’t like their eggs not completely cooked, hence why the egg with my crêpe was over done. Same thing, the crêpes were served with jam on the side and not already inside, the crêpe seemed to have lost its soul without it. The salad is not amazing either, and we could do without I think.

Other than those remarks from a big crêpe eater, the place is nice and it’s a good place for brunch, I wish him good luck in his adventure, because it seems like heath regulations and inspections are very severe in Latvia.

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Kalevi 13
50103 Tartu
Tel : +372 735 3911
Monday 11 am-9 pm and Tuesday-Saturday 11 am- 11 pm

“It’s the coffee shop located in the famous LMK company incubator. You can eat healthy for a good price ( even if it’s not fine dining) in a welcoming setting, and among the clients you can find staff from the center and other companies.”

Read the entire 716 review here

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The restaurants that were recommended to me that I didn’t get a chance to try:

Meat Market
Küütri 3
51007 Tartu
Tel :+372 653 3455

One of the trendiest restaurants in Tartu, I poked my head in, but it didn’t inspire me very much, who knows.


- Cafés -

Café Noir
Ülikooli 7
51003 Tartu

Tel : +372 744 0055
the website

It’s a fashionable coffee shop that was a recommendation. I spent some time there at the beginning of the afternoon after the lunch rush. It was rather nice, especially the outside courtyard, but the prices seemed somewhat high.

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– Vilde Tervisekohvik

Vallikraavi 4
51003 Tartu
Tel : +372 734 4191
the website

A reputable coffee shop that didn’t blow me away, but which had two big advantages, the prices ( around 3 euros for the buffet menu with a soup and main of your choice) and comfortable furniture, ideal for a traveler: big couches in which you can sink in  and squat for hours, with WiFi that works great, and outlets.

There’s actually two different parts one on top of the other, I think the “organic” restaurant is on the first floor, and that coffee shop is on the ground floor.

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– Werner

Ülikooli tn 11
Tel : (+372) 742 6377
the website

It’s a well known tea-pastry shop, I wasn’t blown away by the service, which was a bit impersonal, but it’s still a good spot to take a breather.

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- Gastronomie -

There are two Estonian products everyone knows :

– a kind of sweet bread sticks

It’s a very popular brand, they bring everyone back to their childhoods. It’s a very old product that is now made again, which explains why it’s so successful today, the perfect way to eat is to dip them in milk.


– Eriti Rammus icecream

means “extremely rich”, they’re very creamy, and very sweet, made in Estonia, everyone loves them. They’re plum flavoured in the picture, but you can also find them in vanilla, chocolate, blackberry, and currant.

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- Bars -

There are lots of bars on Rüütli tänav St., we could say it’s a party street, there’s always lots of people, even in the winter on weekends. The city and the police have been trying to keep this exuberant activity to a minimum but to no avail for now.

– Genialistide Klubi

Magasini 5 / Lai 37 Taga
51005 Tartu
Tel : 53485530 – 56571545

” The cool place in Tartu: a bar, club, cultural center all in one. A must see.”

Read the entire 716 review here

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– Vein ja Vine

Rüütli 8
51007 Tartu
Tel : +372 743 0553
the website

Open Tuesday-Thursday 5 pm- 1 am, Friday-Saturday 5 pm-2 pm, Closed Sunday and Monday

It’s the THE spot to go in Tartu, I didn’t meet one person who didn’t like going there. There are two entrances, because there are two halls you can choose from, when I had both in front of me, it was the one on the right that I felt better in.

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The bars that were recommended to me by locals, but that I didn’t get to go to:

Kivi Bar
Rüütli tn 13
Tel: (+372) 551 9656

The bar is very popular amongst 20 somethings, and since it’s very small, the night usually ends with a ton of people outside:)



Vallikraavi 6
51003 Tartu
Tel : +372 5598 1040
the website

There are musical quizzes organized every week, the bar looks nice, it was recommended by quite a few different people.
Schrammi Keller
Rüütli 11
51005 Tartu
Tel : +372 775 1313
the website

The bar to go to for some good beers.

- Magasins -

Surf House
Vaksali 7
Tel : +372 744 1359
the website

A local skate shop that makes its own boards, and also sells a lot of winter gear. They helped me out a lot for my bike, they were really friendly.

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- Alimentation -

Craf Beer Shop Oluvolu
Tiigi 8
Tel : +372 5816 4176
the website

Oluvolu means ” the beer’s charm”, it’s located two steps away from the Tartu Kunstimaja Art Gallery ( see above in “Places”). I walked in unknowingly and stumbled into the boss, to be fair, his shop looks more like his office than a beer store. The guy is friendly and knows his stuff, at the Craft Beers tasting at Genialistide Klubi I saw a bunch of beers that I had seen here.

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