Discover the adventurous sides of Latvia and Lithuania on this 13-day journey through two of Europe's hidden gems. Setting out from the bustling capital of Riga, you'll tour romantic medieval towns, immerse yourself in unspoiled Baltic landscapes, and embark on a series of unforgettable outdoor excursions. Explore the biodiverse boglands of Kemeri National Park, cycle along the beaches of the Curonian Spit, kayak past castles on Lake Galve, and end your journey amongst the Baroque grandeur of Vilnius.

Highlights

  • Tour Riga's historic Old Town & Art Deco-style indoor market
  • Follow boardwalks through the wetlands of Kemeri National Park 
  • See Europe's widest waterfall in the romantic, medieval town of Kuldiga
  • Cycle along the windswept Baltic beaches of the Curonian Spit
  • Kayak around the fairytale island castle of Trakai

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Riga, Latvia's Capital Riga
Day 2 Tour Riga's Old Town Tour & Central Market Riga
Day 3 Ancient Traditions at the Latvian Ethnographic Museum & Juglas Lake Garkalne
Day 4 Discover Jūrmala, Latvia's Northern Riviera Jūrmala
Day 5 Explore Kemeri National Park Kandava
Day 6 Tour Kuldīga, Latvia's Most Romantic Town Kuldīga
Day 7 Visit Liepāja, Latvia's "City of Wind" Liepāja
Day 8 Follow the Amber Way to Klaipėda & the Curonian Spit Nida
Day 9 Cycle Along the Curonian Spit  Nida
Day 10 Continue to Kaunas, Lithuania's Second City Kaunas
Day 11 Castles & Kayaking at Lake Galvė, Continue to Vilnius Vilnius
Day 12 Tour Vilnius' Old Town Vilnius
Day 13 Depart Vilnius  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Riga, Latvia's Capital

Riga Old Town
An aerial view of Riga's historic Old Town

Welcome to Latvia! Upon arrival at the airport, transfer to your hotel and get settled in before heading out to explore. The Baltic Region's largest city, Riga was founded more than 800 years ago, and its atmospheric Old Town is home to many medieval buildings, Art Nouveau homes, and Gothic churches.

Day 2: Tour Riga's Old Town Tour & Central Market

Explore Riga's Old Town with a guided tour

Meet your guide this morning for a fascinating private tour of this glittering Baltic capital. Some of the city's most famous landmarks include the 14th century Riga Castle; the Lutheran Dome Cathedral, which was built in 1211; the 15th-century St. Peter’s Church; and the Swedish Gate, a fortification built in 1698 as part of defensive city walls. Other historic buildings you'll see include the Three Brothers, a trio of homes dating to the 15th to 17th centuries, and the Large and Small Guild House, a merchant organization built in the 14th century and later redone in the English Gothic style. 

Continue to the Central Market to explore this spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Site. Opened in 1930, it takes up 778,000 square feet (72,300 m) and remains the largest municipal market in Europe. Here you can wander through the former Zeppelin airship hangars and browse for smoked meats, pickled vegetables, sweets, and trinkets. End your tour at one of the market's many sit-down eateries for a relaxed lunch, then spend the afternoon exploring on your own.

Day 3: Ancient Traditions at the Latvian Ethnographic Museum & Juglas Lake

Open-air museum
A traditional, thatched farmhouse at the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum

Head out of the city today to visit the fascinating Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum. During a guided tour, you'll learn about a typical Latvian farmer’s life over the centuries and have the chance to sample delicious local goods like cottage cheese, homemade breads, and honey.

The museum is located in a lovely pine-tree forest next to the scenic shores of Juglas Lake. Here, a meditative musical experience awaits, with a demonstration of the ancient sounds of the kokle, Latvia's traditional string instrument. Relax and enjoy the concert, then head to a cozy guesthouse nearby, where you can enjoy an evening in the sauna surrounded by the tranquility of the Latvian forest.

