Baltic – the only European region I haven’t been to

This is the last of the posts in my series about the division of Europe into travel-ready regions. I’ve originally started this series because so many people go to “Europe” not being aware of the size and diversity of the continent, and try to cover too much in too little time. I hope these posts have been useful to some readers.

The Baltic is the only European region I haven’t visited so far. My review is therefore based entirely on hearsay (and the photo’s used here are from Wikipedia). But then again nobody’s been to Mars, yet it doesn’t prevent people from writing about it, and the Baltic is a whole lot closer. Usually, the Baltic states include Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, but since I’ve already excluded Finland from Scandinavia and since Finland  shares a history of Russian domination with the other 3 states, I’ve decided to include it as a “Baltic state” as well.

  • Why go there?
    Tucked away in a quiet corner of Europe, this compact region pretty much leads its own life, seemingly unconcerned by the rest of Europe. Although in relative numbers these countries get more tourists that Italy or France, none of them is a major tourist destination. So if you want to experience life in a small European country in its most authentic form, I’d say the Baltic is the right region for you.
  • What’s it best for?
    The Baltic states don’t share a common language or religion like many other regions do. They do share a calm, reserved character which has probably a lot to do with the local nature – long tracks of sandy beaches on cold shores and dark forests with quiet bogs and lakes, the perfect place for reflection.
  • When is the best time to go?
    Autumn is the calmest season in Europe. Summer tourist peak is already gone and the X-mas business is some time away, and since I think the Baltic is best for relaxing, why not experience it at its calmest – in September-October, when the simple melancholy of a small European capital or a bog at the end of the world are entirely yours?
  • How to get around?
    The distances are quite small here, so a local bus can easily be your best bet even on cross-border routes.
  • Why is it best to avoid?
    If you’re impatient and look for the fast-paced thrills, you may be better off in more Southern parts of Europe, like the Pyrenees or the Balkan.
  • Where to go if you just have one week?
    The compactness of the Baltic actually means you can spend a week hopping between the capitals, comparing the subtle differences between neighbouring small European countries, spending one or two nights in each. Or treat yourself to a week-long retreat in a remote rural corner the area is so blessed with and spend some time living the country life in the slowest pace in Europe.
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4 Comments

Filed under Europe, Europe by region, Travel

4 responses to “Baltic – the only European region I haven’t been to

  1. We are not the Baltic! You made redistribution! Internet is full of information, You just have find it!!!

    Finland was under the rule of Sweden officially from 1249 onwards. It has traditionally been considered as starting from 1150. The period of Swedish rule ended in the Finnish war in 1808-1809. It makes a lot of years!!!

    Read this:

    Finland under Swedish rule.

    Our Southern and South-Western coastline is “full” beautiful small idyllic towns with Swedish history.

    Three examples:

    Old town of Loviisa and church.

    Hanko.

    Naantali.

    There are many more. We are proud about our history and independence!!!

    • I am well aware of the long history of Finno-Swedish relations. Estonia has also been ruled by Denmark and Sweden and it is usually named “Baltic state”.

      Finland is as you no doubt know is not part of the Scandinavian language family and is therefore excluded from the strict definition of Scandinavia.

      But I by all means do not understand your disapproval of being part of the Baltic region, so perhaps you can explain why this means so much to you.

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