12 Great Reasons to Visit the Baltic Countries

The Baltic countries of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are no longer an undiscovered part of the world, but they are still less visited than the western parts of Europe or the larger and better-known countries of Central and Eastern Europe such as the Czech Republic or Poland.

However, whether you visit these countries separately or discover all three together, you’re sure to find many pleasant surprises along the way, no matter if you travel by bus, car, or plane. Consider these reasons to visit the Baltic countries:

1.     Visit the Baltics to experience their unique qualities.

Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia all have their own landscapes, cultures, and languages. Their capitals boast old towns and trendy neighborhoods with their own special vibes, from Tallinn’s modern-meets-medieval personality to Riga’s turn-of-the-century beauty to Vilnius’s cozy historic center and neighboring districts.

Each country has dishes, handicrafts, and top attractions they’re particularly proud of, which will enrich your experience and help you create special memories. But this is just one of the first reasons to visit the Baltic countries.

2.     Visit the Baltics for fantastic northern beaches.

Lithuanians, Latvians, and Estonians love their beaches. Though different from those in Southern and Southeastern Europe, the beaches of the Baltic Sea have much to recommend them.

Whether you’re strolling along the soft-sand beaches of Palanga and Sventoji in Lithuania, living it up in the resort town of Jurmala, or exploring the craggy coast of Estonia with its tidy fishermen’s villages, you’ll find beauty, relaxation, and plenty of photo opportunities.

Sunset on glassy water with stones emerging from the surface
Paljassaare Special Conservation Area is near Tallinn and is good for bird watching. Photo by Külli Kittus on Unsplash

3.     Visit the Baltics for food culture.

Some people may laugh at the idea of traveling to anywhere in Eastern or Northern Europe for the food. But whether you love grandmotherly recipes that include slow-cooked pork and cabbage or more upscale dining, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia can offer you what you seek.

Estonia is renowned for its top restaurants list, while you may check out Riga’s Quiet Center for independent restaurants showcasing their chefs’ talent. Along Lithuania’s coast, you’ll be able to purchase smoked fish, while in Vilnius several well-established restaurants serve up signature dishes that look as delicious as they taste.

You may also try regional delicacies, such as locally brewed beer, sea buckthorn products, Lithuanian pink soup, honey made from flowers growing in the region, favorite recipes passed down through generations, and even unusually flavored chips!

4.     Visit the Baltics for seasonal beauty.

The Baltics experience all four seasons with plenty of natural drama. While many travelers choose to visit during summer because of the long days, blue skies, and green landscapes, fall is also very pretty as the leaves turn, the edges of the days begin to soften, and the weather cools.

Winter, though not as snowy in recent years as has historically been typical, is also lovely even without fresh snowfall—Christmas and holiday lights make city centers glow with elegant displays. Spring offers the hope of coming warmer weather, lengthening days, and spring flowers such as lilac and lily-of-the-valley. Whenever you decide to travel, just be sure to dress for the weather in the Baltics!

A large white house is flanked by trees with autumn leaves; red flowers are in the foreground
Fall is one of the most beautiful reasons to visit the Baltic countries: just look at how Rokiskis Manor looks during this season. Photo by The Northern Vox

5.     Visit the Baltics for annual festivals.

Travelers who plan their trip around annual festivals create bonus enjoyment for themselves when they travel to Latvia, Estonia, or Lithuania. From film festivals, folk song and dance festivals, and medieval festivals to outdoor markets and parades, the Baltics celebrate niche interests, local culture and history, and the creativity and talent of its citizens. Visitors can often enjoy these events for free, taste regional foods, and pick up one-of-a-kind souvenirs during these festivals such as Baltic amber, handmade clothing, or pottery.

6.     Visit the Baltics to discover your roots.

Do you have Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian or other regional ancestry—or perhaps Jewish ancestry that can be traced to the region? Family heritage is one of the great reasons to visit the Baltic countries. A visit to the Baltics can teach you so much about your roots, cultural heritage, and family history.

You’ll learn about the major events your ancestors lived through and the challenges they faced as members of these societies, walk some of the same streets they walked, and perhaps even see some familiar physical features in the people that you meet.

7.     Visit the Baltics for an active holiday.

After being cooped up at home during the pandemic, many travelers will find an active holiday to be an excellent option to restart their travel habit.

How can you fulfill your active travel goals in the Baltics? For one, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are great for hiking—national parks have miles of forests, bogs, and waterside trails to traverse. You may also go canoeing, geocaching, cycling, or hang gliding.

8.     Visit the Baltics to stick to your budget.

Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are no longer the budget destinations they once were, but they are still extremely affordable compared to their more Western counterparts, particularly when it comes to getting around and enjoying culture. Saving money on travel is one of the best reasons to visit the Baltic countries.

Taxi and bus services, as well as flights between countries, tend to be affordable. Culture, furthermore, is accessible and cheap or free—and that’s on top of the many free things to do in the Baltic countries that are enough to keep any first-time traveler to the region occupied.

9.     Visit the Baltics to get dental or other medical procedures done.

Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia do have a medical tourism industry that may be worth taking advantage of. For example, dentistry is far less expensive here than in other parts of the world, with some clinics specifically catering to foreigners, which means language is not a problem. Cosmetic procedures can also be done on a budget for high quality—these procedures are locally popular, so doctors specializing in this area have plenty of practice. Of course, you can also enjoy a spa day, non-invasive procedure such as a facial, or other pampering while in the region at a resort or day spa.

A woman in a blue headband gets a facial treatment
One of the reasons to visit the Baltic countries is because health, beauty, and dental treatments are relatively affordable here. Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

10.  Visit the Baltics for safe solo travel.

Solo travel around Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia is safe and easy! Board a train or bus to get to the most-visited destinations and explore on your own without fear regarding your person or belongings. While it’s always good to be smart and aware while you travel, even in destinations with a low crime rate, in the Baltic states, most people find that they feel comfortable discovering the region on their own.

11.  Visit the Baltics to discover history.

Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have rich cultural histories and have seen shifting borders, war, and various types of political regimes make an impact on their territories. You’ll find castles, hill forts, medieval towns, cozy wooden villages with 100-year-old houses, historic cemeteries, manor houses, monuments to events and historic figures, pagan landmarks, and other remnants of the past where ever you go.  

While you don’t have to know the history of these countries to enjoy visiting them, something you see might inspire further research to gain a broader understanding of the region and its people.

12.  Visit the Baltics to see three countries without hassle.

Seeing Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in one trip is easily doable within a short time, one of the best reasons to visit the Baltic countries! If you allot 2-3 days in each country, you can easily see the capital cities as well as a few other destinations or attractions of your choice. Flights are readily available and short between the three countries, the borders are all within the EU, which means you can cross from one to the next without checkpoints, and bus services such as Lux Express make getting from point A to B inexpensive and comfortable.

Furthermore, if you want to explore nearby countries, convenient connections exist, for example, between Vilnius, Lithuania, and Warsaw, Poland. You can also take a ferry from Estonia into Finland or, with proper planning, Russia. Belarus is easily accessible as well! And, while connections between the Baltic countries and Western Europe change seasonally as well as according to demand, nonstop flights between capital cities can often be found. Riga, Latvia, in particular, is a well-used hub for flights to destinations in other parts of Europe.