Via Baltica

This article is an itinerary.

Via Baltica is a road leading through the Baltic States and Poland in Northern Europe.

Understand

View of E67 in north of Kaunas

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.

Get in

Travelers starting from Tallinn usually arrive by ship from Helsinki or Stockholm. Warsaw is accessible by road from virtually everywhere in Europe.

Documents and regulations

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.

Drive

Estonia

Latvia

Lithuania

Poland

Eat

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.

Sleep

There are hotels and camping sites along the road. Also, you'll find some kind of accommodation in most cities along the road.

Camping sites

In Lithuania there are relatively few camping sites along Via Baltica.

Buy

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.

Talk

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.

Stay safe

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.

Go next

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.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Tuesday, January 05, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.