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21 days - Vilnius-Riga-Tallinn - itinerary feedback, please

Hi, I will be traveling to the Baltic States either in April or September 2014. The weather seems to be warmer in September.

I’ll be staying in the old town of the capital cities as bases and doing day trips. I have about 21 days.

  • Are 7 days in each city a good way to go? I’ll be starting off in Vilnius then Riga and Tallinn (flying home from my last destination). I’m interested in history, culture, concerts, architecture.

  • Can you suggest any day trips? I won’t be driving and will be traveling alone.

  • I’m considering my travel options b/w these cities. The flights are less than an hour and the bus ride takes more than 4 hours. I’ve found http://www.luxexpress.eu/en and http://www.hansabuss.ee/index.php?page=3& on older threads. Do any of you have experience with either company? Is the bus ride comfortable? Air Baltic for the flights?

  • I've narrowed down my hotel options but would love to hear from anybody with very good or bad experiences

  • I've been thinking of adding Helsinki to my itinerary. Do I have enough time to do so? How would you spread out the 21 days?

  • Any other tips or advice are most welcome

Thank you

Posted by
685 posts

Jackie, I'll try to reply to some, but not all, of your questions. We've been to Lithuania three times, but only during the summer. Along with you, my guess is that September would be better weather. Including the usual places in old town Vilnius, I'd include visiting the TV tower and learning about the Soviet tank incident there. Places to visit outside of Vilnius include Trakai castle and Rumsiskes outdoor folk museum. Trakai is about an hour by bus or train. Rumsiskes is actually closer to Kaunas and I'm not sure what the transportation options are without a car. We used the Lux Express to travel from Tallinn to Riga to Klaipeda, LT, and recommend it. The Hill of Crosses outside of Šiauliai is quite impressive and worth a stop. I believe that you could bus to Šiauliai from Vilnius and from Šiauliai to Riga. We stayed twice at the Domus Maria in Vilnius (http://www.domusmaria.lt/en/) which is right next to the Gate of Dawn and a short distance from the train station. If you decide to go to the west coast, Klaipeda, let me know and I'll mention other sites. Helsinki? Its okay, but I'd spend my time branching out of Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn before going to Helsinki.

Posted by
2 posts

Thanks, Galen! You've provided some helpful info. I look forward to planning out my day trips and am starting to feel better about bus travel.

As for Helsinki, another traveler mentioned that it's quite expensive and that he did it as a day trip, 1st ferry there, last ferry back. Perhaps that's a better option.

Posted by
252 posts

I would absolutely add Helsinki since you will be so close.
I travel by myself a lot and I find that this makes me very efficient...I do like a full schedule (although I do take some time to relax). I love walking around Helsinki...seeing the main churches...visiting the national museum...seeing the city from up high at Hotel Torni...having some local food like reindeer at the market near the cruise port...having a linkero (long drink)...
It does not have to be expensive if you do not want to stay at a fancy hotel IMO...

I have just returned from Riga and loved it! I thought the Museum of Occupation of Latvia was a must.
It has moved...it is not at its usual location, be sure to look that up.
Many sights seemed to be under some renovations since Riga is getting ready for a big 2014 year as you probably know. Hotels Forums was well located and staff was helpful...Not sure how much you want to spend for an hotel but thought I would mention it.

I had only a day in Tallinn but I did enjoy it. It is easy to see many sights by foot just like in the other baltic cities.

I would take the bus since I do not like getting to the airport early...and waiting...
But I had a very pleasant experience with Air Baltic. Just flew with them from Prague to Riga and Riga to Helsinki. Flights on time. QR code to check in. Friendly young staff.

If you have more specific questions...please feel free to ask!

Bon voyage!