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Eastern Europe Explorer Tour


from £2,335 pp - 21 days / 20 nights


Tallinn Old Town by DainaK

This exclusive escorted Eastern European tour includes highlights of 6 countries which are enticing and rich in beauty and culture in just 21 days – Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Russia! The tour starts in Krakow, where you will explore the magnificent Old Town. In Poland you will also stay in Warsaw and visit Czestochowa, the spiritual heart of Poland, before continuing to the grand Baltic capitals – Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn. Following that you will go by ferry across the Gulf of Finland to the trendy and  Finnish capital – Helsinki and continue in the footsteps of the czars to the Russian capitals - St. Petersburg and Moscow full of active tourism, fascinating history and beauty.

Package price is from £ 2,335 per person based on availability and two people sharing a twin or double room. Single supplement is £980.

2014 departure dates:

Departure Return      
Departure Return       
01 Jul
21 Jul 05 Aug
 25 Aug
15 Jul 04 Aug
12 Aug 01 Sep
29 Jul 18 Aug
19 Aug 08 Sep
Enquire now »

Map locations



Package includes


  • Direct flights from London to Krakow and return from Moscow (we can arrange flights from other airports upon request)
  • Airport transfers in Krakow and Moscow
  • 20 overnights at centrally located 4 star hotels
  • 20 x buffet breakfast
  • Welcome meeting with champagne-cocktail or juice
  • Personalized welcome package
  • Entrances to Wawel Castle in Krakow, Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, St. John’s Cathedral in Warsaw and Old University in Vilnius, Rundale Palace, medieval Great Guild Hall in Tallinn, Church-in-the Rock in Helsinki, Peter-Paul-Fortress in St. Petersburg and Moscow Metro
  • Service of English speaking tour escort on all tours
  • Service of 1st class motor coaches or 1st class minivans throughout the itinerary
  • Ferry Tallinn - Helsinki
  • Sapsan high-speed train St. Petersburg - Moscow
  • Portage at hotels and railway stations
  • Service and VAT
  • QUIETVOX audio communication system in use throughout the Finnish and Russian part of the tour

Optional tours and meals:

- 4 hr excursion to Wieliczka Salt Mine: £ 56.00 pp
- Polish dinner at Restaurant Hawelka: £ 37.00 pp
- 3 hr excursion to the Royal Lazienki Park with Palace on the Water: £ 37.00 pp
- Polish dinner at Restaurant Podwale: £ 37.00 pp
- 3-hour excursion to Trakai Castle: £37.00 pp
- Folklore dinner at Restaurant Belmontas: £37.00 pp
- 4-hour excursion to Gauja National Park: £46.00 pp
- 3-hour excursion to Open Air Museum - £37.00 pp
- Organ concert at Dome Cathedral: £32.00 pp
- 4-hour excursion to Jurmala: £37.00 pp
- Latvian dinner at Restaurant La Boheme : £37.00 pp
- 3-hour excursion to Kadriorg Park and visit to KUMU: £37.00 pp
- Medieval dinner at Restaurant Peppersack: £37.00 pp
- 3-hour excursion to Seurasaari Open Air Museum: £42.00 pp
- 4-hour excursion to Peterhof: £70.00 pp
- Visit to folklore show at Nikolaevsky Palace: £46.00 pp
- 4-hour guided tour to Catherine's Palace: £65.00 pp
- 3-hour visit to the Hermitage Art Museum: £46.00 pp
- Russian dinner at Restaurant Kitsch: £56.00 pp
- 3-hour guided shopping tour on Nevsky Prospekt: £32.00 pp
- 3-hour excursion to Kremlin and one cathedral: £56.00 pp
- 4-hours excursion to Novodevich Convent: £51.00 pp
- 3-hour Moscow by night tour and river cruise: £ 46.00 pp
- 3-hour visit to the Tretyakov Gallery: £42.00 pp
- Visit to Old Russian Circus: £65.00 pp 

Krakow – Warsaw – Vilnius – Riga – Tallinn – Helsinki – St. Petersburg – Moscow

 

Day 1: Arrival in Krakow

Arrival in Krakow, transfer to Hotel Park Inn Krakow 4* or similar, check-in, 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 the 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 going down as far 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. 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 and the Old Town with the Royal Castle, St John’s Cathedral, the Old Town Market Square and the Barbican. In the afternoon is offered an optional excursion to the Royal Lazienki Park with the Palace on the Water. The evening offers an optional Polish dinner at Restaurant Podwale.

Day 5: Warsaw - Mragowa

We continue through the well forested North Poland into the Masurian Lakeland, a myriad of postglacial lakes representing some of the most beautiful nature in the whole of Poland. The excursion of 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 to 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 endless blue lakes and attractive resort towns into Lithuania. We do 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 to Vilnius. Afternoon: Arrival in Vilnius, check-in at Hotel Radisson Blu Lietuva**** or similar.

Day 7: Vilnius

Vilnius is known for its more than 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 of 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 to reach Riga late afternoon, check-in at Hotel Radisson Blu Latvija 4* or similar.

Day 9: Riga

Before we get acquainted with Riga we have the possibility of discovering medieval Latvia. The optional tour for this morning takes us to the stunning scenery of the 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 of the Castle of the Knights of the Sword before we return 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 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, 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 visit to KUM, the award-winning new Estonian art museum, with its collections 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, transfer to Hotel Scandic Simonkentta 4* or similar, check-in. The balance of the day is reserved for exploring the Finnish capital individually.

