Tourist attractions in the Baltics – Traveling to Europe is fun, but if you want to undergo off-the-beaten paths in the continent, go visit the Baltics which are often forgotten by most travelers. The Baltic countries offer you an authentic experience of European history back in the medieval era.
The former Soviet Republics will charm you with beautifully preserved historic sites to a contemporary neighborhood you’ve never found anywhere else. These underrated destinations in Northern Europe deserve to be on your traveling map.
9 Must-Visit Tourist Attractions in the Baltics
Need more info about the Baltic countries? We’ll take you on a walk through the virtual guide about this small corner in Europe and its popular destinations.
The Baltic consists of three countries which share a historically close bond but with different cultures. Those three sovereign states are Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, located on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea.
Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are one of the best places in Europe to travel if you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the crowded cities like other European countries. These countries are a mix of untouched nature, captivating culture, and charming castles.
- The best time to visit the Baltics is between late June to August in the sunny days. The weather in this part of the continent can be quite extreme. For example, in April when it supposed to be spring, sometimes the Baltics still experience cold and snowy days.
- The three countries are listed on Schengen Area, thus you can apply for Schengen Visa to enter the Baltic countries.
- You can reach Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania by flying to its capital cities. Another way, you can also fly to Warsaw in Poland then take a train or bus from there. It all depends on your budget and itinerary. Book flight tickets via tiket.com to get the best price.
- Once you’re in one of the Baltic countries, you can get around quite easily since the cities are pretty small. The local intercity buses are a great option if you want to go for a day trip city hopping. You can go from one to another Baltic country by bus as well.
- One thing you should be glad about is that the Baltic states are generally cheaper than most European countries. Prepare around 30 – 50 USD per day for accommodation and food.
Before being excited to take images of postcard-perfect with castle backgrounds or medieval buildings around the cities, here’s the list of 9 must-visit tourist attractions in the Baltics to include into your itinerary.
1. Vilnius, Lithuania
The Lithuanian capital is beautiful and scenic. This is one of a few European countries where a hot air balloon is allowed to be around the city, a must-do activity during your Baltic visit. You can see the picturesque Vilnius city and the countryside from the top.
It offers you a timeless charm, with various lovely tourism spots to enjoy around the city. Don’t forget to visit romantic St. Anne’s Church, majestic Vilnius Cathedral, and dramatic Gediminas Tower complex in the morning to get a beautiful city view.
You can explore the city on foot and see the life of Lithuanian people while getting around its tourist attractions. If you still have time, go down south toward the independent republic of Uzupis, a bohemian neighborhood full of cool cafes, old cobbled alleys, and graffitis.
2. The Curonian Spit, Lithuania
The Curonian Spit is a 98-km-long, narrow, sandy peninsula in the Baltic Sea. It separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. This natural wonder is one of the World Heritage Site and protected by UNESCO.
The peaceful ecosystem of pine groves and sand dunes is a unique and vulnerable, sandy and wooded cultural landscape on a coastal spit. It was formed by the sea, wind, and human activity. Definitely gonna be a highlight of your visit to Lithuania!
In the short summer season, many people come here to hike the dunes, cycle, sunbathe, or just refresh their minds to enjoy the sea air. We’d suggest you come from early June to mid-September when the temperature is warm.
For an overnight stay, come to Nida, a village near the spit which offers plenty of activities, hotels, guesthouses, and restaurants. Choose traditional wooden seaside cottages to have a better trip experience!
3. The Hill of Crosses, Lithuania
Known as Kryziu Kalnas in Lithuanian, The Hill of Crosses is a collection of over 200,000 wooden crosses erected on a small hill in Northern Lithuania. It’s one of the must-visit sightseeing spots in the country for tourists.
Located in Šiauliai, this place is a national pilgrimage center since the 1200s, which believed is steeped in legends of ghosts, miracles, and heroic acts of defiance. Although it may be a bit creepy, it’s considered as a significant historical site for Lithuanians.
You have to take a quite long climb to reach the hill but it’ll be worth it once you see the view of the Old Town and the entire city. The best time to go is in the evening before the sunset so you can see the city view below a spectacular orange sky!
4. Trakai, Lithuania
The old town of Trakai is situated west of Vilnius between the hills, forests, and lakes. This place is one of the country’s most recognizable landmarks, because of its exquisite landscape and the Trakai Castle located in Trakai Island Castle.
With close proximity from the capital, you can easily go for a day trip to experience this dramatic fortress on Lake Galve, which looks like Hogwarts in Lithuanian culture. Simply walk 30 mins from the town to the island castle to see the breathtaking 14th-century fortress.
