Since regaining independence in 1991 and joining the EU, beguiling Lithuania and beautiful Estonia are true rising stars on the travel to-do list. These wonderful countries burst with a rich and colourful history; from their capital cities to the surrounding forests, dotted with manor houses and medieval castles; to acre upon acre of Rococo churches; from emerald lakes to the pristine rivers, there’s a visual and untouchable vibrancy throughout the two Baltic cities of Riga and Tallinn.
The setting for Riga really has to be seen to be believed. Here, the architecture is so beautiful it dazzles and the river is the deepest shade of blue. Sitting on the glorious south coast of the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava, the blissful river views are accompanied by a jigsaw puzzle of Hansel and Gretel houses, with its strip of Mr Kipling iced roofs and yellow frescos.
Travelling by luxury coach to Tallinn, Estonia’s mesmerising beauty lies in the leafy green plains, where the sun lights up the pastel-painted villages, mansions adorn the horizon, vast natural areas present a David Attenborough-worthy roll call of waterfalls and national parks with the UNSECO Old Town of Tallinn rising up in all its historical and cultural glory. Our favourite city hotspot is the 1404 Gothic town hall. The lovely Freedom Square lies at its heart, featuring St. John’s Church, an underground shopping centre and a Victory Column honouring the Estonian War of Independence.