Alright kids - get out your boxing gloves. The Baltic countries are in the ring, duking it out in the ultimate challenge. In each country I have met fellow travelers who have given me their opinion on which they like better. What’s so funny is that each person has a completely different people from the next. Each separate country has plenty of fans. Here are my pros and cons to every country:
Pros: Vilnius is a great city to start your Baltic experience with. The town is small, quaint and feels the less touristy of the three places. The people are down to earth. There are many churches to visit and they are all gorgeous on the inside. The Lithuanian beer is amazing! The fried bread with cheese and mayonnaise is delectable. It is the cheapest of the three countries. The beach at Klaipeda is absolutely gorgeous. It has the coolest sculpture garden at the center of Europe which is definitely worth a visit.
Cons: If you hate small towns you are going to be miserable. It also has the least amount of nightlife out of the three so if you are looking to party hard then you might be a bit let down when you get there.
Pros: Larger city, excellent night life. There is always a place to go until the wee hours of the morning. The public transport was decent and it was really easy to go to the national park and the beach. The buildings have gorgeous architecture with really intricate designs. There are really tasty restaurants everywhere you go, and the cafes have banging coffee.
Cons: In my opinion there is really nothing special about this city. It is very commercialized and just blah. Although there are people that would argue with me about this and I am ready to accept the challenge. Also, unless you are staying in a hotel you are probably not going to get a decent night’s sleep since most of the hostels involve partying people (which could be a pro depending on how your roll) There are also some definite shady areas and people that you have to look out for.
Pros: In my opinion, Tallinn is the prettiest of the three capital countries. The buildings are old and the colors are quite lovely. The church bells add a nice charm to the place on a Sunday morning. It’s a great city to just wander around. There is also so much to do inside and outside the city. The national park is a good visit, as is the prison tour and the underground tunnels tours. The night life is also decent. The city also has a great medieval feel which I haven’t felt since I was in Edinburgh. There is also an amazing pancake restaurant that has served some of the tastiest, cheapest pancakes I have ever had.
Cons: Probably the most touristy of the three cities I have been to. And old town is really small. Honestly you could do the whole city in just a day or two, but on the other hand it’s a nice place to just chill and do a little bit every day. But I would say Tallinn feels the most “fake” I guess out of the three cities?
My General Pros and Cons of The Baltics:
Pros: The Baltics are cheap! The food is absolutely amazing. And there is so much history to learn about their struggles with Soviet Occupation. Also, because you are so close to Russia you get a semi taste of what that area of the world is all about. The churches are different from any other place I have been. The Russian Orthodox churches are just so grand with all of their artwork, and gleaming gold everywhere. Each capital city has a lovely old town with lots to see and visit. The beaches at each country are clean and the Baltic Sea is quite interesting to swim in being that it hardly has any salt. Swimming in the ocean feels like swimming in the river. English is also everywhere so you will have no problem getting by. The hostels here are cheap and so much fun! I stayed at Jimmy Jumps in Vilnius, The Naughty Squirrel in Riga and Tallinn Backpackers in Tallinn.
Cons: The people can be a bit cold, although I’ve been told that the more you get to know them the more they open up. It’s pretty touristy in all three capital cities, although what capital city isn’t?
So perhaps you are wondering which was my favorite? Aw - that’s my secret, or perhaps you can tell by what I have written. The thing is, each country is so different from the next it’s a bit hard to compare. Perhaps you should get on over here and make the decision for yourself.