Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia are rather small and overlooked. If someone does go to one of these countries, they usually only visit the capitals. Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn are fascinating indeed, but those countries have way more to offer than just one city each. Full of wooden cottages, medieval castles, mystical ruins, gorgeous beaches, lakes and parks, the little towns of Baltic States are marvelous. Here’s a list of 6 examples, two from each of the countries. Keep them in mind while planning your trip to Lithuania, Latvia or Estonia.
Situated on Saaremaa, Estonia’s largest island, Kuressaare is as lovely as it gets. It reminds a fairy-tale setting, mainly because of the castle standing in its center, but also the tiny wooden houses, winding streets and the distinct vibe that is both enchanting and mellow. Kuressaare’s captivating, but not in an overwhelming way. If Kuressaare makes you addicted, then only because it’s so relaxing than other places. There are several reasons behind its tranquility. Since it’s on an island, locals have the particular islander attitude; they’re laid-back and peaceful. Thanks to the seaside and walks around the beach work better than any sedatives. Kuressaare is famous as a spa town, so it offers a broad range of resorts, from old-style sanatoriums to fancy hotels. Beautiful architecture, Saaremaa’s unique culture, and cozy cafés add to its charm.
Nida’s a part of a national park, so it’s not hard to guess the town’s scenic. It lies on the Curonian Spit, a long peninsula with large drifting sand dunes. Half an hour of walking from the center is enough to reach gorgeous, white-sand beaches. You can then keep on walking and explore Nida’s magical surroundings. A few kilometers from the town there are a few large sand dunes, including the Parnidis, Vecekrugas and Negyvosios Kopos.
The city itself used to be a fishing village, and even though those times are gone, the picturesque harbor and small wooden houses are reminding of its past. Nida’s mainly known among German tourists because the famous German writer Thomas Mann had a summer home there. Despite its small size, the town’s quite eventful, especially during the summer. During the season there are art shows, forests retreats and music festivals (including annual jazz festival) that you can visit.
Not only Cesis has a castle, but it also has two of them. It also has lovely parks, the charming Old Town, lots of cute wooden houses, a large medieval church and streets with cobblestones you really want to get lost in. Quite a lot as for such a small town. It’s a beautiful place to stroll about for a day. Cesis has an amazing ability to look fabulous no matter the season. Since there’s a lot of greenery, it’s bursting out with life in the spring and summer, but when the autumn comes; its parks get dominated by the colors of brown, red and yellow. Later on, as the colorful leaves fall, Cesis looks like a fluffy winter wonderland.
Surrounded by the picturesque landscapes of the Trakai Historical National Park, Trakai’s a gem of a town. It lies between two lakes, so almost anywhere you look, some sparkling water is going to be a part of the view. As if that wasn’t enough of sweetness, Trakai also has two castles, the Trakai Island Castle and the Trakai Peninsula Castle. The first one dates back to 15th century and the second one to 14th. There’s also a handsome Gothic church with many Baroque-style adornments. One of the best times for visiting Trakai is July when a medieval festival is taking place there. The town seems to be always immersed in history, but it never looks as atmospherically old as during the event.
Sigulda is known as “the Switzerland of Latvia,” but even though its steep banks and cliffs might remind Swiss landscapes, there aren’t many commons. The sceneries aren’t as majestic as in the Alps, but they’re beautiful in a different way, more modest and quietly enchanting. The town offers a lot of fantastic views and attractions. Several castles and ruins lay around Sigulda, each one of them so old and mysterious you can’t help but start believing in legends. Krimulda Castle Ruins, Sigulda New Castle Sigulda Medieval Castle Ruins, and Gutman’s Cave – they’re all worth taking a look at. For outdoor enthusiasts, Sigulda also has two adventure parks and lots of scenic trails.
Despite the fact that it is the summer capital of Estonia, Pärnu’s still a small and rather mellow town. As soon as the season begins, tourists from Finland, Germany, and other Estonian cities gather on Pärnu’s sandy beaches to finally get some sun. Party-animals spend their nights in one of the clubs, while calmer individuals enjoy the coziness of pubs or terraces and lovebirds walk along the romantic Pärnu Jetty. There are both medieval buildings and modern villas, a fun beach park, many spas and numerous festivals during the summer.
Do you know some more interesting towns in the Baltic States? Let us know! And share this article with your friends, especially if they’re planning a trip to Lithuania, Latvia and/or Estonia.