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Tartu

City of good thoughts

Traffic on the Emajõgi River

The Emajõgi River connects Lake Võrtsjärv and Lake Peipus, and is the only river in Estonia that is fully navigable. The river, known in the Middle Ages as an important trade route, connected the western Hanseatic cities to Pskov and Novgorod, and is nowadays one of the most important symbols of the city of Tartu. Marshy banks, which are characteristic of the Emajõgi River, have made building bridges as well as crossing the river difficult over the centuries. Within the city limits of Tartu, the Emajõgi River has four bridges for vehicles and two pedestrian bridges, several docks (including the guest dock in front of the building Atlantis) and five boat harbours, of which Karlova harbour is open to visitors.

 

Waterways are managed by the Maritime Administration which, among other things, monitors that all possible hazards and obstacles have been removed from the routes, regular dredging works carried out and navigation markings been updated. Precise mapping of waterways is actively carried out as well. In cooperation between the public and private sector and with the support of the European Union funds, several harbours and moorings have been developed on the waterway of the Emajõgi River: small craft associations develop their own harbours, new docks have been constructed in the city centre of Tartu for visiting boats, and the riverbed was deepened during the works. Small craft harbours have been built in Kavastu, Mäksa, Lääniste and other places. The Emajõgi River’s most frequently used harbour with a slipway is located at the RMK (State Forest Management Centre, Riigimetsa Majandamise Keskus in Estonian) Suursoo nature centre in Kantsi that is also one of the most important harbours in the southern part of Lake Peipus. The boat dock of Lake Võrtsjärv Visitor Centre at the headwaters of the Emajõgi River in Rannu-Jõesuu is suitable for both the launching as well as the landing of boats. It is also possible to land on Piirissaar Island, located in Lake Peipus, and on Tondisaar Island, located in Lake Võrtsjärv. Before going to Lake Peipus, the local border guard station definitely has to be informed.

 

The majority of Tartu’s boat traffic is made up of cruises, regular scheduled trips to Piirissaar Island in summer and private boat rides. Cruises are organised by several companies, and it’s possible to take a ride on modern motorboats, the medieval barge “Jõmmu” as well as the Viking ship “Turm”. Various canoe trips are organised as well. The barge is great for organising seminars and conferences. In August, the traffic on the river is especially busy as a festival dedicated to the Emajõgi River takes place. During bigger events related to the river, traffic on the river may be restricted – it is advisable to follow navigation markings, or inquire about restrictions at the Tartu City Government Department of Culture. Information about the waterways and the mapping of the routes is issued by the Maritime Administration.

Last updated: 13.11.2018

  • By bike

    By bike

     

    The most environmentally and budget-friendly way to explore Tartu’s surroundings is bicycling. In recent years, not only in the city but also in the areas surrounding Tartu and more wide-ragingly in South Estonia, new non-motorised transport paths have been actively built, and other bike trails have been created, which are safe and convenient to navigate. Bike lovers are delighted by versatile landscapes, genuine small settlements, and the enchanting beauty of pristine nature in different reserves and conservation areas.

     

    Among the best-known bike trails, which pass through and surround Tartu, are several EuroVelo routes and the cycling route connecting South Estonia and North Latvia, “Tour de LatEst” (tourdelatest.vidzeme.com). One of the longest local bike routes snakes around Lake Võrtsjärv, reaching a length of 140 km. In addition, cyclists and hikers are presented with a wonderful opportunity to enjoy nature in Ilmatsalu (8 km trail) as well as in the Elva landscape protection areas in Vitipalu (23,5 km), in Vellavere (8 km and 13 km) and Vapramäe (6,5 km). Bikes can be rented from rental points located in the city as well as around the county.

