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Grand Baltic Explorer

21 days
20 nights

Rates

Dates

Rates:

$ 3,470.00 (Per person)

Dates:

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Included:

3 nights in Vilnius
1 night in Druskininkai
1 night in Kaunas
2 nights in Klaipeda
1 night in Ventspils
3 nighst in Riga
1 night in Tartu
1 nights in Rakvere
1 night in Palmse
3 nights in Tallinn
1 night in Kuressaare
2 nights in Parnu
Buffet Breakfast daily
Transportation by air-conditioned coach or minivan as per itinerary
English speaking escort - guide throughout
Excursion as per itinerary with entrance fees

Optional add-ons (per person):
Airport Transfer - $35
Latvian Cuisine dinner - $60
Lithuanian Cuisine dinner - $55
Estonian Cuisine dinner - $55
Dinner in Klaipeda restaurant - $50

Itinerary:

Vilnius – Druskininkai- Kaunas- Klaipeda- Curonian Spit- Liepaja-Ventspils-Riga- Sigulda- Tartu- National Park Lahemaa- Tallinn- Saarema Island – Pernu-Island Kignu –Soomaa National park-Tallinn

Day 1  : Vilnius

Arrival to Vilnius from Belorus. Check-in and accommodation at the hotel. OVERNIGHT: Vilnius

Day 2  : Vilnius-Trakai (50km)

Breakfast at hotel. A day to explore Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania for more than 600 years. City tour of Vilnius: Gediminas Castle (14th century) on the Gediminas Hill, built by the founder of Vilnius city Grand Duke Gediminas; St.Peter and Paul’s Church – the pearl of  Vilnius baroque; Cathedral Square; - St. Anne’s Church and Bernardine Church - Lithuanian gothic example; the Gates of  Dawn with a holy image of the Virgin Mary; the Town Hall Square; Vilnius University (founded in 1579)  Ensemble  with St.John‘s Church; President Palace and all attractive panorama of the Old Town from the hills of Vilnius as well as walking along ancient narrow streets of the historical part of the city.
In the afternoon  excursion to Trakai, the former capital of the Grand Duchy of  Lithuania, nestled in a picturesque region of lakes, forests and hills 25 km from Vilnius, includes a visit to Trakai Castle, the spectacular complex of defensive fortifications of the 15th century erected on the island in the lake Galv?. Today it houses the Historical and Applied Art Museum with an ethnographical exposition of Karaites, the small ethnic minority living in Trakai till nowadays. Try the Karaite’s national dish  kibinai at one of the lakeside taverns. Returne to Vilnius. Free time in Vilnius. OVERNIGHT: Vilnius

Day 3  : Vilnius - Aukstaitija National Park - Vilnius (250 km)

After breakfast trip to  Aukštaitija National Park, about 100 km north of Vilnius is  the oldest of the 5 national parks in Lithuania. 64 species of plants, 8 of fungi, 48 of birds that are found in the park are included in the Red book. 126 lakes are scattered among the woods and hills. There are 116 villages in the park with about 2300 residents. The most famous of the villages is Pal?š?, where park administration resides. Its church, built in 1750, is considered to be the oldest surviving wooden church in Lithuania and was featured on 1 litas banknote. Stripeikiai is the oldest village in the park. It is now known for its unique Lithuanian Museum of Ancient Beekeeping. Ginu?iai is another famous village. Tourist are attracted by its watermill built in the 19th century. It is one of the few mills that still has the original mechanisms. Thus it is declared an engineering monument. One of the most famous sights in the Park is Ladakalnis hill, from top of which 6 lakes can be seen. It is a  geomorphological  monument. Return to Vilnius . OVERNIGHT: Vilnius

Day 4  : Vilnius - Dzukija National Park - Grutas - Druskininkai (150 km)

