See some of the most majestic wonders and important historical sites of Eastern Europe with this 19-day journey. We first discover majestic Moscow and fairytale St. Petersburg before exploring “Europe’s best-kept secret”, Helsinki. We then dive into the Baltic trio of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, offering some of the most photogenic spots in Europe! Our journey ends in the charming Polish cities of Warsaw and Krakow. Cultural discoveries abound on this tour, which includes strolls through the former palaces of Eastern Europe’s historic rulers, samplings of liquor made from a 250-year-old recipe and other traditional fare, visits to 9 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and more.
|UNESCO World Heritage Sites covered in this tour|
|1.||Kremlin and the Red Square, Moscow||2.||Architectural Ensemble of the Trinity Sergius Lavra in Sergiev Posad|
|3.||Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments||4.||Historic Centre of Tallinn|
|5.||Historic Centre of Riga||6.||Vilnius Historic Centre|
|7.||Auschwitz Birkenau||8.||Historic Centre of Krakow|
|9.||Historic Centre of Warsaw|
|Price (From)||:||US$ 5651|
|Includes international air|
Day 01: Arrive Moscow (RUSSIA)
Welcome to Moscow – a capital to the world. We are warmly received and transferred to our hotel. Check in time is from 1500 hrs. Balance of the day is free to begin our discovery of this fabled capital of Russia, or to just relax. Tonight, attend a welcome dinner where we meet our tour director and fellow travelers. The welcome dinner will include a glass of wine, beer or soft drink.
Overnight: Hotel Marriott Courtyard, Moscow (3 nights) (D)
Day 02: Moscow
Moscow, one of the largest cities in the world, is the symbolic heart and soul of Russia. Our sightseeing tour begins at Red Square*, dominated by colorful St. Basil's Cathedral and the massive red walls of the Kremlin. Visit the Armory Museum, with its impressive collection of Tsarist, Russian, and foreign jewelry, armor, and other artifacts. Continue with a walk along the wide boulevards and a stroll through GUM, Russia’s largest department store, followed by a drive by Moscow University. Continue on the north bank of the River Moskva, passing by baroque Novodevichy convent. We end our tour at the popular Arbat shopping district. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B)
Day 03: Moscow/Sergiev Posad/Moscow (Drive)
Today, we travel 75 kilometers north of Moscow, to the small town of Sergiev Posad. Formerly known as Zagorsk, this lovely village was founded in the 14th century. It’s renowned as a center of ancient Russian art and architecture. For centuries, it served as a place of pilgrimage and the religious capital of Russia. Within the old walled city, admire the fairy-tale golden and blue domes of the Holy Trinity St. Sergius Lavra*, one of the most beautiful of all monasteries. After lunch at a popular restaurant, return to Moscow, with the rest of the day at leisure. (B, L)
Day 04: Moscow/St. Petersburg (Train)
Time at leisure in Moscow, before being transferred to the railway station for a four-hour, high speed Sapsan train ride to St. Petersburg*. Upon arrival at St. Petersburg train station, we are transferred to our hotel. Dinner is enjoyed at our hotel.
