I'm going on a 19-day solo trip to the Balkans.

I'm going on a 19-day solo trip to the Balkans.
I've never done anything like this before, and I'm experiencing analysis paralysis while trying to figure out what to see and where to go.
Right now my planned route (Days) is
>Tallin (4) - Tartu (1) - Valga (1) - Riga (6) - Panevèzys (3) - Vilna (4)
For Latvia I'm only staying in Riga because public transport seems to be entirely centralized and trying to move to any other city will invariably force you through Riga anyways, so might as well sleep there all the way through.

I'd like to get as many tips and ideas as possible, where to go, what to see, how to get there, etc.

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  1. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    >Balkans

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      Yep, threw me for a loop as well.

      https://i.imgur.com/LKbe7Op.jpg

      I'm going on a 19-day solo trip to the Balkans.
      I've never done anything like this before, and I'm experiencing analysis paralysis while trying to figure out what to see and where to go.
      Right now my planned route (Days) is
      >Tallin (4) - Tartu (1) - Valga (1) - Riga (6) - Panevèzys (3) - Vilna (4)
      For Latvia I'm only staying in Riga because public transport seems to be entirely centralized and trying to move to any other city will invariably force you through Riga anyways, so might as well sleep there all the way through.

      I'd like to get as many tips and ideas as possible, where to go, what to see, how to get there, etc.

      The Baltics are tiny ass countries. It's only 600 kilometers from Tallinn to Vilnius. Why not just figure out where you want to go after you get there?
      Assuming you are flying in and out of Tallinn, Saare Island looks cool to explore. Personally I would take the coastal route to Parnu, then Riga. You might be able to find transit from Ventspils to Kuldiga, then from Kuldiga to Liepaja and Klaipeda. I would definitely want to ride Highway 167 from Klaipeda to the edge of Kaliningrad, just because it looks cool. Then head inland to Kaunas and Vilnius, looping back north through Riga to Valga, Tartu and Narva. Too bad you couldn't hop over to St. Petersburg from there, but a ferry to Helsinki and back would be cool if you have extra time.

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      Sorry, meant to say Baltics. Don't know how I fricked up that one.

      You can drink, there are lots of places to do that in Riga.
      What month are you looking at arriving? It will make a big difference to your trip

      From Latvia you could do a day trip out to Sigulda, see some old castles and forest, rent a bike etc. It's very cheap to take the train out there(check on https://pv.lv) and you can head there and back in the one day.

      Within Riga I like to show people the ethnographic museum, which is on the outskirts, you can get to it cheap by bus in 30 mins.
      https://www.latvia.travel/en/sight/latvian-ethnographic-open-air-museum

      What sort of stuff are you looking at doing/

      Mid September.
      Mostly I'd like to see small towns, rural landscapes, and then cultural stuff like museums, checking out some architecture, maybe getting to see some sort of festival. Also trying out as much local food as possible
      I barely drink any alcohol so unless there's some kind of unique beverage only found there, I'll pass on any of that.

      Yep, threw me for a loop as well.
      [...]
      The Baltics are tiny ass countries. It's only 600 kilometers from Tallinn to Vilnius. Why not just figure out where you want to go after you get there?
      Assuming you are flying in and out of Tallinn, Saare Island looks cool to explore. Personally I would take the coastal route to Parnu, then Riga. You might be able to find transit from Ventspils to Kuldiga, then from Kuldiga to Liepaja and Klaipeda. I would definitely want to ride Highway 167 from Klaipeda to the edge of Kaliningrad, just because it looks cool. Then head inland to Kaunas and Vilnius, looping back north through Riga to Valga, Tartu and Narva. Too bad you couldn't hop over to St. Petersburg from there, but a ferry to Helsinki and back would be cool if you have extra time.

      I'll be flying into Tallinn and out of VIlnius, that way I don't have to make a trip back by bus since that would take some 8 hours whereas getting to the airport from Vilnius is a 15 minute bus ride, so the idea is to just keep moving south without looping back.
      I didn't consider the isles at all, might check out how to transit though them efficiently.

  2. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    You can drink, there are lots of places to do that in Riga.
    What month are you looking at arriving? It will make a big difference to your trip

    From Latvia you could do a day trip out to Sigulda, see some old castles and forest, rent a bike etc. It's very cheap to take the train out there(check on https://pv.lv) and you can head there and back in the one day.

