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Imagine zooming through snow-white Baltic countryside while sipping on a hot Chocolate and kicking your feet up. You snap up photos of mountains either side of you that’s concealed under a blanket of snow while you listen to the snowflakes gently fall against your window. Yes, this does sound like the plot to The Polar Express but you can turn it into a reality. You can experience all of this for around 15,000 EUR with the Trans-Siberian Winter Express where you get to explore great Russian cities such as Moscow, Kazan, and Vladivostok! Or you can encounter three magical winter wonderlands such as Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn for a mere 151 EUR.

VILNIUS

Lithuania’s capital is a hidden gem that is starting to gain a bit of well-earned recognition recently. As so many people love to get off the beaten track these days and explore unique locations, this city is growing in popularity. Though there are tourists visiting this part of the globe nowadays it is still relatively quiet compared to other European cities, especially in the winter months when temperatures rarely reach above -2°.

The view of Vilnius city

The city itself is quite small, compact, and known for its Baroque-style architecture. It’s charming Old Town is bursting with cheap and cheerful coffee shops and bistros in colorful buildings along cobblestoned streets. Some excellent things to do while you’re here on a budget are visiting the Vilnius Castle Complex, Puskin Memorial Museum, and the Kitschy Market.

January weather: 11 days of rain, Average temperatures -2° / -7°
2 star hotel: Double room 26 EUR
Regular coffee: 2.30 EUR
Budget dinner: 4.50 EUR
Public transport: 1.00 EUR
Not to be missed: Trek through the snow to the top of Hill of Three Crosses.
Website: https://www.govilnius.lt/visit-vilnius

RIGA

Latvia’s capital is sandwiched between Lithuania and Estonia. This is the most popular city in the Baltic region for tourists to come to visit. Since this city can get quite crowded from tourists in the summer months, visiting in the winter gives you the chance to snap up some world-class photos in one of the most picturesque cities in Europe. You will also see a noticeable drop in prices for accommodation this time of year.

The old town of Riga at night

You can spend hours uncovering all the Medieval streets of the Old Town here. While you’re doing this you can embark on an adventure to find the best food in town, beware as you will be struggling to pick a winner at the end due to the amazing food scene here. The weather can get quite harsh here in the winter but luckily you can warm yourself up at the fascinating War Museum and “Money World” at the Latvia bank for free.

January weather: 9 days of rain, Average temperature -1° / -6°
2 star hotel: Double room 32 EUR
Regular coffee: 2.60 EUR
Budget dinner: 5.05 EUR
Public transport: 1.15 EUR
Not to be missed: Walk to the top of the National Libary and view Riga covered in snow.
Website: https://www.latvia.travel/en/city/riga-8

TALLINN

The northernmost city of the lot is the definition of a winter wonderland! This is the capital of Estonia and is quite famous around the world for is the charming Christmas Market which takes place from the 20th of November – 5th of January at the Town Hall Square. This astonishing city is enough to put Scrooge himself in the Christmas spirit. If you have some extra cash leftover you can take a 2-hour ferry across to the photogenic city of Helsinki

Tallinn covered under a blanket of snow

Getting lost in the adorable Medieval Town is just about the best thing you can do here! After wandering through one or two streets you will think you took a wrong turn and ended up in a Disney fairytale. Since the entire Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, you would expect food and attractions to be expensive, but that’s not the case. This is one of the best budget-friendly cities in Europe and there’s plenty of free activity such as climbing to the top of Toompea hill or admiring the old town walls.

January weather: 13 days of rain, Average temperature -1° / -7°
2 star hotel: Double room 33 EUR
Regular coffee: 2.75 EUR
Budget dinner: 5.10 EUR
Public transport: 1.80 EUR
Not to be missed: Get in out of the cold at Kadrioorg Art Gallery.
Website: https://visittallinn.ee/eng

PRICES

04 Jan. London Luton – Vilnius: 20.00 EUR


04-07 Jan. The Black House: 49 EUR


07 Jan. Vilnius – Riga: 14.00 EUR.

https://www.omio.ie/search-frontend/journey/bus/1576640516/REFAD590C319374CBBB96E1CFF2D1E8493/-8618901380529197374?locale=en

07-09 Jan. MyHostel Maskavas: 35.00 EUR

09 Jan. Riga – Tallinn: 11.00 EUR

https://www.omio.ie/search-frontend/journey/bus/-2087309221/RE93E27C9A42344482A7D21E43B2AC970E/6529493554639472126?locale=en

09-12 Jan. Hostle Sauna Old Town: 60.00 EUR

12 Jan. Tallinn – London Gatwick: 34.00 EUR

TOTAL: 151 EUR p/p based on two people sharing.

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