     

  • By public transportation

    By public transportation

    Using the scheduled bus service from Tartu Bus Station, it’s possible to go on trips to discover different regions of the county. For example, the Alatskivi and Kallaste regions on the Onion Route, the Ice Age Centre located near Lake Saadjärv in Äksi, or the animal park in Elistvere are perfect for a day trip. Situated on the other side of Tartu, only a short bus ride away, are “pinetown” Elva, the observatory in Tõravere, the romantic manor park in Luke, the extreme sports park in Rahinge and the car racing track as well as the Estonian Aviation Museum in Lange village.

     

    Nature lovers can take the bus, for instance, to Ilmatsalu, which presents ideal conditions for birdwatching, or to Kavastu, where the Emajõgi River study trail begins, looping around on the riverside floodplain, across a wet meadow with sedge tussocks and through a bog birch grove. The Vapramäe–Vellavere–Vitipalu hiking trails are perfect for both – taking a walk and doing sports.

     

    Besides buses, there is also the possibility to discover the county by train. The Tartu-Valga train stops near the observatory in Tõravere, in the vicinity of the Vapramäe hiking trails in Peedu as well as in Elva where hikers and adventure enthusiasts always find plenty of activities. The Tartu-Jõgeva train stops in Tabivere where, in addition to a lovely beach, the local museum and a handicraft beer brewery can be explored. On the Tartu-Koidula route lie Ülenurme, Uhti and Vana-Kuuste, where one can get acquainted with the historical manor houses and with the history of agriculture at the Estonian Agricultural Museum in Ülenurme as well.

     

    Once the desired destination has been chosen, more information can be found at Tartu’s bus or railway station as well as on the web at www.tpilet.ee and www.elron.ee.

  • Traffic on the Emajõgi River

    Traffic on the Emajõgi River

    The Emajõgi River connects Lake Võrtsjärv and Lake Peipus, and is the only river in Estonia that is fully navigable. The river, known in the Middle Ages as an important trade route, connected the western Hanseatic cities to Pskov and Novgorod, and is nowadays one of the most important symbols of the city of Tartu. Marshy banks, which are characteristic of the Emajõgi River, have made building bridges as well as crossing the river difficult over the centuries. Within the city limits of Tartu, the Emajõgi River has four bridges for vehicles and two pedestrian bridges, several docks (including the guest dock in front of the building Atlantis) and five boat harbours, of which Karlova harbour is open to visitors.

     

    Waterways are managed by the Maritime Administration which, among other things, monitors that all possible hazards and obstacles have been removed from the routes, regular dredging works carried out and navigation markings been updated. Precise mapping of waterways is actively carried out as well. In cooperation between the public and private sector and with the support of the European Union funds, several harbours and moorings have been developed on the waterway of the Emajõgi River: small craft associations develop their own harbours, new docks have been constructed in the city centre of Tartu for visiting boats, and the riverbed was deepened during the works. Small craft harbours have been built in Kavastu, Mäksa, Lääniste and other places. The Emajõgi River’s most frequently used harbour with a slipway is located at the RMK (State Forest Management Centre, Riigimetsa Majandamise Keskus in Estonian) Suursoo nature centre in Kantsi that is also one of the most important harbours in the southern part of Lake Peipus. The boat dock of Lake Võrtsjärv Visitor Centre at the headwaters of the Emajõgi River in Rannu-Jõesuu is suitable for both the launching as well as the landing of boats. It is also possible to land on Piirissaar Island, located in Lake Peipus, and on Tondisaar Island, located in Lake Võrtsjärv. Before going to Lake Peipus, the local border guard station definitely has to be informed.

     

    The majority of Tartu’s boat traffic is made up of cruises, regular scheduled trips to Piirissaar Island in summer and private boat rides. Cruises are organised by several companies, and it’s possible to take a ride on modern motorboats, the medieval barge “Jõmmu” as well as the Viking ship “Turm”. Various canoe trips are organised as well. The barge is great for organising seminars and conferences. In August, the traffic on the river is especially busy as a festival dedicated to the Emajõgi River takes place. During bigger events related to the river, traffic on the river may be restricted – it is advisable to follow navigation markings, or inquire about restrictions at the Tartu City Government Department of Culture. Information about the waterways and the mapping of the routes is issued by the Maritime Administration.

