Living in Tartu

Getting to Tartu by air travel: Tartu Airport

Tartu Airport is located 11 km from the city centre. There are regular flights between Tartu and Helsinki. A shuttle bus operates between the airport and city. It takes passengers to the airport in the early mornings and to the city centre late in the evenings.

You can find the flight schedule and more information here or call +372 605 8888 (04:30-01:00).

Getting to Tartu by air travel: Tallinn Airport

Express buses pick up passengers from Tallinn Airport on their way to Tartu. The airport bus station has a self-service ticket dispenser. The machine accepts card payments, but it is advisable to buy your ticket in advance as Tallinn-Tartu buses are often full. You can buy your ticket here.

If you arrive around midnight or you wish to enjoy your ride directly to or from your doorstep, then you can use Tallinn Airport-Tartu shuttle bus Tartaline. NB! The Airport Shuttle only operates between Tallinn and Tartu when pre-ordered. In case of delays, the shuttle will wait for all booked passengers whose flights land before 1:00 am.

You can find the flight schedule and more information here or call +372 605 8888 (04:30-01:00).

Getting to Tartu by air travel: Riga Airport

You can also easily reach Tartu from Riga Airport (245 km from Tartu).

LuxExpress buses operate from Riga airport to Tartu.

Getting to Tartu by train

Tartu railway station is located in a historical station building 1.5 km from the city centre. Daily train service operates on the routes to Tallinn (incl. Jõgeva, Tapa, Aegviidu), Valga (incl. Elva) and Koidula (incl. Põlva and Piusa). By catching a connecting train, you can travel to Tartu for instance from Narva and Jõhvi as well as from Riga through Valga and Valka. There is Wi-Fi available on the trains. It takes 2- 2.5 hours to get to Tartu from Tallinn depending on the train. Tickets can be purchased online, aboard the train, and from the Baltic Station sales kiosk in Tallinn. Find additional information and tickets here.

Getting to Tartu by bus

Tartu bus terminal is located near the city centre and is close to the University of Tartu dormitories as well as the town hall square.

Buses between Tallinn and Tartu leave almost every 30 minutes and tickets can be purchased online or from the ticket office inside the bus station. To get a student discount, you need to present your International Student Card (ISIC). NB! It is advisable to buy your ticket in advance as Tallinn-Tartu buses are often full. It takes 2.5 hours to reach Tartu. The buses are comfortable and most of them are equipped with WiFi. Express buses also have touch screens and you can watch movies (we advise to take your own headphones, but you can also purchase a pair from the bus driver for 1.5-2 EUR depending on the bus).

Tartu has great connections with all of the biggest towns in Estonia as well as Riga, St Petersburg, Pihkva (Pskov) and Moscow. More information about international connections can be found here: Luxexpress, Ecolines and Eurolines.

If it is your first time in Tartu, it is probably easiest to take a taxi to reach your final destination in the city. Most taxi drivers speak some English and all taxis are equipped with meters. Choose your taxi here or use the Bolt app to get a fast, clear and personalised service.

Once you get comfortable in Tartu you will learn how to navigate using public transport, bike, or getting around on foot. More information about inner city buses and timetables can be found here.

Tartu Smart Bike Share

In addition, you can use Tartu Smart Bike Share – a public, self-serve bike share system designed for short trips.

Bike share is comprised of 750 bikes across 69 stations. 2/3 of the fleet is equipped with electric-assist motors that provide riders with an extra boost when pedaling.

1. Go to this webpage and register your account.
2. Fill all the fields and connect your account to your personalised bus card and your credit card.
3. Enjoy your free 60-minute ride while your 10-, 30- or 90- day bus ticket is active or buy a membership.

Redocking a bike will reset the 60-minute ride time.

Get more information about creating an account, riding the bikes and finding the docks from here or from Tartu information telephone 1789 or from e-mail

You are welcome to personalise/register your Tartu bus card by us for free with your Estonian ID-code (when still waiting for your ID-card). If you already have your Estonian ID-card you can easily personalise your bus card here.

  • Both registered and non-registered cards can be used, but only registered cards (a card linked to one particular person) can receive benefits or travel discounts.
  • Using a registered card also ensures that your credit is preserved in the event of you losing your card.

Registered cards are valid only with valid identification.

More information about Tartu bus card can be found here.