Trakai offers visitors who want to escape from hectic city life, by enjoying the walks around the beautiful area, yacht trips, or learn more about the medieval history of Lithuania. During your visit, don’t forget to taste its national dishes served by various Karaime restaurants.
Additionally, there are also many walking tours available in Trakai for tourists who want to admire the scenery along the paths of Aukštadvaris and Varnikai Botanical Zoological Reserve. This magical place is totally worth to visit any season!
5. Riga, Latvia
Looking for a cosmopolitan city in the Baltics? Let’s head to Riga, the capital city of Latvia. The old town Riga offers you an abundance of iconic cafes, great restaurants, and trendy bars, an excellent destination for party-goers!
This stunning medieval city is accessible to explore on foot. In the midst of its bustling activity, Riga is beautiful on its own where you’ll find narrow streets and art-nouveau buildings, making a perfect background to snap some Instagrammable photos.
Take a stroll to visit some popular attractions like the Riga Cathedral, the Swedish Gate, or the Freedom Square to witness the guard changing ceremony. You’ll also meet friendly local people socializing around the square.
If you want to see the city view from the top, go to St. Peter’s church and buy an entrance ticket to the tower. The elevator will take you up and presents you with a beautiful 360 view of the city.
6. Gauja National Park, Latvia
Gauja National Park is indeed Latvia’s natural gem. It’s the largest and oldest national park in Latvia, where you can see the forest of virgin pines and other historical and cultural sights like castles, museums, churches, and windmills.
There are too many things to see and do here, because the area is so big you cannot just explore it all in a day. Some activities you can do including hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, and camping. This is a place to unwind yourself from the stressed life in the city.
The best thing is that you don’t have to spend any single penny to visit this park. To reach here easily, take a bus from Riga to Cesis, Sigulda, or Valmiera. You can also book a hotel in those areas if you plan to stay overnight.
7. Cesis, Latvia
Curious to try authentic Latvia beers? Cesis is home to the oldest brewery in Latvia and it has been a popular destination to visit for those who want to taste the delicious fresh beer. Although Cesis is quite a small town, it’s beautiful and known for its medieval castle.
Take a 2-hour bus ride on a day tour from Riga, to explore a handful of architectural landmarks, creative shops, and cozy cafes. Visit Cesis Medieval Castle and its surrounding park to enjoy nature and history, even classical concerts in summer!
The castle offers a historical exhibition, a workshop making traditional Latvian jewelry, and a spine-tingling torchlight tour at night. If you come between July – August, you’ll also witness the annual Cesis Art Festival where various performances held throughout the town.
8. Tartu, Estonia
A university town of Tartu is considered to be the intellectual center in Estonia. It’s located between Riga and Tallinn, thus after Riga and before Tallinn, it’s a great decision to make a stop in Tartu. The city is filled with young and creative people so make sure to explore!
You’ll find stunning art installation, cool cafes, and hype restaurants that won’t cost you a fortune. Besides offering a lively night, Tartu still has its own medieval appeal.
Visit some of its popular attractions like AHHAA Science Center where you can see numerous exhibitions, workshops, and theater shows, or check out the beautiful newly-renovated Tartu Dome Church on top of the hill.
9. Tallinn, Estonia
After Tartu, your visit to Estonia isn’t complete without going to Tallinn, the most fairy-tale-like medieval city in the country. One or two days will be enough to explore the city, and it’s popular as a romantic destination to spend the weekend.
Tallinn is amazing to visit any season, as it’s packed with gorgeous sightseeing and easy to reach on foot. Whether you want to experience the city in the mild summer days or enjoy the Nordic snowy landscape in winter.
Dive into the persevered UNESCO old town, by visiting Toompea Hill, Kadriorg Palace, Seaplane Harbour, Old Town Square, and Tallinn Town Hall. You’ll find plenty of cafes, restaurants, and beautiful architecture for your Instagram-perfect photos!
We’d recommend you to visit those attractions in the early morning to avoid the tourist crowd. Then in the afternoon, you can just stroll around or chill at a nearby cafe or restaurant.
Enjoy Winter Trip in the Baltics!
Wanna experience wintertime but don’t know which country to go to? The Baltics are also interesting to visit when everything is beautifully covered with snow. Check out what to see and do during winter in the Baltic countries!
Besides the Baltics, colder days in Russia is also fascinating, it offers you incredible Russian palaces and castles to visit. So, made up your mind already? Plan your holiday and be ready for a fun-filled wintertime trip!