This is a picture of Tartu at the turn of the last century. As you can see here, it hasn't changed much over the last 100 years. If you cross the bridge and walk up the wide street, you reach the town hall (the distant building with red roof). Just walk past it and up the hill, voilá, there is the Summer School on Advanced Functional Programming. This is how you find it:
You can find the general travel information about Estonia on this page. InYourPocket.com has a great set of links about travelling to Estonia. We will now assume that you know how to travel and we will take it from when you arrive at the airport or the harbour. However, will cover some very practical things that might not be mentioned elsewhere.
We recommend you exchange most of your money either at home or when you reach Tartu. There you can buy 100 EEK for ¤6.41 (i.e. sell ¤1 at 15.60 EEK). Whatever you do, don't exchange more than necessary (¤25-30) at the airport or other tourist places. You can have a look at the exchange rates at Tavid and HansaPank to get an idea of what normal exchange rates are at in Estonia.
It is quite difficult to predict the weather in Estonia. Make sure you read the four day forecast at weather.ee before you go. In particular, you might actually see what people are wearing on the live picture of the Town Hall Square (you have to reload manually). The weather gurus (EMHI) have the following statistics on average temperature and precipitation in Tartu.
Travelling by taxi is comparatively cheap in Estonia. It's almost too cheap, but drivers take this out on unwary tourists. In a recent article an Estonian newspaper writes about drivers charging five times the appropriate price. The city of Tallinn has promised to do something about it, but you should also take some precautions. The best way is to simply ask the driver how far your destination is, then ask the driver to show the official price table. You can calculate the estimated price. More importantly, it should impress on the driver that you are not yet another wealthy tourist to be ripped off.
We strongly recommend that you have your look around in Tallinn before or after you come to Tartu. It's the capital and the main tourist site of Estonia, especially the old town. Have a look at Tallinn's tourist information page. There's a lot of practical information there as well.
The airport has quite an informative web page. Taxis and busses go from right outside the airport (it's a very small airport). If you want to go directly to Tartu from there, you can either take a taxi to the coach station or bus nr. 2. The bus is a bit tricky: it stops about 100 m from the coach station (see map), the bus stop is still called "autobussijaam". Of course, you could ask the driver to tell you where to get off. When asking for direction, keep in mind that the younger generation (18-35) generally speak and understand English, while older people probably don't.
Buss tickets are 5 EEK, if you ask for a student ticket. You need to have a student identity card for this to be valid. Otherwise, the standard price is 10 EEK from the R-Kiosks (look for their logo) and 15 EEK on the bus. Remember to punch the tickets on the bus. The taxis should cost no more than 50 EEK from the airport to the bus station.
The Port of Tallinn has a less informative web page at www.portoftallinn.com, but the same buss (nr 2) goes from the port as well. There is also a direct coach from the Port of Tallinn heading to Tartu. It only goes once a day at 23:30.
Coaches leave for Tartu every 15–30 minutes at daytime, but more seldom in the evening. You can see the time-table and figure out the Estonian, but it's easier to just go there and jump on the next buss. The coaches cost 80 EEK for adults and 55 EEK for students with ISIC cards. The official travel time of fast coaches is 2 hours 25 minutes but in summer usually the real travel time is within 2 hours 15 minutes.
It is also possible to travel between Tallinn and Tartu by train. The first class ticket costs 120 EEK and you get coffee and internet access. The normal price is 70 EEK and even cheaper for students. The train station is a bit further away, so take a taxi. Trains only go twice each day, at 7:46 and 16:47.
Tartu is a very small town. You will probably want to walk to most of the places, except perhaps when you first arrive. We will give a few recommendations on how you can get to your place of accommodation. First you can have a look at this interactive map to see the approximate locations. If you stay at some other place, you can add the address to the map. We have a local copy of that map and a newer more detailed map on the venues page.
Once you arrive at the bus station we recommend you first take a taxi, if you have lots of luggage. Again the taxi shouldn't cost more than 50 EEK. It's about 20 minutes walk from the bus station. Other than that, you will probably walk everywhere for the rest of your stay. You can look at our annotated map for all the important places you need to go.
If you travel by coach from Tallinn, you have to ask the driver to drop you off at the Carolina guesthouse. The driver has an obligation to do so, if (and only if) he is asked by anyone. Once you arrive there, you can ask the kind people at the guesthouse for help in getting to the centre. There is a bus stop right outside the guesthouse, but unfortunately buses don't go very late, see timetable. Transport during the morning is guaranteed by the people at the guesthouse.
You will probably need to take a taxi there first time you go. Then you can walk back (30 min) or take any bus that comes there. There is a bus stop in front of the dorms, it's called "Purde", see timetable.
The public town transportation system of Tartu is quite efficient. Most stops have timetables (affixed to the stop signpost) and many also have a map of the transport system on display (in the waiting booth). There is an online travel planner. Tickets are available from drivers and from newsstands (the same R-Kiosks as in Tallinn). They are validated by punching on the bus. The tickets sold in stands are valid on the lines operated by Connex only (lines no 1–22, usually a big bus). The price of a ticket is 10 EEK, if bought from the driver, and 8 EEK, if bought from a stand. You might consider buying 10 day ticket (100 EEK). Lines operated by Automen (lines no 31–34, small bus) have their own ticket system and price table.