In the mid 90's I had the opportunity to travel to Brussels for work. I had been invited to join a meeting with Inside Sales managers from all around Europe. It was wonderful being able to meet people from so many different cultures and backgrounds. Even though our business environments were so different, we found many common areas of interest and challenges. And they definitely knew how to have fun!
Despite the many years that have passed, I still remember the delightful young lady I met
from Riga, Latvia. I was fascinated because she was from an area of the world that had just recently gained independence from the former U.S.S.R. in 1991. Her energy, outlook on life and her future was inspiring. She was so proud of not only her country but of Lithuania and Estonia as well. I wouldn't have expected anything less, given the proximity and similarities between the countries.
Tallinn is the capital of Estonia, and sits on the banks of the Gulf of Finland, just 55 miles across the gulf from Helsinki. It is one of Northern Europe's oldest capitals, with houses and streets dating as far back as the 11th century. Tallinn offers a beautiful mix of old and modern sites, including the Medieval Old Town and City Center, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is one of the best preserved Hanseatic town centers in the world. The Kadriorg palace, art museum and surrounding gardens established by Peter the Great are a short walk from city center. Tallinn is included on most, if not all, Baltic itineraries.
Riga is Latvia's capital and largest city, located on the south coast of the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava River. It is also the largest of all the Baltic capitals, with a population over 640,000 residents. Riga is considered the cultural and culinary center of the Baltics, with hip cafes and bars, modern museums and fun restaurants. Not to miss is the Blackhead's House, a fraternity originally built in 1344 for unmarried German merchants. Riga is not a regular stop on Baltic itineraries, so check the details if you want to stop here.
Cruises to the Baltics are in the summer months, June - September. More and more cruise lines are adding this itinerary to their sailings, as many travelers are looking to experience new and uncommon destinations that are less crowded yet rich in culture and history.
Combined with St. Petersburg, Copenhagen, Helsinki and Oslo, a trip to the Baltics is sure to be a trip to remember!
Laurie Marschall - Owner and Founder