Motorhome Facts Forum banner

Estonia - 7 weeks in the Baltic States

17864 Views 17 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  JimmyBee
Just back from 7 weeks in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Will put a brief report together, but in the meantime - any questions on Estonia, fire away,

1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Welcome back ! Don't make it too brief - I want all the details ! I went to Estonia many years ago and would love to go back in the van.

Hi Rick been looking at a website which shows some sites in that area, they seem very cheap, and what are the roads like?

Hi Olley,

I'll give chapter and verse in the next day or so - but to answer your specifics - camp sites few and far between, but very quiet. We were often the only takers. Facilities vary - earth closets and no disposal facilities very common I'm, afraid. Tend to be in the £8 to £12 a night region. Estonia has a National Park organisation called RMK, who have free camp sites available. No facilities, including water. We didn't use any because they are mostly only accessible on foot, and the couple we looked at were a bit isolated, and there are frequent Police warnings about leaving your vehicle unattended. Probably fine for an overnighter. Since sites were cheap, we used them. There was no evidence whatsoever of wild camping. English widely spoken.

Roads vary drastically. The main roads are on a par with Poland and Czech Republic - ie dire! There is a Euro funded improvement programme, but even the improved roads are not brilliant. Off the main roads, the next grade is gravel. These range from similar to Scandinavian gravel roads - ie passable at say 40 to 50 mph, to horrendously bumpy, and corrugated, where we struggled to make 15 mph. After this, the next grade of roads are sand roads, which is exactly as is sounds - compacted sand. Great, till it rains. The moral being - just give yourself plenty of time. Incidentally we found a great inconsistency between what the maps and the Sat nav told us would be tarmac or gravel and what we found on the ground. Out on the bikes we came across many unpaved roads which cannot have been used by vehicles for many many years - completely undriveable, and only just passable on pushbikes. Again, the moral has to be use judgement and allow time.

Everthing we read told us that the Baltic States have the worst drivers and worst safety record in the EU. We saw little evidence of this.

It is, however, a fascinating and worthwhile country to visit - watch this space!

See less See more
Hi Rick,

Good to hear someone has been to that part of the world before us!

Planning driving the fopllowing route and would very much welcome your views on things to see/avoid, roads and campgrounds etc. etc.

Early July leave Poland (Augustow) and cross the border into Lithuania.
Drive to Altyus > Trakai > Vilnius stay 3 nights at Vilnius City Camping.
Drive to Vente/Silute stay at Capsite Ventaine
Cross the border into Latvia and drive to Klaipeda > Palanga > stay at Campsite Verbelnieki in Nicas Pagasts. Drive to Liepaja > Pavilosta > Ventspils stay Piejuras Seaside Camping. From Ventspils drive to Kolka > Jurmala > Riga and stay at Riga city camping for 2 nights.
Cross the border into Estonia and drive to Parnu and stay 1 night at Campsite Konse. Parnu > Tallinn for 2 nights at Tallinn City Camping before leaving via ferry to Helsinki.

As above, would be great to get your views and ideas on this fairly quick romp through the Baltics!

See less See more
Hi Simon,

Your points in order!

Entry into Lithuania - get a Green Card. I had confirmation from the embassy that it is a requirement, despite the fact it shouldn't be!. Didn't get asked for it at the border, but were asked at a roadside check.
Don't plan on averaging much better than 35 mph - unless sticking to the trunk routes.

Trakai is very beautiful - well worth a visit. We stayed at Trakai Camping - the grounds of a hotel round the lake from the castle.

Vilnius is a very interesting city - the new city is as interesting as the old. Very cycle friendly, if you use bikes. Vilnius City Camping is actually in the car park of the Exhibition Centre. Has all mod cons. On a bus route to the city, or 20 mins by bike.

Didn't visit Ventspils, so can't comment. Camping Ventaine is by a hotel, with reasonably facilities. Their website says there is a ferry from there across to the Coronian Spit. You will find no evidence of this anywhere else, including on the maps of the area. However - it is true - the campsite run the ferry. Foot and cycles only - an hour to the spit.

Klaipeda a nice city - didn't see all of it, as we were specifically there to attend a festival. We stayed at Pajurio Camping - about 20 minutes by bike to the city along quiet cycle paths.

Riga is fascinating. We stayed at Camping ABC - next to the hotel. It's a bit further out than Riga City Camping - but had reports of rats!.

At Tallin we stayed at the campsite at the former Olympic Village by the Piritu Marina. It's just along the road from Tallin City Camping, but we looked at both and preferred the Marina. Between the two, on the main road into Tallin, is a museum of Estonian history - well worth an hour or two.

Fuel generally about 85p a litre for diesel, English fairly widely spoken.

Would recommend getting over to the eastern border region - has a distinctly different feel to it. Also if you can work Tartu into your plan, that is extremely nice area.

See less See more

Many thanks for your suggestions, I'll do the research.


Hi Rick,

I'm back again with more questions!

