The tour starts at our hotel in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital. Those travelling on the group flights will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel (approx. 25-30 mins). This evening we will have a welcome briefing with our leader. The evening is free to explore Tallinn, an optional welcome group meal will be organised. *Comfortable Hotel*
Today we will explore the vibrant city of Tallinn, Estonia's capital and largest city. The Old Town, framed by old city walls, is full of architectural gems. In the morning we will have a guided tour of the city taking in some of the main attractions like the Toompea palace and castle, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Dome church and the St. Nicholas church. We then have a free afternoon to explore the picturesque old town. Unlike most European cities, Tallinn's old town is completely free from modern buildings. You can leave modern life behind as you explore the cobblestone alleys with spluttering torches and secret stairways; the old town holds new surprises around every corner, even for its old residents. We overnight in Tallinn’s old town. *Comfortable Hotel*
In the morning, we leave Tallinn and start the journey to Tartu stopping off at the Lahemaa National Park, the largest in Estonia. The park is a popular tourist destination due to its untouched sandy beaches, waterfalls, cascades and mossy pine forests, and it offers a variety of cultural sights like Palmse Manor and the 400 year old fisherman’s village of Altja. After lunch, we transfer to Tartu for a guided tour. Tartu is Estonia’s second largest town and the capital of Southern Estonia and is rich with Estonian culture offering festivals, concerts and theatre exhibitions. We spend the night in a hotel in the centre of Tartu. *Comfortable Hotel*
Cesis is an old town with a long history and is now known as a centre of art and culture. Situated on the Gauja River valley, its old town is one of the finest in Latvia. Its cobbled streets have retained a timeless appearance since the middle ages as the fine buildings have kept their red-tiled roofs and restored their facades, making this a charming place to while away some time. The city is famed for its Medieval castle, a partly preserved fortification which has been knocked down and rebuilt in various forms. We will visit the castle and the museum in the morning and take a guided tour of the buildings. We then transfer to the Gauja National Park where we will enjoy a guided walk, and here we will visit the Turaida castle and its adjoining sculpture gardens before making our way to Riga, the Latvian capital. There will also be the option to take the cable car (7 euros paid locally) across the Gauja river so we can then walk down to the Gutmanis caves. **Hotel PK Riga**
This morning the magnificent old town of Riga awaits! We will have a guided tour of the city to discover its winding alleys, elegant boulevards and 800 renovated art nouveau buildings. We then have a free afternoon to soak up the charming and romantic atmosphere of the city and enjoy a relaxing lunch before exploring some of the town’s great shops. *Hotel PK Riga*
In the morning we transfer from Riga to Jurmala. Jurmala is the largest seaside and spa resort in the Baltic States and is known for its unique natural resources such as its healing mineral waters, pine forests and sand dunes. The town is also famous for its unique wooden Art Nouveau architecture. After exploring the town we will transfer back to Riga for the night. Those who wish to stay a little longer in Jurmala can do, a local train back to Riga costs between 2-4EUR per person. *Comfortable Hotel*
Firstly we visit Rundale palace which was designed for the Duke of Courland in the 18th century by Italian architect Rastrelli, who also designed the winter palace in St. Petersburg. Today, the palace is the most magnificent piece of architecture in the Baltic States. We then cross the border to Lithuania and have some time to explore the famous Hill of Crosses before transferring to Klaipeda Port for a short tour around the small old town. The tour is a perfect chance to explore the old town with its reconstructed merchant houses and the remains of Klaipeda Castle. We spend the night in the centre of Klaipeda – the hotel is a ten minute walk from the Castle and other attractions. *Comfortable Hotel*
We start the day with a short ferry ride across the lagoon to the Curonian Spit, a UNESCO world heritage site situated between the Curonian lagoon and the Baltic Sea. Here we have the day to explore the largest drifting sand dunes in Europe. There will also be a visit to the Hill of Witches and an excursion to the Lithuanian sea resort of Nida to climb the Great Dune for the spectacular views. We transfer back to Klaipeda where we spend the night. *Comfortable Hotel*
We transfer to the Plokstine forest and visit the Cold War Museum located in the former Soviet Union’s complex of ballistic missile launch. Today, this secret base is open to the public. We can view the internal control facility and see former missiles as well as listen to expositions about the five decades of the Cold war, one of the most famous and dangerous military conflicts in human history. We then travel to the town of Kaunas, and here we take a walking tour around the beautiful old town. The old town of Kaunas has a collection of important monuments like the 13th century castle, the old town hall, the Cathedral Basilica and the church of St. Francis Xavier. We stay overnight in Kaunas. *Comfortable Hotel*
The first stop is the Church and Monastery of Pazaislis to see one of the most wonderful Baroque architectural masterpieces in north-eastern Europe. The monastery is located on the picturesque bank of the Kaunas lagoon. We then stop in Trakai, the former capital of Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Here we will go on a tour around the incredible 14th century castle. Situated on a small island in the middle of the lake, it is known as the town on the water. We then transfer to Vilnius where we stay the night. *Comfortable Hotel*
Today we have the whole day to explore Vilnius. There is a guided tour of the city in the morning and then plenty of time to explore the city at your own pace. The city was developed around its Town Hall and there is a great deal of diverse architecture to explore. There are many narrow streets which lead to intimate courtyards, in addition to the larger landmarks of the castle complex, Cathedral square and the Royal Palace. There are also plenty of museums to while away some hours. We overnight in Vilnius. *Comfortable Hotel*
End Vilnius. **
* Travel by bus and ferry * Optional daywalks and city walking tours * Group normally 6 to 20 plus leader, Min. age 16 yrs * 11 nights hotels all en suite
There will be buffet breakfasts in the hotels offering plenty of choice including cold meats, cheese, eggs, bread, jams, juice and coffee. Lunches will be a mixture of picnics bought from local shops and cafe stops. Dinners will be taken in the hotel restaurants or out in local restaurants and will be hearty meals. Cuisine in this area is often centred around pork, veal, fish, potatoes, sauerkraut and soups such as borsch (beetroot soup – in Lithuania this is also served cold). Dumplings are also very popular and in Trakai, large baked dumplings called kibinai are traditionally served and are very good.
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