Stockholm & The Baltics in Winter Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group
Destinations:
Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
Programmes:
Winter
Trip Code:
CES
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

8 Days Flight Inclusive
8 Days Land only
Min age: 16

Trip Overview

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.

At a Glance

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

 

  • Countries visited: Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania

Trip Highlights

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

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.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

Group normally 6 to 20 plus local leader.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
6
Max group size:
20

Itinerary

Land Only 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

Accommodation

Hotels

We spend 6 nights in 3 star hotels, all properties are centrally located and within walking distance of all the main sights. 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. There is a swimming pool onboard the ferry which can be used for an additional fee. 

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single only guarantees a room for single use. It does not always mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Accommodation - Pre trip

Pre-tour accommodation in Stockholm available on request.

Accommodation - Post trip

Post-tour accommodation available in Vilnius on request. 

Single supplement from £300.00

Food & Transport

Eating & 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 – in Lithuania this is also served cold). Dumplings are also very popular and in Trakai, large baked dumplings called kibinai 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!

Transportation

Travel will be by private bus and scheduled ferry services. The journey times vary, there are some longer distances to cover (up to 340km) which will mean up to 5hrs on the bus. However, we feel this is essential to cover the highlights of the three Baltic countries. The ferry crossing from Stockholm to Tallinn is onboard the overnight ferry. We include an inside cabin as standard for all clients however a supplement can be added to upgrade to an A-class outside facing cabin (please request this at the time of booking). Onboard meals are buffet style.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

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.

Weather Charts

CES

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 8 days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary. We normally use the scheduled services of SAS (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 8 days starting in Stockholm and ending in Vilnius

Your trip starts at our accommodation in Stockholm in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight ‐ please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

The cost of a taxi is likely to be about €50 should you decide to make your way independently.

Location start:
Stockholm
Location end:
Vilnius

What to Take

Essential Equipment

  • Several warm layers
  • Thick socks
  • Warm walking shoes
  • Small daypack
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Hat and gloves

Reading List

Lonely Planet Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet Stockholm Encounter (Travel Guide)

Practical Information

Passport

Sweden

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Estonia

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

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

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

The above information can change at short notice; as we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

If you are a UK citizen and travelling in Europe you should obtain the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) from your Post Office. This gives you medical care at a reduced cost, and some cases for free, in many European countries, but should not be considered a substitute for adequate insurance.

Local Time

Sweden's Timezone:
Europe/Stockholm CEST (GMT +02:00)
Estonia's Timezone:
Europe/Tallinn EEST (GMT +03:00)
Latvia's Timezone:
Europe/Riga EEST (GMT +03:00)
Lithuania's Timezone:
Europe/Vilnius EEST (GMT +03:00)

Electricity

Sweden's Electricity:

Standard 2 pin European plugs.

Estonia's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins.

All four countries use standard 2 pin European plugs

Money

Sweden's Currency

The national currency of Sweden is the Swedish Krona (SEK), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 11.7 to the UK£ and 5.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

Estonia's Currency

The national currency of Estonia is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

Latvia's Currency

The national currency of Latvia is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Lithuania's Currency

The national currency of Lithuania is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

ATM Availability

Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania use the Euro, while the Swedish currency is the Krona. All currencies can be ordered in the UK. ATM machines are found in all the cities visited. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in shops and restaurants but are unlikely to be accepted in markets.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

In the Baltic States dinner will usually be about €20 for a 3 course meal, drinks will be in addition to this. If you wish to have alcohol with your meal, a beer will cost around €2-3. Lunch costs may vary depending on the venue, if you buy lunch en-route at a local shop €5 will be enough, but if we stop at a café you are likely to spend closer to €10. In Sweden please expect to at least double these prices. Alcohol is particularly pricey; expect to pay around 50kr (£6) for a beer.


Entrance fees to sites will be between €5-10.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. Tipping is at your discretion but many clients wish to tip their leaders and driver at the end of the trip, we suggest between €10-15 for the guide and €5-10 for the driver. Most groups prefer to present the money to the leader at the end of the week with two separate envelopes (one for the leader and one for the driver). This is completely at your own discretion and to be used as a guideline only.

Towers of old Riga

Responsible Tourism

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… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

In an emergency, please contact our 24 hour out of hours service on +44 (0) 844 326 7041.

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

TRAVEL AWARE –STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to www.exodus.co.uk for online booking, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.