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Driving from Warsaw thru the Baltics

Driving from Warsaw thru the Baltics

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Old Dec 5, 18, 10:03 pm
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Driving from Warsaw thru the Baltics

I'll be driving from Warsaw, Poland on my way towards St. Petersburg, Russia but will be driving through Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland prior to entering Russia.

Are there any other cities aside from the capital cities of Minsk, Vilnius, Riga, Talinn, and Helsinki to visit in these countries? I'll be driving so any scenic roads or drives are welcome and time is not an issue. Is the Russian territory of Kaliningrad worth a visit?

I'd also love any and all recommendations of places to go,. see, excursions, etc in any of these countries. Much obliged!
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Old Dec 6, 18, 1:35 am
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We drive once a year from Germany to Northenr Finland and made stops at -only naming the one I would recommend- Wroclaw, Vilnius (Amandus restaurant for dinner), Riga, Pärnu (Estonian Spa retreat), Tallin, ferry, Helsinki , Porvoo, Tampere, we also stop at Power Park a day, Oulu. Lithuania is pretty dead outside the capital, gettnig closer to Tallin cities decelop.
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Last edited by aysoo; Dec 6, 18 at 1:41 am
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Old Dec 6, 18, 5:40 am
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Depending on which way you plan on going through Poland you could make stops in Olsztyn, Lomza, or Bialystok, nice old towns. Also, the northeast of Poland is lake country and there are many many little lakeside towns and villages, many linked by picturesque streams that are great for kayaking or just sitting by the water.

As for Estonia, if you need a quiet break, about 40 km east of Tallinn is a village called Neeme with a great little restaurant called Ruhe and hotel (3 rooms I think) with almost nothing to do except stare at the sea.

Originally Posted by aysoo View Post
We drive once a year from Germany to Northenr Finland and made stops at -only naming the one I would recommend- Wroclaw....
Great city but completely in the opposite direction from Warsaw.
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Old Dec 6, 18, 6:39 am
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Originally Posted by nirajshah8 View Post
I'll be driving from Warsaw, Poland on my way towards St. Petersburg, Russia but will be driving through Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland prior to entering Russia.

Are there any other cities aside from the capital cities of Minsk, Vilnius, Riga, Talinn, and Helsinki to visit in these countries? I'll be driving so any scenic roads or drives are welcome and time is not an issue. Is the Russian territory of Kaliningrad worth a visit?

I'd also love any and all recommendations of places to go,. see, excursions, etc in any of these countries. Much obliged!
what passport are you traveling on? Do you have a multiple entry Russian visa? Additionally, Belarus still requires visas for most nationalities when entering via land borders. Also, only Russian and Belarusian passport holders are allowed to cross Belarus-Russia border on land. All others will be turned around and sent to one of international border crossings in Latvia or Ukraine (if there are any open ones left there). Given this information, you may want to reconsider your route
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Old Dec 6, 18, 8:36 pm
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Originally Posted by VitaliU View Post


what passport are you traveling on? Do you have a multiple entry Russian visa? Additionally, Belarus still requires visas for most nationalities when entering via land borders. Also, only Russian and Belarusian passport holders are allowed to cross Belarus-Russia border on land. All others will be turned around and sent to one of international border crossings in Latvia or Ukraine (if there are any open ones left there). Given this information, you may want to reconsider your route
Thanks for the heads up! I'll be travelling on a US Passport so I definitely was not aware of the Belarus visa requirements for non airport entrances. - this may throw a wrench in the proposed itinerary.
The proposed route was to enter Belarus from Poland, then go to Lithuania, then Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and then enter Russia, I'm in the process of obtaining a Russian visa so time will tell if the Russian plans manifest.
Post Russia, the plan was to enter Ukraine and not go into Belarus again.
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Old Dec 7, 18, 4:51 am
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Originally Posted by nirajshah8 View Post
Thanks for the heads up! I'll be travelling on a US Passport so I definitely was not aware of the Belarus visa requirements for non airport entrances. - this may throw a wrench in the proposed itinerary.
The proposed route was to enter Belarus from Poland, then go to Lithuania, then Latvia, Estonia, Finland, and then enter Russia, I'm in the process of obtaining a Russian visa so time will tell if the Russian plans manifest.
Post Russia, the plan was to enter Ukraine and not go into Belarus again.
Belarusian visa is very easy to get directly from a Belarusian consulate or embassy. I would not recommend trying to enter Ukraine from Russia. Those two countries are pretty much at war and many crossings are closed, all air services suspended, etc.

