For many years, the Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania
and Estonia seemed hidden from the rest
of the world. Sandwiched between Poland and Russia,
they are geographically distant from most of Europe,
and over the centuries they have suffered invasions,
annexations and intrusions by Germany, Sweden and
Russia. Since 2004 part of the European Union, tourism
has landed full force in the Baltic States.
When you travel through these countries, you'll soon
see that they have their own distinct cultures, traditions,
landscapes and languages. Like the precious amber
which is washed up on the Baltic coastline, the beauty
of each is hidden until you choose to search for it.
In addition to history and landscapes, some of the
most ancient regional traditions are still kept alive
at special events, such as Estonia's song festivals.
Each country bountifully celebrates Saint's Days and
solstices with dances, singing, processions and feasts.
The capital cities of Riga, Vilnius and
Tallinn each have an individual character, boasting
beautifully-preserved medieval buildings and fascinating
museums reminiscent of their chequered histories.
Lithuania is famous for its sweeping national parks
and thriving plants and wildlife. Latvia boasts Riga
as the largest and most vibrant city in the Baltic
region, and Jurmala is a beautiful seaside
town where you can explore the shores of the Baltic.
Estonia's medieval heritage is amazingly well preserved,
especially in Tallinn's Old Town, which is
listed as a protected UNESCO site. Trying the varied
regional cuisine of each country is also a good way
to learn about local customs and delicacies. Wherever
you travel within the Baltic States, you'll find them
rich in handicrafts, history, culture and natural
beauty, as well as people eager to share them with