Top tips for a Baltic States Trip

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Need some top tips and ideas for your trip to the Baltic States? Look no further. The Baltic Countries are Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia if you don't already know, and they are each quickly becoming city break favourites within Europe.With the addition of more budget airlines flying from major European cities travel to the Baltics has never been easier. 


Travel to The Baltics

Many people don't just visit one of the Baltic States, tourists often choose to visit all three countries of the Baltics in one trip and that's actually what we did, on our mini backpacking trip through the Baltic countries. Starting off in Vilnius, Lithuania's capital and heading north through Latvia and Estonia to finish out Baltic States travel. We did have to return to Riga, Latvia (the central Baltic State) for our flight back to the UK. This is quite common during Baltic State travel but due to transport links it rarely causes inconvenience. 

Source: Google Maps - Map of the Baltics with Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and their neighbouring counties.


Top tips for a Baltic States Trip to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia


1. Transport top tip - Lux Express

Lux express makes Baltic States travel very enjoyable. Lux Express is a long distance bus company that operates in the Baltics. If you are planning a trip to the Baltic region, then don't forget the name. The prices are extremely reasonable and several Lux Express busses leave each of the Baltic States regularly. You can even enter Lithuania from Warsaw, Poland with Lux Express. Read more about that here. If you have a Baltic Capitals tour planned then Lux Express is perfect for you, although it does stop in many other cities across the Baltic States region they mainly operate out of the Baltic Capitals, Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn.  

There is free wifi and onboard entertainment on all Lux Express busses. We also only experienced one border crossing passport check during our time travelling between the three Baltic countries. Book your ticket in advance as busses to the Baltic Capitals fill up quickly and it is also cheaper to book ahead of your departure - for those on a budget or backpacking trip. 

Lux Express  Bus


2. Eating top tip - Beer and beer snacks

Food and cuisine is often a main motivation for a lot of travellers. Foodies be prepared for some of the culinary offerings of the Baltic States and brace yourselves for beer snacks. Beer is the main tipple in the Baltic Countries and whilst doing a Baltics States trip or Baltics Capitals tour you'll probably find yourself drinking a lot of the local beer. After all that drinking you'll want something to soak up the alcohol and that's where the Baltics beer snacks come in handy. Deep fried garlic bread smothered in cheese is the choice of many in the Baltics and no trip to the Baltic States or Capitals is recommended without trying some local beer and some local beer snacks. 

A top tip for budget travellers visiting the Baltic States - beer snacks are usually very filling and very cheap. A great, but unhealthy eat if you're looking to save some money. 

Beer and beer snacks a stable of the Baltics diet


3. Sleeping top tip - The big 3 party hostels

This top tip for visiting the Baltics is aimed primarily at backpackers but city breakers and other groups may also be interested in staying at the big 3 party hostels of the Baltic States. Each of the big three party hostels are located in the Baltics Capitals Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. 

Vilnius is home to Jimmy Jumps House - a friendly chill-meets-party hostel with a free waffle breakfast and 24 hour reception. In Riga you'll find The Naughty Squirrel the only one of the big 3 we didn't stay in - not through lack of trying though. Riga is the most popular of the Baltic States to visit and The Naughty Squirrel fills up quickly, always book in advance for this one. Finally, and I've saved the best until last you have The Monk's Bunk in Tallinn and one of my favourite party hostels in all of Europe. If you want to make friends, play beer pong and take part in Tallinn's most notorious pub crawl then book a bed in The Monk's Bunk Tallinn. To read more of my experience at the Monk's Bunk click here.

The Monk's Bunk, Tallinn, Estonia - One of the big three party hostels


4. Activity top tip - Free walking tours

These days European travel is all about the free walking tours and the Baltic Region is no exception. There are free walking tours, historical tours, Old City tours, occupation tours and alternative tours available in all three of the Baltic States, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. And to be honest you'd be a fool to not join one. Ran by locals - permit holding tour guides take you through their city and show you the ins and outs of the Baltic Culture what better top tip for a Baltics trip could you need. Find out the best places to eat, drink and see through the eyes of a local. Although I hate to say it if you're looking for some 'hidden gems' your walking tour guide is your go to source of information. Free walking tours are a must.

Free walking tour - Vilnius with Locals, Vilnius, Lithuania

5. There new unexplored countries

Number five is definitely more of a statement than a tip. Really, what excuse do you need to visit three new accessible and relatively unexplored countries? Visiting the Baltic Region makes visiting three new countries in one go extremely easy. The Baltics Railway (Rail Baltica) that's set to be active from 2025 onwards may open up the Baltic States to much more intense mass tourism and although that isn't necessarily a bad or good thing. Why not see them before then? Flights to Riga from the UK are far cheaper and more regular than ever before.




Baltics Trip - Survival guide

Location

Location of the Baltic Countries - Northern Europe. Seasonality and seasons generally impact this region massively in terms of travel. Winters can be very cold and summers can be warm. If you are travelling to the Baltic States from outside of Europe make sure you pack appropriately. 

Eating

Eating and drinking isn't always cheap in Europe at the best of times, especially in Old Historic Centres. That being said, the Baltic States do have some cheaper food options in the form of local chains and fast food restaurants. Eating locally or eating outside of the busy tourists epicentres of the Baltic Capitals is cheaper. 


Hostels and sleeping in The Baltics

Hostel dorms or privates along with AirBnB's are usually your cheapest option in the Baltics region. If you're doing a small tour of the Baltic Capitals on a budget trip then book dorms and don't forget the big three party hostels, Jimmy Jumps House, The Naughty Squirrel and The Monk's Bunk. We also stayed in a family owned hostel in Riga named Johnson's House. I would highly recommend for couples and city breaks to Latvia.  


Currency and ATM's

The currency of the Baltic States region is Euro. ATM's are widely available and most restaurants, bars, hostels and hotels all accept mastercard and visa. There is always a charge for withdrawing money overseas so to avoid this we got a Thomas Cook Cash Passport to use for this trip after a previous positive experience. For more information on Thomas Cook Cash Passport - Click here. 

If you're planning a trip to the Baltics or a Baltics Capitals tour then here's my top tips for you. Have you visited Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia? Let me know in the comments box below.


Click here for more of My Baltics Road Trip



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6 comments

  1. I have so many friends from home in the UK who are heading to Baltic countries due to cheap Ryanair flights - this will definitely be useful for them!

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    1. Its great now that these countries are really accessible for UK residents. Especially getting from one to the other with Lux Express!

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  2. Great post! I've always wanted to visit Lithuania. I'll definitely use some of your advise. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I hope you get to visit soon. Definitely do the free walking tour!

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  3. These are useful tips! It's good to know about the lux express. I'm also a big fan of free walking tours in Europe. Great way to start a trip.

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    1. Yes! Free walking tours and cheap bus travel make Europe great to travel!

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