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, which is located in a quiet nook of the Old Town. The evening is free to explore more of Vilnius on your own.
After breakfast take a day trip to Kaunas (100 km from Vilnius), the interim capital of Lithuania between World Wars I and II. En route, stop at the Rumsiskes Museum, a vast, impressive ethnographic open-air museum of 18th-20th century Lithuanian peasant life. In Kaunas take an afternoon city tour, which includes Old Town and the Town Hall Square with 15th-16th century merchants’ houses around the 17th century white baroque Town Hall. Continue with an excursion to the Ciurlionis Art gallery, which houses the paintings of outstanding Lithuanian composer and artist Mikalojus Konstantinas Chiurlionis (19th-20th century). A visit to the Devils’ Museum reveals a large collection of devil-themed art, started by painter Zmuidzinavicius. Return to Vilnius. Dinner at the hotel tonight ends the day on a relaxing note.
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. Visit the Applied Art Museum featuring unique works of folk art. Take an optional visit to the KGB Museum, where thousands of Lithuanians were interrogated before being exiled to Siberia during Soviet times, and the Parliament building, a symbol of Lithuania’s courageous fight for freedom in 1991. Dinner at a local restaurant.
Morning departure from the hotel by coach for Riga, the capital of Latvia. En route visit the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai - a holy site with thousands of crosses and a symbol of resistance against Soviet occupation. Arrive in Riga and accommodation at the hotel. The afternoon is free to explore the surprising sights and unexpected delights of Riga.
Enjoy a city tour of Riga in the morning. Walk from the Castle through the Old Town with its merchant’s houses, where some streets are so narrow you can touch the walls of the houses on both sides. Along the way see the 13th century Dome Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church and the Powder Tower before a stop at the Central Market. Tonight’s special dinner is at Rozamunde, where you soak up the pre-war atmosphere of this restored 1920s restaurant featuring wonderful Latvian cuisine.
Today’s drive along Riga Bay takes you to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. En route sightsee at the open-air Ethnographical Museum on the outskirts of Riga, where you will see traditional Latvian rural buildings, the oldest dating from the 17th century. View the Baltic Sea Coast and sightsee in the Estonian resort town of Parnu. Arrive in Tallinn and accommodation at the hotel. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy Tallinn on your own.
The historic sights of Tallinn are part of today’s sightseeing tour, including Kadriorg Park with its Swan Pond and the Baroque Catherine’s Palace. In lower Old town see the ancient St. Nicholas Church, the medieval Town Hall and the Town Hall Square. While in this medieval city visit the “Kiek-in-de-Kok” tower and Rocca-al-Mare Ethnographical Museum. The afternoon is free. Tonight, new friendships are recognized with heartfelt toasts during a farewell dinner with a folk performance at a local restaurant.
Your trip draws to a close as you transfer to the airport for your flight home.
The Best of the Baltics: Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn