This Is Why Tourists Are Flocking To Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia – The Hidden Gems Of The Baltics

One of Europe's best-preserved medieval Old Towns, Riga enchants visitors with its cobblestone streets, Gothic spires, and beautifully restored merchant houses.
One of Europe's best-preserved medieval Old Towns, Riga enchants visitors with its cobblestone streets, Gothic spires, and beautifully restored merchant houses.

Eastern Europe is indeed proving to be a rising star in the realm of travel destinations. With an increasing number of adventurers seeking out new and off-the-beaten-path experiences, the region’s affordability, authenticity, and vibrant food and arts scene are quickly propelling it to the top of travellers’ bucket lists.

The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are absolute must-visit destinations for any adventure seeker. Nestled along the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, these hidden gems boast enchanting medieval towns, ancient castles, and pristine natural beauty. Making travel to these countries effortless, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ensures South African travellers enjoy a seamless journey with a convenient stopover in Amsterdam. Here, Air France-KLM shares a few reasons why these countries should be on your travel bucket list.


This incredibly beautiful and Instagrammable country is replete with medieval towns, ancient castles, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Riga, the capital city, serves as the perfect starting point for your adventure. Boasting one of Europe’s best-preserved medieval Old Towns, Riga enchants visitors with its cobblestone streets, Gothic spires, and beautifully restored merchant houses. The city’s architectural brilliance is complemented by a thriving arts and cultural scene, with numerous museums, galleries, and theatres showcasing Latvia’s rich heritage. From the iconic Riga Cathedral to the stunning Art Nouveau district, the city is a treasure trove of architectural wonders waiting to be explored. Additionally, Riga offers a culinary adventure for food enthusiasts, with its diverse range of cafes, restaurants, and markets serving up traditional Latvian cuisine alongside international flavours. For those looking to spend some time outdoors, a visit to the Gauja National Park is a must.


While Lithuania may not be on everyone’s travel radar, it certainly deserves a spot on your itinerary. Vilnius, the capital city, is home to a UNESCO-listed Old Town, one of the largest in Europe, where cobblestone streets wind past Gothic churches, Baroque palaces, and quaint courtyards. The city’s rich cultural heritage is reflected in its diverse architectural styles, from the medieval marvels of Gediminas Castle to the grandeur of the Cathedral Basilica of St. Stanislaus and St. Vladislav. Beyond its historic charm, Vilnius offers a vibrant arts and cultural scene. The city’s bustling streets are dotted with trendy cafes, stylish boutiques, and lively markets, offering visitors a taste of modern Lithuanian life. The city’s profound Jewish heritage shines at the impactful Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum, while the serene Lake Galvė and charming seaside towns like Klaipeda offer visitors some incredible outdoor adventures.


Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, is rapidly becoming one of Eastern Europe’s most sought-after tourist destinations. With its enchanting blend of medieval charm, captivating history, and modern innovation, it’s easy to see why tourists are flocking to Tallinn. Stepping into Tallinn’s UNESCO-listed Old Town feels like stepping back in time, with its cobblestone streets, centuries-old churches, and well-preserved city walls showcasing the essence of the Baltics. The city’s rich history is palpable as you explore landmarks such as Toompea Castle, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, and the iconic Tallinn Town Hall Square, where colourful merchant houses stand as a testament to the city’s Hanseatic past. Beyond its historic allure, Tallinn is a hub of creativity and innovation, with a burgeoning arts scene, vibrant culinary culture, and thriving tech industry. Outside the city, the lush forests and coastal cliffs of Lahemaa National Park offer travellers the perfect outdoor playground to explore.

Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia may be small in size, but they are big on charm, beauty, and hospitality – so it’s no wonder that the popularity of these three Eastern European countries continues to rise. Whether you’re seeking history and culture, outdoor adventure, or culinary delights, these countries are sure to exceed your expectations and leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Both Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines continues to bridge the gap between South Africa and these popular destinations with daily flights out of Johannesburg and Cape Town to Amsterdam and beyond.


To encourage travel to the Baltics, and a wide selection of other destinations, Air France and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines are offering South African travellers flying from either Johannesburg or Cape Town a 15% discount using discount code XPLORE2024. Offer is available for bookings made from 25 April to 24 May 2024 for travel from 25 April to 31 October 2024. Visit or for more information.