Itinerary Help - The Baltic Countries

Old Jul 7th, 2021, 08:58 PM
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Itinerary Help - The Baltic Countries

My husband and I (both retired) are just beginning to plan a 4-6 week trip next summer (fingers crossed) to The Netherlands and the countries on the Baltic Sea -- most likely between June - August. Our plans include visiting St. Petersburg, Tallin and Riga. We enjoy slow travel when possible- meaning not moving every 2-4 days and finding a place where we could enjoy a full week or more. I'd appreciate hearing about your experiences and recommendations for hotels, cultural events, transportation, city guides, or anything that has made your trips to this region memorable. Thanks for your help!
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Old Jul 7th, 2021, 10:52 PM
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Latvian cycle trip just for fun
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Old Jul 8th, 2021, 01:57 AM
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My in-laws did a cruise which took in all of those countries a few years ago, including the Netherlands and all round the Baltic. That might be one way of seeing a lot of ground and having the organising done for you. I don't know the name of the company but they left from the UK (Southhampton???) and they were the same company that has a ship called the Astor. My in-laws also did a trip on the Astor between Perth and the UK before this trip and I think doing a second cruise with the same company just became a logical flow-on. If you can't find any details I can ask my in-laws.

Lavandula
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Old Jul 8th, 2021, 07:40 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion, Lavandula. We'd prefer not to cruise because we'd like more time and flexibility in the cities we visit than cruise stops normally give you. know it's a convenient way to go, but it's not for us.
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Old Jul 8th, 2021, 07:46 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion. Loved reading your trip report too!
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Old Jul 9th, 2021, 08:17 AM
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You might want to include Helsinki which is a ferry ride from Tallin and a train ride from Saint Petersburg. When we went there, a long time ago, we flew to Helsinki, took the train to Saint Petersburg, the night train (no longer in existence, I believe) to Tallin and the ferry back to Helsinki.


https://flic.kr/s/aHsjoVpwXX
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Old Jul 9th, 2021, 06:14 PM
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I have been to Helsinki, Sweden, Norway and Denmark all too many years ago to contribute much of value on them - just a few teenage memories because it was like 35 years ago - but we went to some of the German Baltic ports just a few years ago (Wismar and Schwerin) and my memories of them and notes are good. When the cruise ships dock in Germany the port is Warnemünde near Rostock and they sell day tours to Berlin from there. Let me tell you, Berlin is not really accessible from that port. It's a three hour journey one way and then you have to be back by early evening. Berlin is a separate trip and takes several days to see it, at least in part, because you could visit it several times as I have, and still not see everything. So if you decide to see the German coast on your trip, Wismar, Schwerin, Rostock and Stralsund are all attractive and have the brick gothic architecture, which makes them quite different from anywhere else in Germany. We drove the brick gothic route from Luneburg to Parchim and it was a very interesting experience.

While they get quite a lot of German tourists in the coastal cities, you may find that there is not much English infrastructure, as this is not only regional Germany but the former East, and the second language for many people is still Russian. We were OK because I speak fluent German and my husband gets by, but we had to take my daughter to a doctor while we were staying in Wismar and she did not have any English but spoke fluent Russian alongside her native German. The Baltic coast is also not as luxe as the North Sea coast, it's just generally a step down from islands like Sylt, but it is in exchange for that an 'undiscovered' part of Germany, very interesting and also quite beautiful. In Wismar, our base, we stayed in "Altstadt Fairmietung", which was three apartments in an old building in the old town. The apartments have most modern conveniences, but if you need English you might want a hotel and there are plenty of those. Wismar and Schwerin are both quite pretty, and when we stayed there it was close to Christmas so there were markets. We did also get to see an island off Wismar, Poel, which is a beach resort in the summer, which was also interesting. We also ate at the restaurant "Alter Schwede", which is a traditional style restaurant - many cities in Germany have at least one of these style restaurants under the town hall (a 'Ratskeller') but Wismar does not have this. In Schwerin you must see all the lakes, which are dotted throughout the city. Schloss Schwerin is on the edge of one of these.

Lavandula



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Old Jul 9th, 2021, 08:15 PM
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I am a big fan of Riga, partly because I am a big fan of Art Nouveau. My trip there started in Helsinki, ferry to Tallinn, bus to Riga. Start here (links at the top of the page):

https://mytimetotravel.wordpress.com...ain-and-shine/

I also have posts on Scandinavia and north Germany, if those are of interest. St. Petersburg was back in 2004, expect there have been some changes.
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Old Jul 9th, 2021, 09:50 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to share your memories about the baltic ports in Germany. I hope we can include it in our trip. I've only been to Munich and that was many years ago.
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Old Jul 9th, 2021, 09:53 PM
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I did see some of your previous posts - so helpful! I think you said that you only spent 2 or 3 days in Helsinki. Is that right? I also am a fan of Art Nouveau, which is why I loved Prague so much. I am looking forward to seeing Riga.
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Old Jul 9th, 2021, 09:55 PM
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Great pictures, Michael. And thanks for the transportation tips. Did you have a private or group guide in St. Petersburg?

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Old Jul 10th, 2021, 01:10 AM
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I also cycled around Denmark which you can hunt out on my name. Copenhagen is a lovely little city and the countryside away from the city can be very empty. There is a big viking ship museum and the national museum worth a visit.
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Old Jul 10th, 2021, 05:23 AM
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I think I had two full usable days. I got an extra day because I had to escape Hurricane Irene, but I lost one because of bad weather. That was enough for me to see the main sites, but with better weather I could have used more time to visit the open Air Ethnographical Museum, and possibly a side trip to Porvoo..
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Old Jul 10th, 2021, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by stricky View Post
Great pictures, Michael. And thanks for the transportation tips. Did you have a private or group guide in St. Petersburg?
We were staying at the youth hostel in the outer reaches of the Nevsky Prospekt. A young man offered his services, and we accepted for that day, our last full day in Saint Petersburg. Otherwise we were on our own, and the guide covered a great deal of what we had seen from just walking around. But he clarified things by filling in the void in our knowledge. This was way back in 1995, and our original impetus for the trip was to see the exhibit of recuperated late 19th century French paintings that had been hidden until that time. We spent only one full day in Tallin, and two truncated days (coming and going) in Helsinki which was out main connecting point only because our transcontinental flight was FinnAir.
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 09:21 AM
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Hi Thursdaysd - I just read your blogpost on Helsinki - great information, thank you. The more I read about Helsinki, the more I look forward to seeing this city.
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Old Jul 19th, 2021, 09:39 AM
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Thanks for letting me know! I hope you have good weather.
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