Four countries, four capitals, and seven centuries of architectural styles, in their street-scenes and monuments, form the focus of this intriguing Baltics tour, as we travel to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and take the ferry across the Gulf for a final day in Finland
Vilnius - 2 nights
Riga - 3 nights
Tallinn - 2 nights
Helsinki - 1 night
Starting in the southernmost of the states, the tour is immediately immersed in the easy tempo and assorted architecture of Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius. Renaissance and neo-classical façades are teamed with 20th century buildings set on Gothic cellars, and the big Baroque Old Town is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site. After a detour to Trakai’s Island Castle, its round towers reflected in the waters of Lake Galvé, the tour makes its way across the Latvian border to Riga. The largest city of the Baltics, it straddles the Daugava River with cobbled lanes and soaring spires in its medieval Old Town, a stunning spread of art-nouveau architecture in its city centre, and monuments recalling its uneasy past. From here, the route continues into Estonia to Tallinn, on the north shore. The busy port city of Soviet-style buildings turns into a fairytale at Toompea Hill, the heart and soul of the capital. This is its medieval town, oozing old-world charm from its city walls to its Baroque splendour, colour-washed houses, and skyline of turrets and domes. Crossing the Gulf of Finland to its compact capital, Helsinki completes the tour where urban melds with nature, and neo-classical grandeur meets cutting-edge design.
Cultural & Countryside Tour
Jules Verne Sightseeing
3 UNESCO Heritage Sites
Local Expert Guides
Day 1 Fly from London Heathrow to Vilnius via Helsinki, and transfer to the 4-star Hotel Vilnia for a two-night stay.
Day 2 A morning tour of Vilnius includes a visit to the Palace of the Great Dukes of Lithuania, now the National Museum, sharing Cathedral Square with the church and bell tower; and to the 16th century courtyards of Vilnius University, among the oldest and most renowned in northern Europe. Afternoon free to explore Europe’s largest Old Town. (B)
Day 3 Travel to Trakai to visit the medieval castle complex on one of the many islets in Lake Galvé. Built in the 14th-15th centuries, it was home to all the Grand Dukes and now hosts festivals and foreign dignitaries. Continue (4hrs) to cross the Latvia border and enter Riga, for three nights at the 4-star Wellton Riverside Hotel. (B, L)
Day 4 The elegance of Riga’s art-nouveau architecture prompts its epithet ‘the Paris of the Baltics’. A morning tour of the city visits the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia and the Dome Cathedral, where the 19th century organ boasts 6,718 pipes. Enjoy a short organ concert at the cathedral (May-Sept) or visit the Art Nouveau Museum (Apr/Oct). Later, enjoy a cocktail at the Riga Black Magic Bar. (B)
Day 5 A tour to Rundale Palace is an interlude of opulence in its immaculately manicured gardens. The 18th century Baroque palace, built for the Dukes of Courland, aspired to match St. Petersburg’s grandeur and was designed by Rastrelli, the architect of the Winter Palace. (B, L)
Day 6 Travel across the Estonia border and north to Tallinn (4hrs), where the medieval Old Town is little changed since its heyday. On a walking tour of the UNESCO listed town, visit the sumptuously lavish Nevsky Cathedral in the (upper) Toompea Hill enclave, and Tallinn’s Town Hall, in the lower town, the oldest in northern Europe, and the only one preserved in Gothic style. Two nights at the 4-star Nordic Forum or 4-star Palace Hotel (Apr/May 31st ). (B, L)
Day 7 Visit the beautiful, Roman-Baroque, Kadriorg (Catherine) Palace, in formal gardens of topiary, fountains and flowers, modelled on Versailles, and founded, in honour of his wife, by Peter the Great. Contrast this with his own humble cottage behind the palace, now the city’s oldest museum. In the afternoon, enjoy a walking tour of Telliskivi, a complex of former warehouses turned into a creative city, ending the tour with a tasting of Vana Tallinn. (B)
Day 8 Leave the Baltics behind and travel by ferry (2hrs) to Helsinki. On a walking tour of the city centre and South Harbour area, view Senate Square, the Esplanade, City Hall, the Presidential Palace, and the railway station, where urban legend has it that the clock on its tower is set a minute fast, so that travellers are on time for trains; and visit the Oodi, the city’s ‘new era’ library, designed as a vibrant meeting place with dedicated spaces for events, concerts, quiet learning and lively activities. Overnight at the 4-star Hotel Lilla Roberts. (B)
Day 9 Transfer to the airport for your return flight to London Heathrow. (B)
This tour involves carrying luggage on and off a ferry.
For April & October departures Day 4 and 5 will be reversed.
A charming 4-star hotel in a 19th-century building, opposite the Bernardine Garden and in Vilnius’s Old Town. Restaurant, bar and WiFi (free). 79 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
A modern 4-star hotel, close to the House of the Blackheads in Riga’s Old Town. Breakfast area, bar, gym, WiFi (free) and pool and sauna (chargeable). 222 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
A modern 4-star hotel, close to the Old Town and by the Viru Gates. Restaurant, bar, indoor pool, gym, sauna, spa and WiFi (chargeable). 267 air-conditioned rooms with private facilities, hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
A 4-star hotel in Helsinki’s old police station. Restaurant, bar, WiFi (free) and 130 air-conditioned rooms with hairdryer, safe, mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities and satellite TV.
per person in a twin/double room
Finnair from Heathrow
Supplements per person
Single supplement £425 (Apr/Jun/Jul/Sep 20/Oct £395)
Extra nights – Vilnius
Hotel Vilnia (per night) £65
Single supplement £45
Arrival transfer add £30
Extra nights – Helsinki
Hotel Lilla Roberts (per night) £115 (Jun/Aug/Sep £135)
Single supplement £90 (Jun/Aug/Sep £100)
Departure transfer add £70
Arrival transfer add £30
Departure transfer add £70
Air travel and taxes, transfers, 8 nights' accommodation, breakfast daily, 3 lunches, itinerary as described, services of guides and local representatives. If our specially negotiated airfares are unavailable at the time of booking, a supplement may apply.
Travel insurance, overseas departure taxes, optional excursions, tipping, any government taxes or compulsory changes introduced after publication.
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