Riga,Tallinn and Finland

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1. Posted by Jackrabbit (Budding Member 2 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Hello, My family ( myself, my husband and our 16 yr old son) will be travelling to Riga , Tallinn and Finland at the end of June for 15 days .
is there any must see sights in Riga ? We are travelling by bus to Tallinn form Riga.

We have organised that we will stay three nights in each city including Helsinki before travelling up to Joensuu , ( we had thought of trains - when do they give out the timetables for the end of June?) or possibly flying?
We would then hire a car in Joensuu to travel around, other than the Biathlon stadium where else would you suggest we visit ? We are quite happy to drive. We would be needing a route map ( driving) and a walking map for the area are there any suggestions as to where I would obtain these type of maps?

a strange question being from Scotland we are used to the midges what are the misdges/mozzies like at this time of the year?
we are hoping to visit and possibly take part in the Biathlon/ Roller Skiing as this is my sons passion and which he does at home every week including X C skiing when it snows! As a family we love architecture , local food , wildlife, Nature, Nordic walking and just being outdoors.

When travelling back to Helsinki we are needing to be near the airport ( p/night stay )would the train be able to go straight there or would we have to change?

Many thanks for your help.

2. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1280 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

There's a ferry between Helsinki and Tallinn - saves the journey round and nicer than an air flight.

3. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 1522 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Riga's a nice town to visit, I've been a couple of times. The central market is built from old zeppelin hangars. There's an art nouveau architecture district. I suggest a meal at Lido entertainment centre (there are a few Lidos but this is the big fancy one).
If you have a spare day to fill a train ride out to Sigulda is interesting - castles out in a wooded river valley.
There's a free (tips) walking tour which was very good.

4. Posted by susanka767 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Tallinn i like this place

5. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 703 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

As above...it's much easier and quicker to take the ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki. It only takes a couple of hours:

https://www.tallinksilja.com/helsinki-tallinn-timetables

>is there any must see sights in Riga ?

Of course. As well as the huge central market and the Art Nouveau architecture (especially along Alberta Iela and Elizabetes Iela, both within walking distance of the historical centre), Riga has an interesting historical centre which is well worth exploring: St James' cathedral (1225), The House of Blackheads (1522), St Peter's Church (1209), Riga Cathedral (foundations laid in the 1200s) and more....

The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia (near St Peter's Church) is imo essential in helping you (and your son) understand Latvia's recent history and why the country is as it is. Even though I'm into history it still taught me a huge amount.

The Outdoor Ethnographic Museum of Latvian Architecture is an easy bus ride from the city centre. It's set in a large wooded site which would be vert pleasant to walk around even without the many historical buildings which have been moved there: http://brivdabasmuzejs.lv/en/

For an excellent choice of beers, very decent food, friendly staff and customers plus (as the name suggests) music I can recommend Folkkclubs ala Paklabs: http://www.folkklubs.lv/en It's in the city centre and I (neither young nor a student) really enjoyed my meal there.

>what are the misdges/mozzies like at this time of the year

I visited in July. I didn't encounter any midgies though there were a few mozzies (and bites) in the outdoor museum and around the small lakes in Riga's city centre. I didn't encounter any in Tallinn, other than in its own excellent Outdoor Ethnographic museum (again, an easy bus ride from the historical centre https://evm.ee/eng/home )

You won't really be bothered by midgies/mozzies in any city, only if you choose to spend a lot of time walking in damp areas and/or damp woodland.

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Apr-2019, at 00:26 by leics2 ]

6. Posted by hennaonthetrek (Full Member 120 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Quoting Jackrabbit

We have organised that we will stay three nights in each city including Helsinki before travelling up to Joensuu , ( we had thought of trains - when do they give out the timetables for the end of June?) or possibly flying?
We would then hire a car in Joensuu to travel around, other than the Biathlon stadium where else would you suggest we visit ? We are quite happy to drive. We would be needing a route map ( driving) and a walking map for the area are there any suggestions as to where I would obtain these type of maps?

a strange question being from Scotland we are used to the midges what are the misdges/mozzies like at this time of the year?

When travelling back to Helsinki we are needing to be near the airport ( p/night stay )would the train be able to go straight there or would we have to change?

They already have the timetables for June, type vr.fi to google and click the site. You can change the language in english and put your dates in so you can choose right train

As for the station, there is one in the airport at Helsinki and also an hotel.

As for the maps, I my self use googlemaps. And the midges, those will be there most definetly I afraid.

I don't know Joensuu at all so I can't give you any help in what would be nice to do or see but I hope that my response gave answer in couple of your questions!

Tallinn I have visited couple of times and the Old city is a must, you will enjoy it I think :)

Have a good trip!

7. Posted by ToonSarah (Travel Guru 920 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

In Tallinn the old city is a must - on two levels and both are very walkable, if you don't mind the fairly gentle climb between them. In the Upper part, visit the Orthodox Cathedral and Lutheran Cathedral, check out the views from the various vantage points, and the Danish King's Garden. In the lower part, I recommend the old pharmacy in the Town Hall Square, various churches (climb the tower of St Olaf's if you feel up to it, go to the Niguliste Museum in St Nicholas Church to see the famous Danse Macabre, and to Church of the Holy Spirit which is so atmospheric), St Catherine's Passage and the Old Dominican Monastery tucked away on Müürivahe. You can also walk on parts of the city walls which is worth doing.

Outside the old city be sure to visit Kadriorg Park and if you like modern art go to Kumu, the gallery there. I also liked Pirita Convent and the TV Tower. All of these can be reached by bus, or if you're short of time, the Hop On, Hop Off bus stops by them all and many other places.

There is always lots going on in Tallinn - check this website for your specific dates: https://www.visittallinn.ee/eng/visitor/see-do/events?.

[ Edit: Edited on 19-Apr-2019, at 01:55 by ToonSarah ]

8. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5680 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

I see advise about the ferry which in itself is good, but it seems they are in reaction to their question about a flight from Helsinki to Joensuu. I don't see anything about them implying they would fly from Tallinn to Helsinki..

9. Posted by leics2 (Travel Guru 703 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Utrecht, the wording of the question is confusing.

>we will stay three nights in each city including Helsinki before travelling up to Joensuu , ( we had thought of trains - when do they give out the timetables for the end of June?) or possibly flying?

That could mean simply Helsinki > Joensuu or it could mean Tallinn >Helsinki as well. Hence comments about the ferry. :-)

10. Posted by Jackrabbit (Budding Member 2 posts) 5w Star this if you like it!

Thank you all for your invaluable advice , it is greatly appreciated , Thank you ToonSarah for your information regarding Tallinn.

I apologise for causing some confusion re flights/trains etc It was rather late at night I was writing it!

We will be getting a ferry as many of you suggested from Tallinn to Helsinki then we will stay 3 nights in Helsinki , we are toying with the idea as to weather to take a train to Joensuu or fly from Helsinki to Joensuu ? - We have been looking to stay not for from Kontiolhati (Biathlon Stadium) and hopefully as we will be renting a car travel around .

Leics2 , Thank you so much for the information regarding Latvia, there seems to be very little information in books especially ( I know everything nowadays is done online but sometimes wifi is not so obliging!!) we will certainly try and visit The Museum of Occupation, this interests me greatly as it will my husband and son.

Hennaonthetrek, the train timetable doesn't go as far as (29th June) would you happen to know the time late June/July dates will come out please?