The Glorious Baltics is a superior 12-day introduction to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, 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 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. The splendor of Rundale Palace was created by the Italian architect Rastrelli who did much work in Czarist Russia. You will travel through pristine countryside at the peak of beauty, stopping to visit ancient towns and historic sites along the way. You enjoy accommodations at first-class and deluxe hotels of charm with welcoming staff, fine local dishes and the traditions offolklore and song for which these countries are renowned.

We invite you to enjoy this unforgettable journey through the fascinating past into the vibrant present of The Glorious Baltic countries.

Tour Dates 2015

May 12-23  Jun 9-20  Jul 7-18  Aug 11-22  Sep 8-19  Oct 6-17

Price per Person Twin: $3,575

Single Room Supplement: $1,140

Your Tour Features

  • 3 nights at Hotel Telegraaf, Tallinn
  • 1 night at Hotel Antonius or Hotel London, Tartu
  • 3 nights at the Grand Palace Hotel, Riga
  • 4 nights at Hotel Stikliai, Vilnius
  • Porterage at hotels
  • Buffet-style breakfasts daily
  • 9 Lunches at local restaurants
  • 5 Dinners at local restaurants or at hotels
  • Short performance at Dome Cathedral, Riga as indicated
  • Expert English-speaking local guides throughout
  • All entrances to museums and places visited where required
  • Touring & transfers between cities by modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Individual private car transfers on arrival and departure

Day 1 – Mon: Welcome to Tallinn

Individual arrivals with guided transfers to Hotel Telegraaf, an elegant boutique hotel in the historic center of Tallinn. This evening we enjoy our Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant. (D)

Day 2 – Tue: Tallinn’s Old Town * Rocca Mare

After breakfast we begin our walking tour of Tallinn’s Old Town. We wend our way up to Toompea Hill to the Upper Town to Palace Square with Toompea Palace, now home to the Estonian Parliament, and view the Pikk Hermann Tower. We stop at the Orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, with its cupolas, golden crosses and we will admire its interior filled with golden icons and mosaics, reminder of the influence of the years of Czarist rule. We continue to St. Mary’s Church, also called Dome Cathedral, to enjoy views of the town wall, towers, St. Olaf’s Church and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the Lower Town. We continue through the narrow quaint streets lined with medieval merchant houses to Town Hall Square, Tallinn’s hub of activity since the 12th century, dominated by the monumental Gothic Town Hall, passing the Town Council Pharmacy, in business since 1422! After lunch at a local restaurant, we leave for Rocca Al Mare, in the suburbs, to tour the Estonian Open Air Museum, where typical buildings and farms from Estonia’s four regions have been assembled. This evening is at our leisure. (B, L)

Day 3 – Wed: Kadriorg Palace & Park * The KUMU Museum

This morning we enjoy a tour of Kadriorg Palace and Park on the outskirts of Tallinn. Kadriorg Palace was built for Peter the Great, and its main hall is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture in all Northern Europe. We will enjoy a guided tour of its permanent collections of Western and Russian art from the 16th to 18th centuries, and have time to explore the other attractions on its grounds. After lunch we enjoy a  guided tour of the collections of the KUMU Museum which boasts a permanent collection of Estonian art from the 18th to mid-20th centuries. (B, L)

Day 4 – Thu: Tallinn to Tartu

We depart for historic Tartu, renowned for its University and hundreds of historic and elegant buildings. We will enjoy viewing some of its residential neighborhoods and its historic center with visits of the main building of Tartu University, Jaani Church and the fascinating Toy Museum. A stop for lunch will be made en route before reaching Tartu, where we check in for the night at Hotel Antonius or Hotel London.  This evening we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. (B, L, D)

Day 5 – Fri: Tartu * Latvian Switzerland * Riga, Latvia

This morning we drive through the wonderful scenery of “Latvian Switzerland” to Cesis, for a tour of its History and Art Museum. After lunch we continue our scenic drive to Sigulda, to admire the atmospheric ruins of the Castle of the Crusaders’ Order of the Sword Bearers and Sigulda Castle, and to savor the view of the “Garden of the Gods” from Turaida Castle, before continuing to Riga, capital of Latvia. We check in at the Grand Palace Hotel in the city center. Dinner is at a local restaurant. (B, L, D)

