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Possible Itinerary - 16 days Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Russia

I had posted a possible Italy/France itinerary that my boyfriend and I agreed could wait. Since he's taking a new job he won't be able to travel for several years (accruing vacation time) so he said he'd rather go where there aren't as many tourists yet. So, I came up with below. We don't plan on renting a car. I did an advanced search on all the cities in the countries (ourpassportstamps.com had great photos!) and looked at what RS does offer in his 'Best Destinations' section. Would love reactions to it.

May 15, 16, 17 - Arrive Vilnius, Sleep in Vilnius 3 nights, explore city and day trip (guide?) to Trakai

May 18-19 - Bus Vilnius to Riga (Eurolines 4.5hrs), Sleep 2 nights

May 20-21 - Bus Riga to Tallin (Eurolines 4.5hrs), Sleep 2 nights

May 22 - Ferry Tallin to Helsinki (1.5hrs), Sleep in Helsinki 1 night (we spent a full day there exploring last year on a layover)

May 23, 24, 25 - Train Helsinki to St. Petersburg (early train ~7hrs), sleep 3 nights

May 26 - Night train St. Petersburg to Moscow

May 27, 28, 29 - Arrive in Moscow, sleep 3 nights

May 30 - Fly home Moscow to Boston

We have an extra day based on this itinerary - we'd like to fly home May 31. I also had us originally taking a 9 hr bus Tallin to St. Petersburg and have been informed THAT is not happening so I tossed in the night in Helsinki for the train.

Does this sound doable? I have read all the posts about the visa for Russia and would like to ensure we spend enough time there to make it worth it. I'd also like to ensure we spend enough time in the other cities as well. I would really love to go to G'dansk, Poland first but with this itinerary it's just not doable. Thanks in advance!!

Posted by
1357 posts

Looks very good and doable. I haven't done the Russian part but did almost the same itinerary in reverse order. I also think you can easily do Trakai without a guide.

Inyourpocket has a separate guide to Trakai that you print/download.

Posted by
12040 posts

Seems reasonable, but if you have more time, I would add at least one day each to St. Petersburg and Moscow. Enjoy the borstch! Vilnius is a wonderful gem. With the daytrip included, 3 nights is sufficient.

Posted by
289 posts

Thanks Tom!

I played around with train schedules and found the express trains that now run between St.Petersburg and Moscow (~4.5 hrs) so we don't have to do the night train. So...could add the 2 nights to each and still be within our time-frame.

Any advice on explaining to the boyfriend why spending 8 nights in Russia makes sense? I think he think's just the 6 nights might be pushing it (I'm the planner/researched generally of the 2 of us).

Posted by
4637 posts

Ali, would your boyfriend think that 6 nights is enough for somebody coming to the USA for the first time? Well, Russia is bigger.

Posted by
290 posts

Ali, we did almost the exact same route last September, only in reverse. You have a great trip ahead!!! Let me know if you would like some ideas for hotels.
Ash

Posted by
686 posts

We've been to Vilnius a couple of times--agreeing with Arnold that you don't need a tour to visit Trakai, bus works fine; we recommend the Domus Maria Guest House in a former monastery in old town.

Posted by
289 posts

Ash - I would love hotel recommendations for all the cities if you wouldn't mind sharing them. Also, can you include your travel mode between cities? Did you get your Russian Visa yourself or did you use a company? Thanks!

Galen - Thanks for that recommendation for the hotel in Vilnius!

Also, decided if we don't end up doing Russia this trip we'd hit Sweden and Norway instead.

Posted by
8 posts

I was born and raised in Vilnius. Vilnius is beatiful, Trakai would make an interesting trip as well (I wouldn't spent there more than half a day). Sunday's market in the old town part of Vilnius is a great place to shop for handmade gifts and souvenirs. If you have time, visit Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania. Walk on the Laisves Aleja (pedestrian zone), sit down and do some people watching at any of the outdoor cafes.

Posted by
8293 posts

Our hotel in Vilnius gave us the name of a restaurant where we had a magnificent meal, after which we could just barely fit into the taxi back to the hotel. The restaurant is "Lietuva" and while I don't have an address no doubt your hotel can direct you there. Take a good appetite with you.

Posted by
32 posts

I would love to get any hotel recommendations for the St Petersburg and Moscow portions - did you like where you stayed?

Thanks!

Posted by
289 posts

I stayed at the Comfort Hotel in STPB and The National in Moscow. I wouldn't recommend the Comfort Hotel personally. I've never been fussy with accommodations before but our room reeked of smoke, the rug and sofa was filthy, bedspreads as well, there was mold in multiple places in the bathroom...the breads at breakfast were stale...the price was not low either (superior twin) but I would splurge for a nicer hotel if I went back (+location was great). Hotel National in Moscow was the nicest place I may have ever stayed in (I got a great deal that weekend) - it's across from Red Square and Kremlin, breakfast is to die for - you just can't get hung up on the personalities of everyone working there - it's part of the charm.