ill be honest, I would not recommend driving to or in Russia, Ukraine or Belarus (for different reasons). Drive from Poland to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland. Take a ferry to St Petersburg. Then if you want to visit Belarus and Ukraine, fly there, just remember: there are no direct flights between Russia and Ukraine and Belarus visa waiver does not work if you arrive from Russia. You will need to arrive in Belarus from an EU country and can then go to Ukraine from there
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Old Dec 7, 18, 5:20 am
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I did a multi month project in Augustow, north east Poland. Make sure to stop at the ParkPub (located in a basement below a building on the central square) for cheap pizza and the 1 meter high beer (sort of over-sized pitcher). They also serve an excellent shot which looked like the polish flag (white vodka, Tabasco, red vodka). It is not on the menu, but with a bit of explanation, they at some point will understand what you want.

If you have time, visit Nida. Take a ferry from Klaipeda. Part of the Island is Russia, but you can travel along the whole island without a visa. Just leave the island towards Klaipeda again (and not at the other end).

In Estonia, make sure to visit Soomaa national park. Aivar Ruukel is a great help, just google him.
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Last edited by Another user name to remember; Dec 7, 18 at 5:22 am Reason: typo
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Old Dec 7, 18, 9:55 am
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Originally Posted by Another user name to remember View Post
I did a multi month project in Augustow, north east Poland. Make sure to stop at the ParkPub (located in a basement below a building on the central square) for cheap pizza and the 1 meter high beer (sort of over-sized pitcher). They also serve an excellent shot which looked like the polish flag (white vodka, Tabasco, red vodka). It is not on the menu, but with a bit of explanation, they at some point will understand what you want.
There are two types of shot like that:
Wsciekly pies (rabid dog): Raspberry syrup, tabasco, vodka
Teraz Polska (Now Poland, a name adopted from an award for successful Polish businesses): Red fruit syrup and vodka only to look like the flag, if you don't like tabasco.

They use syrup to prevent the colours from blending when the drink is presented, but you drink it in one go anyway.
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Old Today, 9:34 am
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Originally Posted by VitaliU View Post
I would not recommend trying to enter Ukraine from Russia. Those two countries are pretty much at war and many crossings are closed, all air services suspended, etc.
+1 👍 The UK Foreign Office advises against all travel to south eastern Ukraine and Crimea and Ukraine has declared martial law along the entire Ukraine / Russia border. Stay away!
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Old Today, 12:26 pm
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Not so much of scenic roads TBH, Think of mostly pine forests, endless agricultural fields,and rolling hills at best.

I do second the Polish lake area as suggested by theSaladDays - in the area also Białowieża Forest (on the Polish-Belarus border) is rather unique for Europe. Another nice area which I personally like (but in a bit different direction) is the Curonian Spit. It would make a cool way to drive, first visiting Kaliningrad and then driving over the Spit, stopping in Nida (the main gateway to the nature park) before hopping on the short 10 minute ferry ride from Smyltine at the far end of the peninsula to the port of Klaipeda in mainland Lithuania. While the Curonian Spit is beautiful, Kaliningrad is decidedly not - but makes for a quirky visit. The city used to be one of Europe's more beautiful cities (when it was still in Prussian/German hands and known as Konigsberg) but after it got completely destroyed in World War II the Soviet utterly ruined it with monstrous buildings instead of properly rebuilding it.

One question back just to make sure you checked this through: I see you are from the DC area, do you plan to do this all with a rental car?

If so, do check the rental car policies as you have two potential issues here. Most rental outfits outright forbid you to drive outside of the EU, and will also have it listed in their T&C that you cannot take a car on a ferry, making a potential visit to Finland also impossible. Some *may* allow you to enter Russia with the car but this will require some big amounts of paperwork to be in prepared and needs advance notice (and will most likely incur a hefty surcharge both for the paperwork, as well as an amount for each day you take it outside the EU). Without the proper car documents (you won't get them with a standard rental!) and written permission to take the car out of the EU you will not even make it across the border with Russia and Belarus as such paperwork will be checked by border guards.
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Old Today, 1:29 pm
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If I was going to do such a trip I would take the Paris-Moscow train from Warsaw to Moscow. Then fly up to St Petersburg and take the ferry or train to Helsinki and a ferry to Tallinn. Then bus or train between Baltics and to Poland. I would NOT suggest driving a rental can any distance in Belarus, Russia or Ukraine! You will damage the car and end up paying for it.
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