After breakfast driving  to Druskininkai through  Dzukija National Park. It is Lithuania’s largest national park, taking up 55,900 ha. The biological diversity, the flora and fauna are unique in this territory. Here are 147 types of flora and fauna entered in to the Red book (endangered species). The villages of Dz?kija: Margionys, Musteika, Zervynos, Švendubr?, distinguishing for the archaic layout, old cottages and stockyards are bulging out in the thickness of pinewoods. Visit  the ethnographical museum of the biggest Lithuanian village Marcinkonys,  which tells about the lifestyle, customs, traditions, and handicraft of the Dz?kija peoplea . Next  stop   at Grutas Park – an open-air exhibition of the Soviet era sculptures and monuments, located in Grutas forest near Druskininkai. In 1999, demounted Soviet time sculptures from Lithuanian cities were brought to Grutas. It is the heritage of several decades of Lithuanian monumental art. During the excursion in Grutas Park one can feel the spirit of the Soviet age trying different dishes of that time in a local tavern. Arrival  in  Duskininkai. Check-In at the hotel. Short city tour of Druskininkai in the oldest health resort of Lithuania. In 1794 the king of Poland and Lithuania announced a decree officially designating Druskininkai as a health resort. However, it became a health resort only after I. Fonberg, Professor of Vilnius University, investigated the spring water and advised that the Czar government should establish a resort in the area (1837). The tour will give the possibility to learn about the history of this health resort, its architecture and modern treatment establishments.  OVERNIGHT: in Druskininkai

Day 5  : Druskininkai - Kaunas (130 km)

After breakfast driving to  Kaunas,  the second largest city of Lithuania, served as the temporary capital between two World Wars. Near to Kaunas visting of   Pazaislis abbey . It ranks among the most beautiful Baroque-style buildings in Lithuania. The church and monastery were built for Camaldolese (Benedictine) monks in the 17th century under the supervision of Italian masters from Florence (Michelangelo Palloni, Joan Merli, and Pietro Perti). Pažaislis music festivals are held here in summer.  Arrival  in  Kaunas. Check-In at the hotel.  City tour of Kaunas : walk around the old town and visit Kaunas castle from 13th century, lovely Town Hall of Kaunas, known locally as “White Swan”, the 14th century Church of Vytautas, Cathedral-Basilica, Perk?nas House. Be sure to stroll along the Laisves aleja pedestrian avenue (the Avenue of Liberty) – the main shopping and dining street of Kaunas. Following museums are located in Kaunas – the Lithuanian Museum of War, the Art Museum of M.K. Ciurlionis, the Museum of Devils. OVERNIGHT: in Kaunas

Day 6  : Kaunas – Hill Of Crosses - Klaipeda (350 km)

After breakfast trip to Klaipeda with stop at the  hill of crosses Stop at the Hill of Crosses (16 km from Šiauliai), the unforgettable place with thousands of crosses on two small hills. A further drive to Klaipeda.  Arrival  in Klaipeda Check-In at the hotel.   A short  tour of Klaip?da, the main seaport of Lithuania includes walking in the old part of the town which is interesting for  frame-built architecture, cozy closed yards, paved streets, The Theatre Square with a sculpture of “Annchen von Tharau”, Old Post Office and the Sculpture Park extending with the works of Lithuanian sculptors every year. OVERNIGHT: in Klaipeda

Day 7  : Klaipeda - Curonian Spit – Klaipeda (ca 120 km)

After breakfast   a  full day excursion to the Neringa National Park at the Curonian Spit, which can be easily reached by ferry from Klaipeda. Drive along this sandy peninsula covered with scattered pine forests and high grass. Curonian Spit, separating the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Lagoon, is a unique nature reserve and is oftenly called the Lithuanian Sahara desert due to impressive sandy dunes.  Discover the beautiful wild nature with sand dunes, pine forests and golden beaches, visiting the Hill of Witches which houses a hundred of fanciful and folksy wooden sculptures scattered along a forest path in Juodkrant? village and Nida resort, the Fisherman’s House, famous German writer Thomas Mann’s House and the Amber Gallery. Take a chance to climb up to Parnidzio dune near Nida to admire the panoramic view over Nida and the endless surrounding dunes.  Returne to Klaipeda. OVERNIGHT: Klaipeda

Day 8  : Klaipeda - Palanga – Liepaja(Karosta) – Ventspils (250 km)

After breakfast driving to Ventspils. The  first stop on the way to Riga  is Palanga. It  is one of the biggest resorts in Lithuania near the Baltic Sea. Visit to the Botanical Park of the 19th century and the Amber Museum in the Palace of Count Tyszkiewicz, where over 25000 pieces of amber and 15000 inclusions of insects are on display.  Further driver to  Liepaja. Further driver to  Liepaja. Liepaja is the third largest city in Latvia, a city of successful changes as the people living here on the stretch of sand between the amber sea and the lake for more than 750 years have always been tough, wise and daring. You should visit Holy Trinity Church to hear the world’s largest historic unreconstructed organ with 141 stops and 7000 pipes. You should visit Karosta and see the Officer’s Palace, Marine Cathedral, Riding Manage, Fortifications and the Northern Breakwater, Old Prison and interactive show Behind the Bars.

