Polish and Baltic Jewels (13 days/12 nights)
Day 1 (Tuesday): Arrival Krakow
Arrival in Krakow, optional transfer to Hotel Novotel Krakow Centrum**** or similar, check-in, welcome meeting.
Day 2 (Wednesday): Krakow
For half a millennium Krakow was the royal capital of Poland and for centuries the city walls have guarded its traditions and secrets. The morning sightseeing tour takes us to the Old Town with the St. Mary’s Church, the Jagiellonian University, the Cloth Halls and Wawel with the Wawel Castle and the Wawel Cathedral. The afternoon offers an optional excursion to the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine, an amazing labyrinth of tunnels going down as far as 327 meters. The evening offers an optional Polish dinner at Restaurant Hawelka.
Day 3 (Thursday): Krakow-Warsaw
We leave for Czestochowa, the spiritual heart of Poland, where we visit the Jasna Gora Monastery with the Black Madonna. Through the flat low-laying plain of Central Poland we reach Warsaw in the early afternoon. Check-in at Hotel Novotel Centrum Warsaw**** or similar.
Day 4 (Friday): Warsaw
Warsaw is essentially a post-war city with a meticulously reconstructed Old Town. The morning sightseeing tour includes the Royal Route and the Old Town with the Royal Castle, St John’s Cathedral, the Old Town Market Square and the Barbican. In the afternoon is offered an optional excursion to the Royal Lazienki Park with the Palace on the Water. The evening offers an optional Polish dinner at Restaurant Dawne Smaki.
Day 5 (Saturday): Warsaw-Gizycko
We continue through the well forested North Poland into the Masurian Lakeland, a myriad of postglacial lakes representing some of the most beautiful nature in the whole of Poland. The afternoon excursion of the Masurian Lakeland takes us to picture-postcard town Mragowo, further to the beautiful Baroque church in Swieta Lipka and to the town of Gizycko, surrounded to all sides by the lakes. In the afternoon we check-in at Hotel St. Bruno****, or similar.
Day 6 (Sunday): Gizycko-Vilnius
Today we continue along the eastern fringe of the Masurian Lakeland with endless blue lakes and attractive resort towns into Lithuania. We do a stop in Kaunas, the former capital of Lithuania, to admire the beautiful Old Town and the elegant white Baroque Town Hall before we arrive in the late afternoon to Vilnius. Check in at Hotel Radisson Blu Lietuva**** or similar.
Day 7 (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 8 (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 9 (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 10 (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 11 (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 12 (Saturday): Tallinn
Tallinn is a charming blend of medieval tranquillity 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 13 (Sunday): Tallinn Departure
Optional transfer to the airport.