Traveling to and working in Tartu
Here we have tried to put in one place all the information which you'll need when you come to stay in Tartu for a few between a couple of days and a few months. It's obviously still under construction....
We recommend that you install Google Translate (or a similar product) on your smartphone, to simplify shopping in the supermarket: display names of foods and lists of ingredients etc are very often not in English.
Occasionally, parts of (the english versions of) web pages are still in Estonian. Google Chrome is convenient for those cases (right click -> Translate to English).
The next convenient airport is Tallinn (TLL), with a 150 minutes bus ride (with WiFi and personal entertainment). Downtown Tallinn is a tourist attraction, so if you have a late arrival or early departure, stay the night, and do some sight seeing. There's a wealth of downtown hotels. Not downtown, but close to the airport, there's the Hotell Ülemiste, a 10 min walk from the airport if you don't have luggage.
Finally, there's Riga (RIX), in Latvia. Same as Tallinn, except that the bus ride is between ~ 4 1/2 hours.
A couple of bus companies operates hourly bus lines between Tallinn coach station (Tallinna Bussijaam), Tallinn airport (Tallinna Lennujaam) and Tartu bus station (Tartu Bussijaam). The buses depart from the Tallinn between ~7 am and ~8 pm; the trip takes about 150 min. The easiest way to see the timetable and buy tickets is (currently) the Simpel Express web site. Other web sites are SEBE and LuxExpress (confusing when used in English).
Some of the buses lines link the airport directly with Tartu, others go via other cities, with terminal Tartu.
Buy your bus ticket online at least 24 hours ahead, because the bus may be fully booked. You can show the PDF ticket on your smartphone; or print it; or reprint the ticket at a ticket console in the airport (close to the lower-level exit).
The bus stops at the airport are on the lower level, too, to the left after you exit. To take the Täistunniekspress, look for the bus stop which says "National Bus Lines", and look out for number 724.
On the LUX Express buses, there's on-board entertainment (bring your headphones or buy them from the conductor), and, of course, free WiFi (unfortunately, since the bus line was bought by LUX Express, the WiFi is unreliable, and some basic services, e.g., Dropbox & Spotify, don't work).
SEBE only has free WiFi.
In Tartu, the bus stops at least three times. Tartu bus station (Bussijaam) is the last stop; the second to last is Raekoja Plats (Raekoja square).
Check this web site for the bus connection: LuxExpress. They sell tickets for their Lux-Express and also for the Simple-Express. The buses have free Wi-Fi, but the connection is not particularly good (if it stops working at all, ask the conductor to restart the modem). I think Lux-Express has personal entertainment, but I'm not sure.
The building hosting the Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science is nice enough, with kitchens and common rooms on every floor. Here's a list of cafes, if you fancy a more boheme work environment.
The ordering in the list is roughly south-to-north.Location: Top floor of the Kaubamaja mall
There are two cafes in this location: One is self service restaurant (don't eat here!) with plastic chairs, the other sofas and armchairs and table service. Coffee is acceptable in the plastic chair place, and ok in the sofa place.
The advantage: large, sunny panorama windows. Guests say the music is awful.Self service, has a couple of sofas and arm chairs, and bar stools at the window overlooking the busy street. Coffee is ok. There are no restrooms. Warning: Estonian Schlager!
Nice French-ish place, with good coffee, unobtrusive French music (escape Estonian schlager), good coffee. Usually not too crowded. The patron, Matthieu, is French. Try the Crèp Breton!
If you are relocating to Tartu, the following web site has a large amount of information about how things work over here (taxes, health insurance, and the lot).