Highlights of the
A tour of the highlights of the Baltics provides a sturdy introduction to the region, its history and culture. It’s a great option for first timers or those short on time. In the Baltics, you can cover a lot of ground within just a few days since many highlights are located along major roads. For example, Latvia’s Rundale Palace or “Versailles of the Baltics” and Lithuania’s Hill of Crosses are en route between Vilnius and Riga, and Estonia’s beaches in Parnu are on the way between Riga and Tallinn.
Baltic capitals - each with its own flair
The historic centres of all three Baltic capitals are included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List but the cities are far from monotonous. Each has its own distinct character.
Riga is the largest city in the Baltics, known far and wide for its Art Nouveau architecture, world class opera house and buzzing Central Market. The neighbourhoods of Kipsala and Agenskalns are no less grand with their 18th – 21st century wooden architecture.
You may recognise Tallinn for its fairy tale old town but the city has many more layers, such as the neighbourhood of Kadriorg with its baroque palace and world-renowned contemporary art museum, and the harbour area of Kalamaja with its quaint wooden housing and bohemian spirit. Many visitors descend on Tallinn on a day trip by ferry from Helsinki.
As the capital of a predominantly Catholic country, Vilnius boasts remarkable churches. Climb to the top of Gediminas Hill for views of the city’s steeples and ever-changing panorama. For a feel of how the city is developing, visit the creative neighbourhoods of Naujamiestis and Uzupis.
Thanks to a new generation of inventive chefs and a reliable supply of quality local produce, Riga, Vilnius and Tallinn are becoming popular foodie destinations. Sample wild mushrooms, birch sap, rhubarb and other humble ingredients transformed into culinary masterpieces.
Highlights of Latvia
At easy day trip distance from Riga, Jurmala is one of the Baltics’ favourite beach resorts famed for its intricate 19th century wooden houses, which mingle among the pines alongside impressive Soviet and contemporary resort architecture.
The “Switzerland of Latvia” sits within Gauja National Park and is known as the winter sports capital of Latvia. Visitors flock here for active outdoor pursuits as well as delving into history at Sigulda Castle and Latvia’s most visited museum – Turaida Museum Reserve.
Arriving at Rundale Palace is a true “wow” moment as you may not expect to see such an 18th century gem in the Latvian countryside. Architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli is also known for his Winter Palace in St Petersburg.
Highlights of Estonia
In summer, visitors flock to Estonia’s largest resort to enjoy its sandy beaches, while in winter it’s a favourite spa destination. Architecture geeks will appreciate the historical wooden homes, the modernist Parnu Beach House and Art Nouveau-style Villa Ammende.
Estonia has over 2000 islands, which is much more than both other Baltic States. The rugged West Estonian Archipelago is fantastic for a tranquil escape. A short ferry ride from the mainland are some of its best known islands of Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and Kihnu with their Nordic maritime vibe.
Estonian National Museum
Learn what makes Estonians tick at the award-winning museum in Tartu – Estonia’s second largest city. The interactive exhibition will drag you in for hours of exploration if you don’t stop short admiring its incredible facade!
Highlights of Lithuania
Trakai Island Castle
Often featured on postcards of Lithuania, the stunningly restored 14th century castle sits on a luscious green backdrop on an island in Lake Galve.
Hill of Crosses
Myth surrounds this unusual site of pilgrimage with no confirmed version of its story. For years, even centuries, visitors have placed crosses here, each for their own reason. The hill has been reborn numerous times after attempts to destroy it under Soviet rule.
The dreamy UNESCO World Heritage Site’s rolling dunes are scattered with historical farms and fishing villages. If you’re lucky, you can find pieces of amber on the beach! It’s a popular first stop for those arriving by ferry to Klaipeda.
Pick your highlights of the Baltics
and we’ll happily build a bespoke itinerary recommending additional stops on the way.