Baltic Capital Cities

Baltic Capital Cities

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8 Days From

$1540

$1235

Baltic Capital Cities

8 Days Starting in Vilnius and ending in Tallinn

Visiting: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Tour operator:

Explore!

Tour code:

BAT

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

10 - 16

Physical rating:

High

Age range:

16-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians, Vegans

Tour operated in:

English

Trip Styles:

Adventure Tours

From: $1540 $1235 Operator discount: -$270 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$35 -20%

NB: Prices correct on 22-Jul-2024 but subject to change.

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Tour Overview

Teeming with spires, castles and quaint, cobbled streets, the Baltic capitals are something from a fairytale. Uncover the magic of Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn as you traverse three of Europe's most enchanting countries. From Gothic cathedrals to Soviet relics and seaside spas, this tour introduces you to the Baltics\ varied history, as well as its metropolitan modern day.

Vilnius, Lithuania - Take a walking tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town and step into the Soviet past at the KGB Museum.

Riga, Latvia - Explore the highlights of the Old Town and taste local produce at the Central Market.

Tallinn, Estonia - See the city's stunning medieval architecture and go under the city walls in the Bastion Tunnels.

Highlights

  • Great introduction to the Baltic States and its three capitals; Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn

  • Uncover a fascinating history from Medieval to Soviet times

  • Spend the night at historic manor house and enjoy traditional regional cuisine

Itinerary

Expand All

Day 1: Join Trip In Vilnius, Lithuania

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Amberton Vilnius Hotel (or similar)

Arrive in Vilnius, Lithuania's capital city, where you can get a first taste of the city's vibrant cafe and restaurant scene.



For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Vilnius at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Vilnius International Airport (VNO), which is about 10 minutes' drive. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.



If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to explore the compact old town area on foot.



The majority of visitors to the Baltic States will be surprised by the quality, variety and value of food and drink on offer. The majority is locally sourced and part of the regions heritage is being able to forage for food and make local brews. Walking through the forests you will see locals passing the time picking mushrooms and gathering berries. There are a lot of traditional restaurants, with influences from Germany and Russia. There's a wide variety on the menu including soups, casseroles, salads, meat and fish dishes. Beer is locally brewed and you can find light and dark beers, filtered or unfiltered all for a reasonable price. You can also find flavoured wines such as raspberry and cherry wine and each country has its own herbal liquor which is a popular after dinner tipple.

Day 2: Walking Tour Of Vilnius And Visit To The Kgb Museum

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Amberton Vilnius Hotel (or similar)

Meals Included: BREAKFAST

The Catholic influence on Vilnius is very evident from the numerous Baroque churches. By the turn of the last century, Vilnius also had an 80,000-strong Jewish community. However, by the end of World War II, it had been completely decimated. During our morning orientation walking tour of the capital, we'll visit the ancient university founded by the Jesuits - a centre of the Counter Reformation and a source of Lithuanian culture. We'll also see the cathedral and Church of the Dawn. In the newer part of Vilnius lies the main shopping street with the opera house, parliament building and a number of cafes.



This afternoon we'll visit the KGB Museum, which is located in the former KGB Headquarters and has exhibits documenting the crimes that were planned and committed from this very spot during Soviet rule. The displays show how the Lithuanians fought back to re-claim their independence and we'll be able to see the inner prison cell that has been preserved in the same condition as when the headquarters closed in 1991.

Day 3: Drive To Pakruojis Manor Via Trakai Castle And Kaunas

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Manor of Pakruojis (or similar)

Meals Included: BREAKFAST AND DINNER

Our first stop this morning on our full day's journey will be at Trakai Castle set on an island in Lake Galve. Trakai is the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and this splendid red brick castle dates back to the 14th century. You'll have the opportunity to go inside to view some of the interesting museum exhibits that it houses including one on pre-war Lithuania.



On some departures due to functions taking place it may not be possible to go inside Trakai Castle, so instead we will make an additional stop at Rundale Palace. Built in the 18th century by Anna Empress of Russia for her lover Count Biron. The architect, Bartholomeo Rastrelli, also built the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The 138 room palace is richly decorated and is an example of the fusion of German and Russian society.



