Great cities are born on the banks of great rivers, and so it has been in Russia. Moscow, founded on the confluence of the Moskva and Neglinnaya rivers, was transformed over the centuries from a sleepy medieval outpost to a power capital. St. Petersburg, forged from the marshes of the Neva River by Peter the Great, became the opulent Czarist capital in the 18th century. Our programs, Classical Russia and The Ultimate Moscow & St. Petersburg, offer you wonderful opportunities to discover timeless art treasures, culture and history, year round. Delights of Old Russia transports you back in time with visits to historic, beautiful towns and villages along the Golden Ring where the pace of daily life is still tranquil.
In winter Russia is in full cultural swing, and is transformed under its snowy blanket, creating a magical landscape. In spring, the snowy landscape gradually gives way to reveal beautiful parks with thousands of trees. Summer brings vistas of colorful gardens, dazzling fountains, and endless daylight hours. In fall, the cultural season returns, and the birch trees transform the urban scenery to shimmering gold before the snowy blanket returns.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
The Glorious Baltics, our superior 12-day introduction to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, explores these three wonderful ancient countries with distinctly different origins and histories. For centuries, their strategic locations made them objects of conquest by Danish, Swedish, German, Polish and Russian invaders. Many of their cities, from Klaipede to Riga and Tallinn, were once thriving members of the Hanseatic League. Lively Tallinn’s fortress and language show both the Danish and Finnish influence. In Riga, we view wonderful medieval buildings from its Teutonic past. In Vilnius, the influence of the Polish kings is seen in remarkable baroque architecture and numerous churches. You travel through wonderful countryside at the peak of beauty from May through August, stopping to visit historic and ancient towns such as Tartu, Cesis, Sigulda along the way. You enjoy superior accommodations at first-class and deluxe hotels of charm with welcoming staff, fine local cuisine and the traditions of folklore and song for which these countries are renowned. Come take an unforgettable journey through the fascinating past into the vibrant present of The Glorious Baltics.
Romanian Snapshot: Bucharest & Transylvania affords a comprehensive tour of the cosmopolitan capital Bucharest with visits of the lavish Palace of Parliament, the History Museum with the National Treasury, the award-winning Peasant Museum with an outstanding colorful array of folk art and costumes, Old Bucharest with visits of Stravropoleos Church. You tour Cotroceni Palace, once residence of Romanian royalty. You travel through the region of Wallachia to historic Transylvania. You enjoy in depth tours of medieval towns, castles and fortress cities: Brasov, Castle Bran, Sighisoara and Sibiu with brightly painted ancient houses. In Sibiel you observe the rural lifestyle and savor a traditional lunch at a working farmhouse. You will be amazed by Peles Castle, a truly spectacular royal palace with lavish interiors and treasures, considered one of the best preserved in all Europe. You enjoy accommodations at excellent hotels and top off your day with tasty dinners at local restaurants.
Bucharest & Beyond: Painted Monasteries & Fortress Towns includes some of the most important World Heritage Sites of Romania. You tour cosmopolitan Bucharest, often called “Little Paris” because of its wide tree-lined boulevards, fine architecture and French language, once its second language. You tour the most important highlights: Palace of Parliament, the Open-Air Village Museum, the award-winning Peasant Museum, the National History Museum and its glittering Treasury as well as Cotroceni Palace with lavish furnishings, art and personal effects of the former royals. You travel north to the remote region of Bucovina in Moldova – a region of unspoiled natural beauty, dotted with charming villages and land of the legendary painted monasteries, all greatly influenced by Byzantine art, with exteriors in brilliant colors that have survived the elements since the 15th century. You tour Humor Monastery, the smallest, where shades of red are predominant; Voronets Monastery, called the“Sistine Chapel of the East” for its exterior and interior frescoes with biblical scenes and themes and a predominance of a special blue, known as Voronet blue for its uniqueness; the award-winning Moldovita Monastery, built as a refuge from the Turks, and Suceavita Monastery, the best-preserved of all, with stone fortification walls and towers. You travel into Transylvania, the “land beyond the forests”, to explore its medieval fortress cities and towns, all UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and you enjoy the major highlights of Brasov,Sighisoara and Sibiu. You visit historic Castle Bran and have time to discover the “hidden” places that make it special. You get a taste of rural life in Sibiel and enjoy a traditional farmhouse lunch. You are dazzled by Peles Castle, once the summer residence of the Romanian royals, with 160 rooms filled with treasures of all kinds. A scenic drive brings you back to Bucharest, where the tour ends.
