Daugava river in Riga city, Latvia
Daugava river in Riga city, Latvia
NEW for 2019

Lithuania, Latvia & Estonia: Along the Baltic Shores


14 days From $5,230

June 4 2019

A preconception that the adjoining Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are essentially similar could not be wider of the mark. While one common characteristic may be their relatively modest size, in key respects – culture, language, tradition, temperament – each has its own identity and spotting the differences can definitely add to the enjoyment of our tour.

Their three ancient coastal capitals – Vilnius (Lithuania), Riga (Latvia) and Tallinn (Estonia) – are steeped in history and offer a feast of architectural eye-appeal. Tallinn is the smallest, its picturesque medieval Lower Town a UNESCO World Heritage Site; Riga the largest and especially notable for its array of Art Nouveau buildings; while the Baroque is pre-eminent in Vilnius (which also claims Europe’s oldest and most extensive medieval town). In all three labyrinths of old town lanes, cobbled stone squares and lofty church spires have been restored to new life in today’s post-Soviet era.

The Baltic States’ turbulent past of conquest and partition over the centuries is also explored on our tour through a balanced program of museum visits ranging from Vilnius’ important Amber Museum to the Archaeological Institute Museum and Araisi Archaeological Park in Tallinn. The Baltic also majors on medieval castles (both fairytale and ghostly) – and castle connoisseurs will appreciate the many examples featured in our itinerary!

What's included?

  •  Expert Scholar & Tour Manager
  •  Accommodation
  •  Meals - as per the itinerary
  •  Local Transport
  •  Entries & Tips

Led by...

Prof. John Hines

John Hines is Professor in the School of History and Archaeology at Cardiff University, and is a specialist in the archaeology of the early medieval period, particularly the material culture and literature of the Vikings.

Book Now $5,230
Includes deposit: $500 Single supplement: $995

Tour highlights:

  • Explore Lithuania’s Kernave Medieval Complex, where hillforts, settlements and burial sites show activity from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages
  • Visit the enchanting Medieval lake castle of Trakai, whose stunning island setting hides a long and surprisingly violent history
  • Trace the captivating story of the Amber trade, which was so important to the Baltic economies throughout the years
  • Compare the three great cathedrals of the Baltics as we visit Vilnius, Riga and finally Tallinn
  • Discover Latvia’s picture-book little Medieval town of Kuldiga and its castle, and look at Grobinia Medieval castle, along with the nearby hillfort and settlement

Tour details

Dates June 04 2019 - June 17 2019
Duration 14 days
Cost $5,230
Single supplement: $995
Deposit: $500 , balance due by 12 March 2019
Activity Level Easy-Going
Tour code A19BAL

Book Now or call 866-740-5130 if you have any questions

June 4 2019: Itinerary

We arrive into Vilnius and transfer to our first hotel. We take the remainder of the day to just relax after traveling, and come together for an introductory lecture and welcome dinner later on.

Meals include: Dinner

Hotel: Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel, Vilnius

Our day begins with a walking tour of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and we make our first stop at the university campus. From here, we go to the Amber Museum Gallery, which is a 17th century Baroque building that tells the history of the region’s amber. At the National Museum, we view collections from Prehistoric to post-Medieval times. Next, we visit the Ducal Palace, built in the 15th century for the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and we also visit several Orthodox and Catholic churches.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel, Vilnius

This morning, we leave our hotel and drive to Trakai. Upon arrival, we visit the Karaite Ethnographic Museum, which houses an array of interesting artifacts in exhibitions that showcase the life, culture and history and the Karaite communities in the Ukraine, Lithuania and Poland. Next, we walk out to the picturesque Trakai Island Castle for a tour. If the weather is kind to us, we will enjoy an optional lake cruise in the afternoon, which lasts around an hour. Afterwards, we make our return to Vilnius.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel, Vilnius

A trip to the Kernave Medieval Complex gets our day off to a great start. Located in the valley of the River Neris, the hillforts, settlements and burial sites here show activity from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. From here, we travel on to Kaunas, a historic city located on the banks of the Nemunas River, where we explore the old town and visit the 14th century castle. The castle here was one of the first stone castles to be built in Lithuania, but it is the only one in the country with two rows of defensive walls. We continue to Palanga.

