Tartu, Estonia

See Also Our Guide to Tallinn

Flickr: Neil Noward

Tartu is the second largest city in Estonia. It’s known as a university town, though it’s been named a European Cultural Capital for 2024! Tartu has an attractive setting on the Emajõgi river, and features lovely older buildings in its historic center. There are nice options for running in Tartu, centered on the river, numerous parks, and several recreational facilities that are popular for nordic skiing in winter and trail running in summer. Pro Tip: Saunas are very popular in Tartu — and wonderful after a run!

A great way to get oriented in Tartu is our ‘runseeing‘ tour, which features several parks plus historical & cultural highlights. We also love running on the several km of paths along the Emajõgi River and around the Anne Canal. A third centrally located route, is  Tähtvere Park, which features trails, sports facilities, and two running tracks. Just west of Tartu is some scenic running around the Ilmatsalu-Kärevere wetlands area, also a popular birding spot. The Lähte Health Track and Vooremäe Health Trails are two favorite trail running spots within 20 minutes of the center.

Note that Tartu features cold winters that can be snowy. Best to be prepared. Also, given the northern latitude, there are short winter days and long summer days.

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Tartu features a temperate humid continental climate with mild to warm summers and cold winters. Summer can be delightful, with long days and average high temperatures in the 23C (74F) range. Nights do cool off — a layer might be needed in the morning! Winters are cold, dark, and overcast, with daytime highs of -2C (29F) and nights dipping to -6C (20F). Runners should be prepared for snow and ice. Nordic skiing is very popular in winter! Also note that Tartu’s latitude means short winter days and wonderfully long days in summer.

We recommend staying in the area near the historic center — there are good accommodation options near either bank of the river that provide out the door access to our three centrally located Tartu running routes.


There’s a good selection of outdoor & sporting goods stores in Tartu where running gear can be found. See the overview map on the Tartu home page for locations.