A great capital hopping on first class coaches, combined with private sightseeing and comfortable hotels. Excellent value for money and more freedom to explore the cities on your own.
Day 1: VILNIUS (5 KM)
Arrival to Vilnius airport. Greeting at the airport and transfer to your centrally located hotel. Check-in, accommodation and time at leisure. Nicknamed as the Easternmost city of the Western Civilisation, Vilnius offers a unique ambience of East and West with its charming baroque old town, listed the World Heritage site by UNESCO. Scattered on 9 hills, it’s a city of believers with 48 churches, as well as of artists with their independent bohemian Uzupis Republic, whereas the noblemen have left a significant display of mansions and palaces.
Day 2: VILNIUS (5 KM)
Meeting with your local English-speaking guide for a joint discovery of the historical part of Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital founded in 1323. A variety of cultures have contributed to city’s beauty and charm, most notably Lithuanians, Poles, Jews and Russians. Along with the Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and St. Casimir’s Church, visit the Gates of Dawn, a sacred site for pilgrims and catholic believers. The Town Hall square boasts ancient guilds of foreign merchants, while the adjoining Jewish Quarter marks a vibrant past of the Jews, who made almost half of the city’s population until the WWII. Your tour continues with a visit to Vilnius University with its 16th century courtyards, frescoed study rooms and St. Johns’s church with a stunning organ. Continue visiting the red brick St. Ann’s church is considered a masterpiece of late Northern Gothic architecture and the majestic Cathedral square is a spacious esplanade with the Royal Palace of Lithuanian Grand Dukes, the Gediminas Castle and the Neoclassical Cathedral of St. Stanislas and St. Ladislas, known for the richly decorated St. Casimir’s chapel. The Gediminas Avenue offers many choices for grabbing lunch “a la locale” or enjoying a leisurely walk while window shopping.
The afternoon offers an optional tour to Trakai, Lithuania’s medieval capital located 27 kilometres West of Vilnius. Nowadays Trakai is a picturesque village surrounded by 15 crystal-clear lakes originating from the Ice Age. A walk through the old town of Trakai will showcase authentic wooden houses, inhabited by the karaites, an oriental ethnic minority with only 65 descendants in the village, yet still preserving their culture and religion with the Sunday school and the temple, known as kenesa. The highlight of the tour is a visit to the famous insular castle, located one of the islands of Lake Galve. The 15th century red brick castle is now open as a history museum dedicated to the medieval glory of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Spending an evening in Vilnius means a relaxing break in one of many inner courtyards, converted into open-air cafes and restaurants offering al fresco dining. A pleasant stroll along the narrow streets of the old town with shops open till late can nicely extend to a great time in local bars and food joints, where Lithuanians make the most of the potato, a national vegetable Lithuanians take pride in preparing.
Day 3: VILNIUS TO RIGA (300 km)
The morning is at your disposal. We suggest a visit the the stunning KGB museum, a unique site located in former KGB headquarters. The museums displays a historical exhibition about the WWII and Lithuania’s fate during and after the war, under the Soviet Union. The former KGB prison is now available to visit with the infamous imprisonment and execution cells open for visitors.
At noon transfer to the coach terminal to board the first class coach bound for Riga. The comfortable journey offers great views of the Baltic countryside with quaint meadows, dense forests and small villages. Feel free to enjoy the complimentary services on board, such as WiFi, coffee, tea, newspapers and lavatories. Arrival to Riga in the late afternoon, welcome at the coach terminal and transfer to your centrally located hotel. Check-in and accommodation, time at leisure. The Latvian capital Riga, once the 3rd richest city in the Russian Empire, has preserved its grandeur reflecting in nowadays lifestyle: friendly and stylish locals stroll on large boulevards with stunning facades and large shop windows.
Day 4: RIGA (5 KM)
Breakfast buffet at your hotel restaurant. Meeting with your local English-speaking guide to discover Riga, the largest city of the Baltic States with 800 thousand inhabitants. Your tour begins in the Art Nouveau district. This turn-of-the century style dominates in the central part of Riga with over 800 richly appointed facades. Alberta and Elizabetes streets reveal the buildings designed by Mikhail Eisenstein, an architect and a son to Sergey Eisenstein, the famous Russian filmmaker. The Old Riga, founded in 1201 by the Bishop Albert from Bremen, is surrounded by a picturesque canal and counts a handful of sights not to be missed: the Dome Cathedral with its great organ and the cloister, the St. Peters’s church, the Town Hall square and the House of Blackheads, the castle of Riga, St. John’s and Convent courtyards, the National Opera and the Swedish quarter with the Powder Tower, the Swedish Gate and Jacob’s barracks.
The afternoon offers an optional excursion to Jurmala, a renowned coastal resort situated 25 kilometres from Riga. Bordered by pine trees, the 30km-long sandy beach attracts both local and foreign holidaymakers. Take a stroll on the pedestrian Jomas street surrounded by wooden art nouveau summerhouses. The evening extends with numerous cultural and culinary experiences.
The National Opera is open in summer with a great repertoire of opera and ballet, the beer gardens of the old town are inviting for a drink accompanied by live music, whereas great restaurants offer Latvian speciality menus.
Day 5: RIGA TO TALLINN (315 KM)
The morning is at your disposal. We suggest visiting the famous Central Market, set on a plot of 7 hectares with the covered part installed in 5 hangars, previously used at a military base to park the zeppelins of the WWI. Latvian specialities include cottage cheese, hemp butter and sprats, a local fish delicacy. At noon transfer to the coach terminal to board the first class coach bound for Tallinn. The comfortable journey offers great views of the Baltic coast. Feel free to enjoy the complimentary services on board, such as WiFi, coffee, tea, newspapers and lavatories. Arrival to Tallinn in the late afternoon, welcome at the coach terminal and transfer to your centrally located hotel. Check-in and accommodation, time at leisure. The medieval flair reigns in Tallinn, the Estonian capital on the Baltic Sea. Among its highlights are medieval sandstone dwellings, stalls of nordic sweaters and authentic restaurants offering Middle Age menus.
Day 6: TALLINN (5 KM)
Meeting with your local English-speaking guide to discover the Old Tallinn, a surprisingly well-preserved medieval city divided into Toompea, or the Upper town and Reval, the Lower town. Visit Toompea with its fortress and the tower of Hermann, the Parliament and the impressive Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Alexander Nevski. Interior visit of the Dome Cathedral, know for its decorated tombstones and wooden emblems, crafted by a local sculptor Akkerman. Possibility to climb to the tower for a stunning view of Tallinn’s red roofs and the Gulf of Finland criss-crossed by ships. Upon descent to the Lower town you will see the beautiful facades on Pikk street, the church of the Holy Spirit and the Town Hall square with its 15th century Town Hall and the old pharmacy. A walk through St. Catherine’s passage and then along the city walls will take you to the Gates of Viru, the ending point.
The afternoon offers an optional excursion to Kadriorg and Pirita. The tour includes a panoramic tour visiting the Song Festival Grounds where the Singing Revolution was born, the town of Pirita with its beaches, St. Bridget’s convent and the Olympic Harbour where the 1980 Moscow Olympics were held, as well as the area of Kadriorg with its park and the famous palace built by Peter the Great for his wife Catherine I, today an art museum. A guided visit to the palace is included. The evening offers a gastronomic journey in a variety of restaurants specialising in Baltic Sea fish and Estonian forest game dishes. The night can easily extend in Tallinn’s lively bars.
Day 7: TALLINN (5 KM)
Transfer to Tallinn’s airport, ferryport or railway station.