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Tartu, Estonia

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March 20, 2009


I plan on visiting Eastern Europe this summer. Before I finalize an itinerary and make any bookings, I would like to know please what your thoughts are on Tartu , Estonia . I have visited the Baltic area before and I was very impressed with Stockholm , Visby (Gotland’s capital), Lubeck , Hamburg and to the east, Tallinn and ESPECIALLY Riga . I enjoyed all these places because in my opinion, they are all architecturally pretty. They are basically top-notch destinations from a sightseer’s perspective.

Anyways, I am a little reluctant to visit Tartu because not only would it be out of my way logistically, but also because I’d be visiting in summer and I imagine most of the students are not there then. So, in short, if I do decide to go there, it would be because the general consensus is that Tartu is of a similar quality to or caliber of places like Riga , Tallinn , etc. Of course, I do not want to miss out on an impressive sightseeing destination. Do you think Tartu is of a similar quality to the places I liked or do you think Tartu is more low-key in terms of being an impressive sightseeing destination?

Your opinion is much appreciated,


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    Hi Charlie,

    Tartu is definitely not in the same category as Tallinn or Riga as tourist destination. It has however a small yet cosy old town and a few attractions to fill a day. Tartu in summer is a very good place to have a beer on the Town Hall square, watch people and let the time pass by (prices are 1/3 of Tallinn or Riga hot spots).

    There are some notable attractions near Tartu however, and the town is a good base for them:
    - Russian Old Believers villages at Lake Peipsi (35 km NW). Completely unique experience, there are 4 villages that make up about 7 km long chain along the coastline. Traditional houses, churches, onion gardens and people who still follow centuries-long traditions. A good traditional fish-and-onions restaurant to complete the experience.
    - Plenty of untouched nature to several directions of Tartu, especially southwards. There are some pretty incredible landscapes, bogs, forests and all of it packed into easily accessible tourist infrastructure. I can give more specific instructions if this is to your interest.

    My 0.02 US$
    Aadi from Tartu

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