Stockholm & The Baltics in Winter

8 days
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£1,099
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4.3 / 5 from 4 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
CES
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Winter - Best Sellers
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–20

Visit Sweden & the Baltics at Winter time

As cold winter nights descend over Northern Europe, the pretty capitals of Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia come alive. We start our tour in Stockholm, here there is a delightful old town to explore; alternatively there are plenty of galleries and museums to enjoy. The highlight being the Vasa Museum, housing the 18th century warship of the same name which sank on her maiden voyage, raised in 1961 and painstakingly restored to its former glory. The fairy-tale old towns of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn take on a charming quality, filled with market stalls selling everything from hand crafted wooden decorations to local tipple. However these markets are not the only highlight of this trip. In each city we will enjoy fantastic guided tours, learning how they have changed through the ages. From leading centres of commerce, to closed communist states for a large part of the 20th century, to the proud modern independent nations they are today. Outside the cities we visit the unique Hill of Crosses, the spectacular Rundale Palace and Trakai Castle.

For any fans of Tolstoy’s War and Peace and the recent hit TV series, this trip offers a fantastic opportunity to wander through some of the spectacular filming locations which were used throughout the show. The beautiful old town of Vilnius was used extensively throughout filming and many of the locations visited on our city tour are immediately recognisable. The Rundale Palace was also a popular location for the show as the grand interior acted as the perfect backdrop for many scenes.

Highlights

  • Visit Sweden, Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania
  • Experience traditional Christmas markets
  • Visit the Hill of Crosses and Trakai Castle

Key information

  • 6 days guided sightseeing
  • Group normally 6 to 20, plus guide. Min age 16 yrs
  • 6 night’s in 3-star hotels, all en suite
  • 1 night on an overnight ferry with shared facilities 

 

What's included

  • Flights (if booking flight inclusive)
  • All accommodation 
  • 1 night overnight ferry crossing from Sweden to Estonia 
  • Transfer by air-conditioned coach
  • All breakfasts 
  • Walking tours of Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn and Stockholm
  • All listed excursions 
  • English speaking guide throughout

What's not included

  • Travel insurance 
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Upgrade to outside facing cabin on ferry (available on request)

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Explore Stockholm.

    The tour starts at our hotel in Stockholm where the guide will meet you in the evening.

  • Day 2

    Stockholm city tour; overnight ferry to Tallinn.

    After breakfast you will have a guided tour around the fascinating city of Stockholm. The tour will start in the Gamla Stan (old town) passing through the narrow streets and alleyways of the mediaeval part of the city. The afternoon is free to enjoy the city at your own pace. You can re-visit areas from the morning's tour, or we recommend the spectacular Vasa Museum, housing the 17th century war ship which sank in Stockholm harbour in 1628 before being salvaged from the mud in 1961. Or you can take one of the harbour cruises, these are a great way to see the city even in winter. You will board the overnight ferry to Tallinn at 17.30pm and enjoy dinner on board.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Arrive in Tallinn; afternoon city walking tour.

    The overnight ferry will arrive in Tallinn at around 10.45am. Your luggage will be transported to the hotel whilst you enjoy a guided walking tour around Tallinn. This compact capital city dates back to as early as 1154, and was a notable settlement during the time of the Hanseatic League, much like Riga. Walking through medieval cobbled streets we will explore the Town Hall Square, Toompea Palace, and castle, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, St Nicolas Church and a 15th century pharmacy – one of the oldest in Europe. The afternoon is free for shopping at the Tallinn Christmas market; here you will find a great selection of handmade gifts, traditional Christmas decorations and delicious festive treats. Overnight in Tallinn City, just outside the old town.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Free morning in Tallinn; transfer to Riga.

    After breakfast you will have some free time for some shopping, or further sightseeing around Tallinn. You will then have a scenic transfer via the seaside resort of Parnu to the historic city of Riga and its central market, the largest of its kind in Eastern Europe. You will arrive in Riga at about 6pm and have the option to eat at the hotel or go for a stroll through the city to a restaurant. Overnight in Riga where you will be staying in a historic town house in the old town.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Guided tour around Riga, afternoon at your leisure.

    Riga is the largest city in the Baltic States and is most well-known for its art nouveau architecture and historic UNESCO old town, dating back to the time of the Hanseatic League. Your morning tour will take in Riga Castle, The Dome Cathedral, St Peter’s Church, the buildings of the Great and Small Guild Halls, and the Monument to Freedom. You will then have a free afternoon to enjoy one of the largest Christmas markets on the tour. This is the perfect opportunity to try some local specialties including smoked sausage, caraway cheese, local fruit and Kvas the local beer made from rye bread. For the braver souls there's home-made liqueurs and vodka! Overnight in Riga.
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Transfer to Rundale and the Hill of Crosses; overnight in Vilnius.

    This morning you will leave Riga and head south towards Vilnius. The first stop will be at the Rundale Palace, this palace was designed for the Duke of Courland in the 18th century by Italian architect Rastrelli, who also designed the Winter Palace and Peterhof in St. Petersburg. Today, the palace is the most magnificent example of baroque architecture in the Baltic States. After a tour of the palace you will have a transfer across the border into Lithuania and to the Hill of Crosses, near Siauliai. This site has become a place of pilgrimage for Catholics all over the world and an estimated one hundred thousand crosses, crucifixes, carvings and rosaries engulf the small hill. During the Soviet Occupation the site also became a symbol of the nation’s struggle for independence, so much so the communist government attempted to bulldoze the site on at least two occasions, but with no luck. Overnight in Vilnius.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Vilnius City tour and Trakai Castle.