Day 6 – Sat: Riga’s Sites & History

A full day of city touring. In the Old Town we tour the Church of St. Peter and can climb up the panorama platform in its spire for a breathtaking view. Our touring takes us past some of the city’s most famous and historical monuments: 13th century St. Peter’s Church, the Churches of St. George and St. John, the Old Guild Halls, Town Hall, the Swedish Gate, half-timbered Mentzendorff House, the House of Cats. We tour the interior of Dome Cathedral, with its renowned pipe organ and amazing acoustics, and will enjoy a short piccolo concerto here. After lunch, we visit the Museum of History and Navigation, where Riga’s glorious sea-faring past comes alive. Our evening is at leisure. (B, L)

Day 7 – Sun: Open-Air Ethnography Museum * Art Nouveau Quarter

We explore one of the finest Open Air Ethnography Museums where we can admire superb wooden buildings and farm dwellings from the 16th to 20th centuries that have been assembled from all over the country, and tastefully displayed. We return to Riga for lunch, followed by a tour through Riga’s famous Art Nouveau district, where we will be dazzled by the beauty of the buildings with incredible details. Our evening is at leisure. (B, L)

Day 8 – Mon: Riga * Rundale * Siauliai * Vilnius, Lithuania

En route! Our first stop today is at Rundale Palace, built from 1736 to 1768, with 138 rooms, and designed by the great Italian architect Rastrelli, known for his exuberant style, for Ernst Johann Biron, who received the title, Duke of Courland, thanks to his patron the widowed Duchess of Courland, Anna Ivanova, who became Empress of Russia for a short period. We will learn of the history of the Palace and view some of the fine Italian paintings, decorative moldings and tour the State Rooms, the Duke’s Bedroom and the private apartments. We continue to Siauliai to view the unique and fascinating Hill of Crosses, the origins of which are unknown, and to have lunch. We reach Vilnius in the late afternoon. We check in at Hotel Stikliai in the Old Town. Dinner at a local restaurant. (B, L, D)

Day 9 – Tue: Highlights of Vilnius

We explore the Old Town district, called the architectural pearl of Eastern Europe, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with numerous churches, narrow houses and winding streets. We stroll in the 18th century Town Hall Square, and enjoy a walking tour through the ancient Courtyards of Vilnius University. After lunch in the Old Town, we tour the interior of Choral Synagogue, the only synagogue to have survived WWII and the Soviet decades. We tour the State Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Museum located on the same grounds.(B, L)

Day 10 – Wed: The Museums & Churches of Vilnius

After breakfast, we tour the National Museum, Lithuania’s oldest museum, where its long, turbulent history from the 13th to 18th centuries as a Grand Duchy is told in numerous exhibits. We tour the interior of the outstanding Baroque Church of Sts. Peter and Paul, whose simple exterior conceals a breathtaking interior with over 2,000 stucco figures representing mythological, Biblical and battle scenes. We take the funicular up to Castle Hill to visit the Upper Castle Museum, with Gediminas Tower, named for the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas. We return by funicular to the historic center to enjoy lunch, with some leisure time to explore the city’s many shops. Our evening is at leisure. (B, L)

Day 11- Thu: Trakai * The Karaim of Trakai

After breakfast, we leave for Trakai, former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, surrounded by lakes. We tour the Trakai Castle Museum, to learn of the rich history of the Grand Duchy, which was eventually replaced by Vilnius as the country’s capital. After lunch in this idyllic setting, we will learn about the unique Turkic Karaim community, who trace their origins back to the Crimea. We will see their Synagogue and tour the Karaim Museum. We return to Vilnius and have some free time before this evening’s Farewell Dinner. (B, L, D)

Day 12- Fri: Farewell to “The Glorious Baltics”

After breakfast, individual transfers to the airport or seaport are provided. (B)