Visual Adventure: The Baltics

Daniel Noll and Audrey Scott June 16, 2014 6

Europe’s Baltic States – Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are one of the continent’s best-kept secrets. What makes these northern Europe countries so unique is that, within a small land mass, you’ll find three distinct languages and cultures. The Baltics’ shared psyche is marked by the pendulum shift of the near-white nights of its brief summers to the steel-wool grayness of the short days of its long winters.

Baltic history features intermittent phases of independence and occupation. You can still see in the architecture today in the castles and medieval towns that dot the landscape; reminders of empires that have called these lands their own over the last two millennia.

Enjoy this visual adventure as we take you through the Baltic States.

Lithuania

The biggest and most southern of the Baltic countries, Lithuania is sometimes regarded as the “Italy of the Baltics” due to its more outgoing cultural personality. Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, is easy to fall for with its perfectly painted churches and colorful medieval streets. Don’t forget to drop in on the neighborhood of Uzupis for a look at Vilnius’ artist community. And wherever you go, be sure to peek into the city’s numerous courtyards.

Cathedral Square in Vilnius, a popular gathering place in the city.

Cathedral Square in Vilnius, a popular gathering place in the city.

Getting lost down one of Vilnius’ many back streets.

Getting lost down one of Vilnius’ many back streets.

And when you get your fill of the city, head over to the coast and the Curonian Spit to cycle through the dunes and visit the inimitable Hill of Witches, an unusual sort of sculpture garden dotted with carved wooden statues.

One of the many witches you will meet at the Hill of Witches along the Curonian Spit.

One of the many witches you will meet at the Hill of Witches along the Curonian Spit.

Latvia

As you walk the streets of Latvia’s capital, Riga, you’ll find hints of its former glory as an important commercial center and influential Baltic seaport mixed with the modern city it has become. If you look closely you’ll discover a sea of architectural styles from medieval Gothic to Art Nouveau and note architectural cues from neighbors like Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Amsterdam.

A few of of Riga's (renovated) medieval architectural highlights on the Town Hall Square (Ratslaukums).

A few of of Riga’s (renovated) medieval architectural highlights on the Town Hall Square (Ratslaukums).

Taking a stroll along the Pilsetas Canal, Riga.

Taking a stroll along the Pilsetas Canal, Riga.

Estonia

Estonia is the smallest of the Baltic States with a population of only 1.4 million. Its capital city, Tallinn, is a walled medieval city whose thick walls and towers hint at the city’s persistent need to protect itself from invaders over the centuries. The winding, cobblestone streets of Tallinn’s compact old town harken back to the medieval days of the Teutonic Knights and the Hanseatic League.

Along the way, you’ll discover a café or gallery worth a stop. The trick: to get lost and create and discover your own story amidst the cobblestones and ramparts.

The spire of St. Olaf's Church (Oleviste Kirik) dwarfs one of Tallinn's medieval towers.

The spire of St. Olaf’s Church (Oleviste Kirik) dwarfs one of Tallinn’s medieval towers.

View of Tallinn’s walled medieval old town.

View of Tallinn’s walled medieval old town.

Looking up from inside Tallinn’s medieval old town.

Looking up from inside Tallinn’s medieval old town.


Getting There

G Adventures runs a number of departures to Europe encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater for different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you The Baltics as you’ve never seen it — check out our small group trips to Europe here.

6 Comments »

  1. Joy June 27, 2014 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    The Baltics are a place that I wanted to visit and your pleasant photos and descriptions have confirmed my reasons for going.

    • Daniel | Uncornered Market July 18, 2014 at 1:03 pm - Reply

      That’s terrific to hear, Joy. We’ll look forward to hearing about your trip. Any questions, give us a shout!

  2. Bob and Shirley Krauklis. June 27, 2014 at 11:46 pm - Reply

    We are a Lithuanian family with a visit to our grandparents homeland on our bucket list. Planning a trip for next year. What is best time of year to go. Any favorite experiences or tips for best travel value. Please shar any useful info. Thanks.

    • Audrey | Uncornered Market July 18, 2014 at 11:40 am - Reply

      Hi Bob and Shirley,
      The best time of year to visit would be the summer months of June – August when the days are long (almost white nights) and it’s warm out. If you can’t visit during those months, then try for May or September when it will be a bit cooler, but not cold. Enjoy your trip!!

  3. Richard June 28, 2014 at 3:16 am - Reply

    where is daily itinerary, tour price plus airline cost?

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