Hi, first-timer here. looking for tips on how to plan a last min baltics trip bc i just found out i will be heading to UK for work. i will have 9 full land days Aug 16 (Sat) - Aug 23 (Sat) for R&R, and this excludes the flight time from LHR. happy to do open jaw flights from London if makes more sense
i have never visited the baltic countries, except for russia back in 2006. have been to all scandinavian countries except finland. my personal interests include culture, art, architecture, nature, landscape, wildlife, outdoor activities.
scrambling to do last min trip research now so not very knowledgeable and need some wise advice!
1) with 9 days at disposal, i probably should only aim for a max of 3 places/countries. currently am thinking abt one of the following options. which option is better and how should i divide my days between these places?
(option 1) fly into helsinki --- finland + estonia + latvia --- fly out of riga, OR reverse
(option 2) fly into helsinki --- finland + estonia + ferry ride to stockholm --- fly out of stockholm, OR reverse
dont think i can venture any further south than that (e.g., lithuania or poland) bc i think that requires more time! unless i do these two countries and forget abt the rest!
2) the budget airlines i have been checking (from london) is easyjet and airbaltic. honestly prices for both dont look cheap to me at all. are there other budget airlines i should be considering? ideally one that flies out of LHR, LGW or LCY. it sounds to me so far that Finn Air may be the cheapest way for me to get to the baltics. but riga is a problem bc not as many direct connection to london
3) am i correct that the top places to visit in each country is the following:
for finland = helsinki + turku + tampere + lapland + archipelago national park + ???
for estonia = tallinn + ???
for latvia = riga + ???
i probably am still missing some things here - i am sure there are more fun stuff to do!
4) i have read archipelago national park near turku with interest. is it easy to get around this park as a day trip if you dont have your own boat? what animals can you expect to see in august?
5) is the ferry ride from turku to stockholm OR helsinki to stockholm really scenic and worth it? i tried to find pictures of the archipelagos online and sorry if i offend anyone, but it doesnt seem to look as stunning as i hope? so i may be looking at the wrong place :(. for me, one of the stunning ferry rides i have taken are san juan islands ferry in washington state, so i dont know if they are similar or not.
thanks in advance for your help!