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Breezy Baltic - The Ultimate Road Trip itinerary

The Baltics are a group of North-Eastern European countries, along the coast of the Baltic Sea namely Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. All three put together make up half the area of Germany : ideal fodder for a 10-day, early-summer road trip, when the weather is perfect with blue skies, plenty of sunshine, and comfortable temperatures.

Quick Tips

Car Rentals: We had a great experience with Carwiz.  Remember that you pay a hefty fee if you rent in one country and return in another, especially if either is a non-Baltic Country/

Car Parking: Parking is expensive, and hard to find, especially in the capitals . Check with your hotel/BnB for the closest (and cheapest) parking spaces. Expect to pay about 6 EUR and upwards per hour, although overnight parking is free in some spots. We used apps like Snabb and EuroPark (which despite the alarmingly poor reviews, is easy to use and hassle free).

Sim Cards: We couldn't find a sim that would work in ALL the Baltic countries, but you can easily purchase local SIM cards at supermarkets. The easiest option is to opt for an e-sim. Keep in mind that connectivity magically switches off when you cross borders between the Baltics!

Food and Restrooms: While the Baltics are partial to potatoes, the cuisine is fairly meat intense, and smaller towns have limited vegetarian/vegan options. If you have restrictions, stock up on packaged supermarket food . It is easy to find clean restrooms in petrol stations and rest stops on highways.


The Capital City of Vilnius

In 2018 / 2019, Vilnius shot to fame with a rather cheeky ad campaign crafted by their local Tourism Board. It read “Nobody knows where it is, but when you find it – it's amazing. Vilnius the G-Spot of Europe”

Despite initial reactions of affront and shock, the ad worked. Interest in tourism spiked, but Vilnius is still less commercial than 'touristy Europe' and a great place to start a road trip.

The town has a lot to explore, an enchanting Old Town district, beautiful architecture and a flourishing cultural scene. The official tourism website keeps meticulous record of what's happening where, making it extra-convenient for tourists.

Sign up for the walking tours conducted by Vilnius for Locals, for a quick tour of the city's highlights and amusing anecdotes delivered with a tempering of national pride, and competitiveness.

When in Vilnius, allocate half a day to explore the “country” of Uzupis. A bohemian art district located in the heart of Vilnius, Uzupis is teaming with art installations, galleries, restaurants and displays. On April 1, 1997 (yes, April Fools' Day), the residents declared themselves an independent republic. They even have an official Constitution, displayed on a wall in multiple languages that outlines the rights of the "Republic of Užupis," including gems like the right to be misunderstood.


A 30-minute drive from Vilnius, is the fairy tale town of Trakai. It was love at first sight – Trakai comfortably makes it to the list of the top 3 places I would go back to any time of the year.


The historic town has preserved its medieval ambiance with paved streets and colourful wooden houses sporting overflowing flower beds. The crowning glory of Trakai is its lattice of lakes and the magnificent Trakai castle that sits in the middle of Lake Galve. A gorgeous example of 14th century gothic architecture, the castle was built for the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as a strategic fortress and royal residence. Try to catch a sunset on the bridge that leads up to the castle!

Trakai is also known for its historic ties to the Karaims – an ancient Jewish community. There are plenty of restaurants where you can not only sample Karaim staples like Kybyn – a sort of savory pastry filled with meat- but also learn about the community's history and traditions.



The drive from Trakai to Tallinn is a long one, but fortunately, Estonia has some stunning National Parks to break journey. We made a pit stop at Tartu - a bright-eyed town on the banks for the Emajogi river.

Tartu feels like a time capsule, driving through tall, fresh pine trees that cloak its narrow roads in a peaceful silence. Our stay was a small, cozy log cabin, right by the lake, hosted by a friendly young couple.

We had some wonderful conversations with townsfolk, who were rather surprised to see Indian tourists, and puzzled to learn we had come all the way to simply soak in the quiet and expansive countryside. I guess when you grow up on a steady diet of clean roads, an abundance of flowers, babbling brooks and chattering creeks IN ADDITION to a developed countries’ amenities, it is hard to appreciate just how good you have it!


About 170 km north of Tartu, towards the Baltic Coast, is Lahemaa, the largest National Park in Estonia, with forests, wetlands, and beaches. There are plenty of trails you can choose from, one of the most fascinating ones being the Viru Bog Walk.