    Morning walking tour of Vilinus Old Town, the area was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, and is one of the largest in Northern Europe. The tour will encompass all the main attractions including: Vilnius Cathedral and Square, The Gate of Dawn, and the city’s historic university. After lunch you will travel out of the city to Trakai, the capital of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The town is best known for its stone castle situated on a small island in the nearby lake, dating back to the early part of the 14th century. Overnight in Vilnius.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Trip ends in Vilnius.

    After breakfast the trip ends in Vilnius.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

British passport holders do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the relevant authorities.

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts included, these will be buffet style and taken in the hotel. They offer plenty of choice, including cold meat, cheese, eggs, bread, jams and juice.

Dinner is not included, but each city has a huge selection of restaurants to choose from. Our guide will be able to advise on venues that best fit your taste and budget.

Cuisine in the Baltic States is often centred around pork, veal, fish, potatoes, sauerkraut and soups such as borsch (beetroot soup with meat, in Lithuania this is also served cold). Dumplings are also very popular and in Vilnius, large, baked dumplings called cepelinai are traditionally served and are very good. In Stockholm you will find carefully prepared ingredients such as game, fish and shellfish, and the best that Swedish farms have to offer. Select a dish with the flavours of the Swedish sea or forest, or enjoy a traditional smorgasbord with herring, salmon and many other delicacies - and Swedish meatballs, of course!

Weather

During the winter months all four countries experience cold weather, sometimes with heavy snow fall. However the air is dry and sunny skies are common, so temperatures shouldn't feel too cold.

CES

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded as Leisurely (1)

Most mornings will be spent on historical walking tours, while the afternoons are free for you to enjoy each city at your leisure. The drives between each city are in modern air conditioned coaches and journey times between each destination can be up to 5 hours in length, but these will be broken up with adequate stops along the way. On board the ferry we stay in two or four berth inside cabins, with single or double accommodation. Upgrades to outside facing (A class) cabins are available on request, please enquire when booking for up to date prices. Entry to Trakai Castle, The Hill of Crosses and Rundale Palace are included. Any other excursions are optional and paid locally.

Accommodation

Hotels

We spend 6 nights in 3 star hotels, all properties are centrally located and within walking distance of all the main sights. Some hotels have sauna's and swimming facilities.
The trip also includes one night on a ferry cruise from Tallinn to Stockholm, the atmosphere on the ship is fantastic making this a night to remember.

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  • Reviewed December 2015
    Fiona Mitchell

    CES 2015

    Interesting and varied 1 week trip giving a good introduction to the 4 countries. Good mixture of activities sightseeing, Christmas Markets. Highlights of trip were Runsdale Palace, Hill of Crosses and Trakai Castle and beautiful capital cities visited

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Overnight ferry from Stockholm to Tallin, ships official and unofficial entertainment was very memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent very good knowledge of all countries and activities, keep everything running smoothly

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Baltic countries appear more expensive that Eastern European Countries e.g. Poland Dress warmly and use coffee shops tactically to warm up, we were lucky with the weather (mild) but in cities you will out walking most of day
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Oliver Mills

    Superb Winter Visit of 4 Charming Cities

    This was my first trip with Exodus and I chose it because how it seemed such an unusual and interesting area of the world to explore. I was not disappointed; each town was brimming with life, with good cultural visits to break up the long drives, good food and a superb leader made the trip unforgettable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the top of the viewpoint over Tallinn at night time and seeing the city from above.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jolita was excellent, really enthusiastic and generous. My hands were cold (despite already wearing gloves) so she very kindly gave me a couple of handwarmers. Touches like this, and giving us local sweets on the long drives, made us feel very welcome. With seemingly limitless knowledge and enthusiasm for the cities, it made the trip a pleasure having her guide us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring two pairs of socks for each day, maybe two pairs of gloves too as a lot of the walking tours involve a lot of stopping so you'll get cold! Sea-sickness tablets for the ferry, as we hit a storm - you can never be too careful! Oh and make the most of the markets at night, they look so amazing but you need to get there before they close (8pm-9pm)!
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Alison Payton

    The Baltics in Winter

    A great way to get a taster of Sweden, Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania; to learn about the history of the Baltic region; and if you go in December, to get in the mood for the festive season.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Taking a ferry across the Baltic Sea was quite exciting for me as I'd never done anything like that before - including sitting on deck in the freezing cold night air! First seeing the fairy tale medieval centre of Tallinn. The afternoon excursion to Trakai in Lithuania - I loved the combination of woods, lakes and traditional wooden houses. The air smelled of wood smoke, the setting sun showed off the landscape to perfect effect and there's a lovely café with a view of the castle where you can warm up with a hot drink and freshly-baked ginger bread.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and really helped the group to gel. She couldn't have done any more to make us feel comfortable and get the most from the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Wear very warm clothing and foot wear for the walking city tours - it can get pretty nippy standing in the Baltic wind, especially if it's accompanied by rain, hail, sleet or snow! Take sea sickness tablets - just in case of a choppy Baltic crossing on the ferry.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Whistle stop tours of regions such as this aren't for everyone so it's important to have realistic expectations about what you can see, do and achieve in each destination. Also, hitting the road early is sometimes inevitable, so there aren't many opportunities for a lazy morning or to make use of the very nice hotel facilities for example.
  • Reviewed January 2015
    Craig Venes

    Stockholm and the Winter Baltics

    A whistle stop tour of the capitals of the Baltics and Sweden

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We went to some free church concerts in Vilnius and Riga and they turned out to be really enjoyable. The KGB museum in Tallinn is well worth the 9 euro charge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The tour leader was very amiable and keen to make the group gel.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take warm clothes. Have a book or something else to do on the long drives as the scenery is not very inspring particularly in the very grey winter months.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would drop the very limited time in Stockholm and have more time in Riga or Tallinn.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

Call us on 0208 772 3936