  • Rent a car

    Rent a car

    Renting a car is a great solution to those who have arrived in Tartu by public transportation but want a fast and convenient way to explore the countryside. A number of local companies provide quality rental service, but it is also possible to rent a car at other destinations and, if desired, return the car in Tartu or other agreed upon rental points. To book the service, contact the service provider or look for offers on their website.

  • Rent a bus

    Rent a bus

    A number of local companies provide quality bus rental service, a  full list of service providers can be found below. To book the service, contact the service provider or look for offers on their website.

By bike

 

The most environmentally and budget-friendly way to explore Tartu’s surroundings is bicycling. In recent years, not only in the city but also in the areas surrounding Tartu and more wide-ragingly in South Estonia, new non-motorised transport paths have been actively built, and other bike trails have been created, which are safe and convenient to navigate. Bike lovers are delighted by versatile landscapes, genuine small settlements, and the enchanting beauty of pristine nature in different reserves and conservation areas.

 

Among the best-known bike trails, which pass through and surround Tartu, are several EuroVelo routes and the cycling route connecting South Estonia and North Latvia, “Tour de LatEst” (tourdelatest.vidzeme.com). One of the longest local bike routes snakes around Lake Võrtsjärv, reaching a length of 140 km. In addition, cyclists and hikers are presented with a wonderful opportunity to enjoy nature in Ilmatsalu (8 km trail) as well as in the Elva landscape protection areas in Vitipalu (23,5 km), in Vellavere (8 km and 13 km) and Vapramäe (6,5 km). Bikes can be rented from rental points located in the city as well as around the county.

 

Last updated: 13.11.2018

By public transportation

Using the scheduled bus service from Tartu Bus Station, it’s possible to go on trips to discover different regions of the county. For example, the Alatskivi and Kallaste regions on the Onion Route, the Ice Age Centre located near Lake Saadjärv in Äksi, or the animal park in Elistvere are perfect for a day trip. Situated on the other side of Tartu, only a short bus ride away, are “pinetown” Elva, the observatory in Tõravere, the romantic manor park in Luke, the extreme sports park in Rahinge and the car racing track as well as the Estonian Aviation Museum in Lange village.

 

Nature lovers can take the bus, for instance, to Ilmatsalu, which presents ideal conditions for birdwatching, or to Kavastu, where the Emajõgi River study trail begins, looping around on the riverside floodplain, across a wet meadow with sedge tussocks and through a bog birch grove. The Vapramäe–Vellavere–Vitipalu hiking trails are perfect for both – taking a walk and doing sports.

 

Besides buses, there is also the possibility to discover the county by train. The Tartu-Valga train stops near the observatory in Tõravere, in the vicinity of the Vapramäe hiking trails in Peedu as well as in Elva where hikers and adventure enthusiasts always find plenty of activities. The Tartu-Jõgeva train stops in Tabivere where, in addition to a lovely beach, the local museum and a handicraft beer brewery can be explored. On the Tartu-Koidula route lie Ülenurme, Uhti and Vana-Kuuste, where one can get acquainted with the historical manor houses and with the history of agriculture at the Estonian Agricultural Museum in Ülenurme as well.

 

Once the desired destination has been chosen, more information can be found at Tartu’s bus or railway station as well as on the web at www.tpilet.ee and www.elron.ee.

Last updated: 13.11.2018

Rent a car

Renting a car is a great solution to those who have arrived in Tartu by public transportation but want a fast and convenient way to explore the countryside. A number of local companies provide quality rental service, but it is also possible to rent a car at other destinations and, if desired, return the car in Tartu or other agreed upon rental points. To book the service, contact the service provider or look for offers on their website.

Last updated: 13.11.2018

Rent a bus

A number of local companies provide quality bus rental service, a  full list of service providers can be found below. To book the service, contact the service provider or look for offers on their website.

Last updated: 01.10.2018

Jaak Nilson
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Liina Laurikainen

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