A bog is a type of wetland characterized by waterlogged, and nutrient-poor soil. It supports a unique ecosystem with specialized plant species. The Viru Bog walk offers a trail through the area, on designated boardwalks to protect the delicate moss carpets. In summer you will glorious colours - a hue of forest greens, cheery oranges and yellows, interspersed with piercing deep blue lakes. This is great for a half day trip, especially if you've never visited a bog.


Estonia's capital is just 45 km from Lahemaa. It is one of Europe's best-preserved historic towns and Tallinn old town is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Founded by a Danish king in the 13th century, Tallinn grew to become a strategic trading post, and after subsequent Swedish and Russian rule, gained independence in 1991.

After decades of neglect during the soviet era, the medieval town has polished up its landmarks and put them on display, making Tallinn one of the most charming cities to explore on foot.

Start your circuit at the Viru market and Viru Gate 14th century fixtures that were part of the old city wall. The gate opens up into a little local market which looks like the set of a period film , cobbled streets, spires of monuments rising in the background, and the smell of fresh coffee in the air.

Next, head to St Catherine’s passage, a narrow alley with distinct archways, that dates back 700 years. Pay attention to the stores and workshops in the alley, my favourite was a small doll workshop and mueseum

Other notable stops are the 12th century St Olaf’s Church, with its distinct blue steeple, and the Three Sisters, a row of colourful merchant houses, that date back to the 14th century.

Spend some time in Balti Jamaa Turg or the Baltic station market – the go-to place for locals for fresh produce, the local market is a bustling space featuring flowers, fresh fruit and vegetables, preserves, meat and all kinds of confectionary. There are several stores dedicated to making and selling Marzipan. Estonia has a long tradition of making marzipan, with recipes and techniques passed down through generations.

The topmost floor of the market also has an interesting flea market for clothes and accessories, that is worth a rummage.

As dusk falls, get to Telliskivi Creative City - a former industrial complex now home to a diverse mix of event venues, art studios, design shops, co-working spaces, cafes and restaurants. There are several boutique bars that distill their own spirits in this area that are worth a stop (if you’re a gin lover, walk straight into Juniperium)

If you have an extra day to spare in Tallinn, consider a day trip to Helsinki - it is a 2-3 hour ferry ride across the Baltic sea.



From Tallinn we headed down south on a four-hour drive to Riga. Enroute, you can make a quick stop at Sigulda. There are two castles in this town, a medieval 13th century one, and a ‘newer’ one from the 19th century. The highlight however, is the Sigulda ropeway - one of the oldest and longest cable car routes in Europe, spanning across the picturesque Gauja River valley. If you're lucky you can even spot a bear on your ride! Book tickets in advance - it only operates at specific times, and its proximity to Riga makes it a popular spot.


The capital of Latvia is synonymous with Art Nouveau for good reason - Art Nouveau architecture accounts for one third of all the buildings in Riga, earning it the title of Art Nouveau capital of the world.

Art Nouveau emerged in the late 19th century in rebellion, seeking to break away from traditional styles and embrace an aesthetic characterized by flowing lines, organic forms inspired by nature, and a sense of harmony and unity.

There are dedicated city walks through the neighbourhoods around Alberta Street, Elizabetes Street, to admire Art Nouveau architecture, learn about their creators. I enjoyed the exaggerated expression, and the freedom to blur the lines between fact , fiction and functionalism.

Old town Riga has several other medieval buildings to marvel at – look for the figure of a black cat perched on top of the House of Blackheads, the St Peter’s Church and the merchant building cluster called the Three Brothers (possibly extended family of the Tallinn Three Sisters?)

Riga is also a student town and attracts a lot of professionals pursuing various disciplines especially medicine. This creates two very distinct personas, both equally enjoyable– a day-time prima donna showcasing its soviet history and architectural marvel, and a night time diva brimming with energy as the restaurants, shops and bars spill out on the streets and cosmopolitan crowds cling to the streets till early morning.

Riga was the last stop on our roadtrip, and a memorable one. Our route was a little circuitous, because we had to work in feasible flights from India, a more optimal route would be to start at one end and drive north/south, or alternately do a full circle. What I loved most about this Baltic road trip was the unscheduled stops. The rural countryside is immeasurably beautiful, and quickly changes from grassy plains to rain-soaked fields, with a steady encounter of darling little towns.  You will see deer crossing signs on the highway and occasionally catch one darting across the road. Try to keep your schedule light, so you can make way for impromptu detours and impulsive stopovers, and the Baltic holiday will make its way into your most cherished trips!


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