Stockholm & The Baltics in Winter
Explore some of Europe’s prettiest old towns and festive markets
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Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Leisurely
Group Size Small Group
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.
* Airport transfers (at designated times)
* 6 nights in 3-star hotels, all ensuite
* 1 night overnight ferry crossing from Sweden to Estonia (shared facilities)
* Transfer by air-conditioned coach
* All breakfasts
* Walking tours of Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn and Stockholm
* All listed excursions
* English speaking guide throughout. Group normally 6 to 20, plus guide. Min age 16 yrs
- Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)
- Upgrade to outside facing cabin on ferry (available on request)
- Visit Sweden, Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania
- Experience traditional Christmas markets
- Visit the Hill of Crosses and Trakai Castle
- 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
The tour starts at our hotel in Stockholm where the guide will meet you in the evening.**
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.**
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.**
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.**
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*
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.**
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.**
Trip ends in Vilnius.
After breakfast the trip ends in Vilnius.**
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.
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!
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.