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Baltic’s-Balkans Odyssey

Posting about travel experiences in this part of Europe for any looking for first hand experience

This trip was booked in Sept 2020 as I assumed that we would be past COVID. Main trip consisted of 3 legs all booked on one United award ticket:
Leg 1 - Denver-Frankfurt-Warsaw-Vilnius
Leg 2 - Tallinn-Warsaw-Vienna-Prishtina
Leg 3 - Corfu-Munich-Denver

Note for others using UA miles - the middle segment is called the excursionist perk and is free (no additional miles needed) - you just need to pay the taxes for the flights. This lets you do triangle trips

My original plan was to rent a car in Vilnius and drop it off in Riga before flying to Tallinn. However, since Latvia had strict entry requirements, I bypassed it and flew on Air Baltic between Vilnius and Tallinn while only transiting the Riga airport.

Country 1 - Lithuania Needed to fill in passenger locator form which generated a QR code. Form was sent via email and was checked by UA at boarding gate in Denver and again once we landed in Vilnius. Masks only worn when indoors and when entering/exiting restaurants.

Country 2 - Estonia. Entry form required in advance and was checked by Air Baltic in Vilnius. Form was a little troublesome since it wanted v specific address including apartment #. I believe only random travelers were pulled aside for checks at Tallinn airport. Masks - not required or worn anywhere when we were there - this includes buses , trains, shops, etc.
Country 2.5 - Poland (Warsaw) - had a 6 hour layover so went into town for 3 hours. Masks worn on transport
Country 3 - Kosovo. no social distancing and no mask wearing anywhere including on transports. Interestingly, passports weren’t stamped on entry
Country 4 - Albania. Just got here and seems to be similar to Kosovo - no mask wearing anywhere. Really enjoyed Albania - hit Tirana, Berat, Gjirokaster, and Ksamil. Took a bus from Prizren to Tirana - was surprised that there was no border checks.
Country 5 - Greece. This turned out to be just 2 days and 1 night in Corfu due to airline schedule changes. Took the fast ferry from Saranda, Albania - just a 30 minute ride. Corfu town was a zoo- most tourists we have encountered - place was packed especially at night time. Masks enforced everywhere. Airport was an absolute zoo too with no place to sit - there were just a lot of low cost carriers and lots of European travelers coming in or leaving
Country 6 - Germany. Just one night in transit in Munich. Somehow I missed the US attestation form for the return to the US - the gate agent in Corfu was still able to check us in all the way and allowed us to figure out the form when we got to Munich. Strict masking here and the LH lounge insists on KN95 whereas elsewhere normal masks seem ok

Transit countries/airports:
- FRA — no checks or entry forms including no checks on destination countries. Was asked for vaccination proof when entering the LH lounge in FRA
- WAW — seemed like a form is needed for entry but I could not figure out how to get around the address requirements so ignored it. On both flights to Warsaw, the airlines (LH, and LOT) had passengers fill out a form if they were entering Poland. LOT asked all passengers to fill this out even if they had done the online entry. Forms were collected onboard and didn’t encounter another check when exiting the airport
- RIX - online form was required ahead of time even for those just transiting the airport. Form was v easy to fill and was verified by the Air Baltic staff
- TLL — vaccination cert verified by LOT check-in folks before issuing boarding passes
- VIE — all folks coming in were being checked except for those of us just transiting

Will continue to add/tweak this in the future

Editing to add info on new countries

Posted by
715 posts

What an interesting itinerary! I’m hoping to get to Estonia — maybe next year. And I definitely want to get to the Balkans.

Are you able to do usual tourist activities?

Posted by
2182 posts

Thanks for the report. We are scheduled for Croatia September 7. Hoping everything stays relatively calm.