Week Long Trip in the Baltics
Replies: 7 - Last Post: Aug 22, 2012 9:28 AM Last Post By: neweinbe
Aug 20, 2012 9:07 PM
Week Long Trip in the BalticsI am interested in taking a trip to the Baltics in mid-September with a friend. Unfortunately we only would have 6 full days to travel. Ideally, I would like to experience Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. I think this might be too ambitious, but I'm not sure when else I would go to this part of the world, and I only have a limited time off.
Ideally I would like to experience some of the culture and beauty of the capital cities of these three countries, as well as experience some of the natural beauty of the Baltic coastline.
What I am thinking is fly into Tallinn (or Helsinki??), rent a car, drive down the coast of Estonia to Riga, then check out the area around the Curonian spit, and drive to Vilnius, drop off the rental car, and fly out of Vilnius.
Will this be worth it? Or will it be too rushed? Instead should we just pick one country? If so, which of the three?
Would this be a good itinerary, or is there another one that you would recommend for two guys in their 30's.
Since these are EU countries can visas simply be acquired at the airport?
Do you recommend flying into Helsinki and taking a ferry to Tallinn?
Are these three countries generally safe?
Is there a good, inexpensive car rental company that can be recommended?
Aug 20, 2012 11:24 PM
1If you want to see anything besides the capital city centres, forget about visiting all three countries in 6 days. Stick to one country.
However, a six-day-trip from capital to capital can be fun too. I did that three years ago (by bus) and I quite enjoyed it.
Visa: You need to tell us your nationality, otherwise this is hard to answer.
Aug 21, 2012 6:27 AM
2I like your trip idea. 6 days are not perfect but OK.
For more specific tips: "two guys in their 30's" male/male or male/female or female/female? Mainly interested in what (nature, girls/boys, drinking, culture, shopping, adventure, ...)?
I would fly to Tallinn directly.
For rental cars have a look here: http://www.autoeurope.com/
They chose the best offer from any rental car company. The prices are definitely ver ygood.
All three countries are 'normally' safe.
Aug 21, 2012 11:55 AM
Aug 21, 2012 1:22 PM
4You're from the US and you're coming all the way over here for six days in the Baltics?
Anyway... just like most (not all!) EU countries, the three Baltic states are part of the Schengen zone, meaning a US citizen can just get stamped in at the airport. Basically the only thing to know is that you're not allowed to stay in the Schengen zone as a whole for more than 90 days out of 180 days.
All three of the capitals are good places to go out to bars in the evening (especially Riga).
I'd still suggest to either concentrate on one or maybe two of the countries, or just visit the three capitals and little else. Anything more would just mean rushing from place to place with no time to experience them.
Aug 22, 2012 12:47 AM
5"... I'm not sure when else I would go to this part of the world..... ......I am thinking to rent a car, drive down the coast of Estonia to Riga, then check out the area around the Curonian spit, and drive to Vilnius..."
"...Will this be worth it? Or will it be too rushed? Instead should we just pick one country..."
If you're not sure when else you would go to this part of the world - what's the difference if it will be too rushed or just a bit rushed? You have 6 days anyway, and you say that you "would like to experience Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania" - so you want 3 countries, not 1. Nobody want to take responsibility to choose the 1 country for you: what if it will be wrong choice and you'd be much more happy to explore another country instead? :D
Generaly, if you're going to check out the area around the Curonian spit, it will be rather rushed, and if you'll be checking only capitals it won't be rushed, and actually you don't need a car then. It's about 4:30hrs journey by bus between the capitals. Just start to walk from your hotel any direction (in each of the capitals), then check the centre, then walk a bit more around - and it will be the experience of some of the culture and beauty of the capital cities :D . I mean, if you keep your eyes open you'll see (and experience at the some time) some of the culture and beauty automatically. And if you have a map in your hands you can go to all the specific objects marked on the map, it's more specific but deserves the effort :D . And this is sufficient, and i want to stress this is not rushed at all . Since you know that you have 6 days total there is no need to discuss whether it is ideal or not ideal, or sufficient or something.
And if you'd prefer to focus on 1 country in order to explore it more deeper - it's you who have to select it, there is almost nothing in common between the three. It's you who have to have the reason or pretext to focus on 1 country, when, as you say, your idea is to experience 3 countries as you're not sure when else you would go to this part of the world. I actually don't see where is the trouble if those 6 days will be a bit rushed.
