Baltic Capital Cities

Tallinn skyline
Take a stroll in Bastion Hill Park, Riga
View over Riga Old Town
Riga Central Market
Hill of Crosses
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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Explore!

This trip is the perfect introduction for first time visitors to the Baltic states. We explore the three capital cities on foot, as well as visiting the KGB Museum in Vilnius, Europe's largest market in Riga and going underground in the tunnels beneath Medieval Tallinn. We stay overnight and enjoy a traditional beer tasting and dinner in the historic Pakruojis Manor, founded in 1531. As well as visiting Trakai Castle, Kaunas, the Hill of Crosses and Parnu on the Baltic Sea.

Vilnius - Experience the historical sights and learn about Lithuania's troubled Soviet past at the KGB Museum
Riga - Discover the capital of Latvia's main highlights and take in the sights, smells and tastes at Riga's huge Central Market
Tallinn - Explore the city's best known sights on foot and go underground in the Medieval Bastion Tunnels
Pakruojis Manor - Stay overnight on the estate and enjoy a traditional dinner and beer tasting
Why Book this Tour
See the main highlights and lesser visited sights in three beautiful Baltic capital cities - Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn, in just 8 days. Stay overnight in one of the largest historical manor estates in Europe, Pakruojis Manor.
  • Tours to Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia
  • Estonia
  • Tallinn
  • Riga
  • Vilnius
  • Europe
  • Hill of Crosses
  • Helsinki
  • Kaunas
Tour Types
  • Active
  • Small Group
  • Cultural
  • History
  • Adventure
  • Discovery
Day 1: Join trip in Vilnius, Lithuania
Our trip begins in Lithuania's capital city, Vilnius. After checking in to our hotel and meeting the group, this evening is at leisure for you to enjoy your first taste of the city's vibrant cafe, restaurant and nightlife culture.

The majority of visitors to the Baltic States will be surprised by the quality, variety and value of food and drink on offer. The majority of food is locally sourced and part of the regions heritage is being able to forage for food and make local brews. Walking through the forests you will see locals passing the time picking mushrooms and gathering berries. There are a lot of traditional restaurants, with influences from Germany and Russia, serving locally produced dishes. There's a wide variety on the menu including soups, casseroles, salads, meat and fish dishes. Beer is locally brewed and you can find light and dark beers, filtered or unfiltered all for a reasonable price. You can also find flavoured wines such as raspberry and cherry wine and each country has its own herbal liquor which is a popular after dinner tipple.

Please note on our BAT 22 July 2017 departure, we will be flying into Kaunas airport rather than Vilnius airport due to the closure of Vilnius airport for runway maintenance. The drive from Kaunas airport to our accommodation in Vilnius will take around 90 minutes.

Day 2: Walking tour of Vilnius and visit to the KGB Museum
The Catholic influence on Vilnius is very evident from the numerous baroque churches. By the turn of the last century, Vilnius also had an 80,000-strong Jewish community. However, by the end of World War II, it had been completely decimated. During our morning orientation walking tour of the capital, we'll visit the ancient university founded by the Jesuits - a centre of the Counter Reformation and a source of Lithuanian culture. We'll also see the cathedral and Church of the Dawn. In the newer part of Vilnius lies the main shopping street with the opera, cafes and parliament building.

This afternoon we'll visit the KGB Museum. The museum is located in the former KGB Headquarters and has exhibits documenting the crimes that were planned and committed from this very spot during Soviet rule. The displays also show you how the Lithuanians fought back to re-claim their independence. You'll be able to see the inner prison cell that has been preserved in the same condition as when the headquarters closed in 1991.

Day 3: Drive to Pakruojis Manor via Trakai Castle and Kaunas
Our first stop this morning on our full day's journey will be at Trakai Castle set on an island in Lake Galve. Trakai is the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and this splendid red brick castle dates back to the 14th century. You'll have the opportunity to go inside to view some of the interesting museum exhibits that it houses including one on pre-war Lithuania.

On some departures due to functions taking place it may not be possible to go inside Trakai Castle, so instead we will make an additional stop at Rundale Palace. Built in the 18th century by Anna, Empress of Russia, for her lover, Count Biron. The architect, Bartholomeo Rastrelli, also built the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. The 138 room palace is richly decorated and is an example of the fusion of German and Russian society.

We continue our drive to Kaunas where we'll have free time for lunch. Kaunas was the country's temporary capital between 1920 and 1939 when Vilnius was forcibly annexed by the Poles. Situated in the heart of Lithuania, it is often regarded as the most characteristic city in the country. Many of its buildings date back to the 17th century, when the Jesuits bought tracts of land here and built a large monastery. Some buildings are older, with impressive examples of Gothic architecture.

Later this afternoon we arrive at Pakruojis Manor where we will be spending the night. The manor consists of 34 buildings including the main house, a stable block, mill and perfumery all set in a beautiful park setting, which is now a living museum that shows how the residents and staff would have lived and worked in 19th century. You'll have the opportunity to explore these historic buildings before we have a traditional dinner and an included beer tasting - all brewed on site.

Day 4: Visit the Hill of Crosses en route to Riga, Latvia; walking tour of Riga
Before leaving Lithuania we'll make a stop at the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai where a vast number of rosaries and crosses adorn a small hill. Both German and Soviet troops in the past have tried to crush this symbol of national and religious fervour, but images of the Virgin and literally thousands of crosses always reappeared despite their best efforts to destroy them.

This afternoon we'll arrive in Riga, Latvia's capital, and take an orientation walking tour. Most of the important sights in Riga are concentrated in a small area, so walking is the most effective way to explore. We will take in the Freedom Monument, Gunpowder Tower, Saint Jacob's Church and the city's cathedral. Buildings have been painstakingly restored over the last twenty years and commanding Gothic structures sit adjacent to Baroque and lavish Art Nouveau architecture.

Day 5: Visit to Riga Central Market; afternoon at leisure
This morning we'll visit Riga's huge and lively Central Market, which sells traditional produce, such as smoked fish, sauerkraut, pickled garlic and crusty cheeses.

The rest of the day is free for you to discover more of the city. Riga is an old Hanseatic city on the banks of the Daugava River and is arguably the most beautiful in the Baltics. Its skyline is pierced with spires, towers and weather vanes, making the streets a joy to amble through. The Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum and Riga Castle are well worth a visit or you may choose to enjoy a long lunch in one of the many restaurants. Cheese and meat filled pastries served with wild berry preserves are popular, especially when washed down with a local beer or perhaps a glass of Riga Black Balsam, a traditional herbal liqueur - an acquired taste!

Day 6: Drive to Tallinn, Estonia via the seaside city of Parnu
This morning we bid farewell to Latvia and head for Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia. After we've crossed the border we'll make a stop in the pretty seaside town of Parnu on the Gulf of Livonia. This Baltic coast spa resort has been popular with tourists since the 1830's with people flocking to its clean sand beaches and to revitalise in the Parnu Mud Baths. After time here for lunch we'll continue our journey to Tallinn; in total today's drive takes us around five hours.

With just half a million citizens, Tallinn is not a sprawling metropolis. This adds to its charm, as it is easy to explore on foot, with minimal traffic. Famed for its Medieval architecture, the Old Town is one of the best preserved Hanseatic town centres in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city has a huge range of restaurants, pubs and wine bars for you to choose from this evening.

Day 7: Orientation walking tour of Tallinn; visit to the Bastion Tunnels
Less than 100 kilometres across the water from Helsinki and midway between St. Petersburg and Stockholm, Tallinn has come under several different cultural influences since the first stronghold was built in the 10th century. Linguistically and economically, Estonia's closest ties are to Finland, despite the best efforts of other nations. In 1561, as a coveted trading port, it was seized by the Swedes and held for 150 years until the Russians took over and industrialised much of the Medieval town. Perched on a hill overlooking the sea, we'll explore the cobbled Old Town on foot this morning. The colourful houses of the crooked streets reflect the German, Scandinavian and Russian periods of Tallinn's history. We'll walk through the quarter where merchants once traded and take in the historical and architectural highlights. The busy town square is a hectic mix of pavement cafes and shops, dominated by the 14th century Gothic Town Hall. The pink Parliament buildings and Toompea Castle lie near the imposing deep yellow Alexander Nevsky Cathedral.

This afternoon we'll visit the Bastion Tunnels beneath the city. The tunnels were constructed in the 1670's and were used by the military as defensive tunnels beneath the city walls and buildings above. The tunnels lay unused for many years, but at the start of World War II they were renovated to be used as bomb shelters and then during Soviet rule they were installed with electricity, ventilation, water and telephones. During our excursion you'll get to see the tunnels still in their Medieval state and those that have been modernised in the 20th century.

On some departures due to events taking place we may not be able to visit the Bastion Tunnels, so instead we will take a tour to learn about the secrets of the white monks at the Dominican Monastery. In the Middle Ages the influence of the Dominican religious order was enormous, as the monks were the confessors of the kings. We'll be met by a monk at the monastery who will give us an insight into what it would have been like in the city and to be a monk in Medieval times. There is almost no electricity in the monastery, so our tour will be conducted by candle light. And, of course, we will get the chance to try the traditional monastery liqueur.

This evening you may choose to participate in a traditional Medieval dinner.

Day 8: Trip ends in Tallinn
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Tallinn.

You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.

Dates Price Single Availability
01-May-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
01-May-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
22-May-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
22-May-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
29-May-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
29-May-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
05-Jun-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
05-Jun-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
12-Jun-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
12-Jun-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
26-Jun-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
26-Jun-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
03-Jul-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
03-Jul-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
24-Jul-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
24-Jul-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
14-Aug-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
14-Aug-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
11-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
11-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
18-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
18-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
25-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
25-Sep-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
09-Oct-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
09-Oct-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
16-Oct-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
16-Oct-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website
20-Dec-2021 for 7 Nights Visit website
20-Dec-2021 for 7 Nights Flight Included Visit website

Touring with Explore

Explore have been creating award-winning adventures for over 35 years and are experts when it comes to unique travel experiences.

Their small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981 and today, Explore are one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 600 trips to more than 130 countries. At Explore, they are passionate about travel and have developed a wide range of unique activities and experiences which gives their customers an unforgettable adventure with a team of award-winning Explore leaders .

With Explore, you'll get to see your destination from a whole new perspective that takes you away from the typical well-trodden tourist track. You'll have the chance to meet, dine and stay with local people, rest in authentic accommodation with other like-minded explorers and travel to must-see destinations with a unique Explore twist.

From family trips to holidays for solo travellers; cycling tours to wildlife safaris; trekking on mountains or exploring miles of scenic coastline; self-guided holidays or small group trips; there is something for every kind of traveller with Explore. They will provide their expert knowledge, exciting itineraries and outstanding service as part of their sustainable travel experiences which take you under the skin of the country you're visiting for the adventure of a lifetime.


tour details

This tour is operated by Explore!

7 nights from pp; per Night
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Group Size:0 - 18
Suitable For: Adult
Difficulty:Full On
Meals:Breakfast: 7 Dinner: 1
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