A comprehensive guide to one of Europe's most fascinating regions. There are definitive accounts of the up-and-coming city-break destinations of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius as well as full coverage of the countries' unspoilt lakes, forests and national parks. For every city, town and village there are insider's reviews of accommodation, restaurants and nightlife and for outdoor enthusiasts there is practical advice on the best places for hiking, canoeing and birdwatching. Included are over 50 maps and 24 pages of colour photographs.
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Transport in the Baltic States presents no real hardships, providing you’re prepared to put up with badly surfaced roads or don’t mind travelling in rural buses that look as if they belong in a transport museum. Gloomy, Soviet-era hotels are everywhere outnumbered by spanking-new establishments offering high standards of accommodation at slightly less than Western-standard prices.
Even though the three national capitals are beginning to take off as popular city-break destinations, the volume of visitors remains low by Western European standards, leaving you with the feeling that there’s still much to be discovered.
When to go
Late spring and summer are the best times to visit the Baltic States, when there’s usually enough fine weather to allow you to stroll around the cities and make significant forays into the great outdoors. On the whole though, the only thing that’s predictable about the Baltic climate is the deep, dark winters – in all other seasons the weather can be changeable in the extreme.
Summers are relatively short (roughly mid-June to late August), and although you may well experience a string of hot, dry days during this period, showers and chilly nights are equally likely. Remember to pack a waterproof jacket and warm sweater alongside your favourite T-shirts.
Temperatures cool down rapidly from mid-September onwards, although autumn can be an extraordinarily beautiful season in which to travel, with the golden-brown leaves of deciduous trees contrasting with the dark-green pines.
The first snowfalls can come as early as mid-November, and by early to mid-December winter sets in with a vengeance. Average daytime temperatures can remain below zero right through until March, plummeting to minus 15–20°C in particularly cold spells. Winter can of course be a magical time, with lakes, rivers and large expanses of the Baltic Sea freezing over, and crunchy snow cover adding an air of enchantment to medieval city centres. However, rural areas can be difficult to get to without a 4WD vehicle (only the main highways are ploughed), and you’ll have to be well togged up in order to endure anything but the shortest of walks. Wherever you are in winter, some form of hat or head covering is absolutely essential.
Even when the spring thaw sets in, the countryside can remain grey and barren until well into April (or even May in northern Estonia), when a sudden explosion of colour transforms the landscape. The countryside takes on a green lushness, drawing cattle and horses out from their winter barns, while city dwellers indulge in a frenzied stampede for the pavement cafés.
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Buchbeschreibung Rough Guides Undated. Paperback. | B Format (7¾" x 5¼"). 475pp. | In the Rough Guides series. Illustrated with colour photographs. From the introduction: "The Baltic States - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - are far from being the grey Soviet-scarred republics that many people imagine them to be. For a start, they're graced by three of the most enthralling national capitals in Eastern Europe, each highly individual in character and boasting an extraordinary wealth of historic buildings, as well as an expanding and energetic nightlife and cultural scene. Outside the cities lie great swathes of unspoiled countryside, with deep, dark pine forests punctuated by stands of silver birch, calm blue lakes, and a wealth of bogs and wetlands, all bordered by literally hundreds of kilometres of silvery beach." For more photos or information, use the «Ask Bookseller» button and I'll be pleased to help. The book is in stock and ships from the rustic nirvana of Peasedown St. John, near Bath, England from a long-established bookseller - guaranteed by my reputation and the UK Distance Selling Act. Remember! BUYING THIS BOOK means my Jack Russells get their supper! Condition :: Good. A reasonable reading copy only. Notably rubbed at the outside edges of the cover and spine. Edges of the textblock lightly soiled. Text bright and tight. Artikel-Nr. 162795