The Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania
Each of the Baltic states is of course a destination in its own right, but they also share similarities like location, landscape, and cultural heritage, so many travelers to the region choose to visit all three on the same trip. Their capitals each have a uniquely different character, from Tallinn’s beautifully-preserved medieval Old Town, to Riga’s Art Nouveau quarter with its splendid facades, to Vilnius’ stylish Baroque architecture.
Despite the lack of high mountains or hilly terrain, the Baltic states attract outdoorsy travelers with their extensive forests, scenic lakes and rivers, and rural charm. Each country has a network of well-maintained and marked trails. In Estonia, the Lahemaa National Park and the Muhu and Saaremaa islands are popular areas for walking and cycling. In Latvia, the Gauja National Park is excellent for walking and biking while in Lithuania, the Dzukija National Park has paths crisscrossing the woods and marshes, but also several traditional small villages and a medieval castle.
If you have 7 – 9 days and want to get a feel of all three countries, you can focus on their capital cities – Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius, and maybe take some day-trips from there – to the Kadriorg Palace and Park or the Rocca al Mare open-air museum (in Estonia), the Rundale Palace or the Gauja National Park (in Latvia), and the Trakai Island Castle or the Dzukija National Park (in Lithuania).
Adding a few more days for more in-depth exploration of the region? En route between Tallinn and Riga, make a stop for a night or two on Muhu Island to explore its traditional villages and walk along its pristine coastline. On the way between Riga and Vilnius, you may wish to spend a couple of nights in Klaipeda and explore the UNESCO protected Curonian Spit National Park and walk or bike its trail through forests and along sandy dunes.
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