Tallinn at night (Dreamstime)
List Words : Wanderlust team | 26 February 2018

Baltic beauties: 7 incredible adventures through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

Medieval cities, Soviet-era ruins, and some of the last truly wild places in Europe; the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have it all. Discover them now – before the crowds arrive

1: Take a walk through time

City Hall Square, Riga  (Dreamstime)

City Hall Square, Riga (Dreamstime)

Uncover the authentic heart of the Baltic as you explore its picturesque capitals by foot on this active cruise through northern Europe with Ramblers Walking Holidays.

Each shore excursion focuses on a historic city and the beguiling countryside that surrounds it. In Tallinn, you'll explore the medieval old quarter before venturing out to the wild islands, just beyond the harbour. In Lithuania, a local guide will lead you through the Curonian Spit, a UNESCO-listed sand dune, bordering Kaliningrad. (It has known human habitation since pre-historic times). And in Riga, your walking tour includes the famous castle, cathedral and powder tower, as well as the famous Cat House too (a house with two angry-looking cat sculptures; it is said that the owner of the house wanted the cats to be placed with their tails turned towards the guild house)..

Throw in excursions to Helsinki, St Petersburg, Stockholm and Copenhagen and you’ll have encountered all that this fascinating region has to offer.

Trip: Baltic Discovery

Who: Ramblers Walking Holidays

When: Departures Jun & Sep

How long: 14 nights

How much: From £2,195 (exc. flights)

2: Discover Lithuania’s hidden corners

Sandy dunes on the Curonian Spit (Dreamstime)

Sandy dunes on the Curonian Spit (Dreamstime)

Venture deep into the heart of Lithuania on this 10-day fly-drive adventure with Regent Holidays.

You will be the master of your own itinerary, exploring the beautiful baroque town of Vilnius at your own pace before travelling to the fairytale red-bricked castle in Trakai – Eastern Europe’s only island castle. From Kaunas, you’ll follow the impossibly scenic Panemuné road, visiting castles and manor houses, before reaching Curonian Spit, a fragile landscape of shifting sand dunes and pine forests where elk and wild boar roam free.

Trip: Lithuania Fly-Drive Holiday

Who: Regent Holidays

When: Departures throughout the year

How long: 10 days

How much: From £925 (exc. flights)

3: A Baltic capital quickstep

Hot air balloons over Vilnius (Dreamstime)

Hot air balloons over Vilnius (Dreamstime)

Immerse yourself in the rich history of one of the less discovered corners of Europe in this whistlestop tour of the Baltic Capitals with Tucan Travel. 

Over a week you will wander the old towns of each of these capitals, sampling craft beer in Tallinn, losing yourself in Riga’s heritage-listed Old Town, and hunting for the secret stebuklas (miracle) tile in Cathedral Square, Vilnius; this marked the southern end of the 2-million person, 650-kilometre long human chain between Tallinn and Vilnius, formed to protest Soviet occupation in 1989. 

An unforgettable introduction to the turbulent history of these cities and the exciting future that awaits them.

Trip: Baltic Capitals

Who: Tucan Travel

When: Regular departures Mar-Oct

How long: 7 days

How much: From £520 (exc. flights)

4: Explore the islands of Estonia

Windmill in Angla, Saaremaa Island (Dreamstime)

Windmill in Angla, Saaremaa Island (Dreamstime)

Discover age-old fishing villages, abandoned Soviet missile bases and untouched beaches on this 8-day adventure to Tallinn and Saaremaa Island with Regent Holidays.

Saaremaa is the largest island in Estonia, a place of deserted beaches, steeped in local folklore. You’ll discover Angla windmills, Kaali Meteorite Crater, Mihkli Farm Museum, medieval churches and nature reserves and explore the dolomite cliff and caves on the northern shore. Add the 13th-century St Catharine’s Church, abandoned Soviet missile base and the old Koguva fishing village and you have an unforgettable snapshot of this incredible part of the world.

Trip: Tallinn & The Islands

Who: Regent Holidays

When: Departures Mar-Aug

How long: 8 days

How much: From £1,195 (exc. flights)

5: Lose yourself in Baltic history

Hill of Crosses, Siauliai  (Dreamstime)

Hill of Crosses, Siauliai (Dreamstime)

Experience a different side of the Baltics on this journey through its hidden corners with Explore.

You’ll head south from Tallinn to Estonia's cultural capital, Tartu. From Riga, you’ll explore Rundale Palace, an exuberant fusion of German and Russian styles from the 18th century. In Lithuania, you’ll climb the ‘Hill of Crosses’ in Siauliai and visit the amber museum at Palanga before clambering across the spectacular sand dunes of the Neringa Spit and exploring the traditional fishing villages that dot the coast. 

Finally, you’ll explore Latvia's lakeland, before rambling through the forested Gauja valley to the Crusader castles at Sigulda and Turaida. This is a side of the Baltics very few people get to see.

Trip: Historic Baltic Republics

Who: Explore

When: Departures May-Oct

How long: 15 days

How much: From £1,499

6: Cycle through the Baltics

Cycling through Riga (Dreamstime)

Cycling through Riga (Dreamstime)

Ride through historic cities, untouched wilderness and along breathtaking coastline on this cycling tour of  Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with Exodus.

Starting in Tallinn, you’ll point your wheels south towards Tartu, Riga, Trakai and Vilnius. Between negotiating the cobbled streets of some of the most beautiful cities in Europe, you’ll cycle through beautiful national parks and along idyllic coastal paths – all at a pace where you can soak it all in.

Trip: Cycle The Baltics

Who: Exodus

When: Departures May-Sep

How long: 11 days

How much: From £1,099 (exc. flights)

7: Unlock Baltic secrets

Soviet Life Exhibit in Tallinn (Dreamstime)

Soviet Life Exhibit in Tallinn (Dreamstime)

Unlock the forgotten treasures and beguiling charms of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia on this jam-packed Baltic journey with G Adventures.

After decades of Communism these countries are open to the world again and revealing their secrets to the adventurous traveller. Beginning in charming cobblestoned Vilnius, and ending in beautiful Helsinki, this two-week trip gets to the very heart of the region. Get an up-close glimpse of Riga’s castles and art district, experience rural life in Estonia, and venture into the fortresses and medieval architecture of Tallinn before crossing to Finland by ferry. Make the Baltics your special travel secret.

Trip: Baltic Adventure

Who: G Adventures

When: Departures May-Sep

How long: 13 days

How much: From £1,249 (exc. flights)