Day 1 (Saturday): Vilnius
Arrival in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Transfer and check in at the Radisson Blu Astoria Hotel*****. Your guided tour starts with a welcome drink at 20:00 in the hotel. If your flight arrives after this time, your information pack will be left at the hotel reception.
Day 2 (Sunday): Vilnius
Enjoy the Vilnius sightseeing tour, which includes visits to the medieval, as well as modern parts of the city. You will see the grand Cathedral of Peter & Paul, the small church of St. Anna (a gem of Gothic architecture), and the University of Vilnius. Your afternoon is free to explore the city on your own, or you can take the optional sightseeing tour to Trakai (20 miles), the former capital of Lithuania. The stunning, red brick 14th century castle is situated on an island in the middle of the Galves Lake. The castle now houses the History Museum.
Day 3 (Monday): Vilnius - Riga
After breakfast, depart by coach to Riga. En route you will visit the Hill of Crosses, a famous hill with more than a thousand crosses. You will also make a visit to the splendid 18th century Rundale Palace, the former residence of the Duke of Kurland. Lunch on the way to Riga. On arrival in Riga, check-in at the Europa Royale Hotel****
Day 4 (Tuesday): Riga
After breakfast you will be taken on a Riga city tour. The Old Town will delight you with the very colourful, restored merchants' residences, the cosy beer cellars and cafes, historical monuments like the Dome Cathedral, St. Peter's Church, the Powder Tower, and much more. View the masterpieces of early 20th century Art Nouveau architecture throughout the tour. Today you have the afternoon free to enjoy more of Riga.
Day 5 (Wednesday): Riga
Breakfast at the hotel. Today you can choose the optional sightseeing tour to nearby Sigulda. Sigulda is often referred to as the 'Latvian Switzerland', because of the beauty of its landscape. Visit the 13th century Knight's Castle and the mysterious Gutmana Cave, which is linked to a romantic medieval love legend. Afternoon free for independant exploration.
Day 6 (Thursday): Riga - Tallinn
After breakfast depart by coach to Tallinn. En route you will visit the Ethnographical Open Air Museum in the outskirts of Riga where you can see traditional Latvian rural buildings, the oldest dating back to the 17th century. View the coastal line of the Baltic Sea along the way and take a brief sightseeing tour of the Estonian seaside town of Parnu. Lunch on the way. Arrive in Tallinn and check in at the Nordic Hotel Forum****.
Day 7 (Friday): Tallinn
After breakfast your guide will take you on a Tallinn city tour, visiting the medieval Upper and Lower town. Today you can enjoy the afternoon at your own leisure, or you can choose the optional tour to Kadriorg Park & Palace, which was founded in 1721 by the Russian Emperor Peter the Great, as a gift for his wife Catherine II to use as a summer residence.
Day 8 (Saturday): Tallinn
Breakfast at the hotel and a day free to explore Tallinn at your own leisure. Alternatively we are able to arrange a 2 hour cruise to Helsinki for you to explore the design capital of Scandinavia for the day.
Day 9 (Sunday): Tallinn
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport and return flight.
For your holidays to Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia or Ukraine, you will not need a visa if you have a valid passport from any EU country, Australia, Canada, USA, Japan (there are more, so check with us to make sure). Please note that your passport should be valid for at least six months after the date of your return.
However, if you plan to travel to Russia, you will need a visa, which we can help organise for you.
Travel insurance is required and also advisable. If you do not have a valid policy, please check our Insurance link on the bottom of our homepage or http://www.baltictravelcompany.com/insurance. We can offer quotes for all nationalities.
Our recommended partner is FS Ball who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
You will be able to communicate quite well with the locals, as most people in the service industry are quite adept at speaking English. If English doesn't work, then try Russian (if you can), or German. The further you go from the major cities, the less English you will hear. However, do not let the language barrier keep you from exploring the beauty of the country side. We can always arrange English speaking guides to accompany you wherever you wish to go.
The Estonian language is similar to Finnish and is unrelated to Latvian, Lithuanian or Russian. Latvian and Lithuanian are two of the oldest languages, with roots traceable to Sanskrit. This makes them quite challenging to learn, but attempting a few words will put a smile on the local faces. Russians use the Cyrillic alphabet, so reading street signs and tube maps will be a challenge in St Petersburg .
You can get local currency from ATMs at the airport where you land or in the major cities. Be aware that your bank will charge you a service fee and exchange rate fee for the transaction, but this is likely to be less than exchanging money in the UK before you depart. Please note that in Russia exchange bureau's and banks will not except Scottish bank notes.
We suggest choosing the right credit card for spending abroad. Most credit cards will have an additional cost (about 3%) to the bank exchange rates. You can avoid it by obtaining a specialist overseas card that does not add this % and will give you good exchange rates that are better than money exchange bureau rates.
Credit cards charge you interest rates, but some debit cards (bank account cards) could have fees that could add up to £ 1.50 every time you spend.
We recommend checking with your bank what fees/interest rates will be applied to your card when using it abroad in order to make an educated decision on what card to use.
Most restaurants and shops will take credit/debit cards like Visa and Mastercard, however, many places will not accept AMEX.
Traveller's cheques are difficult to cash, so we recommend not to use them.
Airport or ferry terminals in most cases will have the worst money exchange rates, so if you must get it from the airport, pre-order money for pick-up to get a better rate.
The local currencies are (alphabetic order):
Denmark - Danish Kroner
Estonia - Euro
Finland - Euro
Greenland - Danish Kroner
Iceland - Icelandic Kroner
Latvia - Euro
Lithuania - Euro
Norway - Norwegian Kroner
Poland - Polish Zloty
Russia - Russian Ruble
Sweden - Swedish Kroner
Ukraine - Hryvnia
Dining opportunities are plenty, from ethnic to exotic. We would suggest you to try some national dishes and get a real taste of the region. Note that most traditional dishes contain meat and are fairly heavy, but very tasty.
Reservations in advance are recommended for up-market restaurants, especially for Friday and Saturday evenings.
Tipping - many of the up-market establishments will let you know how good their service is by including it on the bill. Rounding up the bill is usually sufficient, unless you feel your server deserves an extra bit of recognition.
There are several mobile operators in each Baltic country, the Nordics ( Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland incl. Iceland and Greenland as well as Poland, Ukraine and Russia. If you have an international connection, there shouldn't be any problems with your incoming and outgoing calls.
In case your phone doesn't work, please check in the local mobilephone shops and you can buy Calling cards etc. or ask in your hotel, they should be able to advise you too.
Internet access is available at Internet Cafés, which mostly are located in the central part of the city. Most hotels have internet access.
Stamps are available in the post offices and in most newspaper kiosks. Approximate price for a stamp to European Union countries will vary but between appx. £ 0.30 to £ 0.70. You'll see post boxes on the streets or you can ask hotel representative to send your post card, they'll gladly help you.
Emergency telephone number for the police, ambulance services or fire department in Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine and Poland - 112.
Greenland uses 911 and for mobile phones only 112.