Treasures of the Baltic States tour
The time is now to visit the land of crumbling castles, christmas markets, enchanting forests and great spa hotels.
It might be convenient to speak of the Baltic States of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, wedged together between Russia and the Baltic Sea, in a single breath because of their geographic proximity and common history. But the reality is these three independent-minded nations are as distinct from each other as any other European countries, and all possessing their own characteristics: Lithuanians are spontaneous and exuberant, Estonians reserved and rational, Latvians talkative and traditional. And the distinctions don't end there.
_Old town, Tallinn _
There is the baroque and neo-classical beauty of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, the Art Nouveau and 19th century wooden architecture of the Latvian capital Riga, and the splendour of the Estonian capital Tallinn, Northern Europe's best-preserved medieval city.
Lithuania has a mix of lakes, wetlands and forests and the curious Curonian Spit, a 50 km-long coastal network of precious lagoons, sand dunes and odd-shaped 'dancing' trees, as well as the extraordinary Hill of Crosses, a pilgrimage site since the 1830's now overflowing with more than 200,000 metal and wooden crucifixes.
Hill of Crosses, credit: je_wyer, Flickr
Estonia's coastline is sprinkled with more than 2,000 islands and is the only Baltic State with a distinct island culture, while Latvia is a land of fields, farms, parks and pastures, with a proud history of environmental conservation dating back to the 1600's. Three nations. Three stories. One beguiling destination.
Our new tour, Treasures of the Baltic States takes you to all three, in style. Highlights include: 4* - 5* hand-picked accommodation, private transfers by car, many included activities, private guides and walking tours.
Day 1: Arrive in Vilnius and transfer to the hotel, Hotel Europa Royale or similar.
Day 2: Half day private excursion to Trakai Castle
Day 3: Free day in Vilnius
Day 4: Head to Latvia, stopping enroute at the Hill of Crosses
Day 5: Riga - private city tour by car and foot
Day 6: Private transfer to Pärnu, via Sigulda National Park, overnight at Hedon Spa or similiar
Day 7: Spend the morning on the beach or at the spa before transferring to Tallinn. Overnight at St. Petersbourg Hotel, our Director's choice
Day 8: Day tour of Tallinn by car and by foot
Day 9: Visit Lahemaa National park including beaver trail as well as manor house visits
Day 10: Departure day
_Director's choice hotel in Tallinn, St. Petersbourg Hotel _
**Highlights to include: **
Estonians have started to celebrate their own food and local culinary customs, with a new range of innovative restaurants opening. Food fairs and regional markets, where you can meet the farmers and sample their products, have become increasingly popular. Restaurants that you might like to try include Restoran Ö and Art Priori in Tallinn.
_Ö Restoran, Tallinn _