Culture

Classic Baltics

15 to 22 September
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – three Baltic States visited in one holiday!

Estonia, the most northern of the three Baltic States, is bordered by the Gulf of Finland, the Baltic Sea, Latvia and Russia. Tallinn, its capital with its medieval old town inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List, has charming twisting cobblestone lanes, gothic spires and medieval markets.

Latvia boasts beaches looking over the Baltic, and its capital Riga has medieval architecture, cobblestone streets and a Cathedral (Rigos Doms) which is the largest house of worship in the Baltic states. Riga’s central market is one of the largest and most modern marketplaces on the European continent.

Lithuania’s capital Vilnius is the largest medieval old town of the three states and here we see Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical architecture side by side. One of the most impressive buildings is Vilnius University with its beautifully painted library containing 600,000 historic and cartographic items.

Highlights

  • Medieval Old Town of fairytale Tallinn
  • Gauja National Park
  • Trakai, with its beautiful castle on the lake
  • Narrow gauge Aukštaitija railway
  • Hill of Crosses
  • Medieval centres of Riga and Vilnius
  • Turaida Castle, set in the “Switzerland of Latvia”

This tour has sold out for the last three years so early booking is recommended.

UPDATED 14/11/2017

We now include an extra night in Tallinn at the end of the tour and it is included in the tour price. 

Itinerary

Day 1 Saturday 15 September Late afternoon flight from London Stansted or Liverpool to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Transfer to our centrally located hotel. Indirect flights also available from Heathrow.

Day 2 Sunday 16 September (B, D) Today there will be a tour of the Old Town, partly by coach and partly walking. The Old Town is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. During our tour we will see the main churches, historical and architectural monuments, the Gates of Dawn with a splendid icon of the Virgin Mary, Vilnius University and Cathedral Square. At midday, we depart by train to Trakai which is 28 km from Vilnius. This is the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and has a beautiful 14th century castle that stands on an island in the middle of Lake Galve. The lake serves as a moat around the castle. A cruise on the lake allows us to view the castle from a different perspective. This evening we have our welcome dinner in a local restaurant. Overnight in Vilnius.

Day 3 Monday 17 September (B, L) We transfer by coach to Lentvaris railway station for our train to Kaunas. The Kaunas city tour includes the funiculars in Kaunas, the only city in Lithuania with this type of transport, in service since 1931. In the residential districts of Žaliakalnis and Aleksotas these “climbing cars” serve both as a means of transport and entertainment. The Aleksotas funicular links the old part of the city with the slopes of Aleksotas hill, offering a marvellous panoramic view of the city. The Žaliakalnis funicular provides an easy way of reaching the Resurrection Church from the city centre. We have lunch in a traditional Lithuanian restaurant before we visit the church and monastery of Pažaislis, one of the most wonderful Baroque architectural masterpieces in north-eastern Europe is located on the picturesque bank of the Kaunas lagoon. Return by train to Vilnius. Overnight in Vilnius.

Day 4 Tuesday 18 September (B, L) Today we travel to Anykščiai to visit the railway museum and experience the narrow-gauge railway of Aukstaitija. This unique heritage line, built in 1899, runs between Panevėžys, Anykščiai and Rubikiai and dates from a time of steam locomotives and wooden carriages. At the beginning of the 20th century the railway was the main mechanical means of transport in the region of Aukstaitija (north eastern Lithuania) for carrying people and goods such as flax, bacon, sugar-beet, flour, butter, flaxseed, wood and sand. Since 2001 the narrow-gauge railway has only been used for passenger transport. During our trip we will have a barbecue lunch at a small café located right on the banks of Lake Rubikiai, before travelling on to Riga. On the way, we stop at the Panevėžys narrow gauge railway museum and at the Hill of Crosses. Overnight in Riga.

