I'm planning a solo trip this fall 2014 to see, mostly, the cities of Tallin, Riga and Vilnuis ( with maybe a couple of day trips). Has anyone done this and can share with me the options and recommendations of getting from one city to the next and their experience? Any tips on transportation for day trips? Would two days in each city be enough to see most of the highlights ( not including day trips) ? I don't want to rent a car . Thanks!! Jeannie
Jeannie - I was recently on a tour and stayed in Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius - I would say that 2 nights in each place is about the right about of time to see each city and enjoy the old town areas.
I was on a tour, so sorry I don't know about transportation between these capitals.
In Vilnius I did a side trip to Trakai Castle and it was a nice bus ride there and I spent about 1.5 hours
looking thru the old castle ruins. (it is well documented with signs and some exhibits.)
We did a Scandinavia/Baltics trip and took overnight ferries from Stockholm to Riga and Turku back to Stockholm. I know the ferry services run between many of the Baltic cities. I thought that was an incredibly convenient way to travel. You obviously can't stop and explore on the way or get on a train on a whim. But it's not such a bad thing sipping a beer on the top of a ship as you move from city to city. It has a cruise ship feel to it with buffets and karaoke etc. We reserved rooms so we could sleep. But if you are trying to save money, I don't think you have to reserve a room. And not all of the ferries take that long. Have a good trip!
I just travelled from St Petersburg to Tallinn on the Ecolines Bus lines.
The pluses are: it was relatively cheap (18 euro for a 7 hour trip), bus departed on time, and arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Coffee, tea, wifi and WC on board so no stops except passport control/customs inspections between Russia and Estonia (should not affect you). So pack a lunch and take a drink, Negatives: Poor AC performance - might not be an issue in the fall.
Ecolines also travels to Riga and Vilnius.
Another Bus line covering same routes is Lux Express.
We just returned from a wonderful trip that included two nights in each of these cities. The airline connections all seemed to go through Riga so we started there. We took the Lux coach to Tallinn. The trip was about 4 hours and very comfortable and affordable. We made our reservation the day before at the bus station in Riga but I would recommend making it online before you leave on your trip. When we got to Tallinn, the Tallinn local who sat next to me walked us to the nearby tram, rode to our stop and walked several blocks with us to our hotel. In the interest of time, we flew Air Baltic from Tallinn to Vilnius - with a plane change in Riga. The Lux bus is also available for this route but it takes over 9 hours. We loved all three cities and found two nights allowed us to have a good exposure to each one. You can easily do this without renting a car. Enjoy your trip!
We've been to Lithuania three times for a month each time. Lux Express is a good choice for bus transportation between the capitals. Or, consider open jaw flights. For example, Estonian Air into Tallinn from Amsterdam or a Scandinavian city, and depart from Vilnius.
Trakai Castle has been mentioned and is a good trip out of Vilnius. Bus or train can get you there. There are several parks near Vilnius including the Center of Europe park. The television tower in Vilnius is the site of a tragic event in Lithuanian-Soviet history. Also the Hill of Crosses near Šiauliai is extremely interesting. Its on the way from Riga to Vilnius, or vice versa, so you might be able to arrange a stop on that leg of your journey.
Have a great trip.