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Scandinavia + Baltics - Itinerary Advice

Hi all,

I have 11 nights total that I want to spend across the Baltics and maybe if I have time in Scandinavia as well.

I’ve heard that Tallinn can be seen in a day? I am planning on seeing the midsummer festival on June 23rd.

Now, after Tallinn, I’m debating a couple of ideas. These cities in particular really interest me: Vilnius/Kaunas, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Lund (have a friend that lives there).

One itinerary idea:

  • 2 nights in Tallinn
  • 2 nights in Riga
  • 3 nights in Vilnius
  • Fly to Stockholm or Copenhagen for 4 nights

Another option is to cut out Riga (and fly cheaply between Tallinn and Vilnius) or just see 1 Baltic city and then visit 2 cities in Scandinavia.

I hear Helsinki is the least interesting, so I didn’t include it but I could be totally wrong!

I’m not sure if it’s true but I heard that all 3 Baltic cities are pretty similar? So seeing 1 you’ve got a good sense of the rest? If so I’d probably be ok with seeing 1.

In general just looking for guidance :) all these places look magnificent. I do understand it is late planning, but I can plan fast. Just need a general direction that’s all and what places are worth visiting

Posted by
2691 posts

Info: there is also a Tallink ferry between Stockholm and Tallinn incl. overnight option you can use.

Posted by
660 posts

I found Helsinki to be a great visit, though Tallinn was my favorite. Never got to Riga or Vilnius, though.

Posted by
1837 posts

Do you think you will never get back to this part of the world?

You can't go wrong with whatever you decide to include and exclude on this trip, but I'd stick to three total locations. I think four cities in 11 nights is one too many. It's too much moving around. The time it takes to get to the airport, the time you spend in the airport waiting for your flight, and the time it take to get from the airport to your hotel, all that eats into your time for experiencing the places you want to visit.

Also, a two-night stay gives you precious little time.

That said, I'm going to contradict myself a tad. I spent just one night in Tallinn. I arrived first thing in the morning on the overnight ferry from Stockholm, dropped my bags at my hotel, and had the entire day. The second day I didn't leave until late afternoon. I took the ferry to Helsinki. But ferries are easier to get too and from than airports. I walked between the ferry terminal and my hotel.

I thought having most of two full days in Tallinn was adequate, though I wouldn't have minded a third day, or at least a full second day and evening. I haven't been to Riga or Vilnius.

Posted by
6689 posts

Technically you can see (parts of) Tallinn in a day, but the city really deserves a lot more time than that. But in my opinion you are trying to see too much in 11 days. How important is Lund? Do you really want to see your friend or is it more a thing that would be nice but not too important?

You really shouldn't cut out Riga either. There are certainly things to see in Helsinki, but compared to the other's you've mentioned it is the least interesting in my opinion. Especially if you like history, since Helsinki is a rather new city. But you might have different interests.

By all three Baltic cities, do you mean the capitals of the Baltic states? If so I do not agree that they are pretty similar! They are in different countries with different cultures and different history. But also, you can't see everything.

My suggestion would be Vilnius-Riga-Tallinn-Stockholm-Lund-Copenhagen. But you really need a few more days for that. If you want to focus on the Baltic countries, Vilnius-Riga-Tallinn-Stockholm can be done in 11 days. Or the other way, if you want to celebrate midsummer in Sweden, which is the best place to do so! (But I might be a bit biased about midsummer…)

Also, midsummer is not a festival, it's a holiday.

Posted by
2635 posts

If you could only do 1 of the Baltic states I am most partial to Tallinn--visited twice and have spent 10 days there--lots to see besides the magical old town. My second visit I took the Ecolines bus from Tallinn to Riga--3 days there--then bus to Vilnius for another 3 days. There are some similarities but all have many unique things to see and do--and some excellent restaurants, my favorite for eating was Vilnius. While you're in that general part of the world I say it'd be a shame to not see all 3 cities.

Posted by
173 posts

Badger, I’m curious, how does midsummer in Stockholm compare to Estonia? If Estonia I think I would do the Estonian open air museum midsummer:

https://evm.ee/whats-s-on/midsummers_eve

If Stockholm I would go to Skansen. Only issue is that I would be landing in Arlanda around 4 or 5 pm on the 22nd so I feel I would miss out on most of it? I could try to see if I could push it so that I arrive the day before to see the celebration. Do they also do the bonfire in Skansen?

Will a lot of things be closed for tourism around that time?

One option is to start in Stockholm, do midsummer there and general sightseeing for 4 nights, then Tallinn and rest of Baltics. Other option is to start Tallinn and do midsummer there then rest of Baltics and then Stockholm

Posted by
27451 posts

If you have an interest in indoor sights (museums, etc.), I recommend checking their websites for the entire long Midsummer weekend (at least Thursday through Monday) to see whether they'll be open enough hours to allow you to see much. I don't know about operating hours in the other countries in that area, but in 2023 I had a very difficult time finding things open in Finland. Places that were open on Thursday often closed quite early that day. I ended up having to contort my itinerary to work around the protracted closures.

Posted by
173 posts

How would this itinerary look? I may need to take out Stockholm or keep Stockholm and remove another Baltic city. My flight can be changed with no fees to basically any city in Europe for cheap. Haven’t booked inner Europe flights yet.

  • 3 nights Tallinn, 2 nights Riga, 2 nights Vilnius
  • Flight to Oslo, then to Lofoten islands, 5 nights
  • Flight to Greece (Crete) for 5 nights

Or replace Riga/Vilnius with Stockholm

This gives 12 nights in Scandinavia and 5 in Greece.

I realize it’s not the smartest itinerary given geography. And it’s definitely a lot of hopping around. But ever since I saw a photo of Lofoten islands I was like wow I need to go there. And the reason for Greece is I wanted a beach vacation to relax at the end before going to work. I know Estonia and Latvia have beaches but aren’t the type I want.

A part of me doesn’t like this but I rarely get time off in June and Lofoten is best seen in the summer, especially around the Solstice. But a part of me still isn’t sure if I can refine it better according to my wants.

I guess question is whether to drop the other 2 Baltic capitals (and just Tallinn) and see Stockholm or drop Stockholm? It’s a tough choice, but I’m thinking either to just doing Tallinn and saving Riga/Vilnius for another time. Or dropping Riga and just doing 2 cities + Stockholm. Or just save Stockholm for another time. My main worry is that all 3 cities will feel similar so I could have just seen 1 or 2

Posted by
4359 posts

If the Lofoten Islands and Crete are your top priorities, I would drop all the Baltics this time and do 5 nights in Stockholm, 2 nights in Oslo before you head to the Lofotens for that stay, then your 5 nights on Crete.

It would be fine to hit the Baltics but basically you are thinking of doing a lot of travel for about 1 day in Riga and Vilnius. Save them for a future trip when you can stay a little longer in each.

Posted by
15726 posts

I agree with TexasTravelMom. Visit the Baltics another time.

If you didn't want to spend 5 nights in Stockholm, you could spend a couple of nights between Stockholm and Oslo or even make a side trip to Copenhagen. On another trip you could do Finland-Estonia-Latvia-Lithuania-Poland and........?? Giving each the time they deserve.

Posted by
173 posts

Appreciate everyone’s advice. I agree with both of you guys. I’ll return one day and do TexasTravelMom’s idea! So 5 nights would be good for Stockholm?

Posted by
4359 posts

Yes, 4 or 5 is good. There’s a lot to see in Stockholm - and you can take a day trip to Uppsala if you want.