The Baltics have played a pivotal role in European history for centuries. During the Hanseatic period, much of the raw materials for Europe’s expansion came from here. After World War II, the Baltic states were occupied by Russia and subsumed into the USSR. The governments of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia existed in exile, working for the freedom of their countries. After the “Singing Revolution,” Gorbachev recognized the inevitable and the Baltics were free again, leading to the ultimate demise of the USSR. These days, the Baltics is a blossoming technology center, while still retaining many of the quaint old town centers.
Today as a travel destination, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are some of the most reasonably priced in all of Europe. Popular as bachelor/bachelorette (stag/hen) weekend getaways, they have an easy, youthful spirit and understand the true value of freedom. There’s incredible architecture, a lively nightlife scene and a passion for gastronomy. This region is a must on any serious travelers list. Here are a few of our favorite things in the Baltics.
When most people think of affordable travel destinations, they think of Asia or certain parts of Central and South America. Europe doesn’t usually make the cut. But the dollar is particularly strong right now, and there are so many cheap places to visit in Europe that have lots to offer.
Palaces in Europe are filled with the very best that money (and centuries worth of inheritance) can provide. Here’s a look at eight royal residences that are worth the time to visit.
Italy conjures up images of homemade pasta and fresh mozzarella. When I think of France, it’s wine, butter, and the flavors of Provence in summer. But what is Baltic food?
Sweat dripped down the sides of my hairline as I breathed in the steamy air of the sauna and contemplated the bucket. Just outside the door, people filled a bucket with ice-cold water and dumped it on themselves. Intentionally.
Fireplaces and accent pieces complete the feel that staying at the Stikliai hotel is like being in someone’s (very upscale, well-serviced) French country home.
Riga is a brilliant mix of old and new. On a walk through this lovely city, you could glimpse a 700-year-old church next to a modern store next to a new building that was reconstructed to look old. This blend means there’s something different around every corner and in every square.
Quiet and still on a drizzly, mid-spring morning, the bog spread out to the horizon painted in shades of yellowish-green, deep orange, and brown. Occasionally, the sponge-like earth was interrupted by deep pools of water. How deep, we didn’t really know…and preferred not to find out.
Riga’s Art Nouveau neighborhood couldn’t be further from my misconception of what a visit to the Baltics would look like.
A hot air balloon flight is one of the most magical ways to explore a destination. This ride over the Lithuanian countryside was truly unforgettable.