Fly & Drive - Baltic States

Route: Tallinn-Tartu-Cesis-Gauja National Park-Sigulda-Riga-Rundale
Palace-Hill of Crosses-Vilnius-Trakai-Kaunas-Klaipeda-Palanga-Curonian Spit-Klaipeda-Pärnu-Haapsalu-Lahemaa National Park-Tallinn

Overnight: Tallinn-Tartu-Riga-Vilnius-Klaipeda-Pärnu-Tallinn

Availability: March-October 2017

Duration: 12 days / 11 nights

What's Included?

• 2 ways transfer (airport-hotel-airport)
• 11 x overnight in double room in hotels 2*/3* with morning breakfast
• Car rental from day 2 to day 11 (full kasko insurance, self risk €400, for minivan €500)
–For 2 people : VW Golf or similar
–For 3-4 people: Renault Megane SW or similar
–For 5-8 people: Renault Trafic or similar
• GPS Navigation
• Services and taxes

Duration

12 days

Destination Covered

Tallinn, Tartu, Cēsis, Gauja National Park, Riga, Rundāle Palace and Museum, Siauliai, Vilnius, Trakai Island Castle, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Palanga, Nida, Pärnu, Haapsalu and Lahemaa National Park

Best Suited

All, Budget, Families, Groups, Honeymoon, Solo travellers
Day 1: Arrival-TALLINN
Arrival to the airport and transfer to the hotel. Rest of day dedicated to the visit of Tallinn.
Tallinn, is the oldest capital in northern Europe. The city was first recorded by the Arab cartographer al-Idrisi back in 1154. Tallinn’s subsequent 800 years of history has created a city of colourful buildings, slender spires, ancient hostelries and pleasant squares. Tallinn’s Old Town is one of Europe’s best preserved medieval cities and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. During the visit we suggest you to discover the Toompea hill (the upper part of the old town) with the Castle, the Cathedral and the Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral and the lower part of the old town with the Town Hall Square, the gothic Town Hall, the Town Hall Pharmacy (one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe), the St. Nicholas Church, the St. Olaf’s Church, the Great Guild Hall and the medieval merchants buildings. Overnight.

Day 2: Tallinn-Tartu(190 km)
Morning breakfast and car delivered at the hotel. Departure and arrival to Tartu during lunch time.
Check-in at the hotel and rest of the day dedicated to the visit of the charming old town of university city. Tartu is considered the Estonia’s centre of science and education since 1632, when Swedish King Gustav II Adolf built the University of Tartu. Overnight.

Day 3: Tartu-Cesis-Gauja National Park-Riga (250 km)
Morning breakfast and departure to Riga. During the trip we suggest a stop in Cesis. Cēsis is one of the oldest and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful towns in Latvia. Since the 13th century, the medieval Cesis Castle has shared its destiny with the town in fights against Russian, Polish and Swedish troops and now together with both parks, the curved cobbled streets and hospitable people enchants the visitors of the town with its romantic atmosphere. Continuation of the trip by driving through the Gauja National Park and the city of Sigulda. Established in 1973, the Gauja National Park covers 91,745 hectares of land, most of the park is thickly forested and interspersed with rivers and lakes. The park houses some of the most famous attractions in Latvia, such as the Sigulda and Turaida castles, the museums in Āraiši and Turaida, the ferry across the River Gauja, the Līgatne Nature trails, the Straupe Castle, the Ungurmuiža Manor and several geological features. During the excursion you will also admire the ruines of the Turaida Episcopal Castle. The Turaida Castle Museum Park covers 42 hectares of land and encompasses items of natural, cultural and historical importance. The most prominent feature is the soaring red brick tower of the restored 13th century Turaida castle, providing a breathtaking view across the Gauja river valley from its very top. Arrival to Riga in the late afternoon and check-in at the hotel. Overnight.

Day 4: Riga
Morning breakfast at the hotel and rest of day dedicated to the visit of Riga. The heart of Riga lies in its old town. Each step on its cobbled streets reveals a page of the eight centuries long history of the city. It is small enough to make you feel at home and at the same time also big enough to keep you enraptured by its history and UNESCO world heritage. During your visit you will discover the most historical spots of the old town like the Cathedral, the Riga Castle, the Swedish Gate, the St. Peter’s Church, the Dome square, the building of the Three Brothers, the Freedom monument, the Art Nouveau district and many other sites. In the afternoon we suggest you an excursion to Jurmala. Jurmala is the largest seaside and balneotherapy resort in the Baltic States and has a long history of being a resort area. Located only 25 km from Riga it possesses unique natural resources, like curative mineral waters, medical healing mud, pine forests, a healthy seaside climate, sand dunes and 33 km of white sand beach. The town of Jurmala takes pride in its wooden architecture, a unique characteristic of the city since the 19th and early 20th century. Art Noveau, National Romanticism, and Functionalism coexist in harmony. And over 400 buildings are included in the listing of architectural monuments. Overnight.

