Tell us about your company.
ESA Baltic was established during the financial crisis 10 years ago, when my husband and I started thinking about our own business where we can make life more creative. My father, who has a coach company, encouraged us to open a travel agency and start by selling tours on his coaches. After a few years, we reorganized into a tour operator company and started providing inbound group tours of the Baltic States.
Why is Lithuania such a great place for groups?
Lithuania is a new travel destination to most, so that means no mass tourism. It is a very clean and safe small country where in a short period you can see a lot, enjoy quality food and meet friendly people.
What are some of your favorite places in Lithuania?
The Curonian Spit! The fresh air, the smell of pines and the sand are really amazing. Every single year we go there for a holiday, and it is our corner of paradise. The second place for me would be Vilnius old town. It is very beautiful and green, and even though I’ve lived in Vilnius 15 years, I cannot stop admiring this city.
What are some of the country’s other top sites you include on tours?
The Hill of Crosses, which has more than 200,000 crosses, is a site that has religious and political significance. We also include the capital city of Vilnius, which has one of the largest surviving medieval old towns in Northern Europe, and we take people to the nearby Trakai Island Castle.
How do you connect travelers with local culture?
Our tours include not only the cities, but also go to countryside. There our guests meet local people and have a look at—and often try—local activities such as collecting amber near the Baltic Sea, weather vane painting, a bread-making workshop with locals and more.
Top photo: Vilnius old town
Photo by CC Wikimedia Commons/Phillip Capper: bit.ly/2RPIoY9
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