Baltic sea and Baltic highlights
12 DAYS /11 NIGHTS
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Baltic sea and Baltic highlights
Arrival to Vilnius. Transfer to the hotel. Welcome dinner at national Lithuanian cuisine restaurant. Free time to explore Vilnius. Spend night in Vilnius
Vilnius is capital of Lithuania and the largest city in the country. The founder of Vilnius is considered to be the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas who first mentioned name of Vilnius in the written chronicles in his letter to the towns of Western Europe in 1323. Vilnius was centre of the largest country in Europe in 14th – 15th centuries but today it has about 580 thousand inhabitants and one of the largest old towns in Eastern Europe that covers 360 hectares. Green parks and urban heritage are combined into unforgettable mix that so many visitors enjoy. Because of this unique mix of architecture and landscape it was included into UNESCO World Heritage List. One of the largest medieval old towns in Northern Europe, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, Vilnius Old Town is full of beautiful buildings, eclectic shops, picturesque churches and elegant palaces
Transfer to Kaunas (100 km). Lunch. Kaunas sightseeing tour. Spend night in Kaunas
Kaunas. Kaunas is the second largest city in Lithuania, first mentioned in an old manuscript of 1361. It is situated in the valley of two longest rivers of Lithuania: Nemunas and Neris. The town itself became an example of a confluence of people and cultures, an attractive blend of architecture and nature. The town has seen many ups and downs, but has stayed the source of forces for resistance, the guard of national identity, and has once actually been the temporary capital of Lithuania.
The tour includes: the Old Town of Kaunas with St. George’s Church, Kaunas Castle built at the confluence of Nemunas and Neris rivers, the courtyard of the Theological seminary, the Town Hall Square surrounded by former 16th – 18th century merchants’ dwelling houses and baroque churches – the Jesuit Church and the Cathedral, the Church of Vytautas dating back to the 14th century and the Perkunas (Thunder) House (no visits inside); a walk on the central street – Liberty avenue – bustling with street vendors, musicians, full of cafes and souvenir shops; afternoon visits include Ciurlionis Picture Gallery and Devils’ Museum.
M.K. Ciurlionis Picture Gallery preserves and exhibits the works of the famous Lithuanian artist, Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis, who painted and composed music at the turn of 20th century.
Devils’ Museum contains a collection of sculptures and carvings of devils collected by Lithuanian painter Antanas Zmuidzinavicius. His private collection gave start to the museum which now houses several thousand devil figurines both local and from all over the world.
Pazaislis Monastery and Church. Located in splendid isolation among the fields and woodlands of the right bank of Nemunas river is a striking Baroque ensemble in Northern Europe founded in 1662 by the Great Chancellor Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac ordered by the Camaldolese Hermits. The main construction has been built in 1674 when the entire ensemble was finished in 1712. The building and the dome was founded after 1755 by king’s chamberlain Michal Jan Pac.
Drive via most picturesque road in Lithuania – Panemune castle road with few stops along the way. Lunch in Zypliai manor for „Zanavykai edge food traditions“. All recipes are authentic and reflects the region, made according to ancient stories. Dinner. Spend night in one of the settlements of Nemunas delta regional park, – Rusnė, Kintai or Mingė. (Total 330 km).
Zypliai. The story of estate begins from old Zypliai manor, which was the property of the Grand Duke of Lithuania, and since 1807 devolve to duke Juozapas Poniatovskis, who got it for his merits in the war with Napoleon’s army. Zypliaimanor ensemble consists of 11 remaining buildings, surrounded by one of the largest parks in Lithuania with the avenues of balsam poplar and common hornbeam, where a unique cultural space for cognitive, research and educational activity is created. Restaurant “KUCHMISTRAI”in Zypliai manor is the restaurant, established in the authentic environment of Zypliai estate, nourishing the heritage of Lithuanian noblemen cuisine, trying to save not only culinary, but cultural picture of the land as well.
Scenic Panemunė road which traces Nemunas river valley at its northern bank is famous for its castles and manors that can be visited en-route. These buildings were used as opulent residences rather than defensive structures but their impressive towers and strong walls may be deceptive.
Panemunė Castle. Today it is the most authentically preserved 17th-18th century residential castle in Lithuania. The castle, adorned with defensive installations and surrounded by what appears at first glance to be a protective series of bodies of water, was nevertheless not intended as a defensive fortress. It is a typical renaissance feudal castle of the early 17th century, designated not only for representation, but also to protect its inhabitants from the military conflicts that resulted from feuds erupting between noblemen, as well as to commemorate its owner’s ambitions and his desire to emphasize his independence.
Raudonė Castle was build in the last quarter of XVI century by forest owner and trader Kirspin Kirschenstein. The castle was renovated many times in XVII-XIX centuries. The present appearance of the castle is from the reconstruction carried out in the mid XIX century. The castle is now turned into a primary school. During the tourist season visitors are allowed to the castle tower, from which extends a beautiful view of the surroundings.
Exploring Nemuno delta regional park. Tour by ship. Lunch. Rusnė. Minija. Kintai. Ventė cape. Nida. Spend night in one of the settlements of Nemunas delta regional park, – Rusnė, Kintai or Mingė.
Nemuno delta regional park, which is known as Lithuanian bird paradise, where large number of water and marsh birds breed, where you can see and hundreds of thousands of migrating birds stop en route. More than 300 species have been observed here, and nearly 200 species of birds nesting: red-necked grebe, bittern, white-tailed eagle, montage’s harrier, eagle, corncrake. This landscape is created by water – there are many interlaced rivers, lakes – the lagoon of Krokų lanka and many other smaller lakes. There are also old river beds, marshes and fens.
Minija (Minė, Mingė). Minija is also called “Lithuanian Venice” because of its unique landscape. Village was fist mentioned in 16th century and originates for the river name, but earlier it was called only Minė. Germans called the village Minge. River Minija divides the village into 2 parts, but there are now bridges. Every house in Minija is facing the river and people say, that river is the street there. The town was flooded periodically. In 19th century there were 76 houses and more than 400 people lived in Minija. In the beginning of 20th century there were more than 100 houses. But before the Second World War, only 28 habitable homesteads were left. There are 11 nineteenth and twentieth century monumental buildings now. Each house in the village has its own pier for boats. The majority of housings aredouble-ended, sheds with raised roofs are built of red bricks. There are alsowooden buildings – their plans, design, external shape, volume, decor is typical offolk architecture of the Pomeranian region.
Rusnė – one of the oldest settlements in the Nemunas Delta. This is the only city in Lithuania that is in the island. Rusnė was born in the middle of 12th century, when Teutonic Order gradually began to establish itself on the shores of the Baltic sea and Curonian lagoon region. The year 1366 was very important for Rusnė as the town and island‘s name was mentioned for the first time in the letter telling about Vorusnė village and the branch of Nemunas called Rusnė. Having settled down and accustomed to the rhythm of island life, in 1448 citizens of Rusnė partied in the town’s first tavern and in 1583 their great-grandchildren started attending first school in the island. In 15th century the town gradually grew: new taverns and boutiques opened their doors, book lovers used to search for reading material in library and bookstores, locals worked in the mill and sawmill. During the special occasions citizens of Rusnė refreshed themselves with famous punch made in the island. Already in 16th century Rusnė was famous for its weekend markets, since 1792 they were held officially. In 18-19th centuries people of Rusnė often had to endure wartime difficulties as the Prussian state which Rusnė belonged to was frequently involved in wars. But this only strengthened the community of island.
Ventė cape – this is the place with the lonely lighthouse, built as if on the very edge of the world, and people, in whose eyes only water and sky are reflected, who ring birds so that they can observe their journey through the sky. Ventė cape is one of the best places in Europe to observe migrant birds. For this reason, ornithologists both from Lithuania and abroad meet here every year. You will be able to see the birds and walk around the area and to the Ventė cape lighthouse.
Nida(German: Nidden) is an upmarket holiday resort town famous for its sea-shore and sand dunes. The town is located on the Curonian Spit between the Curonian Lagoon (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the Baltic Sea. Nida is the westernmost point of Lithuania and the Baltic States. First mentioned by Teutonic Order in macher colony documents in 1429 and 1497, the settlement was originally 5 km south of today’s position. Continuously threatened by sand drifts, the village was moved away from the dune to today’s position in the 1730s.
Nidden became part of Lithuania together with the northern half of the Curonian Spit in 1919 after World War I and was officially renamed Nida. Nevertheless the village remained a German-majority settlement – the border with East Prussia’s half of the Spit lay only a few kilometres to the south. Nobel Prize-winning writer Thomas Mann lived in Nida during the summers of 1930–32. Part of Joseph and His Brothers (Joseph und seine Brüder) was written here. Mann’s summer cottage survived and it is presently a culture center dedicated to the writer, with a memorial exhibition.
The Curonian Spit is a 98 km long, thin, curved sand-dunespit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. Its southern portion lies within Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia and it’s northern within southwestern Lithuania. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site shared by the two countries. Since 2000, the Curonian Spit has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List under cultural criteria “V” (an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture […], or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change).
Transfer to Klaipėda (30 km). Klaipėda sightseeing tour. The secret in catching amber. Dinner. Spend night in Klaipėda.
Klaipėda city (pop. 158 900) is the northernmost ice-free port in the Baltics and the only one in Lithuania. Built and developed by German Teutonic knights this city is a part of Lithuania only since 1923 when Germany lost World War 1. Klaipėda has been an important commercial centre since ancient times; as early as the 13th century. Having crossed the Baltic Sea, merchants from the northern and southern countries frequented it. Because of its old architecture, the seaport is closer to the northern countries. Some of the buildings that have survived in the cosy Old Town have a pronounced Fachwerk style. Modern elements can also be traced.
The secret in catching amber. During the tour You will find out about the origins and properties of amber and see an original collection of guide. Amber catching, picking and gathering tricks will be disclosed to You. The bravest will be able to try their strength with a scoop net in the sea waves. Everyone will come home in jovial mood carrying pieces of amber.
Morning departure to Riga, Latvia. Riga sightseeing tour. Latvian dinner. Spend night in Riga.
Riga. The capital of Latvia. 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 Freedom Monument. The afternoon is reserved for an optional visit to Jurmala, the vibrant Latvian sea resort, famous for its wooden architecture and sandy beaches.
Morning departure to Tallinn, Estonia. Parnu. Tallinn sightseeing tour. Estonian dinner.Spend night in Tallin.
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 centrally located hotel.
Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. This Baltic city is a fascinating blend of Eastern and Western European influences, and like most cities with an 800-year-old history, it is a patchwork of historic areas.
The city’s pride and joy is without a doubt the medieval old town, Toompea, with its cobbled streets and colourful alleyways. 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.
By ferry to Helsinki. Helsinki sightseeing tour. Finnish dinner.Spend night in Helsinki.
Head to the ferry terminal in Tallin early in the morning for a 2-hour ferry ride to Helsinki, the capital of Finland. After disembarking at the harbour in Helsinki, make your way to your centrally-located hotel in the city.
Helsinki is Finland’s capital, founded in 1550 by King Gustav Vasa of Sweden, and for much of its history the city was under either Swedish or Russian rule until Finland finally gained independence in 1917. Today, Helsinki is a blend of its various Eastern and Western influences, and it pulls off the trick of looking like an international metropolis while still feeling like a small town.
Its wide avenues are lined with buildings that echo centuries of architectural excellence from Gothic to Art Deco and cutting-edge contemporary design, and even the locals have their own unique sense of style. Not surprisingly, Helsinki was chosen as World Design Capital for 2012. Yet among all this urban modernity are abundant green spaces and parks scattered throughout the city.
Geographically, the city is spread across a cluster of promontories and peninsulas. The city centre is on the southern peninsula at the end of the city’s main road Mannerheimintie, and the busy shopping streets of Aleksanterinkatu and Esplanadi both lead to Senate Square, the historical heart of the city.
Transfer to Naantali. Visiting traditional home and sauna experience. Spend night in Naantali.
Have you ever experienced a traditional Finnish home? Now you have a good chance to check that off your list. This traditional home locates in Luonnonmaa island, a few kilometres from Naantali old town. A bus picks you up either from Naantali Spa Hotel or from old town and takes you to the destination. After you have arrived at the destination the hostess will welcome you. You are served a welcome drink made of
farm’s own apples. Then you will be introduced to a house kitchen where the hostess of the farm teaches you how to bake traditional Finnish delicacy cinnamon rolls. At the same kids have a chance to play some outside games in the yard. A guide leads kids to a nearby forest to sense the silence of Finnish nature and forest. After baking you will have a coffee moment with just-baked-rolls (or lunch). The host has been warming up the sauna while the visitors have enjoyed their time at the farm. After the coffee break you can head to the rocky beach front and sauna. Almost every house in Finland has a sauna of its own. But not so many of them are located right by the sea. Here you can admire the calming sea while having hot sauna time of your life. If you are brave enough you can even dip into the sea. After sauna the bus will take visitors back to Naantali.
Helsinki. Free time to explore Helsinki. Farewell dinner. Spend the night in Helsinki.
With a full day ahead of you, we recommend getting the Helsinki Card, which gives you access to all main sights, museums and public transportation. Spend the night in Helsinki.
Transfer to Copenhagen, Denmark. Lunch. Spend the night in Copenhagen.
We leave our hotel and continue past Sodertalje and through the wooded hills of Kolmarden, once notorious in Sweden for its bandits and highwaymen. We cross the Gota Canal and eventually reach Lake Vattern, the second largest lake in Sweden. Driving south alongside the lake we pass through Granna and Jonkoping at the southern end of the lake. From here our journey takes us past Varnamo and Ljungby and into the port of Helsingborg. Here we board the ferry for the short crossing to Denmark and the port of Helsingor, one of the country’s oldest towns and the setting for Shakespeare’s play ‘Hamlet’ (the ferry time will be advised by your coach crew). Rejoining the coach we drive the short distance to the capital city of Copenhagen, Denmark for a two night stay in the area.
Enjoy one last Scandinavian breakfast before it is time to check out from your hotel.
Note: Extra days and activities in Vilnius before or in Helsinki after the tour can easily be added to this package; contact us for details.
Price: from 1799 Eur/per person
- Meet and greet transfer from Vilnius airport to hotel
- Welcome get-together drink with your group
- Sightseeing as per itinerary in a luxury coach with an experienced driver and licensed guide (multilingual)
- All on-tour transportation including shuttles and ferries
- Accomodation (comfort/quality) for 11 nights
- All local taxes, hotel service charges & handling of one suitcase per person
- Daily breakfast
- 4 Lunches
- 7 Dinners
- Flights to Vilnius/From Helsinki
- Personal travel insurance
Currency: Please note that we charge in Euros (€). Prices in other currencies are for indication only and subject to fluctuation.