Self-Drive Tours in the Baltics: Why It’s the Best Way to Travel?

Text and photos: Solveiga Kaļva, www.solveigakalvaphotography.com

Are you planning to visit Lithuania, Latvia, or Estonia, small but very charming countries located along the coast of the Baltic Sea? We can assure you that self-drive tours in the Baltics are the best way to explore this region. Keep reading and you will understand why.

13 reasons for choosing a self-drive tour

While the concept of self-drive tours might be relatively new, it is quickly conquering the hearts of travelers. In short, a self-drive tour means that the trip is planned out for you by a travel company, and various reservations are made for you, but you are traveling on your own – no noisy groups of fellow travelers and no tour leaders are interfering with your pace and personal travel interests. How you travel, depends on your preferences – by car, by public transport, by bike, or maybe even by combining different means of transportation.

When you choose a self-guided tour, you get the best out of your trip – there is no need to worry about planning the perfect holiday itinerary, yet you have a lot of freedom for spontaneity. If you notice an interesting sightseeing object while heading to your next destination – stop for a while and check it out! If you feel a bit tired of walking around the town – skip the museum and enjoy a long and nice coffee break! The freedom and choice is yours.

Here are thirteen most popular reasons why choosing a self-drive tour is the best way to travel:

  • Don’t waste your time and energy for planning the trip – just relax and enjoy the itinerary created for you by the travel company;
  • Go on the trip any time you want, fully adjusting it to your vacation dates;
  • Choose who you travel with and have a wonderful time with them;
  • Explore the region at your own pace;
  • Feel free and independent, but if it is needed, receive support from the travel company;
  • Don’t worry about renting the equipment – the travel company will do it for you;
  • Include the most special and extraordinary travel ideas in your itinerary;
  • Avoid the peak season and enjoy a way more peaceful traveling experience;
  • Choose between four-star hotels, charming boutique hotels, or family-run homestays according to your preference;
  • Explore lesser-known but equally exciting and interesting places;
  • Discover rural areas and support the local economy;
  • Interact with locals directly and get to know the country better;
  • Pay less than for a guided group tour.

Self-drive tours give you a lot of independence, but you are not left entirely alone –  if something happens, you can always reach out to us, besides, everything is pre-arranged for you, allowing you to hit the road, follow the itinerary and enjoy the most fun part of the whole process.

Self-guided tours in the Baltics: the best way to explore the region

All three Baltic states – Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia – offer a perfect destination for self-drive tours. The distances between places are quite small, so you will not get too tired from navigating around and driving for many hours. For example, it takes only four hours to drive from Riga to Vilnius, and a bit more to drive from Riga to Tallinn.

If guided group tours usually focus only on the biggest cities and the main tourist attractions, then by choosing a self-guided tour you will have a chance to explore smaller towns and countryside, discovering the most exciting places and activities the region offers. Magical sauna ritual, private traditional music performance, herbal tea ceremony, cooking class, wild hike along a river, sunset kayaking adventure – you can include all of this in your itinerary, and have the most amazing holidays ever.

Baltic countries offer a very wide variety of sceneries and natural wonders: deep forests, endless bogs, curvy rivers, desert-like sand dunes, lakes, sandstone and limestone outcrops, beautiful beaches, meadows, lovely islands, waterfalls, and caves. Hiking, biking, kayaking or just relaxing and listening to the birds and wind – there are so many ways to explore the beauty and diversity of our nature.

At the same time, it is very easy to enjoy culture, art, and architecture while traveling around the Baltics. You can find hundreds of castles and manors, modern museums and exhibition halls, theaters and opera houses, alternative bars and street art, local wineries and beer breweries, the architecture of different centuries, and various cultural events. Choosing a self-drive tour allows you to go on a trip that fully suits your interests and traveling style.

Here are some of our self-drive tours in the Baltics, feel free to choose one of them or approach us with your specific wishes:

What travelers say about us

EXCELLENT
36 reviews on
Paul Green
Paul Green
2024-07-12
Anna Brish was a fantastic tour guide for understanding Jewish history and culture in Vilnius. She was friendly, deeply knowledgeable, eager to answer our questions and accommodate our specific interests. Anna does other tours and we would take any of them, she’s amazing!
James Cornez
James Cornez
2024-07-11
Myself and my best friend came across this company whilst researching options to travel in Latvia and we are very pleased we did. Valdis was very amenable during the planning process by arranging video calls with both of us so we could better understand what was on offer for us to do. He compiled an 8 day itinerary for us that did not disappoint starting in Riga for 2 days. We paid for an optional 3hr walking tour which was very worthwhile to see the main sites of the city. Janis took us on the tour who is a great guy that gives you plenty of interesting information, ready to answer any questions regarding Latvian history/culture. We chose the self driving option to see as much of Latvia as possible which I would definitely recommend if you want to have more than just a city break. It took us to varied places ranging from the heavily forested and pretty areas of Sigulda (where we did a fun kayaking tour on the Gauja river) and Cesis to the pleasant coastal cities of Liepaja and Ventspills. Overall, definitely the company to approach if you want to authentically explore Latvia!
Esther A
Esther A
2024-06-21
Valdis and his team helped us to organise a guided 16 day trip across Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Helsinki. We had a very enjoyable experience! Coming from Singapore and not knowing Valdis beforehand, we were initially worried about language and logistical challenges. All these were unfounded as Valdis and his guides were not only knowledgeable but also responsive, helpful and flexible. We had some minor hiccups during the trip but Valdis was able to resolve them very promptly. I would highly recommend engaging Valdis for your next trip!
Annette Ihrman
Annette Ihrman
2024-06-16
The tour was very versatile and a good addition to our trip to Riga. We can recommend it!
K G
K G
2024-04-06
I joined Valdis for Gauja national park tour and experience breathtaking views, beautiful cave, Plus the experience to see the inside of luge and skeleton track. It’s an unforgettable experience to see something outside the Riga! Highly recommended!!!
Carmen Daams
Carmen Daams
2023-09-22
I took the Kuldiga trip with Valdis. The experience was amazing. The entire day was great. He is a great guide, and knows a lot of interesting information. He would definitely make your whole experience even better. Kuldiga is such a captivating city, very unique with a very special style and soul. If you are visiting Latvia, don't hesitate to take this trip, it is a "must".
Stanley Wallerstein
Stanley Wallerstein
2023-08-29
Great Tour and great guide. Baltic Nature Travel is excellent.
Maria M Andrade
Maria M Andrade
2023-08-28
Valdis organized an absolutely wonderful 10 day trip to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania trip for my sister, a friend, and myself. He arranged all details including our private chofer and tour guide up the last detail. He went far and beyond when he knew I had an accident in Estonia. We met him Latvia and he make us feel welcome. He recommended the most amazing restaurants for us and he took care of my doctor needs where he was the interpreter. In every country we had the best guys one can possibly ask for. All hotels were walking distance from city centre. Thank you Valdis we will always remembered this trip!!!!
Sarah Daniels
Sarah Daniels
2023-08-21
Thank you, Valdis, for helping my family have a wonderful two week trip to the Baltics! Your advice and recommendations were very helpful, and our tour guides in 4 different cities were each outstanding! I highly recommend a vacation in the beautiful and fascinating Baltics, and I highly recommend using Valdis to help you plan it.
Rita Derencius
Rita Derencius
2023-08-09
Tours and tour guides, Tomas and Mindaugas, exceeded my expectations. We were able to curate our tour of Lithuania. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and adapted the tour based on our input. Valdis was responsive and easy to work with. Extremely happy we chose to have private tour guides. Best trip ever!

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Baltic Nature Travel