Exploring the Baltics – 5 Places You Can’t Miss in Northern Europe!

by Jon Miksis
Baltic region of Europe
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There are so many beautiful countries to explore in the Baltics

Are you a history lover who enjoys learning about different cultures? Do you admire medieval architecture and scenic coastline? If so, you should consider visiting the Baltic Region of Northern Europe.

The Baltics are where old meets new, Gothic meets Baroque, and culture meets innovation. Check out the 5 cities below to discover the pristine beauty and rich heritage of the Baltics.

*Note: This list is in no particular order – beauty is in the eyes of the beholder!

1. Riga, Latvia

Riga Latvia
Riga, Latvia is among the top destinations in the Baltics.

If you’re seeking an enriching cultural experience, look no further than Riga. As the largest Baltic capital city, Riga is a cultural and historical hub of Northeastern Europe.

For over 800 years, Riga has withstood the test of time through geopolitical turbulence, making it the dynamic, UNESCO World Heritage Site it is today. Riga is a vibrant, cosmopolitan center where medieval cobblestone intersects Art Nouveau. Aside from its history and culture, Riga’s coastal charm also offers a gratifying, culinary experience!

2. Visby, Sweden

Visby Sweden
Visby, Sweden is a popular destination on many Baltic cruises.

Situated on the Swedish island of Gotland, Visby is a medieval Nordic town and popular destination, especially among Scandinavians. Enclosed by a 700-year-old city wall, Visby has played a key strategic and commercial role in the Baltic Sea from the Viking Era through today.

A hot-spot for visitors from June to August, Visby is known for its Medeltidsveckan (“Medieval Week”), a large medieval festival comprised of events such as jousting, street performances, and concerts. During these fun festivities, everyone dresses up in traditional Swedish attire – just like in medieval times! Be sure to visit Visby when Medieval Week is in full swing!

3. Saint Petersburg, Russia

Saint Petersburg
Saint Petersburgh, Russia

As Russia’s second largest city, Saint Petersburg is the modern, cultural capital of the country. Despite tensions between Russia and the West, Saint Petersburg’s tourism has stayed above the fray. Saint Petersburg’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to one of the world’s largest art museums, the Hermitage.

From its charming streets and extravagant architecture to its world-class opera and nightlife, the imperial city of Saint Petersburg is a cultural treasure that you cannot miss!

4. Tallinn, Estonia

Tallinn Estonia
Tallinn, Estonia

As the capital of Estonia, Tallinn is one of the best preserved medieval cities in all of Europe. For many centuries, Tallinn was occupied by foreign forces, shaping its identity as an eclectic trading hub. Tallinn’s distinct heritage and flair is vibrantly on display today.

Dubbed the “Silicon Valley of Europe”, Tallinn has a booming start-up scene that is home to thriving international companies like Skype. Though relatively petite in size, Tallinn is rich in culture and history, undoubtedly making it one of Europe’s most underrated destinations!

5. Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki Finland
Helsinki, Finland

As the capital and most populous city in Finland, Helsinki is widely regarded as one of the world’s most livable cities. Characterized by its picturesque cityscape and landscape, Helsinki is home to an array of immaculate islands and parks. The Helsinki archipelago is comprised of more than 300 islands, perfect for a nature outing.

Whether you’re looking for an urban outdoor adventure or a riveting nightlife experience, Helsinki should be at the top of your Baltic bucket list!

The list continues of places to explore in the Baltics

This list is by no means comprehensive, and just scratches the surface of the Baltic Region. Therefore, you’ll need to set aside ample time to experience all that the Baltics have to offer. Whether you’re a millennial-minded nomad chasing a thrilling backpacking adventure, or a seasoned traveler seeking a unique cruise itinerary, the Baltics will enchant and inspire you.

Planning a trip to Europe in 2019? Looking for travel inspiration to discover the most beautiful cities in Europe? If so, I recommend checking out my travel guides and itineraries for Barcelona and Verona:

Jon is a travel writer and photographer from Boston, Massachusetts. He is the owner of the @Global.Viewpoint Instagram page, which seeks to inspire others to travel and see the world with a global viewpoint.

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