Explore the beautiful scenery of the Baltic States national parks on this packed 11-day trip. Visit the medieval capital cities of Riga and Tallinn, explore beautiful nature in Lahemaa National Park, and relax on the white sand beaches of the Curonian Spit. Tour the fairytale Trakai Castle, discover regional architecture in ethnographic museums and see a vast variety of wildlife and plants at Panemuniai Nature Reserve.

Highlights

  • Explore the 14th-century storybook Trakai Castle
  • Visit the Curonian Spit, one of the largest moving dunes in Europe
  • Tour medieval Old Towns, their old-world buildings and ornate churches
  • Discover the beauty of Baltic Region's incredible national parks

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Vilnius Vilnius
Day 2 Vilnius-Trakai Historic National Park-Vilnius Vilnius
Day 3 Vilnius-Dzukija National Park-Druskininkai  Druskininkai
Day 4 Druskininkai-Panemuniai Regional Park-Nemunas-Delta Park-Klaipeda  Klaipeda
Day 5 Klaipeda-Curonian Spit National Park-Klaipeda  Klaipeda
Day 6 Klaipeda-Modedis-Žemaitija National Park-Hill of the Crosses-Riga  Riga
Day 7 Riga Riga
Day 8 Riga-Iga-Gauja National Park-Tartu Tartu
Day 9 Tartu-Lahemaa National Park-Tallinn Tallinn
Day 10 Tallinn-Rocca Al Mare-Tallinn  Tallinn
Day 11 Tallinn  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Vilnius

Panoramic views of Vilnius, Lithuania's capital
Panoramic views of Vilnius, Lithuania's capital

Welcome to Lithuania! Your adventure begins in Vilnius, the quirky and creative capital city. Check in to your hotel, then if there's time head out to explore the city's top sights. 

Visit Vilnius' Old Town, which is a UNESCO Heritage Site and famous for its baroque buildings. Stroll down the old streets, then continue to Gediminas Avenue, where most of Lithuania's governmental institutions are located. This street is also popular for shopping and dining. Enjoy a coffee in Lukiškių Square, then head over to see the Frank Zappa monument on Kalinausko Street 1. 

Enjoy an evening stroll through Užupis, one of Vilnius's oldest district which operates as a semi-autonomous artist republic with its own constitution, national anthem, calendar, and map. The bohemian district offers many restaurant and bar options for dinner out on the town. 

Day 2: Vilnius-Trakai Historic National Park-Vilnius

Trakai Castle in the winter
Trakai Castle in the winter 

Vilnius is home to incredible architecture, thanks to its position as Lithuania's capital for over 600 years. Spend the day touring the medieval Old Town neighborhood, famous for its 1,200+ medieval buildings and 48 churches. Must-see stops today include the Cathedral, Gediminas Tower, Peter and Paul Church, St. Anne's Chuch, the 16th-century Vilnius University, and the Gates of Dawn with the holy image of the Virgin Mary. You'll also see St. Ann and Bernardines’ Church, Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit, and the Town Hall Square.  

In the afternoon take a trip to Trakai, an isolated castle located on an island in the middle of Lake Galvė. This former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania is located in a scenic region of lakes and forests and is a must-see for history buffs. The castle is the focal point of Trakai Historical National Park. These days, it's home to the Historical and Applied Art Museum with an ethnographic collection on the Karaites people, a small ethnic minority native to the area. 

Return to Vilnius in the evening.  

Day 3: Vilnius-Dzukija National Park-Druskininkai 

River, Dzukija National Park
River, Dzukija National Park

After breakfast head out for the trip to Dzukija National Park, Lithuania's largest nature preserve. The area has an incredible wealth of plant and animal species, with 147 species on the country's endangered list. Explore the area's old-timey villages with their archaic layouts, old wooden cottages, and numerous farms. 

Enjoy the local food while listening to locals perform traditional Lithuanian songs in the village of Zervynos, then continue to the Ethnographical Museum in Marcinkonys, which illustrates the lifestyle, customs, traditions, and handicrafts of the Dzukija people. 

Head to Druskininkai, the country's famous resort town, before stopping at Grutas village to visit Grutas Park—an open-air exhibition of the Soviet era sculptures and monuments. 

Arrive in Druskininkai, then check in to your hotel before enjoying dinner at the hotel restaurant. 

Day 4: Druskininkai-Panemuniai Regional Park-Nemunas-Delta Regional Park-Klaipeda 

Small Village in Panemuniai Regional Park
Small Village in Panemuniai Regional Park

In the morning hit the road for a trip to Klaipeda via the Panemuniai Regional Park, which sits on a narrow belt of land on the banks of the Nemunas river and is famous for its picturesque valley and beautiful castles. Stop at the Nemunas Delta Regional Park, a maze of straits, unique islands, floodplains, and wetlands as well as forests on the shore of the Curonian Lagoon, a for a short visit.

Continue to Vente Horn, a midway stop for many migrating birds. One of Europe's first bird-banding stations is located in Vente and is still operational. From here make your way via Šilute to Klaipeda, then check into your hotel in town. 

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Day 5: Klaipeda-Curonian Spit National Park-Klaipeda 

Nida
Nida seaboard

In the morning enjoy a city tour of Klaipeda, Lithuania's main seaport, to see the Theater Square and the Old Town. Klaipeda became part of Lithuania in 1923 and has a long and rich history as a German town called Memel. Enjoy a walking tour of the town to see the narrow cobblestone streets and the old guild houses. 