Driving distance: 15 miles (25 km)

Day 4: Discover Jūrmala, Latvia's Northern Riviera

Cycle along Jūrmala's sweeping beaches

Your destination today is the spectacular coastal resort town of Jūrmala. Located about 24 miles (40 km) west of the capital, this popular holiday destination on the Gulf of Riga is famous for its elegant wooden homes done in the Art Nouveau style, as well as its long, white-sand beach.

You'll have the day free to explore the town, take a walk along the pine forest dunes, or go for a self-guided bike tour of the area. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant or café, and spend time at the beach, choosing from an endless selection of prime swimming spots. As evening falls, enjoy a traditional Latvian dinner at a local restaurant before retiring to your hotel for the night.      

Driving distance: 34 miles (55 km)              

Day 5: Explore Kemeri National Park

Follow the boardwalks through Kemeri National Park

A short drive west today takes you to the biodiverse boglands of Kemeri National Park. Once a popular Soviet resort, the nearby town of Kemeri has retained its laidback charm and acts as a welcoming gateway to the vast conservation area. The park is known for its sulfur water springs and encompasses large areas of forest, wetlands, and bogs. Take a hike along the meandering 3-mile (5 km) wooden boardwalk to reach a viewing tower, where you can spot rich birdlife and a fascinating collection of native flora that flourishes in the waterlogged landscape.

Afterward, continue west to reach the rolling hills of the Ababa River Valley, where you'll spend the night in style at a historic manor house.  

Driving distance: 50 miles (80 km)            

Day 6: Tour Kuldīga, Latvia's Most Romantic Town

Kuldīga's bridge over the Venta River

In the morning, embark on a picturesque drive through the rolling hills of Courland to reach the 14th-century Kuldīga—considered Latvia's "most romantic town." Join a guided walking tour to see the evocative blend of Kuldīga's medieval architecture, small winding streets, and natural wonders. One of the town's highlights is its riverside, where you'll see Europe's widest waterfall at 800 feet (249 m) across the Venta River.

After exploring the town's charms at a relaxed pace, the rest of the day is free to enjoy at your leisure. As night falls, take a stroll through the historic center and grab dinner at one of the many bistros lining the main pedestrian street of Liepājas.                 

Driving distance: 34 miles (55 km)

Day 7: Visit Liepāja, Latvia's "City of Wind"

Spend the afternoon on Liepāja's stunning beaches

Head to Liepāja today, a port city on the country's west coast. Upon arrival, you'll check into your hotel and then spend some time exploring the city center. Highlights include the Holy Trinity Cathedral, a Lutheran church that was founded in 1742. Inside, the church is painted white with elegant Rococo designs. It's also home to one of the largest organs in Europe, which features over 7,000 pipes. Another must-visit is the dramatic Karosta, the ruins of seaside defensive fortifications built by Tsar Alexander III in 1890.

After some free time to while away some hours at Liepāja Beach—a popular swimming location near town with calm water—you'll return to your hotel and enjoy the rest of the evening on your own. You can discover Liepāja's thriving music scene, which is famous for its many rock bars and discos.     

Driving distance 55 miles (90 km)         

Day 8: Follow the Amber Way to Klaipėda & the Curonian Spit

Klaipėda's bustling harbor

This morning you'll say your goodbyes to Latvia and cross the border into Lithuania to visit the port city of Klaipėda and embark on a guided walking tour. Begin in Klaipėda's Old Town, known for its old cobblestone streets lined with medieval guild houses. You'll then visit landmarks like Theater Square and the Ann from Tharau Fountain, which is dedicated to Simon Dach, a famous German poet born in Klaipėda, and features a sculpture of his muse, Ann.

Afterward, you'll catch a ferry to the Curonian Spit, a long, thin sandspit that runs 62 miles (100 km) between the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon. Dotting this narrow strip of land are sleepy fishing villages, isolated pine forests, and endless sand dunes. Get settled into your hotel in the tranquil village of Nida, and rest up for a day of exploration tomorrow.       