All meals included

Hotel: Vanagupe Spa Resort, Palanga

This morning we visit Memel Castle. Built by the Teutonic Knights, this has been the focus of extensive excavations, which may still be in progress during our visit. We also see the theater balcony where Hitler gave his famous speech in 1939 when the Memel Land was annexed to Nazi Germany. From here, we pay a visit to the Fisherman’s Ethnographic Homestead in the quaint fishing village of Nida. This village is dramatically located on the amazing sliver of white sand that marks the westernmost point of Lithuania and, while we’re here, we also tour the Neringa Museum of History and Thomas Mann’s House before returning to Palanga.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Vanagupe Spa Resort, Palanga

We explore the Baltic resort of Palanga this morning. Once the start of the amber trail, small pieces of this fossilized resin still regularly wash ashore here. Visit the hillfort and walk through the Botanic Garden to reach the Amber Museum, which is housed within a former palace. The museum boasts an impressive collection of amber – around 28,000 pieces – and 15,000 of these contain fragments of insects and plants. Artwork and jewelry are also on display here. Following a stop for lunch, we cross into Latvia and spend time exploring Grobina Medieval castle, which was destroyed and rebuilt many times throughout history. We also see the hillfort and the accompanying settlement area. Later on, we visit the nearby barrow cemetery.

All meals included

Hotel: Promenade Hotel, Liepāja

Our day begins at the Liepaja Museum, where we admire the collections that showcase the history of this area. Archaeological artifacts and cultural objects can also be seen here. Afterwards, we drive to Kuldiga, an early member of the powerful Hanseatic League and an architectural gem whose historic buildings remain much unchanged since the 18th century. Here, we walk the narrow streets lined with well-preserved wooden buildings and visit the District Museum. In the afternoon, we journey to Riga.

All meals included

Hotel: Avalon Hotel & Conferences, Riga

Get to know the town of Riga with an informative and scenic walking tour this morning. We view the old town, museum, cathedral and Lutheran churches in Latvia’s charming capital. The foundation stone of Riga cathedral was laid in 1211 and the tower stands at around 140 meters. Founded in 1201, the old town is a World Heritage Site. After lunch, we have the afternoon to spend how we wish. Perhaps take this opportunity to explore Riga Castle or the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, which was established in 1993.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: Avalon Hotel & Conferences, Riga

A fascinating morning awaits us today as we drive to the archaeological park, which is located at Araisi. Upon our arrival here, we spend some time exploring this fantastic site, which is home to an authentic replica of a 9th-10th century fortified dwelling site of the Latgallians as well as reconstructions of Stone and Bronze Age houses. We also discover the Medieval castle before making the drive to Estonia’s vibrant and surprising capital of Tallinn, which will be our next destination. This exciting European hub manages to remain peaceful, but feels lively as you wander its streets.

All meals included

Hotel: My City Hotel, Tallinn

The chance to get better acquainted with beautiful Tallinn is ours and we begin our first full day here with a walking tour of the city. This vibrant UNESCO World Heritage Site is a wonderfully preserved Medieval city. Today we visit St. Nicholas Church, the Town Hall, the cathedral, and also the House of the Blackheads. Later on, we take a tour of Estonia’s State Maritime Museum, which was founded in 1935 and showcases the country’s strong maritime heritage and culture.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: My City Hotel, Tallinn

In the morning, we head to the Estonia History Museum, which is housed within an old Great Guild Hall. Exhibits here share the stories of Estonia’s past and themes include wars and Medieval trade, for example. Later, we pay a visit to Toompea Castle, a sturdy structure that sits on a hill in a central part of the city. Today, this castle houses the Parliament of Estonia and is considered the origin of the city.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: My City Hotel, Tallinn

This morning we travel to Varbola, a native Estonian hillfort. Its huge earthworks remain impressive after once defending a Prehistoric and early Medieval settlement. Next, we make our way to Koluvere Castle, a 13th century ecclesiasitcal fortress that was later owned by imperial Russia and built on artificial land. The checkered history of Lihula, which we visit next, involved the key players in Estonia’s history and was once a major center of the Teuonic Knight.