Overnight: Radisson Sonya, St. Petersburg (3 nights) (B, D)
Day 05: St. Petersburg
When Peter the Great founded St. Petersburg in 1703, he hired Europe’s best architects, craftsmen and artists to build and decorate it. Spread over 100 islands linked by over 600 bridges, it is often referred to as the “Venice of the North”. Today, the main sites to be visited on the tour are Palace Square with the Winter Palace, Senate Square with its monument of the Russian Emperor Peter the Great, founder of the city, St. Isaac’s Square with St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Smolny Cathedral, the Cruiser Aurora, the Field of Mars, and Nevsky Prospect. We also explore the Peter and Paul Fortress. Built in 1703, the fortress was the first construction in St. Petersburg, created to protect the city from enemy attacks. The Peter and Paul Cathedral, which towers in the center of the fortress, served as the burial place for Russian emperors. The remainder of the day is free to enjoy the city’s many charms. (B)
Day 06: St. Petersburg
This morning, we’ll visit the world-famous Hermitage museum, housing more than four million works of art. It was founded in 1764 by Catherine the Great and ranks among one of the largest and oldest museums in the world. Admire world-famous masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci, Rafael, Titian, Rembrandt, El Greco, Velasquez, Rubens, Van Dyck, Goya, and French Impressionists. The largest building of the Hermitage is the Winter Palace, the former residence of Russian emperors. Spend the rest of the day at leisure exploring the city on our own. Tonight, we join our fellow travelers for a dinner. (B, D)
Day 07: St. Petersburg/Helsinki (Train) (FINLAND)
After breakfast, we are transferred to the St. Petersburg train station for our train to Helsinki in Finland. The capital of Finland is a vibrant city known for its seamless melding of modern architecture and traditional touches. Upon arrival, we are met at the airport and transferred to our hotel. Check in is from 1500 hrs. Rest of the day is free to relax or begin our own discovery of the city. Clarion Hotel is located near attractions such as the West Harbour and the Bad, Bad Boy sculpture by Tommi Toija, a Finnish artist with a unique and provoking style. Tonight, enjoy a dinner to welcome us to Finland. A glass of beer, wine or soft drink is on the house!
Overnight: Clarion Hotel, Helsinki (1 night) (B, D)
Day 08: Helsinki
Helsinki lies far in the south of Finland, on a peninsula that is home to the busiest passenger port in the world. Our comprehensive sightseeing will cover the most important and interesting areas of the city, including the historical center, the Senate Square, the Cathedral, City Hall, the Presidential Palace, Finlandia Hall and the Opera House. We stop at the Sibelius Monument and, if possible, at the Temppeliaukio church, boasting an underground interior carved out of the surrounding rock in the 1960s. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. (B)
Day 09: Helsinki/Tallinn (Boat) (ESTONIA)
We board a ferry to Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, situated on the southern coast of the Gulf of Finland. Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel. Rest of the day is free to discover this lovely city. Though first mentioned by historical writings in 1219, Tallinn has evidence of human settlement dating back 5,000 years. Its medieval monuments and fairytale streets are known to be extremely photogenic! Estonia was first incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1940, then occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941 until it was reconquered by the Soviet Union in 1944, during World War II. An optional tour of the Kadriorg Palace is available.
Overnight: Park Inn by Radisson Meriton Hotel, Tallinn (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 10: Tallinn
Take part in a walking tour of Tallinn’s Upper and Lower Old Town*, a UNESCO World Heritage Site considered to be one of Europe’s most complete walled cities. First, visit imposing Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. We then explore Toompea Castle, an ancient stronghold used since the 9th century, and see the 14th century Gothic Town Hall. Afterwards, we enjoy a uniquely Estonian experience as we taste some Schnapps in a medieval house. We have the balance of the day to explore Tallinn on our own. (B)
Day 11: Tallinn/Riga (Drive) (LATVIA)
This morning, we travel by motor coach to Riga*, the capital of Latvia. Riga’s scenic streets reflect its history as first a centre of Viking trade, and later, a part of the Swedish and Russian empires. It then became part of the USSR in 1940, only to be occupied by the Germans. En route to Riga, we make a stop in Pärnu, located on the coast of Pärnu Bay. The city is known for its 19th-century timber villas and sandy Pärnu Beach, offering shallow waters and a lovely promenade. We have free time here to stroll along the beach and soak in the ocean air. We then continue to Riga with the afternoon free to explore this beautiful city.
Overnight: Radisson Blu Latvia Hotel, Riga (2 nights) (B)
Day 12: Riga
See Riga’s most stunning sites today, starting with 700-year-old Riga Castle on the banks of the Daugava River. We also visit the magnificent Dome Cathedral, St. Jacobs Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church, the Parliament building and the Liberty Monument. Time is taken here to discover the city’s ornate and eclectic Art Nouveau buildings. Afterwards, we sample Black Balsam, a dark and astringent liqueur made of 24 herbs and based on a 250-year-old recipe! The remainder of the day is free to explore Riga, shop, or savour some Latvian crepes. (B)
Day 13: Riga/Vilnius (Drive) (LITHUANIA)
This morning, we set course for Vilnius*, capital of Lithuania. En route, we stop at the baroque and rococo Rundale Palace Museum. Built in the 18th century and surrounded by a French garden, the palace is an architectural marvel and a triumph of art over nature. After a lunch break here, we continue on to Vilnius, stopping at the Hill of Crosses in Siauliai, a pilgrimage site home to more than 100,000 crosses. Upon arrival in Vilnius, the balance of the day is at leisure to start exploring this incredible city. Our accommodation, the Radisson Blu Hotel Lietuva in Vilnius, stands on the banks of the River Neris in the heart of the city.
