Krakow – Warsaw – Vilnius – Riga – Tallinn – Helsinki – St. Petersburg – Moscow
Day 1: Arrival in Krakow
Arrive in Krakow and transfer to Hotel Park Inn Krakow 4* or similar, where you will check-in and have a welcome meeting.
Day 2: Krakow
For half a millennium Krakow was the royal capital of Poland, and for centuries the city walls have guarded its traditions and secrets. The morning sightseeing tour takes us to the Old Town with St. Mary’s Church, the Jagiellonian University, the Cloth Halls and Wawel with the Wawel Castle and the Wawel Cathedral. The afternoon offers an optional excursion to the famous Wieliczka Salt Mine, an amazing labyrinth of tunnels that go as far down as 327 meters. The evening offers an optional Polish dinner at Restaurant Hawelka.
Day 3: Krakow – Warsaw
We leave for Czestochowa, the spiritual heart of Poland, where we visit the Jasna Gora Monastery with the Black Madonna. Travelling through the flat low-laying plain of Central Poland we reach Warsaw in the early afternoon. Check-in at Hotel Mercure Centrum Warsaw 4* or similar.
Day 4: Warsaw
Warsaw is essentially a post-war city with a meticulously reconstructed Old Town. The morning sightseeing tour includes the Royal Route, the Old Town with the Royal Castle, St John’s Cathedral, the Old Town Market Square, and the Barbican. In the afternoon an optional excursion to the Royal Lazienki Park with the Palace on the Water is offered. The evening offers an optional Polish dinner at Restaurant Podwale.
Day 5: Warsaw - Mragowa
We continue through well forested Northern Poland into the Masurian Lakeland, a myriad of postglacial lakes representing some of the most beautiful nature in the whole of Poland. The excursion in the Masurian Lakeland takes us to the quaint town of Ketrzyn, to the beautiful Baroque church in Swieta Lipka, and to the town of Gizycko, surrounded on all sides by the lakes. In the late afternoon we check-in at Hotel Mercure Mrongovia Resort & Spa 4* or similar.
Day 6: Mragowa – Vilnius
Today we continue along the eastern fringe of the Masurian Lakeland, with its endless blue lakes and attractive resort towns, into Lithuania. We take a stop in Kaunas, the former capital of Lithuania, to admire the beautiful Old Town and the elegant white Baroque Town Hall, before we arrive in the late afternoon in Vilnius. Here you'll check-in at Hotel Radisson Blu Lietuva**** or similar.
Day 7: Vilnius
Vilnius is known for its 1,200 medieval buildings and 48 churches. The morning sightseeing tour includes a panoramic tour of the city and a walking tour of the Old Town with Vilnius Cathedral, Gediminas Tower, Peter and Paul Church, St. Anne’s Church, Old University and the Gates of Dawn. The afternoon offers an optional excursion to Trakai, the medieval capital of Lithuania, with the well preserved Trakai Castle beautifully located on an island in Lake Galve. In the evening enjoy an optional folklore dinner at Restaurant Belmontas.
Day 8: Vilnius – Riga
Heading for Riga, the first stop is the Hill of Crosses, one of the most holy sites in Catholic Lithuania. After crossing into Latvia we soon reach the magnificent Rundale Palace, the former summer residence of the Duke of Courland. Following a guided tour of the palace, we travel through the rolling hills of Southern Latvia and reach Riga late afternoon, where we check-in at Hotel Radisson Blu Latvija 4* or similar.
Day 9: Riga
Before we get acquainted with Riga, we have the possibility to discover medieval Latvia. The optional tour for this morning takes us to the stunning Gauja National Park and the town of Sigulda. We listen to the medieval Latvian legend of the Rose of Turaida and see the ruins of the Episcopal Castle and the Castle of the Knights of the Sword before returning to Riga. The afternoon offers an optional visit to the Ethnographical Open Air Museum, a spacious exposition of 18th century country life. The evening offers an optional organ concert at the Dome Cathedral.
Day 10: Riga
Riga, founded in 1201 by the German bishop Albert, is the largest of the three Baltic capitals, and it boasts a real kaleidoscope of architectural styles. The walking tour of the Old Town includes Riga Castle, the Dome Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church, the Swedish Gate, the Three Brothers, the Large and Small Guilds, and the Freedom Monument. The afternoon is reserved for an optional visit to Jurmala, the vibrant Latvian sea resort, famous for its wooden architecture and sandy beaches. In the evening enjoy an optional Latvian dinner at the stylish Restaurant La Boheme.
Day 11: Riga – Tallinn
The tour continues along the coastal highway to the Estonian summer resort of Parnu. We do a short tour of the resort before we continue through the North Estonian land of forests and arrive in Tallinn early afternoon, where we check-in at the Hotel Radisson Blu Olympia 4* or similar.
Day 12: Tallinn
Tallinn is a charming blend of medieval tranquility and modern urban life. The medieval Old Town is a busy place in the summer, with its many shops, galleries, souvenir markets, outdoor cafés, and restaurants. The sightseeing tour takes us around the old medieval city walls and into the Old Town, where we see Toompea Castle, the Dome Church, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the medieval Great Guild Hall. In the afternoon an optional excursion is offered to Kadriorg Park and KUM, the award-winning new Estonian art museum, with its collection of classic and contemporary fine art. The evening offers an optional medieval dinner at Restaurant Peppersack.
