Tartu, the second largest city in Estonia, is the biggest centre in South Estonia and at the same time the junction of the main national roads. Tallinn-Tartu-Luhamaa (E263), Jõhvi-Tartu-Valga and Piibe roads run through Tartu, and the roads from Viljandi and Räpina as well as the connecting roads of other nearby towns and settlements also lead here. Bigger roads are in good condition and signposted with relevant traffic signs. The distance from Tartu to Tallinn is 186 km, to Pärnu 170 km, and to Narva 182 km, and the drive takes less than 2.5 hours.
The historical road network, which runs through Tartu from Lübeck to St. Petersburg and where the Via Hanseatica tourism route on the Riga-Tartu-Petersburg section was created, has been very important throughout history. The Via Hanseatica connects three countries, and presents an excellent opportunity to discover unique cultural and natural tourist attractions as well as the best places to stay and eat. Genuine stories about South Estonia can be explored through the yellow frames inspired by National Geographic, indicating the places recognised by the communities that are worth discovering. Seven frames can be found in Tartu and its vicinity, and the best-known is located in Tartu Town Hall Square.
City traffic in Tartu is calm and friendly, smaller traffic jams may occur during morning and evening rush hour times, but are definitely not comparable to bigger cities during similar hours. In and around the city centre, parking is usually chargeable between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., but you can still come across a few free parking spots. When travelling by caravan, the closest convenient parking places can be found 1.7 km and 6 km from the city centre. Information about local transportation and parking can be found under the section Local transportation.