Tartu and Southern Estonia newsletter.
November 2012 – March 2013

Introducing... Tartu and Southern Estonia

Tartu - an ancient Hanseatic town and a modern university city renowned for its scientific achievements  is the gateway to southern Estonia. With thousands of years of history and cultural heritage, Tartu has plenty to offer its visitors, with more than 20 museums and 4000 events held here annually. Families with children will have a great time at the AHHAA science centre – the largest of its kind in the Baltic States – which has attractions for the young and old alike. Those with an interest in handicrafts will be enchanted by the city’s many workshops, studios and fairs. Other places worth visiting are the Ice Age Centre in Äksi, Tartu County, and the Old Believers’ regions in Peipsiland.

South Estonia – Tartu, Põlva, Jõgeva, Valga, Võru and Viljandi Counties – offer nature-lovers nearly 125 hiking, nature and health trails, over 40 protected areas and many breathtaking views of the wintry nature. Active holidaymakers are invited to take part in popular professional sport events which are especially numerous in Otepää – Estonia's winter capital. In the winter season, we offer snowmobile and horse sleigh rides, as well as kilometres of untouched snow, frosty trees and bushes, and primeval silence.
In Holstre-Polli you will find the Viljandimaa Sports and Recreation Centre, where you can use well-maintained forest paths of different distances and difficulty levels. The total length of these paths reaches up to 35 kilometres.

The heritage of the region is equally rich: There are more than 140 sites of historical and cultural interest in the area, which hosts countless fairs, open air events, concerts and festivals, including many related to folklore. The region is also enriched by its cultural diversity – it is home to the Mulgi people, the Setos (whose language and unique leelo singing style form part of the UNESCO World Heritage list) and the Old Believers of Lake Peipsi, famed for their customs and traditions. Spa tourism is also popular in the region, which is well known for its small but unique spas and health centres, medical spas, sauna culture, its locally grown organic food and simply the peace quiet and privacy it offers.

Since the territory of southern Estonia is relatively small, you can visit lots of different sites of cultural and natural interest and participate in numerous winter activities even during a short visit.

We look forward to seeing you in Tartu and southern Estonia!

Welcome to wonderful South Estonia!

Yet again, the season of colourful falling leaves has arrived, and it is a time when the nature in South Estonia is cheerfully colourful and inspiring. Just as Estonia can surprise its visitors with a genuine experience of changing seasons, this year's autumn brought, once again, a lot of excitement with the early snowfall and gave gallant white hats to the last of the autumn vegetables.

It won’t be long until the earth is once again coated in a lasting blanket of snow and lakes get an icy cover adorned with ice flowers. In the past years, the snowy winters have given both children and adults the chance to revel in the joys of winter. In winter, South Estonia is an especially magical place where one can enjoy skiing, sleighing and other fun wintry activities in the snowy nature. A sure way to have a positive experience is to go on a forest snowshoe hike by lantern light. You can follow old Estonian traditions and go sleighing or enjoy a smoke sauna.

There are lots of good quality winter sport centres in South Estonia where you can find downhill ski slopes as well as lighted cross-country ski trails. The youngest members of the family can have fun snow tubing or go ice skating on lakes. One of the Estonians’ favourite winter sports is cross-country skiing, and a highlight for both professional and amateur athletes is the Tartu Marathon, which is one of the Worldloppet races.   

Inspired by Estonians’ love for sauna, there is an annual sauna marathon organised near Otepää in February which is increasing in popularity.  Many truly fun events take place in South Estonia in the winter season and both children and adults are welcome to participate.  Those interested in music, for example, are invited to the Leigo Ice Music Festival in late February. In past years, winter fishing has become increasingly popular. The Kuldkala fishing competition taking place at Lake Viljandi in February has become an exciting fishing party complete with workshops, fairs, and a captivating programme.

The hospitable and friendly South Estonians welcome you to visit and enjoy a wonderful winter season, to try the local cuisine and to participate in exciting events.

See you in South Estonia!

