Arrive in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and transfer to the hotel. An afternoon Vilnius city tour features major historic and architectural monuments such as St. Anne’s Church, Gate of Dawn, University campus, St Peter and Paul’s Church, and the private Amber Gallery located in a quiet nook of the Old Town.
This morning’s adventure takes you to Trakai, the ancient capital of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, with a 15th century Gothic red-brick Castle on the lakes. An afternoon visit to the Museum of Applied Art featuring unique works of Lithuanian folk art. See the treasures of the Vilnius Cathedral - national relics lost for decades and found only in mid-1980s and displayed for the first time in public. Dinner at hotel.
After breakfast depart by coach for Kaunas, the interim capital of Lithuania between World Wars I and II. En route you stop at the open-air Rumsiskes Museum of Ethnography covering peasant life in the 18th-20th-century Lithuania. Take an afternoon city tour of Kaunas, including the Old Town, the Town Hall Square with 15th-16th century merchants’ houses around and the 17th century white baroque Town Hall. Continue with an excursion to Ciurlionis Art gallery, which houses paintings by outstanding Lithuanian composer and artist Mikalojus Konstantinas Chiurlionis (19th-20th century). A visit to the Devils’ Museum will reveal a large collection of devil-themed art, started by painter Zmuidzinavicius. Overnight at a hotel in Kaunas.
Travel to the city of Klaipeda, Lithuania’s window to the Baltic Sea. En route visit the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai, a place to express gratitude for divine favors. Upon arrival at Klaipeda take a tour of the city including Old Town with interesting merchants’ warehouses in typical German style with “fachwerk’’ decorations. See the old Castle and Theatre Square with the famous Simon Dach Fountain. Next stop is the Clock Museum. Learn the history of telling time, from ancient methods to astronomical advancements, and see clocks from the Renaissance and Baroque. Transfer to the hotel and accommodation. Tonight’s dinner at a local restaurant will introduce you to the traditional cuisine of Lithuania.
Take a full day trip to Neringa, a sandy spit between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea. Popular among locals, it is an extremely romantic area. The fishing villages are now resorts, such as Juodkrante, famous for the Hill of Witches where one can see wooden statues of legendary heroes in a dense pine forest. You’ll also visit Nida, a resort of serene beauty, noted for its magnificent 50-60 meter high dunes, and the Lithuanian Sahara, which has attracted visitors since the mid 19th century. Return to Klaipeda and explore the city on your own.
Your day starts with a tour of Palanga, a popular sea resort 25 km from Klaipeda. Visit the 19th century Palace of the noble Tiszkewicz family, now housing the Amber Museum, where you learn the history of amber, the “Lithuanian gold”. See large pieces of amber, some containing fossilized insects from millions of years ago. After lunch, journey by coach back to Vilnius and check into a hotel. Dine tonight at Marceliukes Kletis, a restaurant known for its casual atmosphere, traditional Lithuanian cuisine and tasty beer. Sit down on one of the benches at the long wooden tables and settle in for a night of talking, eating, drinking - and singing, too! A friendly folk band plays here most nights.
The morning is free to enjoy Vilnius or do last minute shopping. High quality amber jewelry and inexpensive local handicrafts will make pleasant mementoes of your visit. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Lithuania, the Amberland:
Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipeda