Fly to Tallinn; transfer to hotel.
We will have the morning to explore the vibrant city of Tallinn, Estonia's capital and largest city. The Old Town, framed by old city walls, if full of architectural gems. We will have a guided tour of the city which will last approx. 2 hours. We will take a break for lunch and then go to Lahemaa National Park; an area of wooded natural beauty. We will have a guided walk (approx. 3.5 hrs) of the Viru Raba swamp on board walks. Transfer to our guesthouse in the grounds of Palmse Manor.
Transfer to Tartu, Estonia's second city with as much charm as the capital. It is home to the oldest and most renowned university of Estonia and is known as the intellectual centre of the country. Art is thriving in the city with many galleries and copious amounts of street art for you to enjoy. The town hall square forms the idyllic centre with outdoor cafes and street musicians creating a fantastic atmosphere. There will be free time to enjoy a walk around the old town and lunch before we head to Cesis.
Cesis is an old town with a long history and is now known as a centre of art and culture. Situated on the Gauja River valley it's old town is one of the finest in Latvia. Its cobbled streets have retained a timeless appearance since the middle ages and the fine buildings have kept their red tiled roofs and restored their facades, making this a charming place to while away some time. The city is famed for its Medieval castle, a partly preserved fortification which has been knocked down and rebuilt in various forms. We will have the opportunity to visit the castle and the museum this morning, with the option of a guided tour. Transfer to Gauja National Park where we will enjoy a guided walk before making our way to Riga, the Latvian capital.
This morning the magnificent old town of Riga awaits. We will have a guided tour of the city to discover it's winding alleys, elegant boulevards and 800 renovated art nouveau buildings. You will then be free to soak up the charming and romantic atmosphere of the city and enjoy a relaxing lunch. You can spend the rest of the afternoon enjoying this fascinating city; alternatively you can visit the seaside town of Jurmala.
Our first stop today will be in Siauliai to tour the Hill of Crosses. This is a pilgrimage site, famous for the carved wooden crosses that cover the area. Lithuania has developed a unique style of wooden cross carvings and each year pilgrims come and offer their crosses. We will take some time to admire this area and then journey on to visit the former Soviet military base of Plokstine. In 1960, at the height of the Cold War the Soviet Union decided that it needed to build an underground missile base to keep up with the ever expanding US military arsenal. This area was considered perfect for the development and housed missiles and rockets. The extensive area has now been reopened as a museum, giving information about the Cold War, propaganda and life at the base. We will have lunch in this area and then transfer to Klaipeda for the evening.
This morning there will be an opportunity to have a look around the port town of Klaipeda. Catch a ferry to the Curonian Spit, a 100km spit which divides the sea from the lagoon and runs all the way into the Russian region of Kaliningrad. The spit has been named as a UNESCO World Heritage site of natural beauty and is a Lithuanian national park. We will stop in Juodkrante for lunch, which is about half way along the Lithuanian part of the spit and then have a walking tour of the 'Dead Dunes'. The Dead Dunes sit in front of the town of Nida and are covered in grassy flora. The winds have sculpted the dunes and over time they have engulfed 4 villages. They are now protected and we will explore the area on foot using the board walks and paths. We will spend the night in Nida.
There will be the opportunity to look around Nida and then buy some lunch to have on the boat journey across the lagoon. This is a real highlight of the trip. On returning to the main land we will transfer to Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania and the economic and intellectual centre. We can check into the hotel and then go and explore the city. Kaunas is known for it's folk history and tonight there will be the opportunity to go to a local folk music evening.
This morning there will be a more detailed guided tour of Kaunas Old Town, visiting the castle, Town Hall Square and the House of Perkunas. Transfer to Kernave, historically the first capital of Lithuania. This is now an archaeological site and a lovely spot to walk around soaking up the history. We will then make our way to Trakai where the famous castle is set as if upon the water.
The castle awaits us this morning and we will have a detailed guided tour to explore the renovated structure, which retains many of its old features on the interior, and the museum. We will then transfer to Vilnius for the afternoon and evening.
Today we have the whole day to explore Vilnius. There is a guided tour of the city and then plenty of time to explore the city. The city was developed around its Town Hall and there is a great deal of diverse architecture to explore. There are many narrow streets which lead to intimate courtyards, in addition to the larger landmarks of the castle complex, Cathedral square and the Royal Palace. There are also plenty of museums to while away some hours.
Transfer to the airport; fly to London.