Via Baltica, officially known as European route E 67, goes from the Estonian capital Tallinn to the Polish capital Warsaw. It is the most important highway between the Baltic States, and an important link connecting Finland and Russia with Central Europe. Some travel brochures exclude the Polish part of the road, and end the road in Kaunas or at the Polish-Lithaunian border.
The distance from Tallinn to Warsaw is about 970 kilometers, not including any detours. The road is mostly two-lane highway and it is possible to drive the whole way in less than 24 hours, but plan for at least three days if you want to see more than just the road. The vast majority of travellers drive, but it is possible (though uncommon) to go by bus.
Documents and regulationsEdit
All the countries are Schengen countries, that is there are no regular border inspections and people from most of Europe do not need any visa. However, authorities may stop your vehicle in order to check your travel documents and the registration documents of the car. More information about entering the individual countries are to be found in their articles. Travelers should observe that it is mandatory to have a first-aid kit and a fire extinguisher in the vehicle in the Baltic countries. Good maps are invaluable especially in bigger cities.
- 1 Tallinn — the capital of Estonia has a world heritage listed old town, well worth visiting.
- 2 Pärnu — Pärnu is the "summer capital" of Estonia, with a fine collection of wooden houses.
- 3 Kabli — a coastal village known for its beach.
- 1 The Baltic Sea sand beaches north of Riga – for instance near the village of Vitrupe, and both north and south of Saulkrasti there are nice sand beaches not far from the road.
- 4 Riga — in reality Via Baltica goes around Riga, but it would be a shame not to stop by. Latvia's capital is after Warsaw the largest city along the road, and offers a wealth of things to see and do. It also has a beautiful world heritage listed old town.
- 1 Jūrmala — a major Baltic Sea resort since Soviet times and entails a sidetrip of about 10 km.
- 5 Salaspils — best known for the WWII concentration camp, nowadays a memorial park
- 6 Bauska — a town with a castle at the confluence of two rivers
- The 2 Hill of Crosses near Siauliai is not on the Via Baltica, but is worth a detour.
- 7 Panevėžys
- 3 Kėdainiai and 4 , both slightly off the road.
- 8 Kaunas — on several occasions the Lithuanian capital, Kaunas is yet another city with a pretty old town...
- ...as is the Lithuanian capital 5 Vilnius, about 100 km off Via Baltica but as one of the Baltic capitals also worth a detour.
- 9 Marijampolė
- Making a detour into 6 Kaliningrad Oblast requires a Russian visa for most nationalities.
- 10 Suwałki
- Less than 10 km east from Suwałki are 7 Wigry and 8 Wigry National Park.
- 11 Augustów — with a famous canal.
- 9 Grodno in Belarus is geographically close, but almost everyone will need a visa.
- It is possible to take a shortcut along road 61 from Augustów to 10 Łomża and 677 to Ostrów Mazowiecka.
- 12 Białystok — the birthplace of Ludwig Zamenhof, Esperanto's inventor, and featuring an impressive castle.
- 11 Białowieża National Park, a world heritage site shared with Belarus is a sidetrip of about 50 km southeast from Białystok.
- 12 — a side trip away is the site of one of the most infamous Nazi death camps, today there's a memorial and an exhibition.
- 13 Warsaw — Poland's capital with an eventful history has something for everyone.
Apart of occasional roadside diners, there is almost always eateries in the towns and cities you'll pass through. Visitors from Western Europe will probably find eating out in the Baltic countries affordable, with a meal and a beverage often well under €10. If you still want to cut your costs, supermarkets and grocery stores are easy to find.
There are hotels and camping sites along the road. Also, you'll find some kind of accommodation in most cities along the road.
In Lithuania there are relatively few camping sites along Via Baltica.
- 1 Mini Camping in Pajiesmeniai, Sodo str. 3, Pajiesmeniai (about 45 km north of Panevėžys, 1.2 km E from E67, follow camping sign), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. A friendly family run mini camping site, the owners communicate in English, Dutch, French, German, Russian, Spanish and Lithuanian. Places for mobile homes and tents. The equipment is rather basic, but includes wifi internet. Mobile home + 2 adults + 1 child: 50,5 Lt (or €15).
The Baltic countries are part of the euro area, but Poland's currency is the złoty. It is advisable to change some money before the trip. In some hotels it is possible to pay with euros. The price level is lower than in Western Europe, however imported goods of international brands cost roughly the same as everywhere else.
If you can't speak the local languages Estonian, Latvian, Lithuanian or Polish, keep yourself to larger establishments and larger cities where it is comparatively easier to communicate in English than in the countryside. In hotels there is generally always someone who speaks English. Some basic knowledge of Russian is useful, one should however not assume that everybody understands or wants to speak Russian. German becomes more common towards the southern end of the trip, however don't count on that.
Generally the Baltic countries are safe as long as you use your common sense. Car thefts and burglaries are unfortunately more common in this part of Europe, but as long as you don't leave any valuables on display the risk is small. In the night it is also good to choose a hotel with guarded parking or a camping. As elsewhere in Eastern Europe and in Poland some people tend to drive fast and take great risks, sometimes there are four cars beside each other on a two lane road. The best tip is to keep calm and drive on the right side, however, one has to look out for pedestrians and bikers.
If your trip ends in Warsaw you can continue to the country's second largest city, Krakow, along the E67 to Prague or to Berlin. If you end your trip in the northern end you can continue to Helsinki or Stockholm by ferry or to St. Petersburg by road.