The Baltic region offers everything from vibrant neighbourhoods to beautifully preserved historic sites and a trip here really proves that fairytales do come true.
The region consists of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but if you’re heading on a luxury Baltic cruise with us you’ll be visiting countries such as Sweden, Finland and Denmark, which surround the Baltic Sea.
If you’ve never visited the Baltics before you need to read on to find out the top tips for visiting the region.
Visit off the beaten path places
Yulia, who shares her travel experiences on her Miss Tourist blog, has visited the Baltics on many occasions and her top tip would be to not just stick to the most popular places but to try and seek out some hidden gems.
“One of the best things you can do, regardless of the country you choose to visit, is to go on the off the beaten path places, the less touristic destinations where you can get to know the authentic culture and local activities. One great example is Lulea, Sweden.”
Explore the old towns in the capitals
Something that the major cities in the Baltics are renowned for is their old towns and on our mini cruises and short breaks, you will be able to look around these historical sites.
Michael Rozenblit, who alongside his partner Maggie founded the popular blog The World Was Here First, recommends visiting the Old Towns of the capital.
“One of our biggest tips when visiting the capitals in the Baltics, particularly Tallinn and Riga, is to make sure that travellers try and visit the Old Towns early in the morning or later in the evening when the crowds aren’t as large. We also highly recommend visitors take the time to explore the main cities beyond their centres as there is plenty of fascinating history and great local eateries to discover.”
Pack warm clothing
“The Baltics, while beautiful, are rarely balmy, so follow the Swedish mantra that "there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing" and be prepared for adverse temperatures, winds and precipitation, even in summer. I find a number of layers help regulate your temperature, whilst a quality waterproof and an umbrella that doesn't disintegrate at the first gust of wind are crucial.”
Amelia, the editor and owner of luxury lifestyle blog xameliax, agrees that packing layers for your trip to the Baltics are essential.
“Always pack layers to account for the varies temperature changes and the cool and windy top deck! And also find some comfortable shoes for walking when you get off board, there's so much to see!”
Try and explore the smaller cities
Depending on how much time you have, another tip that Michael Rozenblit recommends is fitting in some time to explore the smaller cities in the Baltics.
“Another tip for travellers embarking on their Baltics trip is to try and add some of the smaller cities in the region to their itinerary. Whether it’s exploring the alternative city of Tartu in Estonia, relaxing on the fine white sand beaches of Liepaja, Latvia or wandering through the charming port city of Klaipeda in Lithuania, there are plenty of fantastic off the beaten path destinations in the Baltics!”
Try the local food and drink
The Baltics has become a popular destination amongst foodies with its traditional foods becoming recognised all over the world.
Duncan Rhodes, says, “Finally don't be afraid to try a little vodka on your travels. You might be surprised at how palatable the local brands are vs. what you're used to, and a premium clear vodka goes great with fish, meatballs and pickles - all of which you'll find in abundance on Baltic menus.”
Amelia from xameliax also recommends trying the cuisine, “I love the food in the Baltics - so fresh, so varied and delicious! The countries are all so pretty and calm and I always feel totally safe.”
Michael Rozenblit, adds, “If you travel for the food, you will undoubtedly be surprised by the mix of delicious traditional dishes and the culinary revolution that is resulting in the modern reinventions of these cuisines. Despite being a relatively small area of Europe there is still so much to do and something for everybody.”
What do people love about the Baltics?
The lively cities
Travel blogger Rohan, who shares stories from her travels via her Travels of a Bookpacker blog, has visited the Baltics before and loves the cultural attractions and lively cities:
“Stockholm and Copenhagen offer a chic Scandinavian design with funky cafes and bars while capitals like Riga and Tallinn have a post-Soviet edge and are home to many markets, monuments and street art. One of our favourite places was the Tallinn old town with its cobbled streets, handicraft market in the main square and castle views over the city. We also enjoyed the street food market on Paper Island in Copenhagen and wandering the streets of the breakaway free-state of Christiania. Keep in mind that ‘Baltic’ is used synonymously with the cold for a reason and the winds can be very chilly even in summer so make sure you bring a good windbreaker!”
Duncan Rhodes, adds, “City lovers are in heaven in this region. Stockholm's dramatic location on an archipelago, where each island has its unique character, creates endless opportunities for exploring, and I'd recommend biking around the forested Djurgarden.
“The relatively unknown Estonian capital of Tallinn is one of Europe's most picturesque cities, with its fairytale skyline punctured by the sharp and narrow steeples of its many medieval churches. Slightly outside the Old Town, the Seaplane Harbour Museum is fun to visit.
“The lavish fantasy of Peter the Great, St. Petersburg is a city that - frankly speaking - knocks the socks off Moscow when it comes to looks, and in the Hermitage Museum boasts arguably the greatest cultural treasure vault in the world. From the antiquities to the Impressionists, you will need several hours to do it justice.”
The seamless mix of old and new
Yulia from Miss Tourist, adds, “What I love most about the Baltic area is the harmonious way in which the old is combined with the new and how well the Old Towns are preserved. Baltic cities are really charming and worth a visit at least once in your lifetime!”
Travel blogger Michael Rozenblit, who has previously written about the Baltics, says, “The Baltics are a fascinating mix of different cultures, histories and landscapes that keep drawing us back to visit.”