Proposed Baltic Itinerary

Old Nov 8th, 2009, 09:07 PM
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Proposed Baltic Itinerary

We're a mature (chronologically speaking) couple who Interacting with locals, walking through quaint towns and exciting cities, soaking up the local ambience. We're taking a Baltic cruises next August that begins in Copenhagen (cruises to Tallen for a day, St. Petersburg for 3 days, Helsinki for a day and disembarks in Stockholm).
So I'm considering the following Itinerary:
Fly USA to Copenhagen and fly on to Riga, Latvia
3 days in Riga, then fly to Vilnuis, Lithuania
3 days in Vilnius then fly to Copenhagen
2 days in Copenhagen then board Silverseas Whisper for cruise
3-4 days in Stockholm and then fly back to USA
Including international flights, its about 19 days.
Does it sound too rushed? I've read negative remarks about Air Baltic but they have the most flights and if you don't "catch" an SAS flight on the net at the right moment, the Copenhagen triangle could cost a bundle.
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 03:57 AM
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I'd spend less time in Riga and more time in Copenhagen. IMO Riga can be seen in a day - there aren't a huge amount of sights at all. Copenhagen has more to it and is a more interesting city. I haven't been to any of the other cities so I can't comment on them.
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 04:25 AM
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Hi; We liked Riga. Spent three days there. After reading the type of travel you do, spend at least two days in Riga. If you are then going to Vilnuis, consider the 'bus'. It was so easy. If you take the 'bus' get your tickets a day early. Richard www.eurolines.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/riga http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/vilnius
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 04:38 AM
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P.S. WWW.INYOURPOCKET.COM/ Good downloads of information. Click on the city and then 'instant' for your download. Richard
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 01:01 PM
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The itinerary seems good to me - and it's not at all rushed. 2-3 days for Riga sound fine. How anyone could find there anren't many sights in Riga is beyond me.
I'd dedicate 1 day to Old town:
Start e.g. in front of Hotel de Rome opposite the Laima clock, where Riga's lovers traditionally meet.

Head into Old Town on Kalku iela. Stepping onto a square after some 200 yards, there is the famous Cat House on your right facing the big Guild House. Head towards the big Guild (Hall Liela Gilde) and take a look inside (Meistaru iela). Adjacent to it there is also the small Guild Hall(Maza Gilde).

Continue on Amatu iela towards Dome Square (Domas laukums). The Dome features one of the biggest organs in Northern Europe and is well worth touring a few minutes.

Opposite the Dome, there is Latvijas Radio, the State Radio where the revolution in the early 90ies started. It is facing the Riga Sock Exchange across the street.

Once you step outside the cathedral, head left on Muku iela on the North Side of the cathedral. Turn right on Miesnieku iela and left again into Maza Pils iela (second left, the first is plain Pils iela) that will take you to Riga Castle, which cannot be toured as it's the residence of Latvia's President.

Before you reach the castle there are three famous buildings called the Three Brothers (Tris Brali) in Maza Pils iela Nos. 17,19 and 21, the oldest stone residential buildings in Riga.

From the castle, head back towards the Dome on Pils iela.

Continue on Skunu and later Skarnu iela towards South East and St. Peter's Cathedral. Take a look inside and the elevator to the platform on the spire for a great view of Riga.

From here, stroll a few yards to the West in the direction of Strelnieku laukums (direction of the River Daugava). Adore the beautifully rebuilt House of the Blackheads, in earlier days a powerful guild of bachelor salesmen of German origin in Riga.

You should dedicate some time, to the nearby Museum of Latvian Occupation to get an understanding of the oppressed Latvian history.

Thereafter, continue on Grecnieku iela towards Kungu, where you should turn right and head for the main station.

Right behind it, there is Riga's Central Market (Central Tirgus). It is located in some ancient halls that were used for Zeppelin aircraft and were then rebuilt in Riga. Everything is available here - but be also prepared for some poverty shocks.

The second day could be well spent exploring the Art Nouveau district lining Old Town:

From the monument with the Goddess of Freedom (Milda) - note how she is facing West, a controversial positioning of her during the Soviet days of Latvian history - proceed on Brivibas bulvaris in the direction of the tower of Reval Hotel Latvija.

Turn left into Elisabetes iela and proceed into the Art Nouveau district. Definitely take a look at Alberta iela. Most houses here are in need of serious repairs, but the ensemble of them is still impressive and rated as some of architect Mikhail Eisenstein's best work.

Admire also the impressively restored facade of the Stockholm Business School on Strelnieku iela 4 a.

In the afternoon you may want to take a small excursion to Meza Parks. You could take one of the ancient trams going there (No. 11 from Barona iela) and then stroll towards Lielais Estrade, a stadium-like open-air concert arena where the annual Latvian song festival is being held. Maybe take your return trip by boat, which would drop you near Old Town.

Reserve a 3rd day for either an excursion to the coast (Jurmala) or to the scenic Daugava National Park in Sigulda.
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Old Nov 9th, 2009, 08:36 PM
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Your replies are firing me up for this trip. Is there any advantage to flying to Riga vs Vilnius first and then taking the bus to the other city? Any airline/airfare tips for flights within this region?
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