I've done the drive from Warsaw, Poland to Tallinn and back this last summer, as well as some shorter road trips in those countries. You've gotten a lot of good advice already, so I'll just add a couple things. In Estonia, Parnu is a nice, quaint beach town on the road around half way from Tallin to Riga. They have some very nice vacation rentals there, at reasonable rates. The beach there is lovely, though quite cold for swimming if it isn't peak season.
Do keep in mind that driving is a little different than you may be used to, lots of slow two lane roads (with lots of speed cameras!) and also an approach to passing with oncoming traffic that is a bit more aggresive than most Americans are used to. It's nothing that you can't handle, jsut expect to have to be more attentive than usual when driving there.
Thanks for the info. Pärnu is on our schedule, from there we will visit Kihnu Island for a day (the island where women have the upper hand). We intend to never drive more than a few hours and we are used to more aggressive driving (Turkey, Greece and Italy were all quite an experience). Our plan is now as follows: Tallinn, Haapsalu, Pärnu, Cesis, Riga, Kuldiga, Klaipeda, Kaunas and Vilnius. We will stay in each of them for a few nights and also explore the surroundings. Lots to see and do. Hope you enjoyed your trip!
Hey there! I did that exact same trip in July 2018 albeit in reverse order. I picked up car in Vilnius, Lithuania & dropped off at ferry terminal in Tallinn, Estonia. I made online reservation through Avis & prepaid my car while reserving. If you are a US citizen & hold a US driving license, go to AAA to get an International driving permit because just US license wont work (a friend of mine gave me this pro tip 2 weeks before I flew & turned out this is true. Surprisingly you wont find this requirement easily unless you call Avis customer service). Ping me if you have questions.
Hi. We are considering the identical trip as you discussed. How many days did you spend in each city? Can you recommend the best sights and ways to get to these locations?
We actually started in Helsinki and took the ferry to Tallinn where we spent 4 nights (3 would be perfectly ok). We then rented a car from Sixt and drove along the coast via Keila Juga Waterfalls to Haapsalu where we stayed 2 nights (very picturesque). Continued trip to Pärnu (spa town with great beach and town) and stayed there for 3 nights (lots to see and do). Headed to Cesis where we spent 3 nights (cute medieval town but 2 nights is fine). Went to Riga for 3 nights (didn't like it much but maybe everyone is different). Next to Kuldiga (1 night, you could easily skip it although it is picturesque and the hotel was great), then to Klaipeda (3 nights). Would rather stay in Nida instead (fantastic beaches and a very long pedestrian zone with lots of outdoor restaurants, large sand dunes etc.). Next stop was Kaunas via Hill of the Crosses (would drive there directly, was interesting but not worth the extra 2 hours drive). Stayed there for 2 nights and continued via Trakai Castle to Vilnius (a must see, we stayed for 3 nights). You could skip Kaunus entirely but it is still authentic with old town and lots of churches. Overall, highly recommended. Check out my posts on this trip.
Tallinn, Estonia is actually really nice! I spent a day there and they were very welcoming and actually had good food! I would recommend stopping there if you are in the Northern Baltic region of Europe.