    Within Riga I like to show people the ethnographic museum, which is on the outskirts, you can get to it cheap by bus in 30 mins.
    https://www.latvia.travel/en/sight/latvian-ethnographic-open-air-museum

    What sort of stuff are you looking at doing/

  3. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    In Tallinn: the Old Town naturally, Maritime museum, Kiek in de Kök for medieval warfare, Kadriorg, the TV tower (a great view if the weather is fine). Also the Open Air Museum is a short bus ride from the center. Even and especially if you visit a similar one in Riga, since it’s interesting to see the differences. I personally think museum like that are always underrated.

    Outside of Tallinn, Haapsalu is nice and so is a trip around the islands but it seems you only travel by public transport and I don’t know how feasible it would be. But do your research, maybe it’s possible with an overnight stay in Kuressaare. Otherwise Narva on the east border has some interesting sights too and is not all commieblocks.

    Most importantly there is absolutely no reason to stay in Valga. Literally nothing to see there, it’s just a small town even by Estonian standards. Instead visit Viljandi for half a day. Also a small town but with a cosy small town vibe, nice areas with small narrow streets, quite a few good places to eat, the castle hill is great for a walk and a view. Take the early train from Tallinn and then later a bus to Tartu. Otherwise maybe stay in Tartu for two nights. travel from there and then take the morning bus to Riga. Enjoyment of such small towns is heavily dependent on weather here btw.

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      >Most importantly there is absolutely no reason to stay in Valga. Literally nothing to see there [...] Otherwise maybe stay in Tartu for two nights.
      This makes sense. Thanks anon.

      I don't know why you would go to Panevežys, pretty random place. I would really recommend Klaipėda more, it's a pretty nice port city that used to belong to germany in the 19th century so it has some interesting old germanic architecture in it's old town. If you're interested in museums it has a nice sea museum accessable by ferry also

      I chose Panevežys simply because it's a short, direct trip from Riga, and since it's quite centric country-wise I thought it would do for a good place from where to travel to other nearby cities. The only conections I find from Riga to Klaipèda that won't take half a day are with Flix Bus, which I'm not too fond of. Do you think it's worth spending only one night in Panevežys then moving to Klaipéda and exploring from there before going to Vilnius?

      • 8 months ago
        Anonymous

        yeah, I think that trip plan sounds pretty good.

  4. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    you could do a daytrip across to helsinki from tallinn, ferry takes 2 hours. has a cool fortress island there suomenlinna to explore

  5. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    I don't know why you would go to Panevežys, pretty random place. I would really recommend Klaipėda more, it's a pretty nice port city that used to belong to germany in the 19th century so it has some interesting old germanic architecture in it's old town. If you're interested in museums it has a nice sea museum accessable by ferry also

  6. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    Daytrip ideas would be the Pakri cliffs from Tallinn and/or Taevaskoja from Tartu.

  7. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    I'm from Lithuania (Panevėžys) and I can
    tell you that you wasting your time coming here and 19 days are way too much. There is nothing to see

    First of all it's very bad idea to come to Panevėžys and give it 3 days. I know it's convenient because it's between Riga and Vilnius but there is nothing to see. It's post industrial shithole. Go straight to Vilnius. I think it's like 4h from Riga and then make small trip to Klaipėdą or Kaunas instead. Although those cities suck too and I would visit only capitals which suck anyway

    You should take ferry to Helsinki from tallin it's like 1h or overnight ferry to Stockholm. Or from Vilnius you can take bus to Warsaw. It's like 7h I think

    19 days for Baltics it's too much. There is nothing to see. All I can suggest you to go to the sea, some boring museums or do kayaking. 19 days is too much for Baltics 6 is optimal.

    However if you will be here we can meet if you want my telegram @null133v

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      Well, damn, that's a downer.
      I still want to give it a try. If the cities aren't enough, I'll roam around small towns or go check the isles. You've convinced me to avoid Panevėžys though, I'll go through Šiauliai instead.

