BALTICS TRAVEL GUIDE
Baltics holidays flow into one seamless sojourn with Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius offering an assortment of cultural treats captured within three UNESCO-listed old towns. Although churches, castles and candlelit alleyways can be fun, the Baltics also boast an inordinately lengthy coastline with locations like Lahemaa and Curonian Spit National Parks, and the seaside resorts of Jurmala and Klaipeda, opening up drifting dunes, bird watching hot spots and sandy pine forest trails.
Enjoy an overview of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on a Baltics holiday and you’ll experience a much more satisfying bite than if you simply nibble one piece at a time.
As you’ll discover in our Baltics holidays travel guide, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are great to visit as part of a small group holiday. Guides take the stress out of queuing for tickets, gambling with accommodation and getting to grips with languages, although it’s still fun to dip your oar in and learn under your own steam – especially if you value free time to explore just as much as three countries in one tour.
The Baltics are...
not quite as affordable as some travellers may have been led to believe.
The Baltics aren’t…
ex-Soviet relics. They’re quite sophisticated, actually, and also boast some of northern Europe’s best Blue Flag beaches.
THE BALTICS MAP & ITINERARIES
Baltics tours take travellers from top to tail starting in Estonia’s north coast capital, Tallinn, and completing in the Lithuanian equivalent, Vilnius, 600kms south. Two-week tours turn to Tartu from Tallinn, via Lahemaa National Park, before heading south into Latvia where Cesis and Gauja National Park are worth visiting prior to Riga and Jurmala, on the coast. Last but not least Klaipeda and the Curonian Spit, on Lithuania's westerly shores, make for a sandy prelude to Kaunas and Trakai, further east, before you reach your final destination, Vilnius, 30km from Belarus. Transfers between destinations are usually quite short and a private coach provides a comfortable ride on reasonable roads, ignoring the occasional pot hole.
1. Curonian Spit
Take the lagoon ferry from the port of Klaipeda and you'll find yourself on Europe's largest drifting sand dunes, the UNESCO protected Curonian Spit. Wetlands and forests, on this Lithuanian stretch of coastline, lure migratory birds, in much the same way as the seaside village of Nida - located slap bang on the Spit - appeals to travellers searching for Blue Flag beaches and ornate wood carvings.
Lahemaa National Park
2. Lahemaa National Park
Estonia's largest national park promises manor houses, fishing villages and some of the best darn bog walking boardwalks this side of Belarus. There are some really wonderful swathes of sandy Baltic coastline in Lahemaa and easy access to Tartu, Estonia's second largest city, make it a must for travellers seeking cascading waterfalls and moss-covered pines.
Wind your way around Latvia's elegant capital, Riga, and you'll by treated to unparalleled examples of Art Nouveau architecture, especially in the Central Market, as well as fab panoramas from the top of St Peter's Church. Riga exemplifies Latvia's search for a national identity and is definitely worth a day or two in between visits to Turaida Castle, in Gauja National Park, and the beaches of Jurmala.
4. Rundale Palace
If you're looking for an indication as to just how much emphasis the Baltic states place on architectural opulence then a guided tour of Rundale Palace, built in the 18th century for the Duchy of Courland, tends to sum things up rather nicely. The gardens alone are an amazing sight and provide a perfect place to take in the outstanding Baroque exteriors prior to disappearing into palatially lavish Latvian interiors.
Estonia's capital is a captivatingly characterful starting point for a tour of the Baltics with Toompea Palace, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and St. Nicholas Church providing just some of the attractions on a guided tour. Twilight in Tallinn, as flickering wall torches cast shadows over secret stone stairwells and hanging craftsmen guild signs, is a joy for lovers of getting lost.
Completing a tour in Vilnius makes sense as not only is this the Baltics’ southern capital, complete with international airport, but it's Lithuania's cultural centrepiece where the medieval Old Town, Antakalnis Cemetery and the KGB Museum help to put the final pieces of the Baltic jigsaw into place. Negotiate narrow streets leading to hidden courtyards, open gardens and ecclesiastical architecture.
Our Baltics Holidays
If you'd like to chat about Baltics or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
THINGS TO DO IN THE BALTICS
Things to do in the Baltics…
Things not to do in the Baltics…
More about Baltics
Find out the best time to go on holiday in the Baltics as you check out our easy to use temperature & rainfall chart and read more in our month by month guide.
If you’re unsure whether a cycling tour of all three Baltic countries is for you then check out our Baltics cycling holidays guide before you push off. We’ve included the highlights and the lowlights – it’s very flat – to allow you to make up your mind as you make the most of your time.
Wide expanses of untouched wilderness, forests full of beavers and bears – the beautiful landscapes of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are best seen on foot.
Larger than Tallinn and Vilnius, Riga is home to a UNESCO-listed Old Town filled with painted wooden houses, cobbled alleyways and some of Europe’s most superb Art Nouveau facades.
Imagine marzipan shops and gabled houses line cobbled alleyways leading to pedestrian squares, all surrounded by the turreted walls of one of Europe’s most well-preserved medieval towns.
With a UNESCO-listed medieval Old Town and a wealth of Second World War and Soviet history, Vilnius is Lithuania’s captivating capital city.