Day 5: Riga-Bauska-Siauliai-Vilnius (350 km)
Morning breakfast at the hotel and departure to Vilnius. Before reaching the lithuanian border we’ll stop in the city of Bauska for the visit of the Rundale Palace. The Rundale Palace is an example of Baroque and Rococo architecture of outstanding brilliance. Designed by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the Russian Imperial Court architect, it was built between 1736 and 1740 as the summer residence for Ernst Johann Biron, Duke of Courland. Nowadays the Palace has been converted to a museum and houses a large collection of paintings and various exhibitions of applied art, also a collection of Latvian church art. Continuation of the trip and once overpassed the lithuanian border we suggest you a stop in the Siauliai county for the visit of the Hill of Crosses. The hill-fort of Jurgaičiai near Šiauliai, known as the Hill of Crosses, is a favourite attraction for tourists and pilgrims. The hill is literally smothered with crosses; there are over 50,000 crosses, shrines, statues of saints and rosaries on the hill. The Hill of Crosses is considered to be a monument to human faith and survived numerous attempts by the Soviet authorities to destroy it. Departure from the Hill of Crosses and arrival to Vilnius in the late afternoon. Check-in at the hotel and overnight.

Day 6: Vilnius-Trakai-Vilnius (50 km)
Morning breakfast at the hotel and rest of day dedicated to the visit of Vilnius. Located at the confluence of the rivers Neris and Vilnia, the capital of Lithuania is one of the most visited cities in Eastern Europe. The Old Town, a Baroque masterpiece, was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1994. Vilnius holds almost 50 Churches of various architectural styles and several authentic buildings with Gothic, Renaissance and Classical features. During your walking tour you will discover the the small and cosy Old Town, the well known Gates of Dawn, the Cathedral, the Gediminas Tower, the old University, the St. Anne’s Church and many others unique spots. For the afternoon we suggest you a visit to Trakai, the old capital of Lithuania. Trakai, located between Kaunas and Vilnius, was the 14th century capital of Lithuania. It is renowned for its magnificent castle, the largest of this kind in Eastern Europe, located on an island in a picturesque lake. Overnight.

Day 7: Vilnius-Kaunas-Klaipeda (320 km)
Morning breakfast at the hotel and departure to Klaipeda. On the way stop in Kaunas for the visit of the old town. Kaunas was the provisional capital of Lithuania for over two decades, between the First and the Second World War. The second largest city in Lithuania has something to be proud of: the first theatre school, the first opera and the first Song Festival. Kaunas is also famous for its charming old town and for its 14th century castle, one of the oldest brick castles in Lithuania. Departure and arrival to Klaipeda in the afternoon. Check-in at the hotel and rest of the day dedicated to the visit of the city. Klaipėda is the third biggest city in Lithuania, with a population of around 190,000 people .The town of Klaipėda was founded in 1252 and is an unique Lithuanian city by virtue of its colourful and turbulent history and also because the architectural style of its Old Town is similar to many western European cities. Located on the coast of the Baltic Sea, Klaipėda, with its rich history, traditions, cultural life, and unique architecture, has become an outstanding tourism attraction centre. During the visit we’ll also discover the Theatre Square and the Aennchen von Tharau Fountain. If the time allows, we also suggest you a visit to Palanga, the lithuanian summer capital, located only 30 km from Klaipeda. Palanga is well known for its sandy beaches and for hosting one of the biggest Amber Museum in Europe. Overnight.

Day 8: Klaipeda-Curonian Spit-Klaipeda (100 km)
Morning breakfast at the hotel and full day dedicated to the visit of the Curonian Spit. The narrow and lengthy peninsula, washed by the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Sea reminds one of a desert. “It feels like standing at the entryway to Heaven,” ths is how the French writer Jean-Paul Sartre described his visit to this unforgettable site. The Curonian Spit was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000 as one of the most beautiful and unique landscapes in Europe. The strip of sand, stretching into the sea, has several cosy, neat and picturesque fishermen’s villages, breath-taking dunes and is the home to one of the largest grey heron and cormorant colonies in Europe. During the excursion you will discover the Hill of witches, the high dunes, the Thomas Mann’s summerhouse and the lovely city of Nida. Return to Klaipeda in the late afternoon. Overnight.

