Posted on December 8th, 2009.
It seems like the standard holiday plans for people living in Europe are to visit other typical European countries like France and Spain. Travel between them is convenient and easy. Even Americans, when they think of a European vacation, donâ€™t often consider Eastern Europe and the Baltic region or the northern Scandinavian countries.
When planning their European vacations, more people should take the time to research travel in these areas. They may find that some of these less-visited countries are more affordable. They will also discover the beauty, history, and diverse culture that they are missing out on.
Some of the smaller Baltic countries are the most beautiful and fascinating. Why not an Estonia holiday? Estonia in Northern Europe is bordered by Latvia and Russia. This small country once was a Soviet occupied nation and is now proud to be part of the European Union. The capital city of Tallinn is an ancient medieval town and is still in remarkable shape considering everything the country has been through.
If you take an Estonia tour, you’ll see it has amazing beaches springing from lovely little oceanside towns. The Baltics arenâ€™t the warmest place in the world, so swimming season is pretty limited. An Estonia holiday also offers lush forests, quaint villages, and imposing historic castles.
Another little known gem of the Baltic is Latvia. It, too, spent 50 years oppressed by Soviet occupation. Even though they are still striving to overcome this period in their history, this little country has a lot to offer travellers. Riga, the capital of Latvia, is known as a World Heritage Site. For a Latvian holiday, Liepaja is an ideal destination, with one of the best beaches on the Baltic Sea. Latvia also offers the world’s widest waterfall, Kuldiga, and its own medieval castles.
Although Lithuania has a pretty non-descript landscape, the beautiful cities, its history, and its culture make it worth a visit. Perhaps Lithuaniaâ€™s most famous city is Vilnius, the capital. If you go on a Lithuanian tour, definitely don’t miss this city. Vilnius is a very typical eastern European city and is representative of the countryâ€™s history and culture.
Two other Baltic countries are Russia and Poland and may be a little more traveled than these other smaller countries. Rich in history, beautiful architecture, and unique cultures, both of these countries offer a lot for vacationers.
The remaining portion of the Baltic is Scandinavia, which consists of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland. Although parts of the area extend north of the Arctic Circle, the weather is mild enough to support tourism year round. Cities like Copenhagen, Helsinki, Stockholm, Oslo, and Reykjavik have distinct cultures and architecture and are full of history and never ending possibilities to keep a vacationer occupied.