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Comb the beaches of the Baltic States and you might find “seabirds’ tears” – a local name for small pieces of amber that wash ashore. Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia all lay claim to magnificent expanses of sand and marsh along the southern shores of the Baltic Sea.
Starting in the north, wander along the beautiful coastline of Estonia to enjoy its quiet fishing villages, resorts and marinas. Punctuate your outdoor time with visits to Tallin’s UNESCO-listed old town and the former Hanseatic city of Pärnu, known nowadays as Estonia’s summer capital and main resort area, thanks to all the sunshine it gets. If you want something more remote, choose a beach on one of Estonia’s 1500 islands.
Heading south into Lativa you’ll travel along the Gulf of Riga, where the Baltic calms down a bit, to the thrashing point westward where the clash of gulf and open sea water is a favorite wave-watching spot. Beaches can be cliff-flanked wildness or sandy and perfect for sunbathing. Exploring old towns and fishing villages or hiking, bird watching and wild sailing can all round out your beach time in Estonia. Jurmala’s long stretches of white quartz sand, spas and an aquatic park tucked in amongst its unique 19th century wooden architecture have made it a highly popular beach destination.
The foremost beach area in Lithuania is the Curonian Spit, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, which encompasses several Blue Flag beaches as well; this is clearly no place to miss if you love long, open beaches. The sand dunes are vast, interrupted by linden and pinewoods. Lithuanians know that the combination of fresh air scented with pines and the sea can only do you a heap of good. If your journey takes you to the densely forested inland, you’ll find plenty of clear lakes and streams that will offer you equally salubrious and enjoyable opportunities to chill out under the sun.
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