A Grand Tour of Romania: Maramures to Bucharest is a special tour and date. This tour begins in Bucharest where you see the major highlights before travelling to the very north, to the colorful region of Maramures. You tour Sapanta and its Merry Cemetery with colorful folk-art paintings carved into the wooden grave markers. In Sighetu Marmatiei, historic capital of the region, you stroll in its Open-Air Village Museum and delight in the splendid collections of folk art and costumes in the Maramures Museum. You will view village life at Plopis, Surdesti, Barsana and Ieud, with stops to admire these villages and their wooden masterpieces, unique to the region. You enjoy special visits of a wood-carving workshop, a pottery workshop and a private tour of a renowned carpet collection. A special highlight is the festival of Jocul Satului in the charming village ofHoteni. You will enjoy the colorful folk bands and dancing teams in colorful regional dress and have time to sample the tasty local cuisine and view the handiwork of the local residents. You travel into the enchanting region of Bucovina for visits of the legendary painted monasteries with their brilliant exterior colors that have survived since the 15th century: Suceavita Monastery, the best preserved of all; fortified Moldovita Monastery; built as a refuge from the Turks; Arbore Monastery known for the color green; Humor, the smallest monastery where red is the predominant color; Voronets, called the “Sistine Chapel of the East” for the biblical themes and scenes, and renowned for its special blue. You drive to the remote, unpainted Dragomirna Monastery with impressive fortress walls and view 26 ancient illuminated manuscripts. A scenic drive through the spectacular Bicaz Canyon brings you to Transylvania for comprehensive tours in Brasov, Sighisoara, Sibiu and Sibiel. You explore historic Castle Bran and dazzling Peles Castle. You continue to Snagov Monastery, steeped in legend and mystery, before reaching Bucharest.
We are proud to offer some top-quality guaranteed land tours that operate from April to October, and some year-round, with just two participants. These packages are designed for seasoned travelers who have limited time to explore some of the fascinating corners of this part of Europe.
Romania at a Glance, is a 7-day tour designed for seasoned travelers who wish to discover the many contrasting regions of Romania: rural Bucovina & its Painted Monasteries; medieval Transylvania with a wealth of UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Peles Castle, the Carpathian mountain retreat of Romania’s former Royal Family, and its capital, Bucharest, still known as the ” Little Paris of the East,” where French was the second language, and where its wide tree-lined boulevards remind visitors of Paris.
Dracula – the True Story of Vlad the Impaler, is a 4-day tour that takes you to places associated with the real “Dracula” who was Vlad the Impaler. You travel through Transylvania, a region filled with UNESCO World Heritage towns. You discover the real person as you journey from Curtea de Arges to Sibiu; from Biertan and Sighisoara, to Brasov and Castle Bran, immortalized in Bram Stoker’s historic novel “Dracula“.
All of these tours can be combined with custom weekend programs in Bucharest including private transfers and additional sightseeing tours.
Hungary, Austria, The Czech Republic
Prague, Budapest & Vienna: A Tale of Two Rivers offers the best of these sophisticated capital cities. You explore these vibrant world capitals with visits to their major highlights. In the Czech Republic, you tour in the town of Cesky Krumlov, a maze of Renaissance buildings, and tour its crown jewel, Hradek Castle. You explore the Prague‘s unique“towns”: the Old Town or Stare Mesto with medieval buildings, Lesser Town or Mala Strana and New Townor Nove Mesto with superb Gothic and Baroque buildings, parks and gardens. You tour the historic Jewish Town or Josefov district to learn about its rich past, and visit all its historic synagogues and its Jewish cemetery. You drive up to the Castle District or Hradcany to view the interior of St. Vitus Cathedral. You view the extraordinary rooms within the vast Royal Palace. You enjoy a classical concert in Lobkowicz Palace after viewing its renowned art collections. You stroll down Golden Lane, through the Lesser Town and across the Charles Bridge that spans the Vltava river for one of the finest views.
In Budapest, you discover lively Pest with tours of the State Opera House, splendid St. Stephen’s Basilica, historic Dohany Street Synagogue complex and the elegant Parliament. On the Buda side, you enjoy the view from Fisherman’s Bastion and tour Matthias Church, coronation site of Hungarian kings. You stroll in the town of Szentendre, on the Danube Bend, and discover the beautiful Renaissance town of Sopron en route to Vienna. In Vienna you tour the Imperial Apartments and the Treasuries within the Hofburg. You admire the interior of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, and the State Rooms at Schonbrunn Palace. You admire the views from Belvedere Palace, with a name that says it all.
Come join us on one of our tours in 2015.
Discover why our name is our product.