Ventspils lies in north-western Latvia on the shores of the Baltic Sea where the Venta River joins the sea. You can see the Castle of the Livonian Order and several churches in the town. The beautiful, clean beach and surrounding forests are perfect for relaxation. At the Ventspils Open-Air Museum of Maritime Fishing you can see fishermen's houses, fishing boats and tools. There is also a windmill and a narrow gauge railway engine running in the territory of the museum. The boat "Hercogs Jekabs" will take you on a river cruise down the Venta Riverto the mouth of the river. Arrival  in Ventspils. Check-in and accommodation at the hotel.  OVERNIGHT: Ventpils

Day 9  : Ventspils - Talsi – Tukums – Jurmala – Riga (ca 190 km)

Talsi 120 km  from   Riga is a town of nine hilis. Due to its good geographical situation and its beauty Talsi can be called "The Heart of northern Kurzeme". Historical records mentioned it for the first time in 1231 as the centre of the ancient Cour state of  Vanema. Nowadays Talsi is a lively town proud of its nine hills, the Old Centre and the splendid vistas over the banks of its two lakes. Talsi is rich in interesting places, both from the historical and cultural point of view. The Protestant Church (16lh century), where Pastor K. Amenda f 1774-1836} preached, stands on one of the hills. Liela iela is famous for its examples of old architecture. The beautiful house of Baron Firx (built at the end of the last century) has been restored recently and now houses the Talsi Museum of Regional Studies and Art. The Castle mound, a place of fortification of ancient Cours, has an excellent view over Lake Talsi and the old centre of Talsi.  Further  drive   to Tukums. The city  is located on the border of two regions. It lies at the place where the hilly area of Kurzeme begins and the plains of Zemgale end. Its emblem expressively depicts the picturesque rolling landscape of the town three slender fir-trees on a green hill. Tukums developed on the banks of the Slocene River. Historical streets with architectural monuments date back to the 18th and 19th century. The oldest building in the town is the Livonian Order Castle tower. Containing an exposition of the history of Tukums the tower leaves an unforgettable impression of the town. Jurmala resort is  20 km from  Riga. A stunning 33 km long sandy beach provides many recreational options all year round.   Hundred year-old pine trees grow on the coastal dunes, creating wonderful clean air. Behind the beach are many spa hotels, guest houses, campsites,  Jurmala Open-air museum, Dzintari concert hall and Livu Aquapark, the largest water amusment park in Northern Europe. Arrival  in Riga. OVERNIGHT: Riga

Day 10  : Riga

Breakfast at hotelFull day to explore Riga – driving along the central boulevards of Riga, enjoying the view of the City Canal Parks, the Bastion Hill, the Powder Tower, the Latvian National Theatre, the Fine Arts Museum, the Art Nouveau Buildings of the beginning of the 20th century, the Freedom Monument, University of Latvia, Latvian National Opera House and the Daugava River. During the walking part of the tour you will enjoy the beauty of the ancient Hanseatic City: picturesque streets of the Old Town, the Dome Cathedral, the Church of St.Peter, the old Guild Houses, the Swedish Gate, St.Jacob’s Church, the Parliament House, Old Riga Castle.  Trip to the Ethnographic Open Air Museum is one of the show-pieces of Latvia’s cultural heritage, founded in 1924. Situated 10 km from the centre of Riga in a pine forest on the banks of Jugla Lake, the museum consists of some 90 traditional rural buildings: farmhouses, windmills, fishermen’s huts and churches that have been assembled here from the four provinces of Latvia: Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale, Zemgale. During summer weekends folk dancing shows and concerts are held in the museum premises. OVERNIGHT: Riga

