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  #1  
Old 14 Mar 2009
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Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia in June

Hello All:

I am thinking about spending 2 or 3 weeks touring through Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia this coming June, beginning the first of the month.

I have done just about every other country in Western and Central Europe (including all of former Jugoslavia, Poland, Ukraine, Romania, etc.) but I have no knowledge at all of these three Baltic countries... which, of course, is exactly why I am interested in visiting them.

I would be grateful if any HU members who have toured the Baltic countries could share their experience, suggestions, and advise with me. My main questions concern:

- weather - what is it like during June (especially early June)?
- security - any concerns about theft of the motorcycle (say, compared to Germany, Poland, etc.)
- cost - how does overall cost for food, lodging, etc. compare to the rest of Western and Central Europe?
- servicing the moto - I have a 2001 Honda ST1100, if I need a tire, will it be easy enough to get one?
- surprises - anything I should know, for example, are there any unique rules or highway regulations, etc?

Many thanks in advance.
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  #2  
Old 14 Mar 2009
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My wife and I travelled through these three countries a few years ago and found overall there were no real problems more so than where you have stayed already in Eastern europe, In the cities if your in a hotel you will find most offer secure parking, I found Latvia more expensive generally but all three were on a par with Poland for costs Lithuania being the cheapest at the time. Well worth visiting the Russian monument park if you like soviet stuff. Estonia has some nice towns and cities but a lot of woodland inland but the coastal area from Tallin -west is nice however there are quite a lot of graded gravel roads (considering the bike your riding) Lithuania has excellent roads and very high standard cafes and accomodation along the main routes. Policing can be harsh on tourists for minor speed infringements and can bring heavy fines albeit we never had a problem - but we met two greek lads who had been ripped off for euro 300, for minor 20kmph overspeed and no paperwork with very hostile pair of cops in Lithuania. Weather was very wet when we there that was June but I think it was a freaky two weeks as we had 35 degrees the week before and near 40 degrees coming through Russia. Riding at night /dusk did become more dodgy as seems the norm in Russia and eastern block countries the driving standards are bad and the alchol fueled driving is prevalent in the evenings and at night. Almost everyone we had direct dealings with in all three countries were very helpful, pleasant and inquisitive with the exception of a very harsh and unpleasant man at the border crossing in Southern Estonia when coming in from Russia. Have a great trip its a nice area with lots of interesting history.
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Old 14 Mar 2009
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Hi Jake:

Thanks for that information, it provides a valuable perspective.

Overall, would you say that the three Baltic countries had more of a 'Russian' feel to them than a 'West or Central European' feel?

Michael
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Old 14 Mar 2009
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I have lived in Estonia for a little over a year now and I would not say that it is remotely Russian like.

However, there are Russian people living here and they do have their own cultural inluences, but all-inall, these are countries with their own cultural identity and really should be viewed as such...

I have seen some of Estonia and a few parts of Latvia. These are nice countries to visit. In June, make a point of seeing the Northern penisula of Latvia. The beach bascially starts west of Riga and doesn't stop for another 180 km or so, further west. Sandy and clean. Lovely!! Estonia has beautiful coastal areas, and Lake Peipsi (5th lrgest in Europe) is worth a look, too. Tallin, naturally is worth visiting, as well as other towns and cities (Tartu, Parnu, Haapsalu, Rakvere). Best bit in Estonia for me is the number of nature reserves and wild empty spaces. Such a change from the SE of England!!

