The Baltic States may surprise you with their impressive range of sites and attractions to see and experience. Visitors from big, hectic cities will instantly notice the relaxed pace of life, and that almost everything is within walking distance. Exploring the diverse and beautiful architecture, much of it listed by UNESCO World Heritage, couldn’t be easier, but the Baltics are so much more than that.
A tempting trio
Lithuania, the biggest of the three Baltic countries, with an amazing 99km-long coastline of sandy beaches and soft dunes, is the official geographic centre of Europe. The country’s capital, Vilnius, lays at the confluence of the Neris and Vilnia rivers, nestled among tree-covered hills – a view that you can thoroughly enjoy on one of the popular balloon rides.
[Tallinn] is one of the most completely preserved medieval cities in the world
Vilnius’ Old Town is one of the largest historic city centres in eastern Europe. The first, indelible impression that most visitors get of the Latvian capital Riga is of its majestic skyline, as viewed from the left bank of the Daugava River. The slender gothic spires of the city’s many churches attest to its long history. The central part of Riga is the city’s economic and cultural core, and a UNESCO-designated World Heritage site.
Riga’s wealth of Jugendstil (German art nouveau) buildings is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Yet equally unique are the many nineteenth-century wooden buildings that have proudly withstood the pressures of commercialisation and gentrification, retaining their place in Riga’s architectural cornucopia. Riga is a lively, spirited, and future-oriented city with its own distinct aura, charm, and style.
Tallinn – the seacoast capital of Estonia – is a rare jewel in the north of Europe, perched in the Gulf of Finland, and is one of the most completely preserved medieval cities in the world. Once a Hanseatic town, the city still manages to retain an Estonian soul and identity. Although not a huge capital – the population of Tallinn is just over 400,000 – the city has it all, with a very rich cultural scene, pleasant atmosphere, and many interesting sights to be explored.
Soul and identity
The Baltics consistently offers attractions for art and music lovers. Today the cities boast excellent operas with world-class choirs and outstanding classical orchestras, not to mention jazz, rock, blues and other popular musicians performing both in concert halls and clubs.
This year’s European Capital of Culture, Riga, should certainly appear on your 2014 to-do list. The city will turn into a major location for festivities, where visitors will be offered numerous exciting events. And the Baltics’ museums are definitely not dusty repositories of the past, but are putting increasing emphasis on interactive displays and modern technologies. The cities’ many art galleries compete with one another, trying to predict the trends of the future.
The restaurant and bar scene in the Baltics complements any trip perfectly. You can choose to dine in one of the picturesque streets or have a cocktail in one of the most famous bars in the sky at the Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija, Radisson Blu Lietuva or Radisson Blu Tallinn, all offering stunning views from their top floors. The cuisine will surprise you with a great selection of local fresh and organic food.
Whatever kind of hotel you value when travelling – designer, boutique, classical, or multi-functional – you’ll find it all in the Baltic States. Radisson Blu has an ideal centrally located base whether you are visiting Riga, Tallinn or Vilnius, with extras including casinos, spas, nightclubs and restaurants.
So, when seeking a perfect venue to host your next meeting or exhibition, consider the Tallinn location for up to 450 guests, Vilnius (600 guests) or well-connected Riga (1,300 guests). Each one is complemented by up to 20 generous breakouts that make perfect venues for congresses, kick-off meetings or seminars.