      • 8 months ago
        Anonymous

        Šiauliai is like Panevėžys post industrial Sithole. There is nothing there. Only Vilnius, Klaipėda and Kaunas worth any attention in Lithuania but I wouldn't give to any of these cities more than 2 days. Also take trip from Vilnius to Trakai. It's like 30 min away and in Vilnius visit valdovų rūmai if you that much interested into museums

        • 8 months ago
          Anonymous

          Can confirm, gf is from Šiauliai and I've visited multiple times. Nothing to see here. If you only have 3/4 nights in Lithuania I'd stay in Vilnius.

  8. 8 months ago
    Anonymous

    I used to live in estonia, learnt the language and all, very nice country.

    Here's a quick rundown of towns and cities:

    >Viljandi
    Small but very beautiful city, the cultural hub of estonia where they host the largest folk music festival in europe.
    Viljando has a bustling art scene of theater and music, viljandi people are very international and open.
    Viljandi has magnificent rolling hills and big medieval castle ruins, beautiful wooden houses and lots of different art school and academies.
    Very beautiful place, romaan bar is the epicentre of local art circles.

    >tartu
    Student city, personally I haven't found it to be anything special despite having been there a lot
    Not sure what to do there although they do have an active rave scene but it's not public so you need to know people to get in.
    Generally regarded as the junkie town of estonia though it has become gentrified.
    Lots of hipsters, not much else to say.
    Nice architecture, semi touristy.

    >tallinn
    The capital, a lot like any western european capital.
    Tallinn has lost its identity used to be a rugged eastern european city where you could do things for cheap and discover strange people and pkaces.
    The old town is very beautiful but it's a total tourist trap, at night it turns into a bustling nightlife district, possibly one of the best in europe.
    Tallinn people are mostly reserved and not so open but it's a very international city so finding company won't be an issue.
    Still, tallinn is small so don't expect it to feel like a metropolis.
    Personally I'm not into tallinn, it's ecpensive and full of hipsters and russians.

    >narva
    90+% russian, doesn't even feel like estonia and people there are more likely to speak english rather than estonian, I used to live there.
    Very ugly town, narva was totally bombed flat during WWII and was rebuilt as a model soviet city.
    Grey and dull.
    Narva has one of the most impressive and well preserved castles in the world, it's a unesco heritage city, highly recommend it.

    • 8 months ago
      Anonymous

      You won't find any young people in narva because virtually everyone moves to tallinn or st petersburg once they turn 18.

      >pärnu
      Nice beaches and beautifuk wooden houses.
      Popular destination for elderly finnish people.
      Cheap, good restaurant and great antiques shops.
      Not much to do there but it's a very relaxing place and much cheaper than tallinn.
      Beach holiday destination, lots of sports and seafaring activities.
      I used to live in a village nearby.

      >valga
      Stuck between latvia and estonia, I used to live there.
      Regarded as the town of alcoholics, it has an active hobo scene.
      The gupsy capital of estonia, estonian gypsies are harmless though.
      Dead town, not much to do.
      Very cheap in all regards.
      You can take a train all the way to riga for 5€, good connections to latvia.
      Latvian trains are suoer cheap, they still use 1960s soviet diesel trains.
      Valga people are very shy but friendly.
      No nightlife besides one bar.

      >kuressaare
      Main city of saaremaa, the richest county in estonia.
      Very beautiful place, saaremaa is considered the "real" estonia because there are barely any russians there.
      Lots of rich finnisv people live there, it's expensive.
      Beautiful place, has an old castle.

      • 8 months ago
        Anonymous

        >võru
        The southernmost town of estonia.
        The estonian language has only two dialects, regular estonian and võru dialect.
        They have their own language too, it's cukturally different from other parts of estonia.
        Not much to do, friendly and open people but they can get aggressive if they don't like you.
        Not much to do.

        Hitchiking is very easy in estonia once you get out of tallinn.

        Latvians are buttholes, I used to travrl there a lot.
        Depressing shithole, apparently talsi is a nice place but I haven't been there.
        Riga is the worst city in the baltics.

        Lithuanians are friendly and fun.
        Siaulai and kaunas are ghetto cities, kaunas has a nice old town.

        Vilnius is interesting, been here a few times.
        Nice people, more open than in other baltic capitals.
        Expensive and touristy by baltic standards.
        Vilnius is a beautiful city until you leave the centre.

        • 8 months ago
          Anonymous

          Also there's a hippie camp site north of siaulai in lithuania, they sometimes host live music gigs.

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