So, if we're talking about the capitals only, there is nothing else to talk about, there is no problem for you to visit them. But if you want to see the Baltic coastline - do you mean all coastline or what? In any case then you need a car. So first you should check some coast in Estonia, it's different. You can go by car to some national park, or to that waterfall which is on the coast itself. By car it makes sense. Without a car it doesn't make sense (you have no enough time). Then you'll see some coast from the car, i.e. on your way to Riga. You can make some short stops here and there. Then you can go to Jūrmala. Once you saw the Jūrmala beach you already have an idea how lithuanian coast looks like, it's quite similar everywhere, hence my question whether you want to see all coastline, because if you saw a part of it you can judge about it all.
As for the "area around the Curonian spit" - what area exactly you're interested in? There are no roads in Lithuania where you can see the sea. All the roads are away from the sea so that you have to get to the coast on purpose, and thus you have to know where exactly to turn from the road to the sea and why. Similary on the Curonian Spit itself (not in the area around it): you have to drive to the concrete spot, leave the car and start your explorations. Doable, when you have a car it's all doable, many things you can sufficiently see without leaving the car, in other places you can make some short stops or short detours, it all makes sense and redeems the rush.
The only uncertainty i see is what so intersesting you see in the Baltic coastline? For example, there is a decent "space" between Riga and Curonian Spit and between Curonian Spit and Vilnius - and you have intent to waste your time just "driving the car from the point A to the point B", is it correct? In fact the "country" itself lies between those "points", but if you just drive the main road you won't see it (unless you choose the right roads with some short detours and add some few hours for every journey respectively), hence the doubt whether it makes sense for you to go somewhere else apart the capitals.
Aug 22, 2012 4:26 AM
6Two male guys and one of you is single: The Baltics will be perfect for you!
Girls in the 'East' of Europe are very beautiful and nice in general. I am very sure you will enjoy Riga. The girls are often tall, slim and really good looking. There are lots of bars and night clubs in Riga. You could start in the bar on the very top of the Radisson Blue Hotel Latvija on Elizabetes iela 55. You have a fantastic view over Riga and it's a nice place to start the evening and also to end the night. A good night club (Disco) were you will meet with locals is Angostea Diskoclubs http://www.angostea.lv on Merkela iela 11. Beside this you have many nice bars and pubs in old town. Just start on Kalku iela (McDonald's on the corner) and make your way in direction to the river. You will see all the young people through the windows.
Being in Riga you should also drive to the posh (rich Russinas are going there on holiday) Jurmala beach. Go to the street Jomas iela and enjoy sitting in a beer garden, eat something, go to the beach, enjoy the sea and atmosphere. The town is very relaxed with nice summer houses in a beautiful pine tree surrounding.
Pärnu is a pretty beach town in Estonia. 180 km North of Riga. Directly connected with Tallinn and Riga by road E67 (in Estonia road 4; in Latvija road A1).
Tallinn is a beautiful medieval city with a superbly renovated old part of the city. They do a lot there to please the tourists. Microbrewery beer house, lots of restaurants and pubs with medieval cuisine and atmosphere, shops for tourists and nice buildings to see. Frankly, for me Tallinn is a bit too touristic and in summer it's full of (drunken) Finish people and half a day tourists from the cruise ships (lots of Americans).
Lithuania is my secret love, because during my last job I have had nice experiences with nice people there. From all the three Baltic countries Lithuania is the less touristical one and Vilnius is very authentic without many tourists. Just stoll around there and feel the past and the present. I often heard people saying the food in Lithuania is awful, but I like the food there very much. Schnitzel in an egg coating, dumplings (Zeppelini) stuffed with e. g. mushrooms and clear soups with lots of dill. A nice snack with the beer are smoked pig ears and roasted whole-grain bread on which you scratch a garlic clove.
A nice restaurant is Cili kaimas on Vokieciu g. 8 and Lokys restoranas on Stikliu g. 8.
My favorite bar/cafe is Cafe De Paris on Dizioji g. 1. It's small and a bit sleazy, but I like the atmosphere and the live DJ squished in a corner. It's a good place to start the evening or to end the night.
Not far away from Vilnius is Trakai with a nice lake and famous castle (burg).
Aug 22, 2012 9:28 AM
7I'm hoping in late september, the area won't be too crowded with tourists???
Also, in terms of visiting a beautiful non-urban coatal area, do you recommend saaremaa for a day and night on the way from Tallinn to Riga?
Or is there any other nice coastal area that is undeveloped with nice natural areas that would be on the way??
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