Camping Trakai - is that the same as the ACSI campground Kempingas Slenyje?

Food shopping - are Lidl/Aldi/Tecos or any local chains available?

I'm getting the impression that travel speeds may be a bit slower than I had imagined. Generally, are the major roads/motorways good and reliable?


See less See more
Hi simon -

Yes, I think it is the same site - if not they are very close on the map.

An occasional Lidle and Tesco, but the local chains are very similar to UK ones, and widely available. The local markets are much cheaper than the supermarkets.

There are almost no motorways. The main roads are reliable - reliably bumpy!. In places there are EU funded road programmes in place, where things are better, and in another year, should be better still. At the moment there are lots of road works.

Blood alcohol levels are zero - and these guys mean it. We got breathalized twice - nothing random either. They put up a road block, and everybody gets tested.

More random jottings -

I’m going to try to restrict my post to information that other potential visitors might find useful – I’m sure nobody is interested in what we had for tea on the fourth Thursday in July!
General impressions: A country rushing headlong from the Soviet to the EU era. A great deal of dereliction – both of small farms abandoned when the soviets imposed collectivisation, and of the large collectives, abandoned now the soviets have gone, and the population try to re-establish the original farms. A lot of EU cash is going into development, especially roads. English widely spoken – especially amongst the younger generation.

Roads generally poor – on a par with Czech Republic. Only main roads are tarmac – side roads are either gravel or sand. General quality of these is poor to impassable. Average speeds are low – most days we only managed 30-35 mph. We used Reise Know-How and Freytag & Berndt Baltic States maps – both good. Used Garmin Satnav – maps in this proved to be accurate, However – lots of discrepancies on the maps – both Garmin and paper, regarding what was recorded as a gravel or tarmac road, and what we found in practice – so we often found ourselves on gravel unexpectedly. The moral is allow time, and use discretion. Baltic states roads are reputed to be the most dangerous in the EU – we found them to be fine. We saw only 3 other British outfits in Baltic States.

Campsites are few and far between – and tend to cluster on the coast. The ACSI list is very useful. However – all very quiet – no need to book ahead. Priced between £10 and £12 per night. Water generally of good quality – not always easily accessed – take plenty of adapters. EHU generally available – usually 2 pin sockets. Grey water and loo waste sometimes available. Showers and loos, where available varied greatly in quality and cleanliness. No evidence whatsoever of wild-camping. Lots of advice to be careful where you leave your vehicle, and about leaving it unattended. There is an organisation called RMK – a cross between National Park and Forestry commission, which has free campsites, with no facilities, dotted around. Most are only accessible on foot or bike. We generally leave our M/H and go off on the bikes – so we always used sites. Very few sites have a shop of any kind – but even in fairly remote areas, there is always a small shop. Supermarket prices about the same as here – local markets much cheaper. Diesel around 80p per litre.

Speed limits 50kph in towns (designated by the town silhouette sign, common in France), 90kph out of town, and 110 kph on dual carriageways. Headlights on.

Internet cafes almost non-existent – because there is free WI-FI almost everywhere.
Credit cards widely accepted, but we decided to take cash, and travellers cheques. Found travellers cheques very difficult to change – even in the big cities few banks will change them.

We entered from Latvia, and visited Kuressare, Kassari, (both by ferry - ferries are cheap), Haapsalu, Tallin, , Vosu, Narva, Haapsipea, Tartu, Otepaa, and Voru, and then back to Latvia.
See less See more

Thanks for the useful write-up.

p.s. what was for tea on the fourth Thirsday....
Probably cabbage - there's a lot of it about!
Hi Rick,
We are heading from Berlin up to Tallinn on our way to Finland in May.
We have not got a lot of time, as our main tour is Scandinavia. I would be interested in any comments on a route through Poland and the Baltic states.
Is there anything worth really seeing? We have been to Warsaw, found it really nice but extremely busy.
Very vague post, but thanks anyway.
Derek, my internet access virtually dead. will reply to you fully in a few days, if that's ok
Derek - there is lots worth seeing, but if you are short of time, it depends a bit on your preferences. The capitals are well worth time - Riga, Tallin and Vilnius. Tartu is also a city well worth seeing. The corunian spit is very beautiful, and not to be missed if you are nearby. you could then take in Klaipeda, which has some amazing buildings. The area around Trakai is also a not to be missed area. If you get that far - the border areas with Russia are very interesting. We travelled from Berlin to Vilnius via Gdansk. An OK route - and we would have liked some time in Gdansk but couldn't spare it because of our schedule,

Any specifics - give me a shout,


Thanks for the reply. Going to spend a couple of days in Riga and Tallinn, will see how the time goes across Poland to see if we can fit in somewhere else. Will keep note of these other places when we have more time in the Baltic states.
Thanks for the useful info. I've saved it all as we'll be over that way some time after August.

Any updates of opinions if anyone has been in the last year to 18 months?

1 - 18 of 18 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.