Meeting Estonia Blog

Popular Social Programmes and Tours for Tartu Conferences

Tartu, Estonia’s second largest city and the capital of the country’s southern region, is a perfect place to hold any academic conference. Home to the Estonia’s top university as well as several other research institutions and software companies, Tartu is the nation’s main centre of knowledge and study. The city’s blend of academic credentials and historic charm makes it a great choice for all types of scientific and medical gatherings.

If you’d like to give your delegates a chance to explore Tartu and surroundings further, we can suggest a few options. Please take a look at the ideas below to ensure that your guests’ experience is unforgettable!

Tartu Guided Walking Tour

Stroll through the heart of Tartu, from Town Hall Square and its surroundings to the striking ensemble of the University of Tartu. This is the oldest city in the Baltics and naturally comes packed with old-fashioned charm. A hodge-podge of 18th and 19th century buildings line the streets of the historic Old Town, itself centred on the handsome expanse of Town Hall Square. Adjoining Old Town on its western edge is the quiet, leafy Toome hill with its 13th century cathedral ruins. On Old Town’s east side, the Emajõgi river, fronted by parks ad spanned by foot bridges, drifts lazily past.

A le Coq Beer Museum and Brewery Tour

Tartu is the birthplace of the Estonian beer industry and has been a beer-loving city for nearly a thousand years. On this tour of one of the Baltics’ most modern and productive breweries, you’ll visit the elaborate beer museum set in the institution’s 19th-century malt drying tower and sample some of Estonia’s favourite products in the museum pub.

Visit to the Estonian National Museum

The recently renewed Estonian National Museum (Eesti Rahva Muuseum) is a gem of contemporary architecture set on a former Soviet military airfield. This vast facility showcases everything about the nation’s development and what it means to be Estonian. The museum features two permanent exhibitions: Encounters, covering Estonian cultural history and everyday life; and Echo of the Urals, providing insight into the lives of the various Finno-Ugric peoples who inhabit this corner of the world. In 2018, the museum received the prestigious Kenneth Hudson Award, part of the European Museum of the Year Awards, for unusual and daring achievement.

Spectacular Boat Ride Along the Emajõgi River 

The Emajõgi river is one of the most important symbols of Tartu. For a fantastic way to admire the river’s picturesque landscape, climb aboard the Jõmmu barge, a replica of the wooden trade vessels that plied local waterways from Hanseatic times right up to the 20th century. This trip will take your guests along the river in both directions, providing unique perspectives of Tartu and the rustic landscapes of southern Estonia. Snacks and drinks are served on board. The barge can also take guests to Lake Võrtsjärv or Lake Peipsi.

Tartu Street Art Tour by Pseudo Tours

Today’s Tartu stands out more and more for its flourishing street art scene and highly promising alternative culture. Wandering through one of its cosy, wooden-house filled neighborhoods, one can encounter a lot more than what classical urban art usually offers. A mixture of graffiti, narrative stencil art and decorations fabricated by the locals creates a remarkable environment. This tour starts from the local cultural factory, Aparaaditehas (Widget Factory), and takes you through the art-filled district of Karlova, stopping for a quick pause at the local bar.

Onion Route and Old Believers’ Villages

Aristocratic mansions and colourful cottages mark the area known as the Onion Route, a 30-kilometre-or-so stretch of road spanning the southern coast of Lake Peipsi. The route takes its name from this region’s unique inhabitants – Russian Old Believers, a traditional, religious minority famed for growing beautiful golden onions, as well as for being hard-working fishermen and skilled builders. A guided bus tour introduces visitors to the Old Believers’ way of life. Participants will enjoy hearty, home-cooked cuisine and a taste of local peasant culture.

Visit to Setomaa

One of the most intriguing areas to visit near Tartu is Setomaa, home of the Seto people. This ethnic group has its own traditions and has been living in this corner of Estonia since time immemorial. The Setos are particularly known for their unique way of singing, which is called leelo (included on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage). In the Seto Farm Museum, guests can learn about Seto farm architecture, tools and handicraft, listen to leelo, and taste traditional food in the Seto Tsäimaja (‘tea house’) restaurant.

Get to Know Estonia’s NatureBog Walking

Visiting Estonia’s fascinating peat bogs is an absolute must for nature lovers. These protected areas can be toured via wooden plank trails or by wearing specially-developed “bog shoes” to tread atop the moss. The most popular hikes for Tartu conference-goers are the Valgesoo nature study trail and the Meenikunno bog

The Estonian Convention Bureau’s DMC members can help you arrange exciting social programmes and pre/post conference tours. Please see the companies’ contacts at  our website or get in touch with our team for assistance.

For more Tartu tour ideas, visit or turn to the Tartu Convention Bureau for suggestions.

Riine Tiigi

Marketing Manager