The Baltic States in northeastern Europe have long been an underestimated destination. The Baltic States are often overlooked in Europe, for example in France or Italy. You stay pleasantly calm and authentic. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have been popular with Russian tourists for some time and are now enjoying western popularity.
Although Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are often grouped together as the "Baltic States", they each have different cultures and languages. Since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, its traditions, history and culture have experienced a strong revival.
The proximity between the country's capitals makes the Baltic States the perfect destination for a trip to several cities. This will make it a great first introduction to the Baltic States and will make you return for more. Here is our travel guide for a multi-destination trip between Vilnius, Riga and Estonia. You can do this trip from south to north or vice versa.
Goal 1: Vilnius – Lithuania
Although Vilnius is a small town, there is no shortage of things to see and do. Take your time to explore the beautiful old town with its baroque churches and historical sites. Make sure you also visit the former Jewish quarter with its charming neighborhood of small boutiques and restaurants.
The jewel in the crown of Vilnius is Cathedral Square, which houses the beautiful Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania and the cathedral. Unfortunately, the Gediminas Tower is the only part of the old castle, but at least it offers a nice view of the city.
Lithuania has a turbulent history full of wars and occupations. The Lithuanian National Museum has several buildings, each dedicated to a different period in Lithuanian history. The darkest time for Vilnius was the Second World War and the Soviet occupation. You can read about this terrible time in the Museum of Occupation and Freedom Fights in the former KGB headquarters. Vilnius also has a lot to offer art lovers with great museums like the National Gallery of Art, the MO Museum and the Lithuanian Art Museum. The fact that the Lithuanians are proud of their culture and heritage is particularly evident on Literatu Street, where local artists have placed decorative plaques in honor of Lithuanian writers.
You may be surprised that Vilnius is a city within a city. On April 1, 1998, a community of artists jokingly declared the Bohemian district of Uzupis an independent republic. Uzupis was once one of the poorest and dirtiest areas in the city and is now a thriving and popular area. Be sure to visit this "republic", which even has its own constitution, currency and flag.
- Museum of the Occupation and Struggles for Freedom
- Gediminas Castle
- Cathedral Square
- Literatu Street
Sophie Van Der Meulen
Sophie is a digital nomad from the Netherlands. She travels the world while working as a writer and translator. She has a serious wanderlust and is enthusiastic about the freedom and adventure of traveling alone. In her free time, she loves exploring new places by getting a little lost and trying strange new foods. [Read full bio]
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