Russia has the most romantic soul; the Baltic nations beat with a passion far removed from the bleakness that the name may conjure up. Both regions are guaranteed to expand minds and stir emotions, and provide more than enough attractions to keep even experienced travellers intrigued. Russia is vast enough to allow for all extremes. The landscape ranges from the silvery birch forests of fairytales to exposed and blasted tundra. This is truly a land of contrasts, from the ethereal delicacy of the Bolshoi Ballet, the brooding heft of Stalinist buildings and gloriously domed Orthodox churches, to finely wrought writing and poetry.
Similarly, the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia all share the advantages of being far-flung – unspoilt landscapes and a well-preserved, rich cultural heritage. Riga in Latvia – and its beaches – provides plenty of opportunities for fun, while the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius is a wonderful mix of modern and medieval. Tallinn in Estonia, meanwhile, is a European Capital of Culture in 2011.
Approx flying time (from London)
Moscow 4 hrs, Riga, Tallinn & Vilnius 3 hrs
Time difference (+/- GMT)
Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania +2 hrs, Russia + 2 to +12 hrs
Euro (Estonia), Lats (Latvia), Litas (Lithuania),Rouble (Russia)
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“Russia is not a state, but a world” as a Tsarist proverb says. Russia is a year-round destination, beautiful in the summer sun and winter snow. The Baltics, like the Russian north, share almost perpetually sunlit days in summer, but can be, well Baltic in winter. For the first time visitors I would recommend the Russian Giants combining Moscow and St Petersburg or our Classic cities of Baltics. The Baltic capitals also make a wonderful city break.
View a map of the area below.