Baltic States

(8 days)

Day 1. Vilnius

Arrival in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania.

Transfer from the airport to the hotel.

Check-in at the hotel.

Dinner at hotel restaurant.

Overnight in Vilnius.

Day 2. Vilnius – Trakai

Breakfast at the hotel.

Vilnius city tour.

Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania was founded in 1323 when Grand Duke Gediminas built a castle there, nowadays bustling city with one of the oldest and most charming Old Towns in Europe. The splendid architectural blend of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque styles makes this a wonderful city to explore. During sightseeing tour you will visit Old town, which is included to the UNESCO World Heritage. Visit Cathedral and Cathedral Square and pass by Gediminas Avenue, the Parliament and President's Palace, Vilnius University and Town Hall. Continue walking narrow old streets, admire St. Anna's Church - a gem of Gothic architecture, Gates of Dawn and St. Peter-Paul Church.

Lunch at a local restaurant

After lunch, visiting Trakai Castle.

Trakai, the former capital of Lithuania, which is situated on an island in the middle of a lake. The 14th century red brick castle now houses the Art Museum. The castles of Trakai are the best-known works of defensive architecture in Lithuania. The old town of Trakai, which includes the Island and the Peninsula Castles, surrounded by lakes, is one of the most impressive and most picturesque locations in Europe. Here still reside small national minority of Karaites, which is confessing Judaism. It is believed they were brought from the Crimea by the Grand Lithuanian Duke Vytautas.

Return to Vilnius.

Dinner.

Overnight in Vilnius.

Day 3. Vilnius – Hill of Crosses – Rundale – Riga

Breakfast at the hotel and check-out.

Travel to Siauliai.

Visit Hill of Crosses.

The Hill of Crosses, Kryžių Kalnas, located 12 kilometers north of the small industrial city of Siauliai (pronounced shoo-lay) is the Lithuanian national pilgrimage center. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian national identity.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

Continue to Rundale.

Rundale Palace, the most magnificent masterpiece of baroque architecture in the Baltic States, lies at a distance of 70 km from Riga. It was built in the first part of the 18th century by the Italian architect F. B. Rastrelli, the baroque genius from Italy who created many of St. Petersburg’s finest buildings including the Winter Palace. The professionally renovated palace interiors are decorated with authentic 18th century furniture, paintings and china. The most impressive are the Golden Hall, the White Hall, and the bedroom of the Duke of Courland Johan Ernst Biron. The palace boasts a beautiful French-style park.

Further travel to Riga.

Check-in at the hotel.

Dinner.

Overnight in Riga.

Day 4. Riga

Breakfast at the hotel.

Today enjoy Riga- Capital of Latvia.

A medieval Hanseatic town including visit to Dome Cathedral, which boasts one of the world’s largest pipe organs, as well as St. Peter’s Church. You will see why Riga came to be known as one of Europe's leading exponents of the late 19th and early 20th century architectural style of Art Nouveau.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon tour to Riga’s Art Nouveau district and Jurmala.

The Art Nouveau architecture in Riga makes up roughly one third of all the buildings in the centre of Riga, making Latvia's capital the city with the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture anywhere in the world. Built during a period of rapid economic growth, most of Riga's Art Nouveau buildings date from between 1904 and 1914. The style is most commonly represented in multi-storey apartment buildings. Stylistic influences derived not least from present-day Austria, Finland and Germany.

Jurmala is called Latvia’s summer capital due to its wonderful long and sandy beaches. You will be amazed by the romantic wooden architecture in the style of Art Nouveau dating from the 19th and first half of the 20th century.

Return to Riga.

Dinner.

Overnight in Riga.

Day 5. Riga – Sigulda – Turaida – Parnu – Tallinn

Breakfast at the hotel and check out.

Departure to Sigulda.

Sigulda and Turaida Sightseeing.

One of the most picturesque towns in Latvia - Sigulda, often called the Latvian Switzerland, is located about 50 km from Riga in the Gauja River valley. Sigulda is situated in the Gauja National Park and is known as the most popular tourist and leisure destination as well as a famous winter sports resort in Latvia because of its bobsleigh track and the down-hill skiing routes. Experience a genuine whiff of the Middle Ages, a time of romantic legends, castles and heroic figures, visiting the ruins of the 13th cent. Crusader Castle, and the 19th century Kropotkin’s Palace in the outskirts of Sigulda. By coach you will travel down into the river valley, enjoy the landscape and the walk to the sandstone grottoes on the ancient river bank.

The Turaida Museum Reserve is the historical center of Turaida and comprises archeological, historical and art monuments that tell us about the events that have taken place since the 11th century. The Turaida walled castle, which is a medieval architectural monument, is situated on the Turaida castle mound. The church mound is an ancient site for a church and graveyard. Turaida church, one of the oldest wooden churches built by the local rural craftsmen, is situated here. A graveyard was established here for the first baptized Liivs. Under an old linden tree is the legendary tomb of Roze that commemorates a girl who sacrificed herself in the name of love.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

Continue to Parnu, a short stop and free time.

Further travel to Tallinn – the capital city of Estonia.

Check-in at the hotel.

Dinner.

Overnight in Tallinn.

Day 6. Tallinn

Breakfast at the hotel.

Tallinn City tour.

City tour of Tallinn, a picturesque old city, where whole districts date back to the Middle Ages. You will visit the Old Town with its quaint narrow streets and beautiful merchants' houses exemplifying the best of Gothic architecture. The tour includes Toompea Castle, the 13th century Dome church, the 19th century Russian orthodox Cathedral of Alexander Nevskij, the 15th century town Hall square, the Old Guild built to celebrate Tallinn's membership in the Hanseatic League, and St. Olaf's church. On Driving part visit Tallinn’s suburbs and Song Festival Grounds, St Brigitte’s monastery and Pirita area.

Lunch at a local restaurant.

Afternoon tour to Rocca al Mare and Estonian Open-air museum.

The Estonian Open Air Museum (founded in 1957) is situated at an 8 km distance from the centre of Tallinn on a wooded coastal headland in a beautiful place called Rocca al Mare. The Open Air Museum presents a unique collection of old Estonian buildings on a 79-hectare expanse of seaside land. Farm buildings, windmills and water mills from various periods and regions have been brought together here. Folk holidays are celebrated in traditional style at the museum. Handicrafts are sold in the main gateway and horseback rides are also available.

Return to Tallinn.

Dinner.

Overnight in Tallinn.

Day 7. Tallinn – Helsinki – Tallinn

Breakfast at the hotel.

Departure by ferry to Helsinki.

3h Helsinki city tour. You will see the historical centre with Senate Square, the Presidential Palace, City Hall, the Parliament building, Finlandia Hall and the Opera House. Stops at the Sibelius Monument and, when possible, at the Temppeliaukio Church (the church in the rock).

The ‘Church in the Rock’, designed by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen, was consecrated in 1969. The church is built into solid rock, with the inner wall left raw and unfinished, and is crowned with a solid copper dome. The wall surrounding the church is made from rock quarried on the site.

Finlandia Hall is Helsinki’s conference and concert hub. The hall was built in 1971 and is one of Alvar Aalto’s most famous works. It is also home to the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, founded by Robert Kajanus in 1882. The hall is a great place for one to hear Finland’s finest musicians as well as appreciate the distinctive, angular architecture employed in Aalto’s buildings.

Free time.

Return to Tallinn.

Dinner.

Overnight in Tallinn.

Day 8. Departure

Breakfast at the hotel and check-out.

Transfer to airport.

Departure.

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