Hello, I will be traveling through Europe in early December and have the opportunity to briefly visit Estonia and/or Latvia for a couple of days; or I can spend one day each in these countries. Is there enough to do in each country to warrant a stop, albeit a quick one, during that time of year? Thank you.
Tough call, I loved both (in the summer). There's plenty to do and see in either country to keep most tourists engaged for a week, but it will be wintery in December, with short days and a good chance of precipitation. Bring appropriate clothing and footwear. Most folks would probably recommend just going to Tallinn (it does have a very cute old town), but Riga is equally worthwhile. Can't go wrong with either one, both are great, under-appreciated destinations.
It seems a shame to go to either for just a day (like going to Italy or France for a day...) but if that's all the time you can manage, then that's what you've got to work with (any chance you can extend your time there?). If not, considering the very short time you have, I'd pick one and not waste precious hours going between them.
I agree with David… I would pick one or the other. Both countries are great. Estonia’s capital Tallinn has a more medieval feel. Latvia’s capital Riga has a lot of great Jugendstil architecture. Both cities have plenty to do.
The internet tells me it's about 280 km (175 miles) between the two capital cities. There are no fast trains linking them. Buses are faster and (per Rome2Rio, which I haven't verified) take about 4-1/2 hours. It definitely makes no sense to split two days between them because of the travel time.
I'd choose on the basis of travel time from my previous stop and on to my next stop. I wouldn't expect that time of year to be a good time for destinations other than major cities with a bunch of indoor sights.
What does the rest of your itinerary look like? Where will you be arriving from and where are you going to after Latvia or Estonia? This summer I spend 2 weeks in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia and had a great time. I liked both Tallinn and Riga very much, but I’m not sure if I would visit these cities in the middle of the winter. What I do know is that it’s crazy to want to spend 1 day in each country. Pick one and spend 2 days there.
Thank you, everyone. Based on your feedback, I think I'll opt for a couple of days in Tallinn.