Driving distance: 93 miles (150 km)     

Day 9: Cycle Along the Curonian Spit

Cycle along the windswept beaches of the Curonian Spit

Enjoy the sea air this morning with a self-guided bike ride from Nida to the lagoon-side village of Juodkrantė and back. Along the way, you'll pass a scenery of windswept dunes and stop for a visit at the Hill of Witches. Despite the spooky name, this landmark is actually a collection of wooden sculptures atop a forested sand dune. There are over 80 sculptures made by local artists that depict themes of paganism and Lithuanian folklore.

After a day of cycling, return to Nida for a stroll around the town and a dinner of the local smoked fish and seafood specialties.               

Day 10: Continue to Kaunas, Lithuania's Second City

Street in Kaunas
A street in Kaunas' Old Town

Today you'll continue to Kaunas, Lithuania's second-largest city. Upon arrival, you can take a walk around its Old Town and visit landmarks like Town Hall Square and the House of Perkūnas, a Gothic merchant house that dates to the 15th century. Don't miss a visit to Kaunas Castle, a Gothic fortress built on a hill overlooking the Nemunas River, which dates to the middle of the 14th century.

After touring the town, you'll head to your hotel and have the evening free.

Driving distance: 134 miles (215 km)

Day 11: Castles & Kayaking at Lake Galvė, Continue to Vilnius

Kayak past the stunning Trakai Castle on Lake Galvė

After breakfast, you'll hit the road again towards Trakai. Situated on a peninsula on Lake Galvė, this village, home to about 5,000 people, is as much a scenic national park as it is a town. Here, amid the unspoiled woodlands and lake islands, rises medieval Trakai Castle, the star landmark of the area.

Start by heading to the water's edge for a guided kayak tour. You'll paddle through tranquil waters around islands while enjoying great views of the castle, the Užutrakis Tyszkiewicz Mansion, and the ruins of Peninsular Castle, a fortification located on the south end of the lake and commissioned by the Duke of Trakai in the 14th century. After returning to dry land, see Trakai Castle up close with a tour of the historic fortification, built in the latter half of the 14th century from red brick and stone. 

In the afternoon, you'll continue to Vilnius. The Lithuanian capital sits on the Neris River, dates to the 14th century, and in its heyday was a melting pot of cultures. People flocked here from as near as Poland and as far as Eurasia, many coming to attend Vilnius University. Founded in the 16th century, this was one of the premier learning institutions in Europe. Over the next few centuries, Lithuania was conquered by everyone from Napoleon to Hitler, and it fell under Russian rule after WWII until it seceded from the Soviet Union in 1990. 

Driving distance: 71 miles (115 km)

Day 12: Tour Vilnius' Old Town

The grand Cathedral Square in Vilnius

Spend this morning on a guided walking tour of Old Town, the medieval heart of Vilnius and home to Vilnius Cathedral. Consecrated in 1783 and sitting on the expansive Cathedral Square, this is Lithuania's premier Roman-Catholic church. Moreover, its mausoleum is the final resting place of some notable figures throughout history, including several grand dukes of Lithuania and even King Alexander of Poland. 

Other highlights include Gediminas Tower, a 15th-century defensive castle on the banks of the river; the Church of St. Peter and Paul, a 17th-century Lithuanian Baroque cathedral; the 15th-century St. Anne's Church, another Baroque gem; Vilnius University, which, founded in 1579, is the oldest university in the Baltics; and the Gate of Dawn, the city's medieval defensive fortification, which was built around a chapel that remains a major catholic pilgrimage site in Lithuania.  

The rest of the day is at your leisure. Head back to the Old Town for dinner, where you can toast your final evening in Lithuania with one of the country's famous craft beers.                

Day 13: Depart Vilnius

Vilnius at Sunset
Sunset over the Vilnius skyline

Enjoy a final morning in Vilnius before transferring to the airport for your departing flight. Safe travels!

More Baltic Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Baltic Europe? Check out these other Latvia and Lithuania itineraries, with outdoor adventures, cultural trips, and best-of tours to hit the highlights. 

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