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Spending a week or two in the South of France or the Italian Riviera or visiting some of Europe’s most famous capitals may seem like the perfect summer vacation.
And while summer in Europe is a dream for many travellers, the reality is often not as idyllic as one might imagine.
Between record-breaking 100-degree heat waves, extreme crowds and soaring prices on everything from hotels to rental cars to activities, summer in Europe can end up feeling more like a nightmare than dream vacation.
However, if you’re willing to venture off the beaten path, you can experience an amazing summer vacation in Europe with few people, affordable prices, and mild weather.
Why should you visit the Baltic countries this summer
The Baltic is a region in northeastern Europe made up of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
These three Baltic Sea countries often go under the radar of tourists coming to Europe, but they each have a lot to offer and can be combined for a great summer vacation.
Here are the top reasons to plan a trip to the Baltics this summer:
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Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania each have capital cities to visit.
Tallinn, Estonia is perhaps the most picturesque Baltic capital, located on the Baltic Sea and famous for its walled Old Town. For a unique day trip, you can also take a two-hour ferry to Helsinki, Finland.
Riga, Latvia is another beautiful coastal city known for being a cultural center and for its art, new architecture and medieval old town.
And Vilnius, Lithuania is another quaint and charming Baltic capital located inland.
You can explore these capitals without the high prices and extreme crowds that popular European destinations like Rome or Paris experience during the summer.
Traveling to the Baltic countries is much cheaper than traveling to Western Europe. Although you won’t find prices as cheap as in Eastern Europe or the Balkans, you will still find that things like accommodation, food, activities and transport are quite affordable.
According to travel budgeting website BudgetMyTrip, here’s how much you can expect to spend per day in the Baltics for a mid-range vacation:
- Estonia: $89
- Latvia: $99
- Lithuania: $80
Get back to nature
Besides the cities, the Baltic region also offers visitors beautiful nature.
Although it may not have the same “wow factor” as beaches in the Mediterranean or the Adriatic, the Baltics have laid-back beaches perfect for a relaxing summer getaway.
Pärnu in Estonia, Jurmala in Latvia and Palanga in Lithuania are some of the most popular and picturesque beaches in the Baltic region.
Matsalu National Park in Estonia is also known to be one of the best bird watching destinations in Europe, while Kemeri National Park, just outside Riga, is home to pristine forests and bogs.
mild summer weather
Finally, the Baltic is an excellent summer destination in Europe due to the mild climate enjoyed by this region. While the winters are unbearably freezing, the summers are pleasant and mild.
The average minimum and maximum temperatures in July for these countries are:
- Estonia: 55°F / 71°F
- Latvia: 57°F / 75°F
- Lithuania: 57°F / 74°F
Many other popular destinations in Europe, including the UK, France, Spain and Italy, have experienced record heat waves in recent summers, with temperatures reaching 100°F to 110°F.
If the idea of extreme heat doesn’t appeal to you, traveling to the Baltics during the summer is a great way to beat the heat and enjoy the mild weather.
Traveler alert: Don’t forget travel insurance for your next trip!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com