11 days / 10 nights - Tallinn – Vihula - Tartu - Marciena - Daugavpils - Vilnius - Liepaja - Riga
Day 1 (Sunday): Arrival Tallinn
Arrival in Tallinn, transfer to Hotel Santa Barbara*** or similar, check-in, welcome meeting.
Accommodation: Hotel Santa Barbara***
Day 2 (Monday): Tallinn – Vihula
The Estonian capital is a charming blend of medieval tranquillity and modern urban life. The medieval Old Town is a busy place in the summer with its many 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. After leaving Tallinn we reach Lahemaa National Park in the early afternoon and check-in at Hotel Vihula Manor Country Club & Spa****, a charming 16th century estate located in the heart of the park. The dinner at Kaval-Ants Tavern features a genuine Estonian countryside meal in the rustic ambience of the old ice-cellar. (BD)
Accommodation: Hotel Vihula Manor Country Club & Spa****
Day 3 (Tuesday): Vihula - Tartu
After breakfast, we visit Lahemaa National Park with its wide stretches of beautiful untouched nature and many charming manor houses. We embark on a delightful walking tour through the park (2 hours, medium) and visit the impressive Manor House in Palmse, a testament to the industrious von Pahlen family. We continue to Tartu, the University Town, where Estonia gained its statehood. We see the charming Old Town and the University founded in 1632. Check in at Hotel London**** or similar. (B)
Accommodation: Hotel London**** or similar.
Day 4 (Wednesday): Tartu - Marciena
Departing from Tartu, we head south and soon we reach Valmiera, a Hanseatic town founded in the 14th century, when the Livonian Order built a castle here. We make a short tour of the town and a visit the small, private Valmiermuiza Brewery, where we are introduced to the secrets of beer brewing and are invited to test the produce. The day continues with a visit to local farm to sample the delicious organic cheese produced by the farmers. Late in the afternoon we arrive to Hotel Marciena Manor****, a picturesque and romantic estate in the middle of Latvia. This evening offers a BBQ dinner at Marciena Manor. (BD)
Accommodation: Hotel Marciena Manor****
Day 5 (Thursday): Marciena - Daugavpils
Leaving Marciena our first stop is in Aglona, where we visit Aglona Basilica built in late baroque style and a ceramics workshop, an important symbol of Latgalian culture. From here, our tour continues to Daugavpils, Latvia’s 2nd largest city. We tour the historical centre of the city and visit the 19th century Daugavpils Fortress and the Mark Rothko Art Centre, the only place in Europe, where the original masterpieces by the famous founder of abstract expressionism can be seen. Just outside the city we find the lovely Sventes Manor and we check in at Hotel Svente Manor****. Optional Latgalian dinner at Restaurant Art Hub. (B)
Accommodation: Hotel Svente Manor****
Day 6 (Friday): Daugavpils - Vilnius
Today we continue southwards into Lithuania and an in the middle of the day we arrive at Aukstatija National Park with its many lakes, rivulets and streams scattered between forests and hills. We explore the park on a 20km bike ride through the scenic landscapes and visit the pretty lakeside town of Paluse, famous for its wooden church. Late in the afternoon, we head towards Vilnius. Upon arrival we check in at Hotel Artis**** or similar. (B)
Accommodation: Hotel Artis**** or similar.
Day 7 (Saturday): Vilnius
Vilnius is known for its more than 1.200 medieval buildings and 48 churches. The morning sightseeing tour includes a panoramic tour of the city and a walking tour of the Old Town with Vilnius Cathedral, Gediminas Tower, Peter and Paul Church, St. Anne’s Church, Old University and the Gates of Dawn. The afternoon is free for exploring more of this baroque jewel on our own. In the evening an optional zeppelinas culinary master class and a traditional Lithuanian dinner at Restaurant Senoji Trobele is on our program. (B)
Day 8 (Sunday): Vilnius - Liepaja
From Vilnius we continue towards Trakai, the medieval capital of Lithuania, where we visit the well-preserved Trakai Castle, beautifully located on an island in Lake Galve. We continue through the hilly landscapes of Lithuania to Klaipeda. A short sightseeing tour takes us to the Old Town with its narrow cobblestone streets and old guild houses and we visit the Theater Square and the Aennchen von Tharau Fountain. Along the coast, we continue onwards into Latvia and soon we arrive at the coastal town of Liepaja. Check in at Hotel Kolumbs**** or similar. The evening offers an optional casual dinner at a beach café right on the wide sandy beach. (B)
Accomodation: Hotel Kolumbs**** or similar.
Day 9 (Monday): Liepaja
Liepaja takes its name from the numerous lime trees in the city. We start the day with a short stroll in the Old Town with the Trinity Church and we visit Jurmala Park and the former Naval Port area with its famous Orthodox Cathedral. Afterwards we drive through the former Duchy of Courland to Jurmala, the vibrant Latvian sea resort, famous for its wooden architecture and sandy beaches. Here we do a walking tour on the sandy beaches (2 hours, light). We reach Riga late in the afternoon and check in at Hotel Astor**** or similar. (B)
Accommodation: Hotel Astor**** or similar.
Day 10 (Tuesday): Riga
Founded in 1201 by the German bishop Albert, Riga is the largest of the three Baltic capitals and boasts a true kaleidoscope of various architectural styles. The walking tour of the Old Town includes Riga Castle, Dome Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church, Swedish Gates, Three Brothers, Large and Small Guild House and the Freedom Monument. The afternoon is reserved for an optional visit to one of the largest markets in Europe, Riga Central Market, where we will learn about Latvian cuisine and Latvian organic food and sample Latvian specialities, such as black bread, vegetables, fresh fish, countryside sausages and much more. In the evening, we enjoy a Latvian farewell dinner at the stylish Restaurant Forest with traditional Latvian specialties topped off with a shot of Riga Black Balsam. (BD)
Day 11 (Thursday): Riga Departure
Transfer to the airport. (B)