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Parnu or Riga

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Hi there,
We'll have 4 days to spare after visiting Tallinn (& Helsinki)but not quite sure if Parnu is worth going to at the start of Sept.
What kind of weather is to be expected there.
Or would we simply be better off going on to Riga?
Any other recommendations also appreciated.

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    hi marcus,
    riga is always a safe bet. one of the best cities around the baltic sea. it's quite contrary to tallinn as it is about twice the size and feels like a real metropolis.
    it's also less touristy than tallinn, at least the foreigners mix a little bit better with the local crowds.
    there is a gorgeous mediaeval old town (resembling tallinn or lubeck, e.g) but in contrast to tallinn, there is a ring of art- nouveau buildings around it that should not be missed. and we are talking not about a few buildings but rather an area approximately 5 square kilometers in size!
    if i were you, i would travel by car from tallinn to pärnu (approx. 3 hour drive, quite scenic) and do a 1 night stop- over there, if the weather permits (and chances are- at the start of sept. there might be some nice late- summer days left). depending on your budget, the scandic ranna hotel right on the beach would be your best option. you might even be able to afford some swimming as the water is very shallow (you can still stand easily about 300 m out in the bay!) and thus should be warm enough (around 16- 18 degrees C).
    i would then proceed to riga approx. 2 hour drive) for another 2 nights. you can explore old town, and art nouveau district in 2 days and be comfortable. best lodging would be in konventa seta (right in the center of old town- if your are driving, this is a little less advisable, as you would have to acquire a permit and navigate through the old streets). a good option is revalhotel latvija. it is bit monstrous (i.e huge, but perfectly renovated) from the outside, but very pleasantly redone. it is a huge, probably more business oriented place, but service is friendly, rooms are nice with spectacular views. they have a great sauna on the top- floor sporting views of old town and the river. also, the location is great. if you can get a deal there (i.e EUR 110,-), you are very well off- and they have underground parking (confirm at reservation!).
    old town is walkable from either hotel, and the art- nouveau district is, too. the latter being important in the evenings as numerous good restaurants are located outside old town.
    another option would be hotel de rome (same management as konventa seta), but more upscale and rather expensive. i would advise against radisson and maritim (although nice hotels) which are on the wrong side of the river- too much of a hassle to get into old town.
    if you are on a tighter budget, try radi un draugi hotel in the middle of old town, but hurry as they usually are pretty much booked. also, laine behind revalhotel latvija would be an option. it is in the courtyard of a bit rundown appartment house, but has clean rooms.
    good local food can be had at staburags and alu seta (all of the lido- chain restaurants are advisable). for more upscale dinner try vincents (elizabetes iela) or symposium (in a mall called bergas bazar between elizabetes and dzirnavu). a very nice and pleasant option is charlestons (great value, in blaumana). with the exception of alus seta, these are all in the art- nouveau district and but are easily walkable from latvija and laine hotels. it would take some more effort from de rome, konventa seta and radi un draugi, but still manageable.
    drown a pint with riga's expat- crowd at dickens in the evening (in old town, right behind konventa seta and radi un draugi)!
    do not hesitate to contact me should you have further questions. check out for essential and extensive info on tallinn, pärnu and riga!
    have a great trip

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    I just happened to hear a few good things about Maritime Hotell in Pärnu. Again, personally I cannot confirm, but I have checked its location on a map, and it does look convincing.
    It is not the Scandic Ranna Hotell, but if you are not too picky about accomodation, you might want to give it a try. Price for a double should be around 63 EUR according to their own advertisement in a Pärnu brochure.
    They also have a website:
    As to Riga: I do believe that you will not regret your decision to skip St. Petersburg and go to Riga instead. The lodging options I outlined before, are of course still valid. If you enjoy Hotell Mihkli in Tallinn, which I am sure is a good choice, you really might want to give Laine or Radi un Draugi a try. Konventa Seta (or Konventhof, as often referred to) will range around 100 EUR. I have heard that quite a couple of tourists are quite happy with O.K. hotel (which is on the wrong side of the river, though and therefore I would not advise staying there) and with Victorija, which is in Caka iela north of central station. Wrong side of the river means the Western sections of Riga in contrast to the Eastern banks on which Old Town is lying and North/East of which is the Art Deco district. The river can be crossed via to bridges, but each of them has heavy traffic and is about 500m - 700 m long. It will take you roughly seven uncomfortable minutes on foot to just get from one bank to the other, if you do not take a taxi (something I am too greedy to do).
    Do not miss the Central Market just east of central station where there is almost anything available.
    For icecream try Capri in Tirgonu (close to the dome) and best pizza in town is to be had at Lulu's (more of a take- out place in Gertrudes and other locations).
    There are also a few Irish pubs around (Paddy's being the most famous, but they appear to have lost some ground to Dickens right across the street. Still, my favorite watering hole was almost the upstairs of Paddy's) so in case of being homesick, you might be consoled. Actually many Latvians feel quite related to the Irish and even celebrate St. Patrick's day...
    One more hint: If the weather is nice, you can take a short trip to Meza Parks, where there is the Great (lielais) Estrade, a song stadium where the famous Baltic song festivals are held with about 10,000 singers joining on the stage. But do this trip only, if the weather is nice and you have had enough of old town (do include a visit of the observation platform on St. Peter's and a glimpse into the dome, where you might find the organ, which is one of the biggest, playing, if you are lucky) and the Art Deco district (best area is the north/ western part of Elizabetes and its side streets like Alberta). If the weather should not be too accomodating, plan on a visit to the Latvian Museum of Occupation in Old Town to learn about the sad history of a proud nation...
    As you see, lots of things to do and places to go. Riga is not exactly cheap, though, but being Irish I suppose you will find prices still sort of low.
    Finally in Tallinn, as well as in Riga, do obtain the latest issue of "inyourpocket- guide" at a kiosk or in your hotel (do not mistake it for "Riga This Week") and make it your bible for the time you are around. They have absolutely everything you might want to know and you can thoroughly rely on their reccomendations!
    Do enjoy your trip- and probably post your experiences!

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