Visa and travel

Here you will find information about Schengen visas and how to get to Tartu.


First, please check the visa requirements for entering Estonia based on your nationality. Participants from many countries do not require a visa for short stays in Estonia. However, verifying this information is essential to avoid any last-minute complications.

If you need a Schengen visa, it’s recommended to apply at the latest the beginning of June. Information about Schengen visas is available here.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us ([email protected]) if you require an invitation letter for visa purposes.

Please note that Letters of Invitation are only issued to registered and paid/approved delegates.*


Tartu is 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. It takes 3.5 hours to get there by bus or car from Riga.

Flying to Tartu

Finnair provides a direct flight from Helsinki Airport to Tartu, with 12 weekly flights in time for Tartu to become the 2024 European Capital of Culture. Finnair is also a comfortable option if you plan to come from Asia, as it provides direct flights to Helsinki from various destinations. 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. From Sunday to Friday, there are two flights departing at 13:50 and 22:55; the duration of the flight is 40 min. On Saturday there are no flights available.

  • Return flights to Helsinki depart from Tartu Airport every day two times: at 6:00 and 15:00, except on Saturday when there is only a morning flight available. The duration of the flight is 40 min.

Once you have arrived at the Tartu Airport, you can reach the city centre either by calling a taxi (as detailed further down this page) or by purchasing a ticket on one of the regional busses connecting the airport to the city, including busses 224, 227, 311, 342, 343, 357 and 433. However, due to the low number of flights in Tartu Airport, bus departures are infrequent, and thus, a taxi might be the preferred option for those arriving by plane from Helsinki.

Flying or arriving by ferry to Tallinn

Tallinn Airport has direct air links to numerous cities. You can choose between a bus or train to travel from Tallinn to Tartu. You can board the Tallinn-Tartu bus either from the 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 central train station (Balti jaam) is located just outside the Old Town, and 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 more 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). Using a contactless banking card, you can buy a ticket for €2 from the bus or tram driver or at the ticket validator. Google Maps will help you with timetables and choosing a tram or bus.

Here is some advice on how to do this last bit of journey to Tartu:

The buses to Tartu tend to be full, so buying the ticket in advance is advisable.

Getting a bus ticket online is easy (Departure stop: Tallinn Airport; Destination stop: Tartu Coach Station). The most comfortable ones are Lux Express buses, especially their Relax class, which has lots of legroom.

The only problem is that if you buy your ticket in advance and your plane is 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. The other option is to buy your ticket online on arrival (there is excellent wifi at the airport), and the online ticket sale ends 15 minutes before departure.

To reach the bus terminal, turn right as you exit the customs and just follow the signs. Finally, if you see a bus ready to depart, you can also try to buy a ticket from the driver.

Timewise. If you have checked luggage, it is usually delivered 10-15 minutes after the plane arrives at the gate. Still, delays are always possible (especially if you are on a large aircraft or many flights simultaneously).

In Tartu, the bus station is located in the centre within 10 – 15 minutes walking distance from the main hotels and the conference venue.

If the buses are full or you prefer to take a train, a train timetable is available online (departure: Ülemiste). It is within walking distance from the airport, but not easy to find. The best option is to take a taxi from the first floor (Arrival level) to Ülemiste. Note that this is not the main train station; make sure the driver doesn’t take you to the wrong place (the main one is the Balti 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.

Tartu train station is about 20 minutes 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 walking distance.

Other connections

  • You can reach Tartu from Riga airport, which is about 250 km from Tartu. LuxExpress and Flixbus provide bus connections. Buses depart from Riga airport three times a day and from Riga central bus station four times a day.

  • There are also ferry connections to Tallinn from Stockholm and Helsinki. From Helsinki, there are multiple departures from different companies. The ferry line to Stockholm is overnight.

  • For heartier travellers, 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 Bolt for taxi services. It’s a fast and convenient way to get around and see the estimated time and exact cost before the drive. You can use it with and without a credit card.

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

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).

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.