After the ASEAN Explorer earlier this year, I planned a second major trip for this blog and this time I’m covering North-Eastern Europe and explore Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, in combination with a trip to home to Northern Germany! I have never been to the Baltics or Poland and am excited to see these places!
The Baltics have been on my must-see list ever since the opening of the Iron Curtain, but flights were not that easy for a shorter trip. With a family trip to Germany planned and a number of promotions to complete, the trip came finally together! I was always curious, how these cities had developed since the opening of the East and wanted to learn about their history, especially the more recent one!
The trip is starting in Helsinki, Finland. I’d only been on a business trip in the middle of winter and it is a completely different experience in summer, being able to walk about the city in the daytime and enjoy dinner or drinks outside in the many pedestrian areas!
The next stop, getting there by ferry, is Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I’d heard about the city for years and seen pictures of the beautiful old town, so I was eager to see it with my own eyes. I picked two hotels close enough to explore everything on foot.
I like traveling by boat, train or bus, because it allows me to see more of the country than flying over it. So, Lux Bus it is to Riga, the capital of Latvia. It also has a picturesque old town for more exploration. All of the Baltic countries are now part of the European Union, including the Schengen area (no passports needed) and the Euro area (no currency exchange needed!
Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania will complete my tour of the Baltic republics. They are one of the fastest growing, developing and changing regions of Europe and despite there centuries long history, they also represent the “new” Europe, having emerged from behind the Iron curtain only at the end of the last century!
Warsaw, the capital of Poland, is the largest city so far on the trip. With more than 1,7 million people, it’s more than 3 times the size of the Baltic cities. It has an equally long history, often intertwined with the Baltics, and started restoring many historic buildings of the old town after the war, so I was excited to see it!
My final city to visit for the first time on this trip is Krakow – it is praised as one of the most beautiful cities of Poland and I will be doing lots of sightseeing there as well. It also is close to the site of the darkest part of European history – the memorial at the concentration camp Auschwitz/Birkenau!
From Krakow, my trip home is taking me via one of my favorite cities in Europe: Berlin! I have been a few times, it is the most exciting city in Germany and has become a tourist favorite as well. Compared to other capital cities like London or Paris, it’s very much underrated by travel bloggers and the press! It’s one of the most vibrant cities in Europe these days and there is so much to see!
You can see the outline of the trip, including the hotels I stayed at and the many sights on my special Google Map (click here). You can click on the highlighted city names above to read my detailed reviews of the destination, some of them still to come!
Part of a “blog trip” is to review many hotels and complete a few promotions in the process. Check out my post Power of Promotions – Baltic Edition to read how I’m saving money and gaining elite status on this trip – and how those plans worked out in Promotion Success!
You can also find the details on my travel and hotel spend and how to save on a trip to the Baltics: Baltic Explorer – By the Numbers!