Day 11  : Riga - Rundale – Riga Castles of the Southern Latvia (190 km)

After breakfast a trip to Rundale. On the way a short stop in Bauska to  visit to the Bauska castle with a viewing platform in the central tower. It was built in 1443 at the confluence of the rivers Musa and Memele. Further  driving to Rundale  for a visiting  of   Rundale Palace (18th century) - the most beautiful work of famous Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who also designed the famous Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. The palace has a beautiful park that was created in the French style. One can see unique prime stairwells, created by Rastrelli and the Golden Hall, former audience hall of the Duke. Continue to Mezotne Castle, built in the 18th century on the banks of the river Lielupe. It was located and heavily damaged during World War II. Later the castle palace was restored and converted into a hotel. Returning to Riga, a stop in Jelgava for  visiting the baroque castle of Jelgava.  OVERNIGHT: Riga 

Day 12  : Riga - Sigulda - Cesis - Tartu (ca 260 km)

Breakfast at hotel .A morning drive to Tartu  via Sigulda Cesis. Sigulda and the Gauja National Park – the biggest park in Latvia proclaimed as a natural and cultural reserve in 1972. The surroundings of Sigulda are often called the Switzerland of Latvia due to beautiful nature with hills, valleys, rock exposures and old castle ruins. In Sigulda, visit the Turaida museum complex with the Turaida castle, the Gutmanis cave and have find by riding on the cableway over the Gauja River valley. Situated  in the   heart  of Vidzeme, Cesis is  one  of the prettiest and  most typically  Latvian of  all  towns.It flourished during the time of the Livonian Order, when it became a member of the Hanseatic League as Wenden. The brightest testimonies to this period are the C?sis medieval castle (13th-18th centuries) and St. John's Church (13th c.). The town flourished again in the mid 19th century, when it became an important transportation hub. Nowadays the history of C?sis and the beauty of the surrounding area attract visitors to this centre of Vidzeme tourism. Arrival in Tartu  . Check inn. OVERNIGHT: Tartu

Day 13  : Tartu - Rakvere (ca 150 km)

After breakfast city tour of Tartu.  Tartu   is the second largest city of Estonia, the town of students. The highlights  of Tartu are:  Tartu University, founded in 1632,  Toome Hill Park with its monuments, sculptures and ruins of the gothic Dome Church, monument of Gustavus II Adolphus, the king of Sweden, panoramic view of the town with Janni Church, neo-classicist style buildings and Town Hall Square. After breakfast  trip to  Rakvere - town in northern Estonia, which is one of the oldest towns in the whole country. It was first mentioned in 1250 and received its town charter under the Danish rule in 1302. Tourists will probably first notice the mighty knight's castle of Rakvere. It is an ideal destination for families with children who want to spend a nice day out. Rakvere is also very famous for its “Tarvas” statue. The gorgeous sculpture of an aurochs was made by an Estonian sculptor, Tauno Kangro. It is situated on the edge of the Hill Vallimägi and was established for Rakvere’s 700th birthday. It is the largest animal statue in the whole Baltic area. Including the base, it is 7 meters long, 4 meters high and weighs 7 tons. Check in at hotel  OVERNIGHT: Rakvere

Day 14  : Rakvere – National Park Lahemaa – Palmse (100 km)

After breakfast full  day for  visiting of Lahemaa National Park , 80 km east of Tallinn that offers beautiful old growth forests, bogs and lovely stretches of the coast. The visitors‘ center is Palmse - Lahemaa national park's most famous manor. Originally a possession of  St. Micheal's Nunnery, it was first mentioned as a manor in 1510 and later owned by the von der Pahlen family who rebuilt the manor in it's present form in the 18th century. There is a large park around the manor including a 'swan lake'. Ceck –In  at hotelin Palmse.
OVERNIGHT: Palmse

Day 15  : Palmse – Tallinn (ca 90 km)

After breakfast driving to Tallinn. Arrival in Tallinn Check in at hotel. After breakfast city tour of Tallinn. The walking  part of the tour in the Old Town introduces the building of the Parliament of Estonia, Dome Church (13th century), Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky (19th century), magnificent view of the town from a viewing platform, Toompea Castle, St.Olaf’s Church, narrow streets of the Down Town and Town Hall Square (15th century).    OVERNIGHT: Tallinn

