Or it can be organized like circle around the Baltic sea: Stockholm - Helsinki - Tallinn - Riga - Vilnius - Minsk - Warsaw. Grand Baltic Tour of 7 capitals. Just an idea. Side trip to Moscow and Saint Petersburg with cooperation of Russian tour operators is possible too.
But right here you can see more classical Baltic tour covering just Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. The tour itinerary has been presented here is just an example. We can start your visit to Baltic countries from Helsinki (fast ferries to Tallinn, crossing Finnish Gulf needs 1 hour 40 min), from Stockholm (overnight boat). Or we can start or finish in Tallinn, Riga or Vilnius. All of these capitals have international airports.
Day 1: Arrival in Tallinn. Check in at the hotel. Tallinn's Old Town is by no doubt one of the most picturesque sights in the whole Baltic Sea region. The Old Town is a compact maze of ancient beauty - the frozen music of medieval architecture - for a good reason it was granted a place on UNESCO's World Heritage List. Time to have a rest. City tour for orientation. Walking tour in the one of the best survived medieval city areas of the Northern Europe. You will the Fat Margaret, Oleviste church, city wall with protection tower, 600 years old Town Hall, Toompea palace and other sights during walking tour along narrow and curved streets in the Old Town. Overnight stop in Tallinn.
Day 2: Tallinn City Tour continues. We will visit Estonian Open Air Museum with some of the 71 old buildings, including farmsteads, windmills, a village, a schoolhouse, and net sheds are up to 200 years old. After that we can drive to the Kadriorg park to admire the views of palace, built by the Russian Czar, Peter the Great, and then off the beaten path to see some areas housed with private family houses like Nõmme, Merivälja, and a beautiful seacoast in the suburb named Viimsi. In afternoon optional side trip to see some historical and natural sights not far from Tallinn, including highest (8 m) in Estonia waterfall. Overnight stop in Tallinn.
Day 3: We leave Tallinn to visit Estonian largest island. Saaremaa. After 220 km and short ferry cruise (30 min) we will arrive in Kuressaare, the capital of island. We will visit Kuressaare castle, the best survived medieval castle in the Baltic region (built in the 14th century), you will see small but interesting Kaali meteorite crater, Angla windmills, some historical churches and other interesting places. Overnight stop on the island Saaremaa.
Note: Estonia is popular are for visitors who want to enjoy spa procedures. We have more then 10 modern spas in different areas: Vimsi, Toila, Värska, Haapsalu, Kuressaare and Pärnu.
Day 4: We return back to mainland to continue our trip to Riga, the capital of Latvia, but before we will stop in Pärnu, the most popular resort town and health resort in Estonia. Pärnu is one of the most charming cities in Estonia with its parks, avenues, long sand beaches, Pärnu river and seashore. Arrival in Riga in the evening. Overnight stop in Riga.
Day 5: A day in Riga. Riga the city of inspiration – the capital of Latvia (850,000 people)and one of the the oldest cities in the Baltics. The city is situated on both banks of the river Daugava, the largest one in Latvia. Riga is economical, cultural, educational and scientific centre of Latvia. The city’s architecture reflects the various architectural styles of the changing times, as well as Riga’s own particular traditions. The central part of the city has the full spectrum of architectural styles from Gothic, Eclectic, Baroque to Art Nouveau style.
The wooden architecture of the 19 the century can be found both in the centre and the older suburbs. The historical centre of Riga has been included on UNESCO’s list of World’s Cultural Heritage on December 4, 1997 as an object of unique and universal value, the subject to be protected for the benefit of mankind. The "green" Riga with its forests, parks and gardens and the “blue” Riga with the Daugava river, larger lakes and the city canal occupy more than fifty percent of the total territory of the city. Riga is unique for the five protected nature areas.
