Baltic Sea Explorer – A Rail Journey Through Coastal Capitals

The Baltic States—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia—look similar, but each is distinctly different. Learn about Poland’s struggle for freedom in Gdansk, marvel at Art Nouveau architecture in Riga and explore a medieval old town in Tallinn.

You’ll also drive through bewitching Curonian Spit National Park, a Unesco Heritage Site of white sand dunes and pine forests.

Trakai Castle

Trakai Castle is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike. The castle reflects the cultural, architectural and spiritual heritage of Lithuania. The castle is surrounded by a unique landscape of lakes and is often visited in the summer, but it is also beautiful to visit during winter when the lakes freeze and the castle is engulfed by snow. The castle is one of the highlights of the region and was once the center of power for the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

The island castle is a remarkable example of medieval architecture. Its design combines Gothic and Eastern European influences. Its location on an island in Lake Galve gives it a unique charm and appeal. It is the only castle of its kind in Eastern Europe and is an important part of the country’s history. The castle is home to a number of museums and is well worth a visit.

It was first built in the 14th century by Kestutis and then enlarged by his son, Vytautas the Great. The castle became one of the main centres of power in the Grand Duchy and was highly regarded for its military importance.

Visitors can explore the castle’s rooms and exhibits on guided tours. The tours are designed to highlight the castle’s rich history and culture. They are also an opportunity to learn about the country’s traditions and its relationship with the rest of Europe and the world.

During the guided tour, you can see the Ducal Palace, Chapel, Inner Courtyard and Keep. The castle is a popular attraction for visitors from all over the world. The castle is also home to a number of interesting events and performances, including the Tale of the Gifted Heart, a theatrical performance about a young girl who travels to find a magical flower that can cure her sick mother.

The castle is easily accessible by bus. You can catch the bus from Vilnius, and it costs around 2 euros per person. The bus is a good option for travelers who don’t want to rent a car, as it will get you to the castle in just over three hours.


Palanga is a seaside resort town with beautiful beaches, chic restaurants and a vibrant entertainment scene. It’s a great place to relax, spend hours on the beach or watch a stunning Baltic sunset from the pier. The town center is cosy and compact and everything can be easily explored on foot. It’s also home to a magnificent coastal park, where you can walk through pine woods and be close to the sea. The beach is miles long and the water is crystal clear.

Located in western Lithuania, in the Kretinga district, Palanga is 12 km west of the city of Kretinga and 25 km north of Klaipeda. It’s the largest municipality in Samogitia and includes the villages of Sventoji, Nemirseta, Butinge and Palanga International Airport.

The history of Palanga is closely connected to the sea. It has been a major factor in mental and material culture, in trade relations of the locals and influenced their religious beliefs. It’s also a source of legends, from which the most famous include the love story of the sea god Jurate for Kastytis, the enchanted prince of the sea Zilvinas and the fisherman’s daughter Egle or the priestess Birute, the wife of Grand Duke Kestutis.

From the end of the 19th century, Palanga became a popular holiday and health resort. A number of sanatoriums and rehabilitation centers were established in the town. The specialized treatments provided by these institutions helped people recover from diseases, such as tuberculosis, cholera, rheumatism and others.

In 1991, the resort turned a new page in its history. The nationalized buildings and plots of land were returned to their owners, and new modern individual villas were built. The town has become a place where holidaymakers come to admire the beautiful coast and sea bridge, to enjoy luxurious hotels and chic restaurants and, of course, to go diving.

The best time to visit Palanga is in spring or autumn, when the weather is mild and comfortable. In summer, the resort gets very crowded.


Since Latvia regained its independence, Ventspils has become the country’s success story and one of its richest cities. It has a well-developed transit trade and is popular among travellers, attracting foreign investments. The port is modern, diversified and innovative. It offers various attractions, sports facilities, leisure and entertainment, as well as a beautiful sandy beach.

There are a number of unique attractions in Ventspils, including the 600 mm (1 ft 11+5/8 in) narrow gauge Hercogs Jekabs train; a sandy beach and dunes (Ventspils Zila Karoga pludmale); a large observatory with a telescope and digital planetarium (Irbene Radio Astronomy Centre); and an adventure park with a tube sliding track, airsoft shooting range and Mad Rotor. The area also has several hotels, restaurants and cafés.

The city is continually constructing new attractions to attract tourists, from an artificial hill for skiing to a museum dedicated to the life of Soviet cosmonaut Sergei Krivosheev. The city’s Soviet districts and suburbs offer historic sights such as a massive radar installation. Some of the recent architectural work in Ventspils is excellent by Latvian standards, from the city council’s eco-friendly HQ in an affluent villa district to a suburban library that has become a favorite with Russian emigrants.

Despite the fact that Ventspils is a small coastal town, it is one of Europe’s busiest ports and the largest in Kurzeme. The port is also an important industrial center. It is home to factories that produce oil products, chemicals and fertilizers, as well as a number of shipyards. The city is the main transport hub of the Kurzeme region, and there are several railway stations in the city.

The city is featured in the Beyond the Baltic Sea map expansion for Euro Truck Simulator 2 and is served by Baltomorsk and GNT depots, as well as a NS Oil service station and an Eviksi ZS farm. The city is also served by a ferry connection to Nynashamn. It is also possible to rent cars, motorcycles, scooters and bicycles in the city. There are also many shops, restaurants, bars and night clubs.


With its many parks, rivers and canals, Riga has a distinctly green feel. In addition to these scenic attractions, the city also boasts some great bars and restaurants.

Guests can sample the local beer at the House of Blackheads, or head to the Latvian National Opera for a performance. There is also a lot of live music to be found in the city, from traditional jazz to more contemporary offerings. The RITMI festival is a great place to catch some of the city’s best performers.

The city centre features streets lined with Art Nouveau architecture from the late 19th century and early 20th century. This area is complemented by several large public outdoor spaces, including the City Canal and the central Riga park, Bastejkalns. Outside the historic core are private 2-floor houses, some dating back to before World War II, and Soviet-era 5-18 floor apartment blocks, especially near railroad lines.

Riga is well connected by bus and train. Major highways connect the city to Tallinn, St. Petersburg and Moscow, while a number of smaller highways link the city to other Baltic cities. Bus service runs throughout the city, and train stations are located in the northern part of town.

A number of cruises are available to see the sights of Riga. The most popular option is to take the River Daugava cruise, which takes in many of the city’s landmarks and gives visitors a chance to relax on the riverside. There are also cruises to the island of Liepaja, which offers a chance to explore the port and its old buildings.

After Latvia declared independence, the city’s economy shifted to exports of grain, timber and metal products. The city became the capital of a new republic, and its role as an international trade center increased. Its shipbuilding industry flourished, and its ports became the main gateway for cargo flows into the new country.

Visitors will enjoy the city’s pristine streets, well-preserved historical districts and its many museums. The city is also known for its thriving nightlife and numerous bars and restaurants. Those looking for a more adrenaline rush can try one of the many action sports available in Riga. These include bobsledding, AK-47 shooting, bungee jumping from a cable car and drift biking.

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