Day 16  : Tallinn

After breakfast  visiting of Song Festival Grounds, Pirita sailing center, convent of St. Bridget, Kadriorg Park with the 18th century baroque palace, and the residence of the Estonian President nowadays. Afternoon  visit to the Rocca Al Mare ethnographical open-air museum, which hosts a fine collection of the 17th-19th century rural architecture from all Estonian regions. The buildings, which include farm houses, a water mill, a chapel and a sauna, are grouped in a village setting to present an accurate idea of the former Estonian peasant life. OVERNIGHT: Tallinn

Day 17  : Tallinn – Kuressaare (Saaremaa Island) (ca 240 km)

You driving today to Kuressaare, “the capital “by far the largest and most populous island in Estonia. 
But before you can start exploring the island, you have to cross the Baltic Sea. First, you have to go from the mainland port of Virtsu to the smaller island of Muhu. A 30 minute ferry ride from Virtsu on the mainland of Estonia transports you back in time to a rural idyl many of us can only dream about. The islands of Muhu and Saaremaa have long been the place were Estonians themselves go to escape modern life, get back to nature and unwind to the slow pace of island life. On the island of  Muhu you  can visit the  towerless 13th century church of St. Catherine in Liiva , witch  is the oldest of the west-Estonian churches and was built in early-Gothic style.  The next sot is by historic village of Koguva, which today serves as a kind of inhabited open-air museum. The settlement that dates back to the 16th century stretches idyllically on an elevation above the sea. A maze of tiny streets as well as granges consisting mostly of several buildings and thick walls of natural stone suggest that time has stopped in Koguva. From Muhu island, you can easily access Saaremaa via a more than a 100-year old embankment, which will guarantee you dry feet throughout the journey. On the way to Kuressaare  youvisit Karja Church, Saaremaa's smallest medieval church. Karja church is famous for its decorative elements and some of the most interesting wall frescoes still remain. You will drive past the famous Angla Windmills.  This is the only remaining windmill hill on Saaremaa. In 1925, Angla was home to 13 farms and there were nine windmills, now only five remain. Visit Kaali Meteorite Crater, which was formed 3,500 years ago and  is 16  meters  deep.  Arrival in Kuressaare, Check- In at hotel. OVERNIGHT: Kuressaare

Day 18  : Kuressaare - Parnu (ca 160 km)

After breakfast city tour of Kuressaare  including visit of Episcopal Castle . The rest part  of the day is   for   relax  and sightseeing of Kuressaare. The town of around 16,500 inhabitants offers lots of sights, and restaurants. After breakfast  driving to “Summer Capital of Estonia”. It  is the unofficial title of the city Parnu  that has been a very popular spa and seaside resort for almost two centuries. The first public sanatorium opened in 1838. The spa-tradition is most probably the reason why numerous other recreation and leisure facilities have developed here over time. The lovely seaside resort has several public parks, beautiful long beaches,  cafés as well as bars and night clubs to offer. Boat trips on the Baltic Sea are fun for the whole family. Those interested in art should visit the Museum of New Art (Uue Kunsti Muuseum) that shows works by Witkin, Rustin, Picasso, Corneille, Ono and many more.  OVERNIGHT: Parnu

Day 19  : Parnu – Island Kihnu

Departure for island Kihnu by ferry. Originally used by seal hunters and fishermen Kihnu is now a culturally significant and essentially matriarchal society. The women guard the cultural heritage whilst the men go off to sea and fish. UNESCO has proclaimed the Kihnu marriage ceremony as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It’s an ideal location for walking, fishing, bicycling and getting to know the friendly locals. Departure to Parnu. OVERNIGHT: Parnu

Day 20  : Parnu - Soomaa National Park - Pernu

Soomaa National Park was created in 1993, is one of the largest in Europe at 390 km². Soomaa NP was created to protect large raised bogs, flood plain grasslands, forests and meandering rivers. Often, when there are heavy rains on the Sakala hills, the rivers of Soomaa overflow across flood plains, grasslands and forests.  OVERNIGHT: Parnu

Day 21  : Parnu - Tallinn (130 km)

Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Tallinn. End of the tour

Notes:

Daily all-year-round