3 Wonderful Resort Towns To Visit In The Baltics
It's summer in the Baltics, which means the weather is nice and the Baltic Sea is warm enough for a dip. Though I'm thoroughly enjoying Florence, I'm dreaming of a getaway to a resort in the Baltics (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) because this time of year is really, really lovely in the north. If you happen to be in the Baltics this summer (or anytime really), you should swing by one of these resort towns. I've visited all of the destinations that I'm going to talk about below and I've really enjoyed them all, although if I had to pick, Parnu, Estonia would win it for me.
Druskininkai is the most popular spa resort town in Lithuania and is known among Lithuania, Belarus, Poland, and Russia for its mineral waters favored since the 1600s. When I stayed in Druskininkai, I expected a very quiet town only meant for relaxation. While it was relaxing, Druskininkai surprised me with its trendy restaurants, offbeat cafes, eye-catching Orthodox church, and stunning natural beauty. Really, Druskininkai is a resort town not to be ignored. That plus its close proximity to the surreal Soviet playground that is Grutas Parkas makes it a stand out Baltics destination. I've written a pretty extensive post about my visit to Druskininkai, so feel free to visit that for more tips!
If you are looking for a hotel/resort in Druskininkai, I honestly wouldn't suggest where we stayed (the Medea Spa), but our friends who we traveled with stayed at Spa Vilnius Druskininkai* and it was really lovely, in a great location, and had relaxing treatments. Another one of my close friends swears by Egle + Medical Spa* and visits at least once per year, so that hotel might also be worth giving a whirl.
I'd suggest visiting Druskininkai over Jurmala or Parnu if you are seeking a weekend spa getaway in the winter or spring. The beaches will be too cold in Jurmala and Parnu to take advantage of these destinations to their fullest, and Druskininkai will be very mellow and restorative. However, you'll probably need to rent a car to visit Druskininkai since trains aren't available (although I would bet a bus is). Druskininkai also puts you near picturesque lakes, forest, and interesting cultural spots, making it a great all-around vacation in my book.
This naturally beautiful resort town was THE vacation spot among Soviet oil tycoons and now is a calm beach and spa resort that is very easy to get to from Riga (just hop a train!). Due to its stunning coastline, cute walking streets, and restorative waters, Jurmala was known throughout the Soviet Union as the place to see and be seen in the summer (my friends from Azerbaijan have been dying to go). I visited Jurmala in mid-June, so the weather was still a bit too chilly for a swim in the sea, but it was perfect for strolling down the pedestrian streets, eating Uzbeki food outside, and pretending to shop for a house among the historically-listed wooden Art Nouveau homes lining the quaint tree-lined streets.
Though I didn't indulge in any spa treatments in Jurmala (our trip was just too short), I've heard great things about the spas there. Other than the beach, if you want to spend time in the great outdoors, Jurmala boasts an AWESOME, free outdoor playground meant for children and adults. This playground (Dzintari mezaparks; Dzintari Forest Park) is built among some seriously tall evergreen trees, and is really impressive. You should really go there.
Visit Jurmala if you are looking for a balance of outdoor activities and pampering spa days. The ease of getting to Jurmala from Riga via train also makes it a great option for a day trip.
As I mentioned above, Parnu was a highlight for me during a recent road trip. Everything from the amazingly fresh food, stunning beach, colorful town, and relaxing resort was perfect. I still can't get over the beauty of Parnu and would really love the opportunity to visit again, but this time during the summer. Parnu is also a gateway to other Estonian islands that can be reached by ferry or smaller boats. If you have the time, I think visiting at least one or two of these islands would be incredibly memorable.
Why did I love Parnu so much? I think my love for Parnu is a bit of a mix between an obsession with Estonia, the long pristine beach, the foodie spots, and the super awesome resort we stayed in. Though much more expensive than our usual accommodation, the splurge on our stay at the Estonia Resort Hotel and Spa* was worth it. This luxurious hotel had a surprisingly good and affordable restaurant, large rooms, and great spa. Oh and yeah, did I mention the huge pool, hot tubs, and numerous saunas?! I've raved more about it in this review if you need more convincing ;)
Parnu is conveniently located just 2.5 hours north of Riga, a 2 hour drive from Tallinn, and a 5.5 hour drive from Vilnius. Though the roads to get to Parnu kind of suck, it is really worth the trip. You should visit Parnu if you are looking for pampering, relaxation, luxury, great food, stunning nature, a family-friendly atmosphere ... the list could seriously go on and on. When you book your trip, can I go too?
So, when are you booking your trip to visit the spa towns of the Baltics? Tell me, Which resort town tantalizes you most?
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