Sorting waste at home

In your paper and cardboard container please put:

  • Newspapers, magazines, catalogues, advertising materials
  • Notebooks, printed and blank stationary and drawing paper
  • Envelopes, books without covers
  • Cardboard boxes, paper bags and other clean paper packaging

Please don’t put in your paper and cardboard container:

  • Soiled or wet paper and cardboard
  • Household paper
  • Used paper plates and cups
  • Cardboard drink packaging, clingfilm
  • Foil and carbon copy paper.

In your container for biodegradable waste please put:

  • Meat and fish waste, fruit and vegetables, fruit and vegetable peels, bread, precooked food, bakery products and confectionery, cheese, butter and margarine and other solid food waste
  • Household paper, tissues, coffee grounds, paper filters, teabags
  • House plants and cut flowers

Please don’t put in your container for biodegradable waste:

  • Cooking oil, milk, sour milk, soup, sauces and other liquid food and foodstuffs
  • Liquids
  • Large bones
  • Clingfilm, metal, glass, ashes, cigarette butts, packaging, waxed and laminated cardboard and other non-biodegradable waste

In your packaging container please put:

  • Plastic packaging: yoghurt or butter tubs; oil, ketchup and mayonnaise bottles; packaging of cosmetic products (e.g. cream jars, shampoo bottles); plastic dishes and boxes; plastic bags and clingfilm; other clean plastic packaging.
  • Glass packaging: glass bottles without tax labels, glass jars, other clean glass packaging.
  • Metal packaging: tins, metal lids and tops of food and drink packaging, other clean metal packaging.
  • Drink cartons: clean milk, juice and yoghurt cartons.

Please don’t put in your packaging container:

  • Packaging that is soiled with food or half-full, plastic toys, packaging of hazardous substances (e.g. household chemicals), aerosol packaging (e.g. hairspray), window glass and glass sheets, lighting bulbs.

In case there is something left over, please put it in your container for mixed domestic waste!

Hazardous waste

The following can be handed over free of charge in waste stations of Tartu:

  • Leftover oils and oil filters, oily sweeps
  • Paint, glue, varnish and solvent leftovers in retail packaging
  • Mercury lamps
  • Medicines with expired use-by dates and leftover medicines, other medical waste
  • Chemical and pesticide waste
  • Mercury thermometers and other waste that contains mercury
  • Batteries

There are battery collection boxes for old or unusable batteries in stores selling batteries. All pharmacies accept old or leftover medicines for free.

Broken home electronic devices

Old and unusable household electronics and home appliances, e.g. fridges, washing machines, TV sets, electric cookers, blenders, irons, hair dryers, radios, etc must be taken to waste stations. They are accepted for free.

Find information on where you can take what here.

You can check your knowledge on recycling here.

If you spot a pothole, an open manhole cover, faulty traffic lights, trees that have fallen onto the road, a street lamp that isn’t working, a dangerous icicle or avalanche of snow on a roof, environmental pollution, a broken traffic sign, a vandalised park bench, a flooded street or other property maintenance issues in the city, call City of Tartu Hotline 1789 or report them here.

Curfew in Tartu is set to nights that precede working days from 22.00-06.00 and nights that precede weekend days from 00.00-07.00. There is no curfew the night before 1st of January, 25th of February or 24th of June.

Pet owners must comply with certain rules for keeping cats and dogs in Tartu and ensure the welfare of their pet. Moreover, the rights of neighbours must also be taken into consideration. It is obligatory to register dogs and implant them with a microchip. This enables animals to be identified more easily and for owners to track their missing pets faster. It is not obligatory to register and implant cats and other pets with microchips, but we highly recommend it.

Find more information on Tartu city website.

Tartu has great opportunities for taking up all kinds of hobbies.

Have fun exploring!

Töötukassa (The Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund)

Töötukassa is the organization which helps unemployed persons find new employment.  The first step is to register yourself. You can register as a jobseeker if:

  • you have a temporary residence permit (TRP) or
  • you are a citizen of the European Union or Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway or an asylum seeker from these countries or
  • you are receiving temporary/subsidiary international protection or applying for asylum

You can submit an application via self-service portal by clicking on this link. You are also welcome to make a phone call to offices in Tartu 7377100 and 7377200. Then you will have a consultant who will help you navigate in Estonian work scape and help you in finding a suitable job.

Job listings

There are also various companies helping to find a job:

Starting a company

If you are interested in starting your own company check out this information here.


On website Vabatahtlike Värav you will find information about volunteering opportunities.

Find various sample contracts in English here.