Baltic and Russian Explorer (16 days/15 nights)
Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival Vilnius
Arrival in Vilnius, optional transfer to Hotel Radisson Blu Lietuva**** or similar, check-in, welcome meeting.
Day 2 (Monday): Vilnius
Vilnius is known for its more than 1.200 medieval buildings and 48 churches. The morning sightseeing tour includes a panoramic tour of the city and a walking tour of the Old Town with Vilnius Cathedral, Gediminas Tower, Peter and Paul Church, St. Anne’s Church, Old University and the Gates of Dawn. The afternoon offers an optional excursion to Trakai, the medieval capital of Lithuania, with the well preserved Trakai Castle, beautifully located on an island in Lake Galve. In the evening enjoy an optional folklore dinner at Restaurant Belmontas.
Day 3 (Tuesday): Vilnius-Riga
Heading for Riga, the first stop is the Hill of Crosses, one of the most holy sites of Catholic Lithuania. After crossing into Latvia we soon reach the magnificent Rundale Palace, the former summer residence of the Duke of Courland. Following a guided tour of the palace we travel through the rolling hills of Southern Latvia to reach Riga late afternoon, check-in at Hotel Mercure Riga**** or similar.
Day 4 (Wednesday): Riga
Founded in 1201 by the German bishop Albert, Riga is the largest of the three Baltic capitals and boasts a real kaleidoscope of architectural styles. The walking tour of the Old Town includes Riga Castle, the Dome Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church, the Swedish Gate, the Three Brothers, the Large and Small Guilds and the Monument of Freedom. The afternoon is reserved for an optional visit to Jurmala, the vibrant Latvian sea resort, famous for its wooden architecture and sandy beaches. The evening offers an optional organ concert at the Dome Cathedral.
Day 5 (Thursday): Riga
After we got acquainted with Riga we have the possibility of discovering medieval Latvia. The optional tour for this morning takes us to the stunning scenery of the Gauja National Park and the town of Sigulda. We listen to the medieval Latvian legend of the Rose of Turaida and see the ruins of the Episcopal Castle and of the Castle of the Knights of the Sword before we return to Riga. The afternoon offers an optional visit to the Ethnographical Open Air Museum, a spacious exposition of 18th century country life. In the evening enjoy an optional Latvian dinner at the stylish Restaurant Forest.
Day 6 (Friday): Riga-Tallinn
The tour continues along the coastal highway to the Estonian summer resort of Parnu. We do a short tour of the resort before we continue through the North Estonian land of forests and arrive in Tallinn early afternoon, check-in at the Hotel Radisson Blu Olympia**** or similar.
Day 7 (Saturday): Tallinn
Tallinn is a charming blend of medieval tranquility and modern urban life. The medieval Old Town is a busy place in the summer with its many shops, galleries, souvenir markets, outdoor cafés and restaurants. The sightseeing tour takes us around the old medieval city walls and into the Old Town where we see Toompea Castle, Dome Church, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, medieval Old Town Hall and Great Guild Hall. In the afternoon an optional excursion is offered to Kadriorg Park and visit to KUMU, the award-winning new Estonian Art museum, with its collections of classic and contemporary fine art. The evening offers an optional medieval dinner at Restaurant Maikrahv.
Day 8 (Sunday): Tallinn-Helsinki
This day offers first an optional day excursion to Lahemaa National Park, where we visit Palmse Manor, a memorial to the von Pahlen family, and Sagadi Manor. The tour ends with a visit to the charming 16th century Vihula Manor and the Vodka Museum. After lunch break, we head back to Tallinn to take the ferry to Helsinki and enjoy a refreshing tour through the Finnish archipelago before arriving in Helsinki. Upon arrival we are transferred to our hotel and check-in at Hotel Glo Art**** or similar.
Day 9 (Monday): Helsinki
Helsinki is truly located at the crossroads of Western and Eastern culture and this is reflected everywhere in the green and lively Finnish capital. The sightseeing tour takes us around the harbors and the Senate Square with the Lutheran Cathedral, up central Mannerheim Street and by the Parliament Building, the Finlandia Hall, and the Sibelius Monument and for a visit at the famous Church-in-the-Rock. The afternoon offers an optional excursion to Suomenlinna Fortress, a cultural treasure which construction was started in the 18th century as a sea fortress. Located on an island, fortress is a unique attraction for visitors.
Day 10 (Tuesday): Helsinki-St. Petersburg
Today we continue eastbound to St. Petersburg. Shortly after crossing the border into Russia we arrive in Vyborg, where we take time for a short sightseeing tour and a photo-stop at Vyborg Castle. In the late afternoon we arrive in St. Petersburg and check-in at Hotel Sokos Vasilievsky**** or similar.
Day 11 (Wednesday): St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is an amazing city. Its imperial palaces and museums enjoy worldwide fame, while the Neva River and the many canals have deservedly given the city the title of Venice of the North. During the morning sightseeing tour we get acquainted with all the splendours of the city: the Peter-Paul Fortress, the Winter Palace, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Church of the Bleeding Savior, the Nevsky Convent and much more. The afternoon offers an optional excursion to Zarskoye Selo with the impressive Catherine’s Palace and the Amber Room, which vanished during World War II and was restored for St. Petersburg’s tri-centennial celebrations. In the evening enjoy an optional visit to the Nikolaevsky Palace with an exciting Russian folklore show and Russian „champagne” and snacks.
Day 12 (Thursday): St. Petersburg
The morning is reserved for an optional visit to Peterhof, an uncontested masterpiece of the time of Peter the Great, with the impressive Grand Palace, Grand Cascade and Water Avenue and its wonderful parks. In the afternoon, an optional visit to the world-famous Hermitage Art Museum is offered. In the evening enjoy an optional Russian dinner at Restaurant Pryanosti & Radosti.
Day 13 (Friday): St. Petersburg-Moscow
The early morning is reserved for an optional St. Petersburg channel cruise. Around noon we go to the Moscow Railway Station and board the Sapsan high-speed train bound for Moscow. The train ride takes us through endless Russian landscapes along the River Volga. In the late afternoon we arrive to Moscow and check in at Hotel Park Inn Sadu**** or similar.
Day 14 (Saturday): Moscow
Moscow, The Mother of Russia, is a genuine Russian city with the Kremlin and its onion domed cathedrals. The dramatic changes over the last decade have made the city to one of the most dynamic metropolis in the world. The morning sightseeing tour includes the highlights of the vast city: the Red Square with St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Theatre Square with Bolshoi Theatre and Sparrow Hills with Moscow University and we visit the Kremlin grounds and one of the cathedrals. In the afternoon is offered an optional visit to the Moscow Metro including the historical stations on the Ring-Line and a guided stroll along the famous pedestrian Arbat Street. The evening offers an optional Moscow-by-night tour including an unforgettable river cruise with the White Flotilla.
Day 15 (Sunday): Moscow
The day offers an optional full day excursion to the quaint town of Sergiev Posad, where we visit the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual heart of the Russian Orthodox Church. The whole Lavra has been beautifully restored for the 700-years celebrations of the birth of St. Sergius of Radonezh. The evening offers an optional visit to the Old Russian Circus.
Day 16 (Monday): Moscow Departure
Optional transfer to the airport.