Overnight: Radisson Blu Lietuva Hotel, Vilnius (2 nights) (B, L)
Day 14: Vilnius
Charming Vilnius offers the largest baroque Old Town in Eastern Europe, with much of it marvelously intact. We will explore this Old Town today, visiting the baroque St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church, with a unique interior boasting more than 2,000 stucco figures, and the striking St. Anne’s Church. We will also see Vilnius University, dating back to 1570, famous Gediminas’ Tower, and Vilnius Castle. Afternoon is free to explore more of Vilnius. (B)
Day 15: Vilnius/Warsaw (Drive) (POLAND)
This morning, enjoy the scenic landscapes of Lithuania as we journey towards the Polish border. Savour sites of Polish countryside, cities and towns and enjoy a lunch break before arriving in Warsaw* early afternoon. Known as the Phoenix City, Warsaw was almost completely reconstructed after World War II when 85 per cent of its buildings were bombed to ruins. It boasts a rich history and a wide range of architecture, from restored Gothic and Renaissance to the hyper-modern. Balance of the day is free to explore the city before ending the day with dinner at our hotel.
Overnight: Mercure Grand Hotel, Warsaw (2 nights) (B, L, D)
Day 16: Warsaw
Today, we explore the 700-year-old political and cultural capital of Poland. Our sightseeing tour includes a drive along the famous Royal Route from grand Castle Square to Lazienki Park and Palace, the summer residence of the last king of Poland. Next, we see the Palace of Science and Culture, also known as the “wedding cake” for its unique structure. We then take in the Saxon Gardens, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Monument to the Heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto, and the Barbican. Afterwards, we embark on a walking tour of the lovely Old Town, passing the Old Market Square, meticulously restored to its pre-World War II appearance, and St. John’s Cathedral. Balance of the day is free to stroll through a park, shop, or relax. (B)
Day 17: Warsaw/Krakow (Drive)
This morning, we continue our journey to Czestochowa, famous for its blackened picture of St. Mary in the Yasna Gora Monastery, popularly called the “Black Madonna”. In the afternoon, we tour the haunting Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum*, the largest and most notorious Nazi concentration and extermination camp. It is now on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. After our visit, continue to Krakow, where we have dinner.
Overnight: Novotel Centrum Hotel, Krakow (2 nights) (B, D)
Day 18: Krakow
Today, we explore beautiful Krakow. Dating from the 7th century, Krakow* is one of the oldest cities in Poland. Its diverse and picturesque streets reflect its extensive cultural heritage, from Gothic to Renaissance to baroque architecture. We start our sightseeing tour with a visit to Wawel Hill, where we see the Royal Castle and visit the Royal Cathedral. Afterwards, we walk around the Old Town, visit the Main Market Square, the largest medieval market square in Europe, the Renaissance Cloth Hall, and St. Mary’s Church. Afternoon is free to shop or wander Krakow’s beautiful streets followed by farewell dinner at our hotel. (B, D)
Day 19: Depart Krakow
After breakfast, we are transferred to Krakow airport for our departure flight. Check out time is by 1100 hrs. Or, continue our adventure by joining our Imperial Capitals: Prague, Vienna & Budapest tour, with dates that line up with this journey. (B)
B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner
Departure Dates & Prices
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This tour operates on a minimum of 02 and average tour size of 25 participants.
Also please note that this is NOT part of our small group journeys.
If you would like to have a tour on dates other than the above ones or with a customised itinerary, please contact us and we will be happy to work out an exclusive program for you.
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