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They say if you eat a live frog every morning, nothing worse will happen the rest of the day. Well, that’s exactly what happened. About one hour away from boarding our flight, we got a notice that it would be delayed about an hour… which turned into 3. Just long enough to miss our connecting flight with the next plane after that being 7 hours later. So instead of getting to Tallinn at 1 or 2pm, we arrived at midnight. We were known as the ‘midnight people’ after that.
But true to form, the rest of the vacation went flawlessly. As our Exodus company was headquartered in England, we were mostly surrounded by people from the UK. But the war of Independence was long forgotten making it was one of the nicest small groups we have ever had the pleasure of traveling with.
A quick take of our ‘Discover The Baltic's tour & major sights: This was the first time we’ve used Exodus Travels, being more familiar with Gate 1 etc. While they saved costs by avoiding 5 star hotels, and having to drag our own luggage around (twice for blocks over cobble stones), our guide was professional, friendly and efficient, and the destinations were great. I’d highly recommend them for the budget minded.
Tallinn was great. Nice size old town with lots of intriguing smaller alleys to explore and a host of larger historic buildings and museums which are worth several days exploring.
Palmse Manor was historic, bucolic & low key.To us much more relaxed than the tourist swamped bigger sites. You could walk around and feel like you lived there instead of being pushed through. You can see everything in a few hours.
Cesis castle was charming and fun to scamper through, perhaps due to the great guide we had there. While the old section is small, it’s worth an hour or two.
Riga has a large and rich old town section. While you might see some modern buildings, it strangely mixes in well and has an abundance of shops, museums, cafes and large squares with active social life. Worth several days.
Rundale Palace. If you like giant rectangular palaces a city block long in the French Recoco style, and low formalized geometric gardens, then this is your place.
Klaipeda. Small old town that doesn’t have a lot charm, but still nice, and a gateway to some of the surrounding areas like the Curonian Spit.
Kaunas. Very nice old town though smaller than Tallinn or Riga and more formal. Worth a day or two.
Monastery of Pazaislis: Beautiful Italian Baroque church and courtyards. Worth a few hours.
Trakai. Amazing reconstruction of an old castle. We felt like kids in Disneyland. Worth several hours to a day. The surrounding town is small but charming.
Vilnius. Is one of the largest old towns in the Baltics encompassing several architectural styles and worth a few days of exploration.