Visa: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are members of the Schengen Area. No entry visa is required for U.S. passport holders visiting these three Baltic countries for tourist or business travel of 90 days or fewer. If you hold a passport from another country, your entry requirements may vary. Please consult the nearest consulates in U.S. about the visa requirements. Estonia Foreign Affairs Ministry: http://vm.ee/en/applying-visa-schengen-area Lithuania Embassy to the USA: https://usa.mfa.lt/usa/en/travel-and-residence Latvia Embassy to the USA: www.mfa.gov.lv/en/usa/consular-information Photocopy your travel documents; leave one copy with a family member or kept in a safe place. You may want to scan and email a copy to yourself for easy, online access in case of emergency.
Weather: The Baltics have a continental climate with warm, dry summers and cold, snowy winters. Winter temperatures average in the 20s (°F) or lower with strong northeasterly winds. The Baltic Sea affects the weather and it’s often humid and breezy. The months of May to September are the most pleasant. Summer temperatures average in the 60s (°F) to the mid-80s (°F). Check www.weather.com for weather conditions before you go, and pack accordingly.
Clothing: We suggest you bring comfortable, casual clothing and good walking shoes with good traction soles for the trip. Formal clothing is not necessary, unless you plan to visit some certain places such as concerts and casinos. Estonia is close to the polar circle and the nights during summertime especially June and July are very short and the temperatures are lower than the days. It’s better bring a lightweight jacket and umbrella or raincoat with you even during the summer.
Customs: All passengers are not allowed to carry drugs and other contraband, counterfeit, or pirated goods. Travelers may enter/exit EU with up to EUR 10,000 without submitting a customs declaration. If exceeding EUR 10,000 or the equivalent in another currency must be declared. Travelers aged 18 and order coming from non-EU countries may benefit from exemption for personal use that do not exceed the limits: 200 unit cigarettes and 1 litre of liquor.
Health: No vaccinations or health certificates are required for entry. The Baltics have adequate, Western-style medical clinics with English speaking doctors. When visiting mountains and parks, travelers should prevent insect bites. A good DEET-based insect repellent might be helpful. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions can be found at CDC (US Centers for Disease Control) website: www.cdc.gov/travel.
Currency: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are part of the Eurozone and only euros (€) are accepted. It is suggested that you exchange euros in the U.S. before departure only certain amount that you think you will need during your trip. It is also advisable travelling with some US dollars to be exchanged for euros in case you need and at least two major credit cards. Pocket money are usually needed for using public washroom.
Traffic: Vehicles are on the right. Public transportation is generally considered safe, but travelers are encouraged to select well-marked taxis. To avoid rip-offs, insist on the meter running. In any of the cities, it’s always safer to order a cab by phone. A luminous reflectors on the right side of outer clothing at night or in conditions of poor visibility, particularly in winter is required by law.
Language: English and Russian are widely spoken in tourist areas. Estonia’s official language: Estonian. Latvia’s official language: Latvian. Russian is the second most commonly used language at home. Today, English is widely accepted in business, tourism, and schools. Lithuania: Lithuanian (official), Polish, Russian.
Phone: Contact your cellular telephone provider to determine if your phone operates on the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) and what, if any, activation may be required.
Internet: The Baltics, particularly in Tallinn, home of Skype, are famous for its abundance of free, public Wi-Fi, which is available in nearly every café, restaurant, city square, as well as in the hotels Peony Tours uses for the tour PBS.
Shopping: The Baltic region is home to the largest known deposit of amber, called Baltic Amber or Gold of the North. Today, amber is one of the most popular souvenirs throughout the Baltic countries. Besides amber, there are other famous souvenirs in Tallinn, Riga, and Vilnius. Tallinn: Handicraft sweaters, glass, and wooden items Riga: Black Balsam, Laima Chocolate Vilnius: Lithuanian linen items
Food & Drink: Avoid tap water and drink only boiled or bottled water, which is available to purchase everywhere. The traditional Baltic cuisine typically consists of local agricultural products. Estonia: Verivorst (blood sausage), Vana Tallinn (traditional liqueur) Latvia: Rupjmaize (dark rye bread) Lithuania: Cepelinai (stuffed potato dumplings), saltibarsciai (Beetroot cold soup)
Time Differentials: 7 hours earlier than the US Eastern Standard Time Zone (EST) in Summer Daylight Saving Time.
Electricity: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania: 220/230 V, 50 Hz. Do not forget to bring the chargers for your phone, camera batteries, and perhaps your laptop. It is advisable to bring your own international travel converter and adapter.
Religion: Estonia - Lutheranism, Orthodox Christians Latvia - Lutheranism, Roman Catholicism, Russian Orthodox Lithuania - Roman Catholicism, Russian Orthodox
Public Holidays in 2020: Common public holidays of these countries include New Year’s Day (1/01), Good Friday (4/10), Easter and Easter Monday (4/12-13), Labor Day (5/01), Christmas Holidays (12/24-26), New Year’s Eve (12/31). Other national holidays are: Estonia: Independence Day (2/24), Victory Day (6/23), Independence Restoration Day (8/20) Latvia: Independence Declaration Day (5/04), National Day (11/18) Lithuania: Restoration of the State Day (2/16), Restoration of Independence Day (3/11), Anniversary of the Coronation of King Mindaugas (7/06)
Safety: Generally, these countries are safe, but despite this, it is advisable to be cautious just like in any other tourism city. Use the safes where available in your hotels to secure your valuables. If you must carry values, keep them on your person at all times. Be mindful of your surroundings and take extra caution in crowds. In case of accident or sudden illness, call from any phone. Tallinn: 112 for 24-hours emergency Riga: 112 for 24-hours emergency, 6718-1818 for The Tourism Police Vilnius: 112 for 24-hours emergency