The Baltics in Autumn

Travel in September, October, and November for Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

Gedimino Tower, Vilnius
••• Gedimino Tower, Vilnius. Kerry Kubilius, licensed to About.com

The Baltics, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, are particularly lovely in autumn, especially the early part of the season. After spending summertime in countryside villages, city residents return, and events and outdoor markets create lively scenes before winter takes hold of these northern nations.

Weather

Weather in the Baltics during the fall season can be unpredictable. While lingering warm, summery weather can linger into September, with a possible brief jump in temperatures during October (think sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70s and 80s), rainy, overcast, and windy weather can lower temperatures drastically.

Furthermore, weather can go from perfect to perfectly dismal overnight. November starts to welcome winter weather, with temperatures creeping close or to freezing, and snow is possible.

Therefore, it is best to check weather forecasts directly before your trip but not to depend solely on them. Forecasts can radically change from one day to the next, too. If you travel at the beginning of the season, pack for autumn weather, but have options that mean you can remove layers or add them as necessary, and bring an umbrella as well as all-weather walking shoes. If you travel closer to winter, be prepared to bundle up.

Events

A variety of outdoor markets, festivals, fairs, and musical events occur through the Baltics during the fall season. Whether you stick to the capitals or you venture into the countries’ smaller cities, it pays to be aware of events taking place during the month of your visit.

In September, Tallinn is host to such events as the International Festival of Orthodox Music, the Light Walks Festival in Kadriorg, and Design Night. The Autumn Chamber Music Days may also be underway during this month in Riga. Vilnius celebrates its greatness with Capital Days, which is accompanied by an outdoor market as well as concerts and shows, and the autumn equinox hearkens back to pagan times with a festival of fire sculpture.

In October, visit Vilnius for its annual Jazz Festival or the GAIDA Contemporary Music Festival.

In November, St. Martin’s Fair is held in Tallinn, and is the country’s best opportunity to snag hand-crafted objects and traditional souvenirs; the Black Nights Film festival also takes place during this month. Winterfest, Riga’s series of chamber music concerts, begins this month and runs through February, and Latvia’s capital hosts the Porta World Music Festival in November as well.

Planning for Fall Travel to the Baltics

The Baltic capitals are easy to see during one trip if you have the time. It’s easy to start in Vilnius and work your way up to Tallinn via Riga or vice versa. While flights are inexpensive and regular, traveling the Baltic capitals by bus is convenient, comfortable, easy, and even less expensive than flights between the cities.

Furthermore, you can break up your visit however you like. Spend one or two days in Vilnius, a day in Riga or more, and a couple more in Tallinn to get a feel for each city. You may also choose to spend your time in one location: take a tour of Estonia, visit Latvia’s attractions, or enjoy seeing Lithuania’s cities. Each country has its own sights and culture to offer, and exploring any more thoroughly will be rewarding and eye-opening.