This morning we will visit the Old Town where you can see the Dome Cathedral, St. Peter's Church, Three Brothers, House of Blackheads, the Swedish Gate, Mentzendorff's House, Riga Castle, Great Guild, and the Building of Small Guild and other sights. After refreshing break we will continue tour to admire beauty of Art Nouveau buildings, this style was the dominate building style of Riga about 100 years ago. After lunch we can to look around in largest open air market in the Baltic countries- Centraltirgus or there is possibility to to side trip to Jurmala 25 km from Riga- the most well-known resort town in Latvia and Baltics. Overnight in Riga.
Day 6: Leaving Riga. Trip to Kurzeme - Western Latvia. The region got its name from the Cours, a tribe speaking the Baltic language who first settled here around 3,000 BC. They shared the northern part of the territory, along the Gulf of Riga, with the Livs, a tribe of Finnish origin the vast majority of whom were eventually assimilated to become Cours and, later, Latvians. We will drive through several small towns.
Day 7: This day will arrive in Lithuanian single resort town Palanga (20,000 people). We will visit amber museum, perhaps one of the largest amber museums in the world. After that we take a ferry from Klaipeda to visit Curonian spit. This is an unique natural phenomenon which consists of an entire strip of dunes. It is a long(98 km) and narrow (0,4 - 3,8 km) peninsular strip which separates the lagoon from the Baltic Sea. The common town name Neringa joins former fishing villages, now turned into the sea resorts of Juodkrante, Preila and Nida. At the end of the past century, practically all of the Nerija area became a sandy wasteland (now maybe 15% of all the spit is covered by sandy dunes, most territory is forested by people). In the afternoon we return back to mainland. Overnight in Klaipeda.
Day 8: We leave Klaipeda to drive to Kaunas along Nemunas river, the largest river in Lithuania. Shortest way from Klaipeda to Kaunas is Klaipeda - Vilnius highway, but we believe that alternative route would be more interesting. Frequent stops in small villages. After lunch arrival in Kaunas - second size city in Lithuania, the capital of Lithuania in 1920's - 1930s. Some sights in Kaunas. The Old Town. Kaunas castle (in ruins). Laisves (the longest pedestrian street in Eastern Europe- Lithuanians like to say). Devil Museum Over 2,000 devils from around the world. Overnight in Kaunas.
Day 9: Kaunas - Rumsiskes - Vilnius. Rumsiskes museum is a mosaic of ancient Lithuanian villages. Old farmstead buildings have been moved from all the ethnographic regions to the shore to the Kaunas Sea - dwelling houses, granaries, threshing bars, cattle-sheds etc. Arrival in Vilnius, short excursion for the orientation, check in at the hotel. Overnight stop in Vilnius.
Day 10: Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania (600,000 people), one of country`s oldest cities, is situated 300 km East of the Baltic seashore at the confluence of the rivers Neris and the Vilnia, among hills pine forests. The Old Town of Vilnius with its unique value and the mixture of West European architectural styles, f.e. Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classicism - is included into UNESCO World Culture Heritage List. City tour in Vilnius. Gediminas Square where once was built castle by grand dukes of Lithuania the most central area of the City. The castle consisted of two areas - Lower Castle and Upper Castle.
You can walk up to the top of hill to see some fragment ruins of Upper Castle and to glance at Vilnius from bird's eye view. At the foot of the hill you can find some survived parts of Lower Castle and the Cathedral. In the Cathedral Square, in the 13th century, the first Catholic Church - Cathedral was built to mark Lithuanian conversion to Catholicism. Not far from Cathedral Square, are Bernardine church, St. Anne's Church which facade is patterned with 33 different varieties of bricks, and the oldest standing church in Lithuania - St. Nicholas Churches.
The Gate of Dawn - 16th century Renaissance - originally formed part of the Old Town fortifications. now there is a chapel in the gates to house a holy image of the Virgin Mary. The City Hall square was an administrative centre and a market place in the 16th century. Down by the Pilies Street - one of the oldest streets of the Old Town - go to the University of Vilnius, the oldest University of Eastern Europe. In the afternoon we will do short side trip to visit Trakai. Trakai is situated 28 km from Vilnius, surrounded by lakes, the ancient capital of Lithuania is now famous for its 15th century Insular Castle housing a museum with displays of prehistoric findings and the 17th-18th century objects d'art. The Insular Castle is one of the symbols of Lithuanian history and Lithuanian statehood. Return back to Vilnius. Overnight stop in Vilnius.
