From the medieval architecture to the beautiful natural landscapes, the Baltic countries are reminiscent of living in a fairy tale. The Baltic countries are often forgotten by many European travellers, but if you are looking for a journey off the beaten path, the Baltic countries are an excellent option. Whether you’re considering a trip to Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, or even heading across the Baltic sea to Finland, there are so many magnificent venues and cultural activities in this region.
This is a beautiful region of Europe that is quieter and less spoilt than many of parts of the continent, but which is increasing in popularity as the secret is starting to get out. The backdrop always is the magnificent Baltic Sea, with its deep still waters, and stunning sandy beaches. Many of our touring ensembles actually take a boat right across the sea at some point during their trip.
For many groups, the first stop is the ancient country of Lithuania, with its capital Vilnius. For centuries this was known as the Jerusalem of the East: home to a thriving Jewish community, with still many traces of this heritage. Vilnius is the most Central European feeling of the cities: there’s a beautiful old town with church spires, cobbled streets and a castle; but as in all of the destinations, there’s also a dynamic modern city just across the way. The Baltics are dynamic, youthful and have become a centre of enterprise and innovation. It’s a young population with many students, and this creates a palpable energy in the air.
Heading north from Lithuania, you begin to feel like you’re heading into a different culture. Riga is at a crossroads between central and Northern Europe. For centuries it was a wealthy trading post from the Baltic Sea, on inland to the Russian empire. The immense money that passed through is evident in the much grander architecture. There are elegant, wide avenues and parks around the walled historic town; and the best and largest art nouveau district of any city in the world. You won’t have seen buildings that look like this anywhere. The connection to Russia (as well as the former Soviet Union) is quite clear; just walk over to the beautiful bustling central market in the Russian part of Riga and you’ll experience a completely different world.
After Latvia comes Estonia. The three Baltic states are close neighbours and are always mentioned together, but really they’re so different. The Estonian language is nothing like the others and is actually closely related to Finnish. Estonia is wealthy and a high-tech capital of the world. This is where Skype is from, and it’s one of the most Internet-connected and developed societies in the world. Everything is electronic with the notable exceptions of the walls, turrets, towers, and cobbled streets of this old fairy tale town. It looks like it stepped right out of a picture book! Estonians are world famous for their love of singing (the protest movement against Soviet rule actually began with singing protests) and those deep roots can be felt in the Estonian character. In all of these cities musical appreciation runs deep. Big, extremely cultured, and enthusiastic audiences are the norm.
Across the water there’s the glittering city of Helsinki, capital of Finland. Finland is one of the wealthiest and most successful countries in the world. From the position of women, to social care, to education, Finland tops the tables. Helsinki is a slick, cool, stylish capital for such a society. Located on the water, it is elegant, clean, and safe — but also quite beautiful. On your journey through Central and Northern Europe, the breathtaking Nordic design is everywhere.
This is a wonderful, fascinating and exciting corner of Europe. It’s quieter and far less spoilt than other more well-known spots. But that brings benefits: highly appreciative audiences, safe cities, and the opportunity to experience something really different. Each country is small, the travel distances are short and easy, but the variation between them is huge. Each has its own real distinct character and a massive amount of charm.
Our Baltic itineraries are meticulously designed to take in the very best parts of this fantastic corner of Europe, and are delivered with the help of our incredibly knowledgeable tour managers.
Want to learn more about bringing your ensemble to the Baltics on your next performance tour? Speak with one of our tour consultants, and get a free quote today!