TransportDay 2: Helsinki and Soumenlinna, Finland
Days 3 and 4: Tallinn, Estonia
Day 5: Tartu, Estonia
Day 6: Haanja, southern Estonia
Day 7: Rouge, southern Estonia
Days 8, 9 and 10: Riga and Jurmala, Latvia
Day 11: Sigulda and Cesis, Latvia
Day 12: Vilnius, Lithuania
Day 13: Trakai Castle, Lithuania
Days 14 and 15: Gdansk and Poznan, Poland
Day 16, 17 and 18: Krakow and Auschwitz, Poland
Day 19: Warsaw and return to Barcelona.
Arrival and visit to Helsinki
The flight to Helsinki from Barcelona departed at one o'clock in the morning. An untimely hour that in addition to cheap saves you the first hotel night although I must say that the experience is not very healthy. I arrived in Helsinki after taking bus 615 from outside the airport terminal and at 5:30 in the morning I was already in the streets of the Finnish capital. I had to parade through a cold city and accompanied by ghosts during good hours.
Tuomiokirkkoi Cathedral in Helsinki
I thought that at noon the thing would change, but no. The city is so quiet that I almost saw the same number of people at 6 o'clock at 12 noon. I dedicated myself to looking for a cheap hostel and the truth is that there is little for cheap in these northern countries. For more inri, the cheapest accommodations seemed to be all complete. I dedicated myself to lying around the city, kicking each and every one of the hostels (not many, by the way) to find them all full.
Finally I went to that international tourism that we found in all tourist cities. More than i of information seems to tell us i of Idiots, come! That's how stupid I felt after having missed the reservation for the first night of the trip. I asked them for advice on where I could stay. Five euros for the service and they found me a pension where a woman rented a room for 40 euros. Considering that I was in a Nordic country and that I was tired of going around, I took it.
If you want to avoid searches and book accommodation in the center of Helsinki you can do the following link without any price increase:Reservation
Before Helsinki opens an island archipelago scattered before her. There are numerous parks that give life to the city and the buildings are of low proportions. There are no architectural styles that surprise us but they do create a beautiful harmony between them.
One of the most curious things is undoubtedly the luminosity The sun rises in those high latitudes. It doesn't matter if the clock shows 5 o'clock in the morning or 11 o'clock at night that it will be the same. It is as if the sun were a careful bulb with the environment saving its energy.
It also surprises the tranquility in its streets, meeting hundreds of bicycles parked without a padlock, the bike lanes are respected, even pedestrians respect it.
Soumenlinna: A fortress in the Baltic Sea
On the second day of my trip I took a walk through the great Helsinki on a day that I did not expect to be so clear and hot. I took advantage of good luck to walk around the market and then head to the port. From there I took a ferry to visit the island of Soumenlinna.
It is one of the largest islands in the archipelago surrounding the Finnish capital. The ferry takes only about 15 minutes and a round trip ticket is about 5 euros.
It is a good getaway for a day. Before the island was a military fortress dominating the baltic sea where today a few families live - a total of 900 people - and it seems that their habits have not changed much since the 18th century. Surprising to see this quiet way of life 15 minutes by boat from a European capital.
The place was dominated by the Swedes, by the Russians and finally by the Finns. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in the early 1990s thanks to the historical and cultural treasure it represents for the country. It is also a beautiful place with a rough coast, the reconstructed ruins of the fortress whose walls palpitate history and beautiful paths where you can spend a pleasant morning.
You will also find more than one house along the way where they offer coffees and pastries with their own homemade charm.
By ferry to Tallinn from Helsiniki
I left Helsinki for Tallinn through one of those ferries that cross the Baltic Sea. There is more than one company and prices differ depending on the speed with which they arrive at the destination.
I had heard stories of ferries in these latitudes where people have a good party, with alcohol free of fees and incredible women. I think I wasn't too lucky. I chose the Viking Line and the Vikings gave me a quick trip across the Baltic Sea to Estonia but unfortunately I am still waiting for some Viking to get up and with a cuba in hand to start dancing in the stern.
When I arrived in Tallinn I was surprised that I had to forget about the jacket and with short sleeves I decided to explore this treasured treasure of Eastern Europe.
I chose before all the cheapest hostel in the city: The Old Town Hostel. More than a hostel it is a couple of rooms with bunk beds and period. A bathroom, a kitchen and no walls. Little more. If you go to your roll and do not plan to stay for many hours at the hostel it is undoubtedly the cheapest: 13 euros. On the same street you will find other options more "delicate" (walls and doors) for a few euros more.
If you want to avoid searches and book accommodation in the same hostel as me in Tallinn you can do so through the following link without any price increase:Reservation
Visit to Tallinn
Walking through Tallinn is a pleasure for the eyes (art noveau, cobbled streets, modernist cafés, impressive women) and also for the gut with cheap and good quality menus.
The historic center of Tallinn
In the Raokoja Square The main point of the city and its oldest streets are concentrated. It is one of those places where one opens the mouth and does not close it until after a few minutes. That has only happened to me in other places such as Krakow, the Obradoiro de Santiago, the Wenceslas of Prague or the Tiananmen in Beijing (the latter only because of its size, little more).
From the Raokoja square, countless medieval streets open connecting the old town with the square and it is best to read the most important points of the guide, forget the map and go on an adventure and get lost and lose yourself again for the fascinating Tallinn
At night, I met a Brazilian I met at the hostel and we enjoyed the Tallinn at night. When midnight approaches the city vibrates with a lot of clubs, bars and lots of alcohol until one looks for the street of the hostel to rest from those vacations so well used!
Tartu: A break for the traveler between Talinn and Riga
Tartu is the second city to visit for travel in Estonia par excellence. I arrived by coach from Tallinn in a few hours and headed towards the University Hostel.
In the same university of Tartu they offer rooms to rent at very reasonable prices. For 25 euros you have a double with kitchen and shared bathroom with two other rooms on the same level. The facilities are new, clean and the price is unbeatable. There are two University Hostels, one a little away from the center and the other right on the same street in front of the city hall across the river.
Tartu is also the spiritual capital For the inhabitants of the country. A beautiful and small Baltic city that, although it does not overflow with the excellence of Tallinn in terms of architecture, it does give off a pleasant atmosphere and enjoys good coffees and terraces to have a drink and watch life go by. It is also full of young people thanks to enjoying one of the largest universities in the country.
Statue in front of Tartu City Hall
The statue of a couple kissing before the Town Hall falls in love with more than one. The beautiful details in each of the street lamps and the cleanliness that governs the streets of the city seems to tell us that the city is a showcase away from the everyday life of the human being.
It has green areas and even a hill with ruins of the ancient city and the remains of its cathedral where you can see the city from the top. The same river that crosses the city through the center also has a couple of beaches equipped for swimming in the few summer days that the country enjoys.
A curious visit awaits you at the same University. This is the punishment cell where students were locked up during the nineteenth century if they misbehaved. These are penthouses that today can be visited and one imagines there locked up by throwing a paper ball or go to know you! On the same walls you can still see pen prints of the same students that such an ordeal touched them.
From the city of Tartu there are good train and coach connections to most points in the Baltic countries such as Tallinn or Riga. In addition, Tartu is an ideal starting point to explore the southern part of Estonia full of lush forests and a place still to be explored.