If you are looking for a cultured European getaway, you should certainly be thinking about Baltic tours for the summer. The Baltics are those countries with a coastline onto the Baltic sea, specifically Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. From the fairytale castle-like skyline of Estonia to the nightlife of Riga, there is something for everyone in the Baltic states.
When is the Best time of Year for Baltic Tours?
The best time to go is between April and September, but you might want to catch the start or the end of the tourist season if you want to avoid the crowds. The main Baltic capitals can get extremely busy in July and August when the children are off school.
How much time should I spend in the Baltics?
If you have limited time and don’t might fast paced travel, it is possible to see the three main Baltic capital in 10 days, spending three days in each: Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius.
However, if you are looking to venture out of the capital cities on your Baltic tours, spend at least 2-3 weeks in the Baltics if you can. This would allow you to see Tartu (Estonian student town) and Kaunus (famous for castles in Latvia), plus one of the Baltic coastal towns or cities if you fancy spending some time on the beach.
Getting to the Baltic States from UK and USA
Wizz Air and Air Baltic fly directly to Tallinn (Estonia) from London. You can also fly directly from London to Riga (Latvia) Ryanair fly from Liverpool John Lennon airport to Kaunus (Lithuania).
Most New York flights go via Stockholm, Moscow or Warsaw. It may be cheaper to go via London and turn this into an extra part of your trip by adding on 3 extra days there.
Baltic Tours with Viator Travel
If you have limited time or are not sure about traveling in the Baltic states independently, you can book Baltic tours online are with Viator travel. It takes the stress out of your trip and ensures that you don’t miss the top sites. Here are some of the best Viator Baltic tours…
Highlights of Baltic States in 8 Days – This 8 day tour covers Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia including Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn and surrounding areas. The tour includes your guide who will fill you in on the historical and local knowledge. Breakfast, lodging and ground transportation are all included.
Baltic Jewish Heritage Tour – If you are interested in Jewish history, the Baltic Jewish Heritage tour through the three Baltic states gives an insight into the Jewish history of the Baltics including amazing historical figures and the tragic period of the Holocaust. This 8 day tour includes breakfast, accommodation, transport and Friday night dinner. There is also a private transfer to the airport on the 9th day.
10 Day Tour of the Baltics – If you are looking for a deeper guided tour experience then opt for the 10 day tour of the Baltics. As well as the capital cities of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, this trip will allow you to have more rural and authentic experiences. It includes 4 star hotel accommodation with breakfast as well as land transport, plus a ferry and sailing trip (Galve Lake Trakai). The welcome meal includes local beer degustation.
DIY Travel to the Baltics
Once you arrive in the Baltics, it’s very easy to get around by train and bus. As the Baltic countries are quiet small, you will rarely need to travel more than around 3 or 4 hours between the main cities. Remember that in smaller villages and places that are off the beaten track are not so well connected by public transport.
Uber is now available in Tallinn and Vilnius, so you can book your taxi’s via the app and know what to expect to pay for your journey. Uber also allows you to pay by card and so it doesn’t matter if you don’t have cash in the foreign currency.
Baltic Tours in Estonia
When you stay in the beautiful medieval city of Estonia, you will find that you marvel at almost every archway. Meander your way through the cobbled streets of the old town and admire the Old Town Hall and Alexander Nevski Cathedral. There is an abundance of Churches and Monasteries to explore. Tallinn also has an excellent Zoo, which is great to take the kids. The Zoo is well connected to the Old Town by tram.
In the winter, husky sledding and ice skating on frozen lakes of popular activities, but remember that these won’t be available in the summer months. If you are staying in Tallinn, here are the top things to do in Estonia.
Baltic Tours in Latvia
Riga, the Latvian capital is another architecturally stunning European Old Town. You will probably recognise Riga from pictures of the ‘Three Brothers’ the three tall buildings from various periods in history. Don’t miss the Castle, St Peter’s Church and Riga Cathedral.
In fact, Riga is full of amazing Church architecture from various Christian denominations. The Riga Nativity of Christ Cathedral is a stunning example of an Eastern Orthodox Church and St Gertrude Old Church is a beautiful Lutheran building. Riga is also a great city for parks and nightlife. Enjoy a cocktail in one of the rooftop bars before you leave!
If you want to explore some of the beaches of Latvia, these are doable as day trips from the capital. Jurmala beach and Vakarbulli beach are popular options.
Baltic Tours in Lithuania
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania is an essential part of most Baltic tours, but if you are travelling from Riga, you might well find that your first Lithuanian stop is Kaunas. Lithuania’s second city is popular with due to tourists who visit Kaunas Castle (Gothic) and Pazaislis Monastery (Baroque). The Old town of Kaunas is home to the beautiful Gothic structure of Kaunus Cathedral. Despite it’s prominent Old Town, Kaunas is also famous for it’s modern structures and street art.
It will take you just under an hour by car to make the onward journey from Kaunus to Vilnius. Again, this is a city famous for it’s diversity in style, with Baroque and Gothic architecture in the Old Town. Vilnius Castle complex consists of fortifications from the 10th Century through to the 18th. Don’t miss the Cathedral, the Gate of Dawn and St Annes Church. If you love your history, visit Gediminas castle tower.
The Trakai castle half day tour is highly recommended. You can do this trip yourself as it’s about an hour an 10 minutes by train. However, for ease and comfort, you can book the Trekai castle tour with GetYourGuide.
To see Vilnius from a birds eye view, book the 2 hour Vilnius hot air balloon flight.
If you have more time to explore, and still haven’t had your fix of historical and religious sites in Lithuania, take the trip to Šiauliai to see the hill of crosses. This can be done on route from Riga, or as a separate day trip from either Riga or Kaunus. Plenty of Baltic tours include Šiauliai.
In short, if you are looking for a cultural trip with a massive influx of Old Town architecture, any Baltic tours will fit the bill. The Baltics offer mild weather, cheap beer and photogenic city centres. What are you waiting for?!