Meals include: Breakfast, Lunch

Hotel: My City Hotel, Tallinn

Today, we travel to the Padise Cistercian Monastery, which was founded after 1283 and whose turbulent history mirrors that of Estonia. Created after inventions by the Teutonic Knights, and encouraged by Christianising Danish kings, it survived the native revolt of St. George’s Night and became a fortified manor following the Swedish conquest. Next, it’s on to Haapsalu, here we visit its Medieval castle of the Bishopric of Osel-Wiek. Afterwards, we return to Tallinn, stopping at the atmospheric 13th century church of Ridala en route. There will be free time to pack before we enjoy our final group dinner.

All meals included

Hotel: My City Hotel, Tallinn

This morning, we transfer to the airport for our individual flights home or onward travel.

Meals include: Breakfast

June 4 2019: Additional Info

June 4 2019: Accommodation

Built in 1901, Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel is located in the heart of the old town of Vilnius and it offers an indoor swimming pool and a fitness room. All major sights are within easy walking distance.

Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel offers free WiFi access in the entire hotel. All rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with a TV with cable channels and a minibar, as well as a bathroom.

The exclusive restaurant Astorija Brasserie serves modern French cuisine. It overlooks the town square and St. Casimir's Church. There is also Astorija Bar where guests can relax with a drink and admire the views. A rich buffet breakfast is served in the mornings, but guests with early departure times are offered the Grab & Run takeaway breakfast.

At surcharge, guests can benefit from 3-Hour Express Laundry service, as all clothes handed in before 20:00 will be returned the same day.

This property is 12 minutes walk from the beach. Surrounded by pine forests, the 5-star Vanagupe Spa Hotel is only a 12-minute walk from the wide, sandy beach. It offers air-conditioned rooms with a balcony, free internet, and the elegant Golden Spa.

The Vanagupe’s spa area features a pool complex, including a salt-water pool with underwater music, various saunas, and a Turkish steam bath. A selection of over 100 spa treatments is available. There is a seasonal heated outdoor pool available free of charge.

The restaurant serves classic European cuisine with Mediterranean touches. There are seasonal menus, daily specials and creative desserts on offer.

The Vanagupe Spa’s rooms are decorated in soft colors and furnished with elegant curtains, Italian furniture, and carpet floors. Each comes with a flat-screen TV with cable channels.

This property is 6 minutes walk from the beach. The 5-star design Promenade Hotel enjoys a unique location on a canal, next to the yacht marina and the Liepaja’s Port. It features elegant rooms with air-conditioning and plasma TV. WiFi and parking are free.

This former grain warehouse has a lobby that is used as a popular art gallery. Some architectural features date back to 1770.

All individually designed rooms are equipped with a minibar, cable TV and a seating area. Each comes with a modern bathroom with toiletries. Some offer a sauna.

The Piano restaurant serves traditional Latvian and international cuisine. In summer, guests can dine on the restaurant terrace and enjoy the view of the docks.

The 4-star Avalon Hotel & Conferences is located in Riga’s Old Town, only 550 yards from the Opera House and Freedom Monument. It offers spacious, air-conditioned rooms with a flat-screen cable TV, breakfast buffet and free WiFi.

The rooms at the Avalon Hotel & Conferences feature an elegant and classic interior design in bright colors with wooden furniture. All feature a laptop safe, coffee/tea makers, a minibar, ironing facilities and a work desk. Each has a hairdryer and toiletries in the bathroom.

The reception is open 24 hours a day offering car rental and airport shuttle services. The hotel also features a restaurant with local and European cuisine, a lobby bar, conference and banquet facilities and a smoking club Havanna. The hotel offers massages, manicure/pedicure, as well as other body and beauty treatments at the Beauty Residences.

Situated in Riga’s UNESCO-listed historic city center, the hotel is within a few minutes’ walk from the city’s most important landmarks, including the Dome Cathedral, the Guild of the Blackheads and the National Library. Riga Central Station and Central Market are 350 yards away. 

The 4-star My City Hotel is located in a beautiful building in the heart of Tallinn’s Old Town, 250 yards from the Town Hall Square. It offers air-conditioned rooms with free internet and flat-screen TV.

All rooms at the My City are spacious, bright and decorated with warm colours. Each comes with cable TV, a safe and a minibar. Some come with tea and coffee-making facilities.

A varied buffet breakfast is served every morning at the Mix restaurant, which specialises in international and Estonian dishes. Guests can enjoy a drink at the bar.

Front desk staff is available 24 hours a day and can arrange concierge services or assist with luggage storage.

June 4 2019: Enquiries

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