Try looking up some references on rational homotopy theory. Rational homotopy theory studies the homotopy groups tensor Q, so basically you kill all torsion information. If we focus only on homotopy groups tensor Q, the question you ask becomes easier. As Steven Sam mentions in the comments, the homotopy groups of spheres are really crazy. But the rational homotopy groups of spheres are quite tractable (in fact completely known, by a theorem of Serre) and can be more or less obtained from cohomology, if I recall correctly.
One particularly impressive theorem, of Deligne-Griffiths-Morgan-Sullivan, says that if your space is a compact Kähler manifold (e.g. a smooth complex projective variety), and if you know its rational cohomology ring, then you can compute for instance the ranks of all of its homotopy groups (maybe you need an extra assumption that the space is simply connected or has nilpotent fundamental group).