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seeking feedback on traveller website one way sightseeing+shuttle bus RIGA/TALLINN

Have read reviews that seem positive. Small group one way transfer takes 12 hours with stops at some scenic spots. Max 8 in a mini van. Guided and good drivers reported. Lunch NOT included in price 65 euro. I am a senior solo traveler and am considering this option for late spring 2020 so that I can see more Baltic high lights other than the major cities. I do not use a rental car on my trips and many of these places are not easy to see by bus.
I am not sure how established this tour company is and so I am reaching out to forum members for their views. BTW the same company has a VILNIUS>RIGA tour but it is not daily.
Looking forward to any and all suggestions and advice.

Posted by
1151 posts

We are going on a similar trip in early May, though we are starting on Vilnius. Two seniors. We often drive but the cost of renting in one country and returning the car in another is too expensive so we're using public transportation. Agree that some places are not easy to get to by public transportation so we will miss a couple of places I wanted to see. I did a cursory check of the bus/train schedules to be sure we can get from town to town but will need to check more closely.

Can't offer suggestions as to the tour company. Hopefully someone on this forum has some information. Have you tried TripAdvisor? Also,I had more responses on the general Europe topic rather than Estonia.

Good luck in your planning!

Posted by
122 posts

Thanks Carol for the info. I have read bus in those areas is a better option than train. Post if you find out many info that could help me plan my solo trip to the area.
Thanks!

Posted by
1151 posts

Will probably not look for a couple of months but will let you know when I find any more info. Good luck with your search.

Posted by
113 posts

Hi, my partner and I (56 and 70) are going to Tallinn and Riga in May 2020. We are going to transfer between cities using Lux Express bus - direct route takes about 4 hours. Bus is the only option unless you hire a car and driver - there are no trains!! We also looked at the sightseeing bus but some reviews say that they often won't take luggage, so if that is your preference maybe check that out a bit better on review sites. Also, although Ecolines (the only other bus company) offer a 'seniors discount' we found it cheaper to book ahead with Lux Express as they have good earlybird discounts (two tickets will cost 22 Euro). Also Lux seems to have a bus every hour and Ecolines was less frequent.

Posted by
122 posts

Thanks for the info on different bus lines. Looking forward to your postings from the Baltic area

Posted by
2092 posts

I visited the Baltic states solo last May, starting in Tallinn (second visit there, love that gorgeous old town!) and then by Ecolines to Riga, continued after a few days on Ecolines to Vilnius, and both bus trips were a great experience. I bought my tickets in advance on their website, approx. $18-20US, and the bus stations in all 3 cities were clean, good amenities and easily accessed from my hotels in the old town areas--in Riga and Vilnius within walking distance. Buses were very comfy and people extremely well-behaved, nice to watch the countryside and see nesting storks everywhere. While a sightseeing trip as you describe might've also been nice, I recall as someone else posted that luggage could be limited--and with 3 days in each city I wanted to spend as much time in them as possible.

Posted by
122 posts

HI Crista thanks for your thoughts on bus transport. YES I do need to see if the "tour shuttle" allows 22" roller bag. Glad to know you were pleased with the bus. Good prices as well so a win -win :) Do you have any suggestions for Tallinn local non tourist cafes? I will probably stay in a hostel near city center. I am on an extended trip 6-8 weeks so I need to decide how many days in each spot of the Baltics. Thanks again for your help during the planning process~~~

Posted by
2092 posts

When you say city center do you mean the new town part of Tallinn or the old walled area? Lots of good restaurants in old town, including Hell Hunt pub on Pikk which I liked for it's cozy atmosphere and good prices on great food--plus it's a place locals go as well as tourists, never so crowded I couldn't get a table or sit at the bar. If you enjoy casual "street food" make a point to visit the Balti Jaam, a really interesting market behind the train station just outside the old town walls--fruit & veg outdoors, indoors has excellent local food stands, a section of antique vendors and also hand-crafted items and a grocery store--I spent about 3 hours there last May and loved it. In the city center proper, about a block from the edge of old town, there's a mall called Solaris Centre--includes a well-stocked bookstore with big selection of English offerings, a grocery, other mall-type shops and some casual restaurants that are not fast food and seem filled with locals.

Posted by
122 posts

HI CRISTA thanks so much for taking time to reply with so many tips! I think I will end up spending more time in Tallinn than the other Baltic cities. I will be seeking a budget room in a hostel or Airbnb not sure if IN the walled city is best for convenience. Safety and good price will determine location.
Did you meet anyone who did the ferry to Helsinki? I am also trying to sort out the option to spend 2 nights in St Petersburg w/o having a visa if arrival by ferry. So many options I am excited.

Best regards Carol /USA

Posted by
2092 posts

I like the idea of the ferry package to St Petersburg and hope to do that one of these trips. I did make a day trip to Helsinki via the ferry, Tallink Silja line, so more like a mid-sized ocean liner and very stable. Rather dull trip that took a couple of hours, nothing but the Baltic sea but I found a comfy spot and worked on a knitting project. I booked this ticket in advance and recall it was not very costly, perhaps a 10 minute taxi ride from my hotel in old town. Once in Helsinki I took a bus to the Kauppatori esplanade for both the fun outdoor marketplace and also to take a smaller boat out to Suomenlinna sea fortress where I spent about 3 hours exploring. I liked Helsinki and while I'm glad I visited, it felt somewhat like San Francisco to me.

Posted by
122 posts

Once again THANKS CRISTA for the detailed info.I think 3 nights should work for Helsinki. I have never been to Scandinavia so I thought a cheap ferry from Talllinn would be ideal. I did have KAUPPATORI on my to do list + SUOMENLINNA Fortress. I am still trying to figure out St Petersburg side trip. I really just want to see The Hermitage and maybe a church or 2. I dont want to pay for a visa to explore more- not this time! A myriad of choices and a limit of time and $$$
Happy Super Bowl Sunday carolJean

Posted by
19 posts

If the tour is run by Viator, I can personally recommend them. I'll be doing the Riga - Tallinn tour next month (unless travel is cancelled). I've taken their tours from Dubrovnik to Mostar (9 person van w/driver) - fantastic. I've done larger bus tours with them and equally as great; just not as personal due to larger size. I'm over 50 (f) and travel solo. Don't worry about lunch - you can do that on the cheap. The tour to Mostar and back didn't include lunch, nor were we "told" where to eat. I ended up finding a place where another couple was also eating. It was one of the best experiences of my solo travel eating with my new Dubai friends, hearing the call for prayer the first time. She wore a hijab and I'm Jewish. The small tour was worth every penny, if only for the stops and border crossings.

Posted by
16824 posts

A point of clarification for others who might stumble on this thread later: Viator does not operate any tours; it is a broker selling tours run by other companies. It is sometimes possible to Google key text from a tour description and locate the website of the company that actually operates the tour. Buying directly might save the traveler money; at the very least, it gets more money into the hands of the tour operator. As always, it's important to pay attention to cancellation policies. They sometimes differ on different booking platforms.