From Klaipeda take a short ferry to the Curonian Spit, a thin stretch of land between the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon. Spend the day exploring the small fishing villages, pine forests, and endless sand dunes. 

Your first stop of the day is the Hill of Witches in Juodkrante to see a hundred fanciful and folksy wooden sculptures scattered along a forest path. From here continue to Nida to visit the high dunes and Thomas Mann's summerhouse. You'll also stop to see the Amber Gallery and old ethnographic cemetery. Enjoy dinner in the charming seaside resort town before returning to Klaipeda. 

Day 6: Klaipeda-Modedis-Žemaitija National Park-Hill of the Crosses-Riga 

Hill of crosses
Hill of crosses 

From Klaipeda head to Samogitia National Park and explore the natural landscape on a 3 mile (5 km) hike around Lake Plateliai. Stop and see the rare stones museum in Mosedis where rich collections of unique stones and pebbles of Lithuania and rock boulders from the Baltic region are kept. This national park is a real treat, with glacial lakes, forested hillsides, vast marshlands, and a wide variety of bird and animal species. 

One of the park's most impressive natural landmarks is the Ash Tree of the Witch, Lithuania's thickest ash tree. 

Continue to Siauliai and the Hill of Crosses, one of Lithuania's holiest Catholic sites. Head north into Latvia and reach Riga in the afternoon, with enough time to settle in and explore a bit before dinner. 

Day 7: Riga

Panoramic view of the Riga skyline
Panoramic view of the Riga skyline

In the morning start your tour of Riga in the Old Town to see the Riga Castle and the 15th-century Three Brothers Houses, the city's oldest dwellings. Head to St. Peter's Church to enjoy panoramic views of the city, visit the ornate House of the Blackheads, and stop to see the 12th-century Dome Cathedral

After exploring Riga's origins continue to the Central District. Tour the Latvian National Opera and Ballet Theater and stop by the Freedom Monument which honors fallen soldiers of the 1918 War of Independence. Stroll down Alberta, Antonijas and Elizabetes Streets to see the magnificent Art Nouveau buildings. 

In the afternoon head outside of town to the Ethnographic Open Air Museum, where traditional Latvian homes are spread out in the forest on the banks of the Jungle Lake. 

Return to Riga in the evening. 

Day 8: Riga-Iga-Gauja National Park-Tartu

Turaida Castle in autumn
Turaida Castle in autumn

After breakfast, depart for Gauja National Park—Lithuania's biggest National Park. Most of the park is thickly forested and interspersed with rivers and lakes. With nearly 1,000 plant species and hundreds of different bird and animal species, the park is a paradise for nature lovers. The area is particularly famous for the Devonian sandstone cliffs along the banks of the Gauja, which in some places are 300 ft (90 m) high. 

Afterward, visit the town of Sigulda. Often called the Latvian Switzerland for its famous winter sports resort, Sigulda is a popular traveler destination. Tour Turaida Castle and Krimulda Church, Latvia's oldest with construction from the early 13th century, as well as the ruins of the 13th century Crusader Castle in Sigulda.

Stop to see the spectacular Gutmana Cave, the largest in the Baltic area, then make your way to Tartu in time for dinner. 

Day 9: Tartu-Lahemaa National Park-Tallinn

Beautiful swamp in Lahemaa National Park
Beautiful swamp in Lahemaa National Park

In the morning explore the city on a combination bus and walking tour. Tartu is Estonia's second largest city and is known as the town of students. The tour includes stops at the city's major landmarks, including the 17th-century Tartu University, Toome Hill Park with its monuments, sculptures, and ruins of Gothic Dome Church and the monument of Gustavus II Adolphus—the king of Sweden. Get a panoramic view of the town and Janni Church, then head to the Town Hall Square to see neo-Classical architecture. 

 A short drive outside of Tartu is Lahemaa National Park, Estonia's best-known nature destination and its largest park. Lahemaa covers a vast area of thick forests, rugged coastlines, meadows, swamps, and numerous freshwater lakes. The park's two most-visited areas are the pine-forested sandy plains of Koljaku-Oandu and the 7,000-year-old bog in Laukasoo Reserve

The park is also home to an astounding richness of wild animals, including bears, wolves, and lynx. Visit the Palmse Manor, originally part of St. Micheal’s Nunnery. 

Continue to Tallinn and arrive in time for dinner. 

Day 10: Tallinn-Rocca Al Mare-Tallinn 

Old home in the ethnographic museum
Old home in the ethnographic museum

Spend the day exploring Tallinn, the medieval capital of the Baltic States. Start your tour in Tallinn's Old Town, where cobblestone streets and medieval walls surround the restored homes. Continue to the Toompea Hill Castle, home to the Estonian Parliament, then visit the Cathedral of Saint Mary the Virgin and the 19th-century Alexander Nevsky Cathedral

Head to the Town Square to see the 15th-century Town Hall and Europe's oldest continuously operating pharmacy, which has been open since 1422. These days the building houses a museum. 

After a full morning head to the Maiasmokk Cafe, Tallinn's oldest cafe, for a traditional Estonian meal. After lunch, head to Rocca al Mare, an ethnographic open-air museum, to see reproductions of typical farmhouses set in beautiful natural surroundings. 

Day 11: Tallinn

Tallinn Old Town
Tallinn Old Town

Enjoy your last breakfast in the beautiful city, then finish up last-minute souvenir shopping before connecting to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels! 

Map

Map of Baltic States National Parks - 11 Days
Map of Baltic States National Parks - 11 Days