Day 13: Tallinn – Helsinki
In the morning take the hydrofoil from Tallinn to Helsinki and enjoy a refreshing tour through the Finnish archipelago before arriving in Helsinki, where we transfer to Hotel GLO Art 4* or similar and check-in. The rest of the day is reserved for exploring the Finnish capital independently.
Day 14: Helsinki
Helsinki is located at the crossroads of Western and Eastern culture, and this is reflected everywhere in the green and lively Finnish capital. The sightseeing tour takes us around the harbours, up central Mannerheim Street and by the Parliament Building, the Finlandia Hall, the Sibelius Monument, and the famous Church-in the-Rock. The afternoon offers an optional excursion to Seurasaari Open-Air Museum, an oasis in the midst of the city with cottages, farmsteads, and manors from all around Finland.
Day 15: Helsinki - St. Petersburg
Today we continue eastbound towards St. Petersburg. Shortly after crossing the border into Russia we arrive in Vyborg, where we take time for a short sightseeing tour and a photo stop at Vyborg Castle. In the late afternoon we arrive in St. Petersburg and check-in at Hotel Sokos Vasilievsky 4* or similar.
Day 16: St. Petersburg
St. Petersburg is an amazing city. Its imperial palaces and museums enjoy worldwide fame, while the Neva River and many canals have deservedly given the city its title “The Venice of the North”. During the morning sightseeing tour we get acquainted with all the splendours of the city: the Peter-Paul Fortress, the Winter Palace, St. Isaac’s Cathedral, the Church of the Bleeding Savior, the Nevsky Convent, and much more. The afternoon offers an optional visit to Peterhof, an uncontested masterpiece from the time of Peter the Great, with the impressive Grand Palace, Grand Cascade and Water Avenue, and its wonderful parks. In the evening enjoy an optional visit to the Nikolaevsky Palace with an exciting Russian folklore show, with Russian „champagne” and snacks.
Day 17: St. Petersburg
The morning is reserved for an optional excursion to Tsarskoye Selo, with the impressive Catherine’s Palace and the Amber Room, which vanished during World War II and was restored for St. Petersburg’s tri-centennial celebrations. In the afternoon, an optional visit to the world-famous Hermitage Art Museum is offered. In the evening enjoy an optional Russian dinner at Restaurant Kitsch.
Day 18: St. Petersburg – Moscow
The early morning is reserved for an optional St. Petersburg channel cruise. Around noon we go to the Moscow Railway Station and board the Sapsan high-speed train bound for Moscow. The train ride takes us through endless Russian landscapes along the River Volga. In the late afternoon we arrive in Moscow and check in at Hotel Novotel Moscow Centre 4* or similar.
Day 19: Moscow
Moscow, The Mother of Russia, is a genuine Russian city with the Kremlin and its onion domed cathedrals. The dramatic changes over the last decade have made the city to one of the most dynamic metropolis in the world. The morning sightseeing tour includes the highlights of the vast city: the Red Square with St. Basil’s Cathedral, the Theatre Square with Bolshoi Theatre and Sparrow Hills with Moscow University and we visit the Kremlin grounds and one of the cathedrals. In the afternoon is offered an optional visit to the Moscow Metro including the historical stations on the Ring-Line and a guided stroll on the famous pedestrian Arbat Street. The evening offers an optional Moscow by night tour including an unforgettable river cruise with the White Flotilla.
Day 20: Moscow
The day offers an optional full day excursion to the quaint town of Sergiev Posad, where we visit the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius, the most important Russian monastery and the spiritual heart of the Russian Orthodox Church. The whole Lavra has been beautifully restored for the 700-years celebrations of the birth of St. Sergius of Radonezh. The evening offers an optional visit to the Old Russian Circus.
Day 21: Departure from Moscow
Transfer to Moscow airport. 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 rent a car, as long as you have a valid EU or international driver's license. Most cars will have manual transmission.
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.
Money in Russia
When you go to Russia we recommend having some Russian Rubles in cash with you (enough for initial expenses) and for the rest – use your credit/debit card. A lot of shops, restaurants, night clubs and larger bars accept major credit/debit cards in the big cities, however if you plan to go to smaller towns or shop at the local markets or small souvenir shops you are expected to pay cash in Rubles. Only few specialist souvenir shops will accept cash in Euros, US Dollars and British Pounds. You will find many ATMs (in Russian – “bankomat”) in Moscow, St Petersburg and other major Russian cities. They can be found next to banks, in metro stations and in the lobbies of most hotels. US dollars or Euros can be exchanged everywhere in Russia, but if you have any other currency it might be hard to find an exchange bureau and the rate will most likely not be favorable. There are many bureaux de change and some are open 24 hours a day. It is worth shopping around to find the best rates especially if you plan to change large sums from US Dollars or Euro, other currencies are normally only changeable at central exchange offices or big banks. We recommend exchanging British Pounds in local banks. Banks in Russia are normally open from 09:00 until 17:00 except weekends and bank holidays. We suggest notifying your bank of your travel to Russia or they might block your card automatically after your first use of the card in Russia.