Tartu Conference on East European and Eurasian Studies


Tartu is situated in Southern Estonia and connects to the world through Tartu Airport, Lennart Meri Airport in Tallinn and Riga Airport in Latvia. The distance between Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, and Tartu is 186km, or about 2 hours by train and 2.5 hours by express bus or car.

Flying to Tartu

Flights between Tartu and Helsinki are temporarily suspended until 31 May 2024 due to GPS signal disruptions. The airport is currently working on fixing the issue. Tickets and bookings made for June are still available and valid. If you are yet to plan your travel to the conference, we recommend exploring the alternative options below, such as traveling to Tartu via Tallinn and Riga.

Starting from 31 March 2024, Finnair is providing a direct flight from Helsinki Airport to Tartu, with 12 weekly flights in time for Tartu becoming the 2024 European Capital of Culture. Currently this is the only international plane route to Tartu. The price for a Helsinki-Tartu round-trip flight starts from €165.

  • Flights depart from Helsinki Vantaa Airport at 13:50 and arrive at Tartu Airport at 14:35 every day of the week except Saturdays (Sun-Fri). Additional flights departing from Helsinki at 23:55 and arriving in Tartu at 00:40 are also available.
  • Return flights to Helsinki depart from Tartu Airport at 15:00 and arrive at Helsinki Vantaa at 15:40.

Once you have arrived at Tartu Airport, you can reach the city centre using the E1 bus that operates between the airport and city centre in accordance with the flight schedule. Tickets cost 5€ and can be purchased from the bus driver using a contactless bank card. The schedule and list of stops can be found here. Departure times from the airport are approximate, as the bus waits for all the passengers to disembark from the plane before leaving. Alternatively, you can call a taxi (as detailed further down this page).

Flying to Tallinn

Tallinn Airport has direct air links to numerous cities. Low-cost carriers such as Ryanair and Wizz Air also fly to Tallinn.

To travel from Tallinn to Tartu you have a choice between a bus and a train. You can board the Tallinn-Tartu bus either from Tallinn bus station or the Tallinn airport. Tickets can be bought online and downloaded to a smartphone. Tickets are available from the driver, too, but please note that buses tend to be full and you would be much better off purchasing your ticket before the bus arrives.

If you arrive in Tallinn by ferry or travel to Tartu from the city centre, express train might be the best option. The main train station (Balti jaam) is located just outside the Old Town, the station closest to the airport is Ülemiste. Trains run about 10 times per day. Note that the ticket can be purchased 14 days in advance only, the schedule is unlikely to change from week to week.

Buses are rather frequent: on average, they depart every 30 minutes, however, there are no late-night buses. The easiest way to get to the bus station from the city centre or the ferry terminal is to take a taxi. Tram number 2 (in the direction of Ülemiste) or bus number 2 will also take you there (the Autobussijaam bus stop). You can buy a ticket for €2 from the bus or tram driver, or at the ticket validator using a contactless banking card. See ticket information and timetable.

The Government of the Republic of Estonia has imposed a restriction on citizens of the Russian Federation applying for short-term visas from 19 September 2022. Visa applications for conference travel are not accepted until further notice. If you already have a Schengen visa or other documents valid for entry, please make sure you can travel to Estonia before proceeding with conference registration. More information on the restrictions and visas for Russian citizens can be found on the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

Other connections
  • You can reach Tartu from Riga airport, about 250 km from Tartu. Bus connections are provided by LuxExpress. Buses depart from Riga airport three times a day and from Riga central bus station four times a day. For return flights, coach operator LuxExpress also provides a night bus service between Tartu and Riga. Buses depart every evening from Tartu at 23:55, bringing passengers to the center of Riga in the early hours of the following morning, arriving at Riga Airport at 4:20.
  • From Stockholm and Helsinki, there are also ferry connections to Tallinn. From Helsinki there are multiple departures with different companies. The ferry line to Stockholm is overnight.
  • For heartier travelers, Estonia can also be reached by bus (LuxExpress; Flixbus) from major cities in Poland, Baltic countries, Germany, and other countries.

