I have a planned group trip in Poland from 18-29 April 2013. In order not to 'waste' the airfare all the way from Kenya, I have decided to do a solo trip and slot in a few countries before Poland. The plan is to fly into Stockholm on 13 April at 8 am (Saturday morning) and hope to be in Gdansk (Poland) by 18th April and fly back to Kenya from Warsaw on 29th. I'll travel overland in between- of course taking the ferry where needed. Obviously the time is too short but I'll try to make the most out of it and would really appreciate tips for those who've done similar trips or just have some advice - I'm not into museums but like seeing the nightlife though it might not be possible travelling solo...so here go my questions..
-To spend more time in Stockholm or Helsinki? More time means some hours or overnight.
-Cheapest ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki? From the Viking website, it seems I can get options as cheap as €22 per person but only if booking a cabin...impossible as I'm travelling solo, unless there is a way to find other travellers.
-More time in Tallin or Riga? Travel websites suggest more time in Riga. I think I'm more inclined towards this.
-Go to Vilnius or Kaunas? Not sure I will have the time to do both, even though I hear they are only one hour apart.
Also, if you have any links to train/bus websites, please share. I'm also doing my own research but wouldn't mind a little help. At the moment, I'm using lonely planet (though the info is all over), travellerspoint.com, wikitravel and seat61.com to plan my trip.
Thank you in advance. For accommodation, I plan to couchsurf/use hostels where applicable...I'm more worried about cheaply moving from point A to B...No need to give advice on Poland as that's already taken care of. Thanks!!!
There is a lot more for visitors in Stockholm, compared to Helsinki. I have been to Stockholm 4 times now and still don't get bored. Helsinki definately is nice but less time there.
Same basically applies to Riga vs Tallinn: more time in Riga, BUT I liked Tallinn a lot better. It's smaller, more intimate and has a great old town but also some nice areas outside this.
Haven't been to Kaunas, but I suggest Vilinius as a first time visitor is better. Beautiful city and worth a day or so.
So it's not possible to get a cheap deal without reservering a cabin? In that case, you might consider going to Turku during the day and take an onward train. Might work out cheaper for you.
But regarding time: this all seems cramped in just 5 days?
Thanks Michael.I will explore the Turku option more. Still researching- also on the issue of booking the cabin. Thanks a lot!
I know the trip is cramped but unfortunately I happen to be the typical 8-5pm slave (but need the job in order to afford the air ticket) with only 21 leave days (statutory requirement). Already the Polish trip hogs my days but it compensates for the rushed visit to the others. This one (Polish) is fixed so can't change. That said, I will have to make do with what's available. I'm looking at it as more of an overland trip with stop overs. Trying to plan it in such a way that day time is for sightseeing (just the major tourist attractions -, few pics here n there) and night for travel (a little partying if possible). I'm gonna be the typical tourist on this one but plan to interact with the locals through couchsurfing. I can do with very little sleep while travelling for up to 3 weeks. For instance, If I arrive in Stockholm early morning, I can already take the Helsinki ferry at 16:30 on the same day, but I think I will take the Turku Ferry at 7:30 am the next day instead....yet to check arrival time in Helsinki et al but if it's early enough,I will sightsee durinfg the day and take the Tallin ferry the same evening -gives me a little time to sleep on board. This sounds crazy as I write but I think its doable - also the reason I'm asking for advice on this forum ;-)
Ok, well, I like that way of travelling: sometimes the travelling itself and the challenge of visiting some cities along the way is just as much fun.
And fortunatel some good options to travel at night. I am not sure but there might also be night buses between Tallinn and Vilnius. Tallinn-Riga is just about 4 hours, so probably no night buses. This might actually be a reason for you to visit Tallinn (arriving in the morning from Helsinki ferry) and Vilnius, which is again a night trip away from Gdansk.