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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.