Adventure awaits! As of 2020, Latvia and Estonia will join Lithuania as part of the Eurail family. From stunning natural landscapes and UNESCO World Heritage Sites to unique and exciting meals and traditions, the Baltics offer adventure-seekers a whole new world to discover.
Depending on what kind of trip you're planning, you can start this itinerary in Kaunas, Lithuania or do it backwards starting in Tallin, Estonia. Vilnius is accessible by train from Bialystok, Poland.
Some trains in the Baltics run with limited schedules or only on certain days, so make sure to take a close look at the schedules to make sure you know which trains run and when.
This centrally located city is the perfect first stop on your tour through the Baltics. Once a temporary capital of Lithuania, the vibrant Kaunas will be the 2022 European Capital of Culture. Once you're there, it'll be easy to see why. Here you can explore medieval architecture, quirky museums, and lively pedestrian streets, all set at the confluence of the Neris and Nemunas rivers.
The coastal city of Klaipėda offers a glimpse into Lithuania's past with a stroll through the city center. The German influence is prominent in the city's half-timbered buildings. You'll find art all around you in Klaipėda. The city itself is peppered with sculptures big and small and even has a sculpture park dedicated to the art form.
A short, affordable ferry ride takes you to the region's biggest attraction, the Curonian Spit. This long, thin spit, which shields the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and with good reason. You could easily dedicate a whole day to exploring the beautiful natural landscapes of rolling dunes and the oddly-shaped trees of the Dancing Forest.
A must-see for anyone visiting Lithuania, the capital of Vilnius is a jumping-off point for travelers who want to get off the beaten path. Don't be fooled by the large medieval old town (one of Europe's largest) or the numerous parks and green spaces that make the city almost blend in with nature; Vilnius is a very modern city.
Here, you'll find all sorts of trendy bars and restaurants and unique activities, like hot-air ballooning over the city center.
Situated on the Daugava River from which it takes its name, the second largest city in Latvia is also the most prominent in the eastern Latgale district. If you're looking for a bit of Latvian culture, then Daugavpils is a great place to start. Without an abudance of tourism-minded attractions, you can easily find a slice of everyday life in Latvia.
Check out the iconic Church Hill where you'll encounter churches of four different denominations all in close proximity to one another. Daugavpils is also home to a prominent theater and many artisan ceramic workshops.
Riga is a diverse and delightful experience with secrets waiting to be discovered around every corner. The Old Town is a walk through history with buildings boasting features ranging from medieval to art nouveau. Serious history buffs can check out the Museum of the Occupation, an exhibit detailing the timeline of Latvia's various occupations over the years and its subsequent resurgence as an independent country.
If you get hungry after all that history, head to the Riga's Central Market, which spans the entirety of a repurposed zeppelin hangar. Here, you’ll find all the best Latvian ingredients you need for an affordable meal, locally made crafts that you won’t find anywhere else, and a surprisingly wide variety of artisan beers.
Nature-lovers rejoice. Situated on the Gauja river valley, Sigulda provides a beautiful backdrop for hiking and exploring its old, expansive forests. As you walk among the ruins of castles, you'll imagine how the nobility of a time gone by enjoyed a quiet life among the stunning landscapes. If you're there in June, don't miss the open-air Opera Festival.
Adrenaline junkies won’t feel like strangers in Sigulda either. You can try out bobsledding in winter or bungee jumping in summer…if you dare.
Latvia is a land of castles. While it could take you months to explore them all, you’ll find one of the oldest castles in Cesis. Dating back to the 13th century, Cesis Castle is an impressive stop on your way north.
To continue on to Estonia, you’ll need to take the train to the border town of Valga. Due to historical disputes, this town was divided in half with one part in Latvia, called Valka, and one part in Estonia, called Valga. The relations between the two sides are quite warm nowadays, and you can easily walk between them if you’ve got the time for a short stop.
Here, you’ll change from a Latvian train to an Estonian train to continue on your way.
Get ready to embrace your intellectual side. In Tartu, you'll find an ambience defined by the prestigious University of Tartu, which serves as the glue that bonds together all aspects of life in Estonia's second largest city. With so many scholars calling it home, it only stands to reason that Tartu would have a variety of attractions catering to a cultured crowd. Make sure to check out the Estonian National Museum while you're here.
It's not all books and study in Tartu though. Wherever there are this many students, you'll also sure to find creative pursuits and a pulsing nightlife.
Perhaps one of the cities that has progressed the most after the fall of the Soviet Union, the charming Tallinn perfectly sums up the balance of old and new in the Baltics. You can quickly go from the candlelit medieval-themed restaurants of the Old Town to chic and trendy Rotermann district.
Tallinn is also a hot spot for tech start-ups, so you’ll find a young, innovative feel everywhere you go!
Ready to build your Baltic adventure?
There's only one rail pass that will let you see it all. Whether you just want to hit the highlights or do a deep dive into the hidden gems of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the Eurail Global Pass is your key to adventure.