Tartu County lies between two large lakes - Lake Peipsi and Lake Võrtsjärv. The Suur-Emajõgi River connecting these lakes has been a historically important waterway. The region with its exciting and interesting sites and cleaned up riverbanks has good potential for becoming an attractive tourist destination.
Tartu County is bordered by Jõgeva County to the north, Viljandi to the west and Põlva and Valga Counties to the south. The eastern border of the county, Lake Peipsi, also serves as the national border with Russia.
The area of the county is 2,993 sq. km.
Tartu County has 22 local government units, i.e. 3 towns and 19 rural municipalities. The smallest local government is the island of Piirissaare, where the population is less than 100, and the largest is the city of Tartu with more than 100,000 inhabitants. The city of Tartu is also the administrative center of the county, and approximately 68% of county population lives here. The City of Tartu is the main attraction for all of southern Estonia.
In addition to the City of Tartu, there are 2 smaller towns in the county - Elva and Kallaste, 22 small towns and 304 villages.