Calling a taxi

In Estonia, most people use smartphone apps like Uber and Bolt for taxi services.

Regarding Tallinn, the most common (but not necessarily the cheapest) taxi companies include Forus Takso (1200, +372 6 120 000), Tallink Takso (1921, +372 640  8921), and Elektritakso (1918, +372 588 588 00).

Regarding Tartu, the taxi companies are listed here. We recommend Elektritakso (1918, +372 588 588 00) or Forus Takso (1200, +372 7 300 200).

One of our colleagues has put together the following set of recommendations for travellers arriving in Tallinn airport and heading straight to Tartu:

Here’s some advice on how to best tackle this last leg of your travel to Tartu. The buses to Tartu tend to be full, so it is advisable to buy the ticket in advance.

It is easy to get one’s bus ticket online. Full timetable is available online, the best are Lux Express buses, especially their Relax class.

The only problem is that if you buy your ticket in advance and your plane happens to be late, you will lose your money. I usually buy my ticket online just before or after boarding the flight to Tallinn, when it is clear that there are unlikely to be any delays. Still a bit risky, but after all, we are not talking about an astronomical amount. The other option is buying your ticket online on arrival (there is excellent wifi at the airport). To reach the bus terminal, turn right as you exit the customs, and follow the signs. Finally, if you see a bus ready to depart, you can also try to buy a ticket from the driver (subject to availability).

Timewise, the bus usually arrives at the airport 10-15 minutes after the scheduled departure from the bus station (i.e. around 10 or 40 minutes after the hour). If you have checked luggage, it is usually delivered 10-15 minutes after the plane arrives at the gate, but delays are of course always possible (especially if you happen to be on a large plane).

In Tartu, the bus station is located in the centre, with Hotel Dorpat and Hotel Tartu right next to it, and within 10 minutes walking distance from other main hotels.

Just in case the buses are full or you prefer to take a train, train timetable is available online (departure: Ülemiste). It is within a walking distance from the airport, but not easy to find. The best option is to take a taxi from the first floor (Arrivals level) to Ülemiste. Note that this is not the main train station, make sure the driver doesn’t take you to a wrong place (the main one is called the Baltic Station or Balti jaam). In fact, it’s just an open platform so don’t leave the airport too early, the drive is 5-10 minutes max. Get on the train, find a seat and wait until the conductor finds you and sells you the ticket.

In Tartu, the train station is located at about 20 minutes walking distance from the centre, so it’s best to take a taxi to your hotel, the stop is in front of the station. Check the location of your hotel as it might be within a walking distance.

Debit cards are preferred everywhere, but bus drivers and train conductors also accept cash. Most taxis accept cards but some don’t, so cash is the safest option. Tips are not required.

But please don’t get us wrong: we are sure everything will work smoothly and you will get to Tartu without any delays. It’s just always better to be prepared in case something does not go as planned.

A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for emissions made elsewhere. The conference organisers have the following measures in place:

1. Printed materials: Only the conference programme is printed on paper, there are no additional materials distributed to participants produced specifically for the conference.

2. Recycling: the organisers invite you to recycle waste according to the guidelines available at conference venues. You can return the conference programme, name tag, lanyard and any other materials at the end of the conference to the information desk, the organisers will arrange recycling of all waste. Our volunteers will be there to assist you if you have questions about recycling.

3. Conservation policy at panel sessions and receptions: Tap water is potable and of good quality in Estonia, it is served from reusable cups at the conference venue. We kindly ask you to not through away used cups but leave them in the conference rooms from where they will be collected by the organisers and recycled. At the receptions, there is no single-use tableware.

4. Transport: Coming from Tallinn or Riga, you can use public transport to get to Tartu. Tartu is a walkable city and the conference takes place in the city centre. If you wish to compensate for your greenhouse gas emissions related to travelling, you can donate to the Estonian Fund of Nature or the Koosloodus Foundation. LuxExpress coaches (main Tallinn-Tartu service provider) offer the opportunity to buy a carbon-neutral ticket, if booked from their website.

If you have any further questions, please contact the organisers at info@tartuconference.ut.ee