Angela Järg
Managing Director of the Foundation
for South Estonian Tourism

Calendar of events
November 2012 – March 2013

Black Nights Film
Festival PÖFF

Tartu 16.11.-28.11
Christmas City Tartu
Otepää 21.12
New Year's Eve Ball

Tartu 30.12
Kuldkala Fishing Competition on Lake Viljandi 16.02
IBU Biathlon Cup at Tehvandi Stadium 5.-6.01.2013
Leigo Ice
Music Festival in Otepää
Russian Ball in Tartu

Read more

  Get in touch
Tartu Visitor Centre,
Town Hall, Tartu 50089
+372 744 2111

Tartu County
Valga County

Viljandi County
Põlva County
Võru County
Jõgeva County
Peipsi County

Tartu & South-Estonia


View virtual tours

University of Tartu museums
Tartu and Tartu County

UNESCO World Heritage
Seto singing in Setomaa

Võru County
EDEN (European
Destinations of ExelleNce

2008 - Viljandi town
2009 - Soomaa National Park 2010 - Võrtsjärv


New publications:

  New destinations and activities:

Tartu Adventure Park

Tartu’s first adventure park was opened on 20 July this year and by October it had already attracted about 15,000 adventurers. The idea of an adventure park came last summer and by autumn, a suitable location was found in a former gravel quarry in Raadi district, next to Narva maantee. A long staircase leads from the busy city life into a deep valley, as if entering another exciting world. This is what Tartu Adventure Park is all about!
Read more

The completion of Alatskivi Castle and
the opening of the Wax Museum

Külli Must: “About a hundred years ago when Alatskivi Castle was the home of the squire’s family, the castle’s basement was used as the servants’ quarters. This is where the maids lived and ate, and where the kitchens, the bread room and the storage rooms were. From this spring, the manor maids are back in the basement as wax figures. You can see the coachman, the chef and the kitchen maid, as well as other figures who were important in running the manor.
Read more

The Treasury of the University of Tartu

The Treasury located in the University of Tartu History Museum exhibits a selection of the university’s most important valuables. You will find rarities that have rarely, if ever, been exhibited and that are related to the idea and the spirit of the university.
Read more



AHHAA Science Centre 15!
Read more


Armunud kunstnik
(Artist in Love)
Read more



Tartu Jazz Club found
a new home
Read more


Hostel Just Rest
Read more



Jaago Handicraft Cottage
Read more


Mokko Tourism Farm opened
a new accommodation building
Read more



Kiviranna holiday cottage
Read more


Guest apartment Sviit No. 7
Read more


Holiday in Tartu:  

Family trip to AHHAA and the Toy Museum

Come and enjoy late autumn in Tartu with your family!
Read more


  This winter’s worthy
family holiday
at Starest Hotel
Read more

Learn and discover
at the University
of Tartu museums
Read more


  Family trip to Tartu
Read more

A healthy mind and
healthy body go hand
in hand in Tartu!
Read more


  Hotel Raadimõisa
winter packages
Read more

Special offers
at Lõunakeskus
Read more


  Hotel London and
Hotel Pallas winter packages
Read more

AHHAA Science
Centre packages
Read more


  Holidays in South Estonia:

Hunting package at Taagepera Castle

Hunting trips have been organised in the 18,000 hectare area since 1993. In the forest you can find elk, deer, wild boars, wolves and lynx, but also smaller game.
Read more


  Body cleansing
and weight correction
Read more

The charms of
Lake Võrtsjärv
in late autumn
Read more


  42nd Tartu Ski Marathon
in Otepää on 17
February 2013
Read more

Travel through
time in Viljandi!
Read more


  Winter at Karupesa and
surroundings in Otepää
Read more

Snowmobile tour
on Lake Võrtsjärv
Read more


  Visit wintry Estonia
with friends
Read more

Winter in Taevaskoja
Read more


  Kubija Hotel and Nature
Spa holiday package
in Võru County
Read more



Get in touch

Tartu Visitor Centre, Town Hall, Tartu 50089 +372 744 2111 info@visittartu.com
Valga CountyViljandi County Põlva CountyVõru County Jõgeva County
Tartu & South-Estonia


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