Day 11: This morning we leave Vilnius area and move back to Latvia. We will do several stops to admire sights and interesting places. One of them is Rundale Palace. Rundale Palace (18th century) is the most beautiful baroque palace in the Baltic countries. The palace is an outstanding example of the early work of Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli who also designed the famous Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. Amazing work is done to renovate palace interiors are decorated with authentic 18th cent. furniture, paintings and porcelain from Asia. The most impressive are the Golden Hall, the White Hall, the bedroom of the Duke of Courland Ernst Johan Biron. After crossing Daugava river we will arrive in Sigulda in the afternoon.
The Sigulda region, some 50 km east of Riga, with its lakes and dramatic hilly landscape, is known as the Switzerland of Latvia. The area is a paradise for hikers; great trails in the valleys of Gauja National Park. We will visit Turaida Museum Reserve. The reserve includes Turaida castle and the surrounding area. We will do some shorts walks to see some large sandy caves (large by Latvian standard), maybe we are happy to try cable car across Gauja river valley. The adventuresome will enjoy going down the Gauja River by raft. Overnight in hotel or upon request in country home.
Day 12: We will start to drive to Estonia, but first we will do a short stop in Latvian town Cesis, not far from Sigulda. Arrive in Cesis, previously a Hanseatic city, with ruins of one of the strongest and most important castles built by Livonian order. Cesis beer is one of the oldest in Latvia. You can try it. Drive to Araisi Lake, where there is a small-reconstructed settlement of the 9th century. (approximately 10 km from Cesis). Continue north to Tartu, Estonia’s famous university town, which attract both scholars and visitors or small town Viljandi. Overnight in Tartu/Viljandi (small, but one of the most charming town in Estonia).
Day 13: After breakfast, we will have a short walking tour of Tartu, Estonia’s second largest city. A short walk in Tartu, to see the historical quarter of the city from the 18th century, main building of Tartu University and of course Emajõgi (Mother River). Tartu University is one the oldest universities in Northern Europe, it was founded by Swedish king Gustav II Adolf in 1632 and of course Tartu university is the largest institution of high education in Estonia. Alternative/if we will spend a night in Viljandi, we will do a short walk to see to see castle hills with the ruins of the castle belonging to the Livonian Order (Brothers of the Sword), a branch of the Teutonic Knights. Enjoy a short walk in Viljandi, before continuing to Tartu.
We will continue our trip to reach the coast of Peipsi lake, one of the largest lakes in Europe. You can find several villages of Old Believers there (branch of Russian Orthodox Church). Short stop to visit large Russian Orthodox nunnery in Kuremäe (150 nuns). In the afternoon we will arrive in Narva, an border town with its 14th Medieval Castle and Ivangorod Russian Fortress. This important site, on the banks of the River Narva close to the Gulf of Finland, has been the scene of many great battles. It serves as a border between the Eastern Orthodox world of Russia and Western world. Visit to restored Narva medieval castle, one of the most impressive historical fortifications in the Baltic region. Overnight stop in Narva area.
Day 14: We leave Narva and return back to Tallinn. We will do several stops or short side trips from main road. Perhaps we will visit one of the Estonian wineries. We will make a stop at Palmse Mansion, which today serves as the visitor center of Lahemaa national park. Optional hike - to take a special trail for hikers in the Viru bog (approximately 1 hour). Viru bog is also part of Lahemaa national park. In the afternoon we will be back in Tallinn, the capital of Estonian Republic Check in at the hotel. Afternoon at leisure.
Day 15: Departure from Tallinn (by ferry, plane or bus).
Note: Baltic tour can be combined with side trips to neighboring capitals and countries: Finland and its capital Helsinki, Belarus and its capital Minsk, Poland and its capital Warsaw.
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Europe Estonia Latvia Lithuania Local Culture Cultural Journey Sightseeing
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