We continue our drive to Kaunas where we'll have free time for lunch. Kaunas was the country's temporary capital between 1920 and 1939 when Vilnius was forcibly annexed by the Poles. Situated in the heart of Lithuania, it is often regarded as the most characteristic city in the country. Many of its buildings date back to the 17th century, when the Jesuits bought tracts of land here and built a large monastery. Some buildings are older, with impressive examples of Gothic architecture.



Later this afternoon we arrive at Pakruojis Manor where we will be spending the night. The manor consists of 34 buildings including the main house, a stable block, mill and perfumery all set in a beautiful park setting, which is now a living museum that shows how the residents and staff would have lived and worked in 19th century. You'll have the opportunity to explore these historic buildings before we have a traditional dinner and an included beer tasting - all brewed on site.

Day 4: Visit The Hill Of Crosses En Route To Riga, Latvia; Walking Tour Of Riga

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Rixwell Konventa Seta Hotel (or similar)

Meals Included: BREAKFAST

Before leaving Lithuania we'll make a stop at the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai where a vast number of rosaries and crosses adorn a small hill. Both German and Soviet troops in the past have tried to crush this symbol of national and religious fervour, but images of the Virgin and literally thousands of crosses always reappeared despite their best efforts to destroy them.



This afternoon we'll arrive in Riga, Latvia's capital, and take an orientation walking tour. Most of the important sights in Riga are concentrated in a small area, so walking is the most effective way to explore. We will take in the Freedom Monument, Gunpowder Tower, Saint Jacob's Church and the city's cathedral. Buildings have been painstakingly restored over the last twenty years and commanding Gothic structures sit adjacent to Baroque and lavish Art Nouveau architecture.

Day 5: Visit To Riga Central Market; Afternoon At Leisure

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Rixwell Konventa Seta Hotel (or similar)

Meals Included: BREAKFAST

This morning we'll visit Riga's huge and lively Central Market, which sells traditional produce, such as smoked fish, sauerkraut, pickled garlic and crusty cheeses.



The rest of the day is free for you to discover more of the city. Riga is an old Hanseatic city on the banks of the Daugava River and is arguably the most beautiful in the Baltics. Its skyline is pierced with spires, towers and weather vanes, making the streets a joy to amble through. The Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum and Riga Castle are well worth a visit or you may choose to enjoy a long lunch in one of the many restaurants. Cheese and meat filled pastries served with wild berry preserves are popular, especially when washed down with a local beer or perhaps a glass of Riga Black Balsam, a traditional herbal liqueur - an acquired taste!

Day 6: Drive To Tallinn, Estonia Via The Seaside City Of Parnu

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Park Inn by Radisson Central Tallinn (or similar)

Meals Included: BREAKFAST

This morning we bid farewell to Latvia and head for Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. After we've crossed the border we'll make a stop in the pretty seaside town of Parnu on the Gulf of Livonia. This Baltic coast spa resort has been popular with tourists since the 1830s with people flocking to its clean sand beaches and to revitalise in the Parnu Mud Baths. After time here for lunch we'll continue our journey to Tallinn; in total today's drive takes us around five hours.



With just half a million citizens, Tallinn is not a sprawling metropolis. This adds to its charm, as it is easy to explore on foot, with minimal traffic. Famed for its medieval architecture, the Old Town is one of the best preserved Hanseatic city centres in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has a huge range of restaurants, pubs and wine bars for you to choose from this evening.

Day 7: Orientation Walking Tour Of Tallinn; Visit To The Bastion Tunnels

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Park Inn by Radisson Central Tallinn (or similar)

Meals Included: BREAKFAST

Less than 100 kilometres across the water from Helsinki and midway between St. Petersburg and Stockholm, Tallinn has come under several different cultural influences since the first stronghold was built in the 10th century. Linguistically and economically, Estonia's closest ties are to Finland, despite the best efforts of other nations. In 1561, as a coveted trading port, it was seized by the Swedes and held for 150 years until the Russians took over and industrialised much of the medieval town. Perched on a hill overlooking the sea, we'll explore the cobbled Old Town on foot this morning. The colourful houses of the crooked streets reflect the German, Scandinavian and Russian periods of Tallinn's history. We'll walk through the quarter where merchants once traded and take in the historical and architectural highlights. The busy town square is a hectic mix of pavement cafes and shops, dominated by the 14th century Gothic Town Hall. The pink Parliament buildings and Toompea Castle lie near the imposing deep yellow Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.



