Advantages of a self-exploring tour in the Baltic States.
To travel is to change the atmosphere, to change the environment, to see new people, to see different nature, to taste different water and food, to learn things, to learn how people do things and how they react, what jokes they tell and what past they are ashamed of.
Do you like to plan trips on your own? Me, too. I do it for a living and for myself what we travel with family and friends. You are the one who energetic enough to push the tour. You make them move. I know that feeling very well. When they get used, that you do all the planning, they cannot imagine a tour without you.
To me it is a great feeling – if I will not plan, they will sit at home.
And you like to travel independently. Sound good to me. Let’s see what are advantages of such an approach.
No set schedule.
You will not have to hurry up your group to be ready at 9 a.m. sharp, as your guide will be trampling at the gate of your hotel. No set time for a lunch, no set time for the end of the guided program. Freedom of choice for good and for bad, but it is an advantage of a vacation – no schedule.
You will not have a guide, so you will not be fulfilled with an extraordinary amount of information, legends, stories, statistics and all the things guides are usually giving you. We live in a world of too much information. You are on vacation – put your phone on flight mode and have a rest.
Not only main highlights.
I am a guide myself and usually, we think that the only things we should show our clients are major highlights of a country and/or a city. But sometimes people want to enjoy simple attractions in simple places. They will see something we do not see as guides. When you are on your own you can get to places your guides will never bring you, because they consider that there is nothing to do there.
For example, there are many beautiful National Parks in the Baltic States – Aukštaitija and Žemaityjos National Parks in Lithuania, Gauja and Razna National Parks in Latvia and Lahemaa and Soomaa National Parks in Estonia.
As an alternative to the big cities, you can enjoy the beautiful little towns and villages. In Lithuania, it can be Kedainiai, Anyksciai, or even smaller ones like Prienai and Jonava. In Latvia, you would enjoy Cesis, Ventspils, and Kuldiga. In Estonia – Tartu, Viljandi, island of Saaremaa and its capital Kuressaare.
Activities like kayaking, cycling, forest trekking, picking berries or mushrooms are usually not part of the guided tours. You can go for golf fields, hunting, fishing, air ballooning, parachuting, learning skills like cooking, painting, knitting and more.
You can go to numerous art galleries, meet local artists and learn about their philosophy and life.
You can pick up your own chosen restaurants, simple or luxury, best rates or just the one around the corner from your hotel.
You can get around your own way. Rented car, public transport all are welcome. By getting around on your own you will learn the city while being driven around – you will most likely not remember how you got to places. The Baltic States are well mapped and road signs are good, so it is not a problem to find your way around.
In a next post, I will most probably detail on a number of main places I would do in a private tour.