Feel free to PM me if you want further details...
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  #5  
Old 15 Mar 2009
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Got to agree with Warthog these countries are distinctive in there own way the cities are very different to Russia and the people can be reserved (to me similar to some Russians we met ) - but very nice, helpful and overall pleasant, The Estonians in the Likes of Tallin seemed -rightfully so - fiercly proud and defensive about there own identity there was a lot of Flags and parades and the like going on some type of celebration of the independence -when we were there but the atmosphere was great the cafes and bars friendly. I remember howevr stopping at a large hotel to the east end of Tallin on the coast which was very Russian in feel. The countryside in Lithuania reminded me of parts of Sweden, Latvia more westernised, and Estonia felt more Finnish, However there are quite a lot of bits and pieces that show the past - where Russia has left its mark with some distinctive soviet era buildings and monuments. Tallin is a stunning European Medieval city yet again more scandic on the new town side. Tartu is a stunning university city on a nice river worth a visit.all three countries are recovering from years of various occupations and have recovered really well and have there own distinct flavour. I will certainly be going back at some time.
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Old 15 Mar 2009
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Warthog and Adv have said it all really.

Estonia, to me, feels very Western European in culture; the landscape is Northern European with its pine forests etc. Great for free camping and the people are nice. Lat and Lith too. The cops in Latvia let me off when they caught me speeding. If you hunt through HU you will find posts with pics and advice from Margus, which may help you.

All these countries are well worth the visit, IMO.
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  #7  
Old 15 Mar 2009
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Estonia

July is probably best bet as warmest and driest, but recent years have really been very mixed around here. Comparing traffic in Estonia and Russia is really not possible as Russia is "wild lawless jungle" compared to Estonia. Police in Estonia is quite reserved in my opinion and you will not be fined without a reason (+5 km/h is tolarated). Now you also won't pay fine on spot in cash but via bank transfer, so if someone asks you to pay on spot something is fishy and always report this kind of behavior (fighting with corruption is high priority). Things have changed a lot in last 15 years.
Cost, Estonia is more expensive than Poland but cheaper than Germany. Lithuania is probably cheapest from Baltic states.
Alcohol is problem and you may encounter drunken folks at free state forest rest/camp sites/houses or elsewhere. It is good idea to keep away from them as we have many idiots who can't behave when drunk (or even when sober). The same about bars in smaller towns or in countryside -- many low-IQ folks around who like to pick fight. In Tallinn and Tartu people are more open minded.

Last edited by Rebaseonu; 15 Mar 2009 at 18:27.
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  #8  
Old 15 Mar 2009
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Again, many thanks to everyone for the great information, it is much appreciated.

Rebaseonu: What are typical temperatures in June (for example, June 15 through to June 30)? I am trying to plan what kind of riding clothing to take (cold weather, medium weather, or summer). Do daytime highs average in the low 20s, or high 20s, or the teens? Does the sea have a great influence on the weather? How common is rain at that time of year?

Michael
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  #9  
Old 15 Mar 2009
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Estonian weather 2008

Here are some stats from 2008, but as said some summers may be quite dry and nice but others very rainy.

June: average 13,7-15,3°C (average over many years 13,3-15,6°C). Rain 43-177 mm (average over many years 33-67 mm). Maximum 27,2°C and minimum -0,3°C.

July: average 15,6-17,8°C (average over many years 15,9-17,2°C). Rain 35-128 mm (average over many years 51-95 mm). Maximum 27,7°C and minimum 2,8°C.

August: average 14,7-17,5°C (average over many years 14,6-16,6°C). Rain 123-243 mm (average over many years 59-95 mm). Maximum 30,0°C and minimum 2,5°C.

Weather web sites (in Estonian mostly):

EMHI (official)
ILM.EE (commercial)
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Old 24 Mar 2009
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Thanks Rebaseonu, very kind of you to provide that information for me.

Michael
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  #11  
Old 29 Jun 2011
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Please update when you get back

I'm planning a Latvian Adventure in July and will be travelling from/rtn Manchester. So are you going on the ferry - where from/to, Chunnel or???
Also I'm planning maybe a 10-14 day trip so will need to cover quite a lot more miles hence only top attractions will make it onto the list. I'd appreciate your findings here due to the below story....

I was travelling a few years ago in NZ and had the chance to visit Lake Waikirimoana (sunken village) and dive it OR go to the Cook Monument. After long debate we went to the Cook Monument passing up on the opportunity to see an AMAZING lake only to find the Monument was little more than a bollard on a chunk of grass!

Funny in hindsight.

CX
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