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Drive around the Baltric

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We’re picking up our new Volvo in Gothenburg, Sweden in late April of 2017. We’d like to drive it around the Baltic Sea, visiting Stockholm, Helsinki, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Gdansk, Rostock and Copenhagen before returning to Gothenburg. How many days would be adequate to not rush this trip?
Any must-see recommendations?
Any advice on travel through the Baltics?
All replies will be much appreciated.

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    Hello.

    If you are visiting Stockholm, I highly recommend visiting the Swedish Museum of Natural History. It's free to enter, has great exhibitions and even fun things to do. The whole city is great and amazing to look at, so if you have the time, go on and see it. Tallin and Riga both have beautiful Old Towns and interesting museums. And, if you want to have fun, the Riga waterpark is great for that. Next on, I could recommend some things at Vilnius. Depending on what you are into, I think it would be interesting to see the Old Town, the Gediminas Castle, the cathedral, the Tadas Ivanauskas Nature museum at the beautiful alley of Vilnius, the Aušros (dawn) gates, the TV tower (includes a restaurant, informative history, a beautiful gaze from the top). Vilnius is a very green town, there are lots of parks, nature and trees. If you would plan to visit other places around Vilnius, not only the capital town, I could recommend more. And now, Gdansk. It's a very beautiful city,so you should spent at least half a day over there. There are lots of things to see here. The church (you can climb to the top, it's over 100 steps), ships, all of the shops, restaurants, old town, the gold house, the fountain and the gates. Gdansk is interesting for most people, but note that you can't drive everywhere and you will have to do walking. Gdanks, along with most of Poland, is great for shopping. Things are very cheap. Depending on which rode your travel to Gdansk from Vilnius, you will pass Malbork (the town with the largest castle in Europe) and the Stutthof camp. So if you have any time and wishes, visit those, too. Now, again, if you want to have fun, Copenhagen has a very fun theme park. But it also includes great nature and museums, too.
    I have some advice on travelling through the Baltic countries. Since you are going to travel through Latvia (Riga) you might want to know that some parts of Latvia (and some parts of Poland) have terrible or a little bad rodes. So take some patience. While traveling through the Baltics, enjoy the nature. Since you are travelling at around April, it should be at it's peak. If you speak in english, there shouldn't be any problems. There isn't much traffic at the rodes at around April time, though you will encouter some at the cities. I recommend not planning lots of moving around by your car in Vilnius at the early hours of the day or around 5 pm. There's loads of traffic.
    If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. I can mostly help with Vilnius, Gdansk and Stockholm.

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    We drove only around Latvia earlier this year and learned a few things. Latvia - as admirable as the small country is in many ways - has a dismal traffic safety record. On country "highways" that are really just one lane each way you often find that there is a sort-of-not-quite second lane on the shoulder, and even if you go at the speed limit or a bit faster, many drivers will expect you to put two wheels onto that shoulder to let them roar past.

    The locals (Latvians) say that all those black expensive limousines that mostly do what I just described are owned by ruthless Russians. Be that as it may... While it is true that anytime you see a black BMW or Audi or Merc come up from behind they will be expecting you to yield, many trucks also nearly pushed us off the road, wanting to get by at 20 km or more beyond the speed limit.

    So you learn to look out and go with the local "customs".

    Anytime you see the sign announcing a village or town name, the speed limit automatically drops to 50 at that point unless a numerical speed sign showing a different speed limit is right there.

    And the village- or town-name with the diagonal bar across means a) you're leaving that town and b) the speed is 100 unless posted otherwise.

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    I assume you are going to take the ferry from Sweden to Finland and a ferry to Estonia.

    It is about a 3200 kms trip. With driving and sightseeing and ferry travel about five to six weeks.

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    Drive around the Baltric
    Posted by: laslonimne on Oct 19, 16 at 10:35am
    Any must-see recommendations?
    Any advice on travel through the Baltics?


    I suggest that you get a very good security system for your car.

    The drive from Gothenburg to Stockholm is a bore. On your way from Copenhagen (see Tivoli) you might stop in Kosta Boda Orrefors if you like hand blown glass, want to watch it made, and get beautiful "seconds" for a fraction of retail.

    On the ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki the crew will probably park your car. You won't have access to the vehicle deck, nor will anyone else except crew. Do not leave anything of value in the car on the ferry, or any ferry, or anywhere for that matter. The ship has safe deposit boxes. Ask the purser.

    The Silja Line operates magnificent ferries from Stockholm. It is an overnight party to Helsinki. The all-you-can-eat in 2 hours buffet is a great deal. Beer and wine is included. There will be fewer kids at the second seating. Make a reservation when you board.

    For an illustrated introduction to driving in Europe see http://www.enjoy-europe.com/hte/chap18/auto-2.htm. In the cities you are visiting (not Warsaw?) driving will be a hazard and parking nearly impossible. I suggest that you get hotels with in-house parking garages and do your exploring on foot. The old towns of Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius are fascinating. You'll find some very good inexpensive restaurants with interesting decor.

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