This afternoon we'll visit the Bastion Tunnels beneath the city. The tunnels were constructed in the 1670's and were used by the military as defensive tunnels beneath the city walls and buildings above. The tunnels lay unused for many years, but at the start of World War II they were renovated to be used as bomb shelters and then during Soviet rule they were installed with electricity, ventilation, water and telephones. During our excursion you'll get to see the tunnels still in their Medieval state and those that have been modernised in the 20th century.



On some departures due to events taking place we may not be able to visit the Bastion Tunnels, so instead we will take a tour to learn about the secrets of the white monks at the Dominican Monastery. In the Middle Ages the influence of the Dominican religious order was enormous, as the monks were the confessors of the kings. We'll be met by a monk at the monastery who will give us an insight into what it would have been like in the city and to be a monk in medieval times. There is almost no electricity in the monastery, so our tour will be conducted by candle light. And, of course, we will get the chance to try the traditional monastery liqueur.

Day 8: Trip Ends In Tallinn, Estonia

Meals Included: BREAKFAST

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Tallinn.



There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Tallinn at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport (TLL), which is about 10 minutes' drive.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    Accommodation is included throughout the tour.

  • Meals – Breakfast Only

    Breakfast is provided on all days of the tour, with one dinner included.

  • Fully Guided

    The tour is fully guided, providing insightful information on the destinations visited.

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

    Complimentary airport transfers are provided at the destination.

What's Not Included

  • Country Entry Visas

  • Tipping and Gratuities

  • 1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day

Why Book this Tour

See the main highlights and lesser visited sights in three beautiful Baltic capital cities - Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn, in just 8 days. Stay overnight in one of the largest historical manor estates in Europe, Pakruojis Manor.

Meals

Breakfasts: 7
Dinners: 1

Videos

Check out our Q&As

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Trasnfers are included on the first and the last day of the trip

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    The fitness level is high in this tour.

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    Yes

  • Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

    Yes

  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    Yes

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    No

  • What is the maximum group size?

    The maximum group size is 16

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews from travellers on this tour

Betty  

Baltic Capital Cities

Well organised trip with knowledgeable local guide

Well organised trip with knowledgeable local guide. Included tours were interesting & varied .Our guide found interesting places to eat, & serenaded us on the last meal together. .

Marion  

Baltic Capital Cities

Visit to the opera with a couple of other people w

Visit to the opera with a couple of other people was an experience not to be missed. Loved finding places to eat as well as those suggested. We had a great group of people and everyonet on well.

Nityanand  

Baltic Capital Cities

Enjoyed the trip

Enjoyed the trip

Suzanne  

Baltic Capital Cities

This was a super trip. I thoroughly enjoyed mysel

This was a super trip. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, our guide was excellent and took time to show us places that were not included in the itinerary.

Daphne  

Baltic Capital Cities

I had aod break in three interesting countries - i

I had aod break in three interesting countries - it was easy travel, with nice people and aod tour leader.

Sarah  

Baltic Capital Cities

I much enjoyed the trip and the friendliness of th

I much enjoyed the trip and the friendliness of the leader and the group.

Geoff  

Baltic Capital Cities

Over all enjoyable trip, just hope we are compensa

Over all enjoyable trip, just hope we are compensated for our taxi fare

Susette  

Baltic Capital Cities

Overall it was a fantastic tour. I didn't much abo

Overall it was a fantastic tour. I didn't much about the history of the Baltic's until this tour. The city tours were reallyod especially the KGB museum. Our guide was excellent. She taught us a few words from each country which was very helpful.

Anne  

Baltic Capital Cities (20-Dec-2019)

A most enjoyable trip for the first time away at C

A most enjoyable trip for the first time away at Christmas.

Anne  

Baltic Capital Cities

A most enjoyable trip for the first time away at C

A most enjoyable trip for the first time away at Christmas.

Read all 10 reviews

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  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 70 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 70 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 70 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 69 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

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    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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