The Baltic states, also known as Baltic countries, or simply the Baltics, consist of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in north-central Europe. Located on the eastern edge of the Baltic Sea, the Baltic countries aren’t Nordic or Scandinavian, but enjoy close ties with both. These three countries were occupied by the Soviet Union from 1940 onward, but gained independence from the former USSR in 1991 and are now proud members of the European Union.
Did you know? The Nordic-Baltic Eight or NB8 is a regional cooperation that includes Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden. The cooperation hosts regular meetings of the countries’ prime ministers, foreign ministers and other political roleplayers who work together to resolve regional issues and review international topics that impact on their domain.
Estonia borders the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland and boasts diverse terrain that includes plenty of lakes, forests, striking beaches and 2000+ islands. These islands are dotted with stoic hilltop fortresses, churches and beautifully preserved castles. The 45,339 km2 country is home to 1.3 million people and the capital of Tallinn is the largest in the Baltics, and also the best preserved medieval city in all of Northern Europe. Historically and geographically it has a lot in common with Latvia and Lithuania, but it has a singular heritage wholly its own. Visitors can look forward to fresh farm-to-fork cuisine, wonderful hiking trails, uniquely Estonian spa treatments, thrilling water parks and a fascinating seafaring culture to explore.
Flanked by Lithuania, Estonia and the Baltic Sea, Latvia offer visitors an enticing combination of historical sites and newly-minted travel destinations, ranging from beautiful beaches with large spa hotels, stoic Soviet reminders flanked by gorgeous art nouveau architecture and ancient castles, to interactive museums and local cooperatives promoting indigenous crafts, food and music. At 64,589 km2 the country may be small, but Latvia nevertheless offers plenty of personal space, with vast tracts of sprawling forests and unspoiled nature ideal for trekking, hiking and cycling. The Latvians are also the most artsy of the Baltic bunch, so visitors can look forward to lots of festivals and convivial cultural happenings. Click here, to get to know Latvia.
The Republic of Lithuania is the third of the Baltic states and comprises 65,300 km2 that is home to approximately 2.9 million citizens who mainly speak Lithuanian. The petite republic is a nature lover’s delight but also boasts urban attractions in equal measure. Bird-rich coastal wetlands, the sweeping Baltic coastline and beautiful national parks beckon adventurers who come to explore the Lithuania’s beautiful terrain, while the bustling capital of Vilnius offers a multi-faceted cultural experience along cobbled streets lined with baroque churches, Soviet remembrance sites, contemporary eateries and after-hours revelry destinations. There are so many reasons why we love Lithuania and you will too!
Pssst! The ever-popular Northern Explorer tour takes you to all three Baltic countries!