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3 weeks in Baltics (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus?) in August...need itinerary ideas

My partner and I are looking to budget-backpack our way from Tallinn to Vilnius. Right now we're looking at 21 days.

We plan to stop at the capitals (for 2-3 days each) but would like suggestions for must-see cities, parks, beaches etc.

Will mainly be traveling by bus/train but open to renting a car for a couple of days in capital cities to do some day-tripping.

Also considering a jaunt down to Minsk from Vilnius before we fly out- any experience there?

Thanks much!

Sophie

Posted by
4637 posts

You will need visa for Belarus but not for 3 Baltic states.

Posted by
666 posts

We’ve been to Tallinn once and to Lithuania three times. Unfortunately, we’ve not been to Riga other than the bus station and the airport. In Tallinn we pretty much followed the RS guidebook. He has, or at least did a few years ago, a section on Tallinn in the Scandinavia book. We did the “self-guided walk” and because of time stuck to downtown Tallinn.

You’ve probably discovered that there aren’t many guidebooks for Lithuania. One source of information is the In Your Pocket guides-Reader’s Digest sized booklets covering many European cities. Most of the info is free online at inyourpocket.com . Vilnius has many churches that had been anything from gyms to auto shops during the Soviet era. So learn their history. There’s a marker for the Baltic Chain (human chain connecting the 3 capitals) in front of the main cathedral. The infamous TV station the Soviets attacked in 1991 is worth a short visit. There are many museums, including ones unique to Jews in Lithuania and another to the KGB.

Just outside of Vilnius is Trakai, a castle built beginning in the late 14th century. Between Vilnius and Kaunas is Rumsiskes, a Lithuanian open-air ethnographic museum. On the outskirts of Kaunas is the Ninth Fort and a giant memorial to Jews that were massacred nearby. Just north of Šiauliai is the Hill of Crosses. This would be easiest to visit as a stop between Riga and Vilnius.

The food is good. Not much beef. Try ‘cepelinai’ a national dish.

If choosing between bus and train I’d probably go with the bus—nicer, faster.

Have a great trip.

Posted by
504 posts

We're working on a similar trip for next August. Lonely Planet has a guidebook on the Baltics, as does Eyewitness Travel. You might want to look at the Recommended Books section of this site for a topic I started a while ago.

--Dav

Posted by
1 posts

I spent a week visiting in spring 2015. Plenty to see and do in all areas of country.
Check out the Lithuania apps in Google store. Facebook also has numerous sites pertaining to Lithuania. Inexpensive and found plenty to .do. TRAFI. App is said best for public transportation. MAPS.Me app is excellent for planning routes and finding sites. Wishing I could go back for 2+ weeks as there are plenty of things I didn't see. The food was delicious. Hotels inexpensive of which I pre-booked. The more time you put into planning at home will set you up for great success, enjoy.
Still waiting for Rick Steves to spend 3 weeks there he would not be disappointed.

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504 posts

Even if you're not interested in going to Lithuania, the "We Love Lithuania" site on Facebook has wonderful photography.