Ever since visiting Bulgaria last September, I’ve wanted to explore more of Eastern Europe.
With that in mind, I plugged away to see what itinerary I could best fit into ten days’ time in the region in late February. My original thought was Croatia along with Bosnia and Montenegro, but a lot of the activities I had my eye on were not available in winter months.
Instead I drew on my memory to a trip I had mentally planned well over a year ago – a journey through the Baltics countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia visiting each country’s capital: Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn, respectively.
With a bit of research, I was surprised to find that not only were these countries well adept for a winter trip, but many of the activities that piqued my interest were exclusively offered in winter – an ideal match!
So, without further ado, here is a preview into my Baltics journey:
I’ll be equally splitting ten days in each of the Baltic capitals, following a south to north route with just around three days in each city.
- Vilnius, Lithuania – Vilnius is the capital and largest city of Lithuania, the southern-most country of the Baltics. It is known for its baroque architecture, seen especially in its medieval Old Town.
- Riga, Latvia – Riga is the capital of Latvia and its largest city. It is set on the Baltic Sea at the mouth of the River Daugava. The city is also known for its wooden buildings, art nouveau architecture and medieval Old Town.
- Tallinn, Estonia – Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia, the northern-most country of the Baltics. It is situated on the coast of the country on the Gulf of Finland. Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe as it has retained its walled, cobble stoned look.
I’ll be taking Lux Express buses for the journey from each city to another – about a four hour bus ride each way.
Exploring the Old Towns – All three of the Baltic capitals have an Old Town that is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. I’m looking forward to exploring each – perhaps through walking tours – and taking a step back in time.
Watch basketball – One of Lithuania’s top sports is basketball, so if any games are on either TV or live, Mark has requested that we watch them. I’m game!
AK-47 shooting – AK-47 shooting is an activity offered by my hostel in Riga. I’ve only ever been Swiss rifle shooting, so I’m planning to try shooting a semi-automatic.
Dog sledding – A purely wonderful winter activity, if weather conditions allow I’d love to experience a dog sled ride.
Bobsledding – Also dependent on weather conditions; I’m a little nervous to do this (it looks like the bob sleds go REALLY fast), but I’m hoping I’ll be courageous enough to go ahead!
The Culture and Food
I’m looking forward to learning more about the Baltic countries’ cultures, all of which are unique, and their delicacies. While I will do a bit more researching to ensure I am a respectful visitor of the countries, I’m hoping to learn the majority through experiencing and being there.
Is there anything else I shouldn’t miss in the Baltics, or any tips for the places I’m going?