Day 5 Wednesday 19 September (B, L) This morning we have a Riga highlights tour including a visit to the biggest indoor market in the Baltic States. During our tour we will also see numerous places of cultural and historical importance, such as the Dome Cathedral, St. Peters Church, the Parliament Buildings and the Swedish Gate. You will experience the atmosphere of Riga Market, perhaps chat with the friendly local people, and taste Latvian specialties. After lunch in a local restaurant we travel by train to Jūrmala, a summer resort on the Baltic Sea which built itself a reputation as a Spa Resort in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and also known for its beautiful wooden houses built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. We will have a walking tour of Jūrmala and some free time before we return to Riga by train. Overnight in Riga.

Day 6 Thursday 20 September (B, L) We depart by train to Gauja National Park where we visit Turaida Castle in Sigulda (sometimes called “the Switzerland of Latvia”), set on the banks of the River Gauja. The town and surrounding areas offer magnificent views. Turaida Castle was built in the 13th century under the direction of Albert, the Bishop of Riga. After lunch in Gauja National Park we will continue to Tartu. Tartu is referred to as the intellectual capital of Estonia because of its famous University founded in 1632 by the Swedish King Gustavus Adolphus and was initially called Academia Dorpatensis. Some say that the main building of the University of Tartu is one of the pearls of the city – certainly it is one of the most outstanding examples of classicistic architecture in Estonia, built from 1804 to 1809. Once we have checked into our hotel we will have a walking tour of this fine city including a visit to the Kissing Students Fountain in the centre of Town Hall Square that was erected in 1998. This has since become the most popular meeting place in the city. Overnight inTartu.

Day 7 Friday 21 September (B, D) An early start today as we depart by train to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, which is the most northern of the Baltic States. We arrive in good time for our mid-morning tour of Tallinn which is one of the most completely preserved medieval towns in Europe. The medieval Old Town is known around the world for its well-preserved completeness and authentic Hanseatic architecture. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy and explore these wonderful streets before we meet in the evening for our farewell dinner. Overnight in Tallinn.

Day 8 Saturday 22 September (B) There will be free time today for your own relaxation is this wonderful World Heritage city.

Day 9 Sunday 23 September (B) Before our departure to the airport for our flights back to the UK. 

Flights

14 September: FR9622 16.00 Liverpool to Vilnius (arr 20.55) direct
23 September: LO8123/SAS2549 13.50 Tallinn to Manchester via Stockholm (arr. 17.50)

15 September: FR2244 19.00 Stansted to Vilnius (arr 23.40) direct
23 September: FR2224 12.00 Tallinn to Stansted (arr 12.55)

15 September: LH911/888 16.30 Heathrow, via Frankfurt, to Vilnius (arr 23.35)
23 September: LH881/916 14.00 Tallinn, via Frankfurt, to Heathrow (arr. 17.40)

Hotels

Vilnius – Amberton Hotel Vilnius 4* (3 nights)
Riga – Hotel Mercure 4* (2 nights)
Tartu – Sophia Hotel Tartu 3* (1 night)
Tallinn – Park Inn by Radisson Meriton Conference & Spa Hotel Tallinn 4* (2 nights)

Place(s) available

Holiday Prices (per person) – Booked before 31/12/2017

  • Full 9-day holiday including flight from London Stansted: £1,399
  • Full 10-day holiday including flights from Liverpool and back to Manchester: £1,475
  • Full 9-day holiday including flights from London Heathrow: £1,475
  • Own flight arrangements: £1,199

    For bookings after 31/12/2017 there might be a price increase depending on the flight costs at the time of booking.

Options

  • Single room supplement: £230 (now 8 nights)

Deposit

  • Travelling by air: £500
  • Own travel: £300

Price includes

  • All travel and excursions as outlined in the itinerary
  • Good quality en-suite accommodation
  • Meals as shown in the itinerary; B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
  • Services of our local tour manager. Holiday is fully escorted from Vilnius.

Flights

  • Direct flights with Ryanair from London Stansted, Liverpool/Manchester. Indirect flights from various UK airports with Lufthansa or Finnair.
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Flights
  • Direct flights with Ryanair from London Stansted, Liverpool/Manchester. Indirect flights for various UK airports with Lufthansa via Frankfurt.