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The tour embraces all three Baltic countries – Estonia,Latvia and Lithuania with their captivating countryside, medieval towns and unique landscapes. All three are tiny in size but each with its a huge history, different way of life, architecture and traditions.Their capitals Vilnius,Riga and Tallinn are renowned for their charming medieval old town areas, full of architectural gems of Gothics and Baroque.You’ll be surprised to find in the countryside Rundale Palace ,the most beautiful 18th century Baroque palace in Latvia built by the famous Italian architect Rastrelli who designed the famous Winter Palace in St.Petersburg.
But tasting the local food is just as important as seeing the sights. While visiting Lithuania you’ll try the most famous national dish ‘cepelinai’ or ‘zeppelins’,because of their shape, big boiled potato dumplings stuffed with minced meat and topped with sour cream and bacon sauce. You’ll get closer to Latvian culture and traditions visiting Riga Central Market, Europe’s largest bazaar located in impressive early 20th century pavillions and included into UNESCO World Heritage list together with Old Riga. It’s the brightest food market in Latvia where you’ll find the widest range of local products from Latvian farms and wonderful impressions. All flavours of Latvia here and a great market atmosphere. Enjoy ‘Riga Black Balsam’, a traditional Latvian herbal liqueur since the year 1752, probably the oldest bitter brand in the world. It is an extraordinary blend of 24-all-natural ingredients including extracts of carefully selected grasses,roots,berries and buds.Discover the nature of the most popular Estonian liqueur ‘Vana Tallinn’ or ‘Old Tallinn’,dark brown, rum-based with the finest spices and flavourings of citrus oils,cinnamon and vanilla.
Arrival to Vilnius. Transfer to hotel with guide escort. Accommodation. Overnight in Vilnius.
Morning Vilnius city walking tour including the most interesting architectural and historic monuments of the 16th – 19th centuries, such as majestic classical Vilnius Cathedral with the history dating back to the 14th century, a monument to Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas, the founder of Vilnius, the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, Gediminas Hill & Tower, St. Anne’s Church – the 16th century gem of the Lithuanian gothics, the Vilnius University founded in 1579, the Dawn Gate with a holy icon of Virgin Mary etc.
On afternoon you will have a nice tour to Trakai, 28 km from Vilnius, the ancient Lithuanian capital, famous for its 15th c. Gothic Castle amidst the lake, now housing a History Museum. After excursion you will have tasting of traditional Karaites’ dishes, a local oriental community who came from the Crimea in the 15th century and lives here up to nowadays.
In the late afternoon return to Vilnius. Dinner at a local old town restaurant with tasting of traditional Lithuanian meals “cepelinai” – grated boiled potatoes filled with meat. Overnight in Vilnius.
After breakfast 300 km drive to Riga the capital of Latvia, another Baltic Republic. En route stop on the most famous Catholic pilgrimage site – the Hill of Crosses, one of the most famous sacral places in Lithuania, with thousands of crosses placed here by Lithuanians thanking God for his mercies. During Soviet times the Hill of Crosses became a sign of resistance to Soviet regime. When Pope John Paul II visited Lithuania and the Hill of Crosses in 1993 y. and called this place “the Lithuanian Coliseum”. Around 200,000 crosses of various sizes adorn the hill now. A further drive to Latvia and first stop in Rundale Palace built by the famous architect Rastrelli, the main designer of Russian czars’ palaces in St. Petersburg. Rundale Palace is also known as “Versailles of Latvia”. In the late afternoon arrival to Riga. Dinner at local folklore restaurant “LIDO”. Accommodation at hotel and overnight in Riga.
After breakfast a morning walking tour of Old Riga including the most famous architectural monuments: the 13th century Dome Cathedral and its famous organ – one of the biggest organs in Europe, medieval dwelling houses „Three Brothers“, 13th c. St. Jacob’s and St. Peter’s Churches, 14th century Riga Castle. A visit to Riga Central Market in the heard of Riga, first opened in 1930 being the largest and most progressive marketplace in Europe since then. Every day it sells vegetables, dairy produce, meat, fish and grocery, manufactured goods, farmers’ products. Then you will taste authentic foods from Latvia.
Afternoon tour to the Art Nouveau area famous for its exclusive early 20th century architecture style. Then free time in the city. Overnight in Riga.
After breakfast a morning departure to Tallinn the capital of Estonia. A first stop in Sigulda, called the Latvian Switzerland. A visit to Turaida Castle to experience a genuine atmosphere of the Middle Ages listening to romantic legends, admiring the ruins of the 13th c. Knights’ Castle, the mysterious sandstone grottoes on the river bank. A futher drive north to Tallinn. En route stot in Pärnu – Estonian summer resort. Short tour of the resort. Late afternoon arrival to Tallinn. Accomodation at hotel and overnight in Tallinn.
Tallinn is a charming blend of medieval tranquility and modern urbanlife. The medieval Old Town is a busy place in the summer with its man 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 medieval dinner at Restaurant Peppersack. Overnight in Tallinn.
After breakfast check-out from hotel. Departure transfer to the Airport Tallinn.