Day 9: Klaipeda-Pärnu (460 km)
Morning breakfast at the hotel and departure to Pärnu. Arrival and check-in at the hotel. Rest of the day dedicated to the visit of the summer resort. Pärnu, the Estonia’s ‘summer capital’, is a highly acclaimed holiday destination and resort on the south-west coast of Estonia. Shadowy parks, attractive white sandy beaches and quality restaurants, spas and night-life are a draw for summer visitors. Pärnu has also a small and pleasant Old Town. Overnight.

Day 10: Pärnu-Haapsalu-Tallinn (210 km)
Morning breakfast at the hotel and, if the weather allows, we suggest you to spend some time and relax on Pärnu’s beaches. Departure and suggested stop in Haapsalu. Known as the ‘Venice of the North’, Haapsalu is a wonderful seaside town on the west coast of Estonia. The town is known for its narrow streets, the miniature town hall and the romantic wooden dwelling houses. The Dome Church of Haapsalu is the biggest single- naved church in the Baltic States and the most important historical and cultural monument of the town. In the baptistery window of the church Estonia’s most famous ghost, the White Lady, is said to appear each August when there’s a full moon. Along Haapsalu’s seafront promenade you can find the Tchaikovsky’s bench. The Russian composer stayed in Haapsalu in 1867 and the first notes of his famous VI Symphony are carved into the stone bench. The city also has a tsarist era railway station, nowadays converted as a railway museum. Departure to Tallinn and arrival in the late afternoon. Check-in at the hotel. Overnight.

Day 11: Tallinn-Lahemaa National Park-Tallinn (130 km)
Morning breakfast at the hotel and day deidcated to the visit of the Lahemaa National Park. Lahemaa is the Estonia’s largest national park and was established in 1971. The Park is made up of four peninsulas and numerous islets, jutting into the Gulf of Finland. Lahemaa’s forests, marshlands and coastal areas are home to around 200 bird species and approximately 900 different plants. A number of interesting and historic manor houses (Vihula, Sagadi, Palmse)can also be found in this region as well as idyllic fishermen villages (Altja, Käsmu and Viinistu). On the way back to Tallinn we suggest to visit some great sites located outside the city centre like Pirita and Kadriorg or to explore the Ethnographic Open Air Museum of Tallinn. Two captivating neighborhoods just east of the city centre, Kadriorg and Pirita, are favourite destinations for sightseers looking for what’s beyond Old Town. After the Russian emperor Peter the Great conquered the Baltics in the early 1700s he established an estate and public park on this spot. He named the area Ekaterinenthal (Catherine’s valley, or Kadriorg in Estonian) after his wife, Catherine I. The elaborate Baroque palace he had built, along with the surrounding forests, ponds and fountains, are still the neighbourhood’s prime draw. Over the next two centuries the streets near the park became lined with ornate wooden mansions as Kadriorg developed into the upscale residential district that it remains today.
The Pirita district lies not far away from Kadriorg. With its 3km stretch of sand beach and a yachting harbor, Pirita is best known as a summer resort A quieter way to enjoy the area is to head across the road to the Pirita River delta, where row boats, canoes and water bicycles can be rented. Pirita is also worth visiting for its own bit of Medieval architecture, the ruins of St. Bridget’s Convent. The Estonian Ethnographic Open Air Museum lets you travel back in time to the rural Estonia of old. The vast, forested park is filled with thatched, 18-20th-century farm buildings, windmills, a wooden chapel and a village school, with staff demonstrating how people lived and worked in times past. Visitors can buy handicrafts and try out the traditional food served in the village tavern. Drop-off of the car at the hotel in the late afternoon. Overnight.

Day 12: Tallinn-Departure
Breakfast at the hotel and free time for additional visits and/or shopping in Tallinn. Transfer to airport.
Not Include:
• Flights and Visa (if required)
• Insurances
• Ferry ticket to/from the Curonian Spit
• Parking costs (hotels and sites)
• Any other costs/expenses not specified under “The package includes”

Optional:
• Walking guided tour of Vilnius old town (3 hours): 130,00 Eur
• Walking guided tour of Riga old town (3 hours): 130,00 Eur
• Walking guided tour of Tallinn old town (3 hours): 130,00 Eur

PRICE PER PERSON (minimum 2 participants):
based on group size and period
2 persons 3-4 persons 5-8 persons
750,00 Euro 690,00 Euro 660,00 Euro

Single room supplement: 330,00 Euro

Payment conditions:
Deposit of 30% upon reservation
Balance payment (70%) 40 days before arrival
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