The Baltic States Experience 11 days/10 nights
Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival in Tallinn
Arrival in Tallinn, optional transfer to Hotel Santa Barbara*** or similar, check-in, welcome meeting.
Day 2 (Monday): Tallinn–Vihula
The Estonian capital is a charming blend of medieval tranquillity and modern urban life. The medieval Old Town is a busy place in the summer with its many shops, galleries, souvenir markets, outdoor cafés, and restaurants. The sightseeing tour takes us around the old medieval city walls and into the Old Town where we see Toompea Castle, Dome Church, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, medieval Old Town Hall, and Great Guild Hall. After leaving Tallinn we reach Lahemaa National Park in the early afternoon and check in at Hotel Vihula Manor Country Club & Spa****, a charming 16th-century estate located in the heart of the park. The dinner at Kaval-Ants Tavern features a genuine Estonian countryside meal in the rustic ambiance of the old ice cellar.
Day 3 (Tuesday): Vihula–Tartu
After breakfast, we visit Lahemaa National Park with its wide stretches of beautiful untouched nature and many charming manor houses. We embark on a delightful walking tour through the park (2 hours, medium) and visit the impressive Manor House in Palmse, a testament to the industrious von Pahlen family. We continue to Tartu, the University Town, where Estonia gained its statehood. We see the charming Old Town and the University founded in 1632. Check-in at Hotel Sophia*** or similar.
Day 4 (Wednesday): Tartu-Marciena
Departing from Tartu, we head south and soon we reach Valmiera, a Hanseatic town founded in the 14th century when the Livonian Order built a castle here. We make a short tour of the town and visit the small, private Valmiermuiza Brewery, where we are introduced to the secrets of beer brewing and are invited to test the product. The day continues with a visit to a local farm to sample the delicious organic cheese produced by the farmers. Late in the afternoon, we arrive at Hotel Marciena Manor****, a picturesque and romantic estate in the middle of Latvia. This evening offers a dinner at Marciena Manor.
Day 5 (Thursday): Marciena-Daugavpils
Leaving Marciena our first stop is in Aglona, where we visit Aglona Basilica built in late baroque style, and a ceramics workshop, an important symbol of Latgalian culture. From here, our tour continues to Daugavpils, Latvia’s 2nd largest city. We tour the historical center of the city and visit the 19th-century Daugavpils Fortress and the Mark Rothko Art Centre, the only place in Europe, where the original masterpieces by the famous founder of abstract expressionism can be seen. Just outside the city, we find the lovely Sventes Manor and we check in at Hotel Svente Manor****.
Day 6 (Friday): Daugavpils-Vilnius
Today we continue southwards into Lithuania and an in the middle of the day we arrive at Aukstatija National Park with its many lakes, rivulets, and streams scattered between forests and hills. We explore the park on a 20km bike ride through the scenic landscapes and visit the pretty lakeside town of Paluse, famous for its wooden church. Late in the afternoon, we head towards Vilnius. Upon arrival, we check in at Hotel Artis**** or similar.
Day 7 (Saturday): Vilnius
Vilnius is known for its more than 1.200 medieval buildings and 48 churches. The morning sightseeing tour includes a panoramic tour of the city and a walking tour of the Old Town with Vilnius Cathedral, Gediminas Tower, Peter and Paul Church, St. Anne’s Church, Old University, and the Gates of Dawn. The afternoon is free for exploring more of this baroque jewel on our own. In the evening an optional zeppelinas culinary master class and a traditional Lithuanian dinner at Restaurant Senoji Trobele is on our program.
Day 8 (Sunday): Vilnius-Liepaja
From Vilnius, we continue towards Trakai, the medieval capital of Lithuania, where we make a stop near Trakai Castle, beautifully located on an island in Lake Galve. We continue through the hilly landscapes of Lithuania to Klaipeda. A short sightseeing tour takes us to the Old Town with its narrow cobblestone streets and old guild houses and we visit the Theater Square and the Aennchen von Tharau Fountain. Along the coast, we continue onwards into Latvia and soon we arrive at the coastal town of Liepaja. Check-in at Hotel Art Roma**** or similar. The evening offers an optional casual dinner at a beach café right on the wide sandy beach.
Day 9 (Monday): Liepaja-Riga
Liepaja takes its name from the numerous linden trees in the city. We start the day with a short stroll in the Old Town with the Trinity Church and we visit Jurmala Park and the former Naval Port area with its famous Orthodox Cathedral. Afterward we drive through the former Duchy of Courland and visit its former capital Kuldiga before we head further to Jurmala, the vibrant Latvian sea resort, famous for its wooden architecture and sandy beaches. Here we do a walking tour on the sandy beach. We reach Riga late in the afternoon and check in at Hotel Wellton Centrum**** or similar.
Day 10 (Tuesday): Riga
Founded in 1201 by the German bishop Albert, Riga is the largest of the three Baltic capitals and boasts a true kaleidoscope of various architectural styles. The walking tour of the Old Town includes Riga Castle, Dome Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church, Swedish Gates, Three Brothers, Large and Small Guild House, and the Freedom Monument. The afternoon is reserved for an optional visit to one of the largest markets in Europe, Riga Central Market, where we will learn about Latvian cuisine and Latvian organic food and sample Latvian specialties, such as black bread, vegetables, fresh fish, countryside sausages, and much more. In the evening, we enjoy a Latvian farewell dinner at the stylish Restaurant Three with traditional Latvian specialties topped off with a shot of Riga Black Balsam.
Day 11 (Wednesday): Riga Departure
Optional transfer to the airport.
June-September 2023, 11 days/10 nights
Package prices per person:
EUR 1145.00 (double occupancy)
EUR 350.00 (single supplement)
10 overnights at centrally located 3-4 star hotels
10 x buffet breakfast
Estonian dinner at Restaurant Kaval-Ants Tavern, dinner at Marciena Manor, 3 course Latvian farewell dinner with black balsam at Restaurant Three
Welcome meeting with champagne-cocktail or juice
Personalized welcome package
Entrances to Palmse Manor, Valmiermuiza Brewery, organic cheese sampling at a local farm, Aglona Basilica, ceramics show-room in Aglona, Mark Rothko Art Centre in Daugavpils, Peter and Paul Church in Vilnius and Trinity Church in Liepaja
Bike and helmet rentals for biking program on Day 6
Service of English and German speaking tour escort on all tours
Service of 1st class van throughout the itinerary
Transfer airport to Hotel Santa Barbara: EUR 45.00 for private car (1-3 persons), EUR 65.00 for private van (4-7 persons)
Zeppelinas masterclass and Lithuanian dinner at Restaurant Senoji Trobele: EUR 35.00 pp
Casual dinner on the beach in Liepaja: EUR 35.00 pp
Visit to Riga Central Market: EUR 40.00 pp
Transfer Hotel Wellton Centrum to airport: EUR 45.00 for private car (1-3 persons), EUR 65.00 for private van (4-7 persons)
Half board at hotels (7 x 3 course dinner with coffee/tea): EUR 175.00 pp