I'm planning a trip for 2 to the Baltic States over Easter.
Do you have any useful info on the following:
a) what kinds of traditional local foods to try in these countries
b) where is a clean, friendly, good value place to eat and drink
c) apart from with a stagweekend organiser, how can we go to those bunker places and shoot ak47s? do you know name/address/details of these places?
d) i would like to enjoy a massage, spa treatment and maybe even facial/wax - do you recommend any places there that use well known products and are clean, friendly and good service?
e) we arrive in riga, and leave from vilnius. is it worthwhile to go to estonia/tallin/tartu while we're there for the long weekend? if so, why
f) which clubs are best to meet locals and stay away from tourists?
g) anyone know the best catholic churches to go for easter mass? or if they have any traditional easter celebrations?
thanks for any information you may have on these issues in any of these countries!!
I am coming form Latvia, so my knowledge will be more about this country - even though I can assure you that it is worth to go to Tallin as well if you are going for a long weekend - and if you ask why - I'll tell you that they have marvelous medieval old city that is nicely preserved and worth seeing.
Talking about latvian food - latvians ar quite heavy food eaters - most of the influence comes from Russian and German kitchens (you can see the historical connection there). Anyway - if this is your first time to Riga - I would suggest you to go to place called Lido - they have opened a lot of places all over town, but the biggest variety of food and most spectacular view you can get at Lido which is on Krasta street (and if you do not have time - just try one of the places in the center - Alus Seta - which in the old city or Staburags - which is still centraly located).
For the SPA treatments the best place in Latvia is Jurmala. It is a resort city not far from Riga (I think it is half an hour drive) even though in the big hotels in Riga you can get the treatments as well. About the cleanness - I think you will be surprised - Riga is very clean city (I am comparing now to Brussels, where I am now) and all the places that are proposing SPA - they have to be on a high level to survive the concurence.
About the clubs - have been away for a while, so I can not give you latest updates - but a quality for me is Nobody writes to the colonel (Pulkvedim neviens neraksta in LV), Hedonia55, Casablanca, Paldies dievam piektdiena ir klat. A very good bar is Skyline bar (on the top of the hotel) and Balzams bar - in the heart of the old city with very good coctails. From what I have heard - it is not possible to avoid tourists any more in the clubs in Riga.
Hope you are going to enjoy your stay in Riga,
I can second that post on the Lido restaurants and local drink 'Rigas Balzams'. 'Piragi' and 'Pelmeni' are some local food to try, one is like a big ravioli that comes with sweet or savoury fillings, very nice (find lots of good food at Lido). Nice chocolate shops around too!
Skyline Bar was nice but I didn't like the music (whitney heuston for 2 hours....) and it was dark so could only see the lights of the city but it was cool being so high up.
The old city is a nice area with churches to see and very compact and easy to wander around. Just get a small guidebook and you'll be fine!
I too liked Riga and Tallinn very much - I went to Alus Seta too (the Lido restaurant in old town Riga) and it was tasty, filling and cheap.
Have a look at my Riga and Tallinn blog for some piccies etc...