Day 14: Helsinki

Helsinki is truly located at the crossroads of Western and Eastern culture and this is refl ected everywhere in the green and lively Finnish capital. The sightseeing tour takes us around the harbors, up central Mannerheim Street and by the Parliament Building, the Finlandia Hall, and the Sibelius Monument and for a visit at 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 to 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 Radisson Sonya 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 the many canals have deservedly given the city the 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 of 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 and 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 guided shopping tour to fashion and souvenir boutiques on the Nevsky Prospect. 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 to 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 all the highlights of the vast city: the Red Square with Kremlin, the Theater Square with Bolshoi Theater, Sparrow Hills with Moscow University and a visit to the famous Moscow Metro. In the afternoon is offered an optional excursion to the Kremlin grounds with a visit to one of the cathedrals. The evening offers an optional Moscow by night tour including river cruise with the White Flotillaexcursion with a cruise on the Moscow River.

Day 20: Moscow

The morning offers an optional excursion to Novidevichy Convent, a 16th century cluster of sparkling domes, one of the city’s most beautiful groups of buildings and full of history and treasures. The adjacent Novodevichy Cemetery is Moscow‘s most prestigious resting place after the Kremlin. The balance of the day is reserved for an optional excursion to the Tretyakov Art Gallery with its outstanding collection of French impressionists. The evening offers an optional visit to the Old Russian Circus.

Day 21: Departure from Moscow

Transfer to Moscow airport. Return flight.

Park Inn Krakow Hotel

Krakow, Poland - 4 stars
Park Inn Krakow Hotel is a 4 star hotel nestled in the heart of the city centre, within walking distance of famous attractions like the historic Wawel Castle and the Jewish district of Kazimierz.

Mercure Hotel Mragowo Resort & SPA

Mragowo, Poland - 4 stars
Mercure Hotel Mragowo Resort & SPA is a 4 star hotel situated near to Lake Czos in the Masurian Lake District, 2 km from the town center.

Radisson Blu Lietuva

Vilnius, Lithuania - 4 stars
Radisson Blu Lietuva is a large, modern, 4 star hotel  centrally located next to the Neris river overlooking the Old Town with opportunities for testing the restaurants and shopping within a very short distance.

Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija

Riga, Latvia - 4 stars
Radisson Blu Hotel Latvija is perfect for a business and leisure travellers alike. Guests enjoy access to two incredible restaurants, the trendy Skyline Bar and an on-site casino and nightclub and comfortable, plush rooms provide relaxation for travellers and include amenities like Free high-speed, WiFi and a work desk.

Radisson Blu Olympia

Tallinn, Estonia - 4 stars
Radisson Blu Olympia Hotel is a large 4 star hotel located in the business centre of Tallinn.

Scandic Simonkentta Hotel

Helsinki, Finland - 4 stars
Scandic Simonkenttä is a 4 star hotel located in the city centre of Helsinki. It combines modern design and Scandinavian architecture and its 360 modern rooms are furnished with environmentally friendly materials

Novotel Moscow Centre

Moscow, Russia - 4 stars
Hotel Novotel Centre is 4 star hotel located 15 minutes from the Kremlin and there is a Metro station onsite and basically close to many attractions to enjoy.



This map uses Google Maps, so you can zoom and interact with it as we hope it is familiar to you.

For a larger version of this map which opens in a new window, click here

The lines shown give you an indication of our destinations and are not the exact route used.

  • Krakow by Poland Tourism Board
  • Wasaw old town by Poland Tourism Board
  • View over Vilnius by K Driskius/Lithuania Tourism Board
  • Helsinki south harbour at night by Niklas Sjoblom/Helsinki Tourism Bureau
  • View of Riga by VisitLatvia
  • St. Petersburg by Olta Travel
  • Kremlin by Olta Travel

Visas

For your holidays to Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland 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 month 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.

Insurance

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. Our recommended partner is Essential Travel, who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Language

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 .

Car Rental

You can rent a car, as long as you have a valid EU or international driver's license. Most cars will have manual transmission.

Currency

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 - Lithuanian Litas
Norway - Norwegian Kroner
Poland - Polish Zloty
Russia - Russian Ruble
Sweden - Swedish Kroner
Ukraine - Hryvnia

Restaurants

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.

Mobile Phones

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

Internet access is available at Internet Cafés, which mostly are located in the central part of the city. Most hotels have internet access.

Postal Services

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 Numbers

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.

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21 days / 20 nights from £2,335 pp

Price includes:

  • Direct flights from London to Krakow and return from Moscow (we can arrange flights from other airports upon request)
  • Airport transfers in Krakow and Moscow
  • 20 overnights at centrally located 4 star hotels
  • 20 x buffet breakfast
  • Welcome meeting with champagne-cocktail or juice
  • Personalized welcome package
  • Entrances to Wawel Castle in Krakow, Jasna Gora Monastery in Czestochowa, St. John’s Cathedral in Warsaw and Old University in Vilnius, Rundale Palace, medieval Great Guild Hall in Tallinn, Church-in-the Rock in Helsinki, Peter-Paul-Fortress in St. Petersburg and Moscow Metro
  • Service of English speaking tour escort on all tours
  • Service of 1st class motor coaches or 1st class minivans throughout the itinerary
  • Ferry Tallinn - Helsinki
  • Sapsan high-speed train St. Petersburg - Moscow
  • Portage at hotels and railway stations
  • Service and VAT
  • QUIETVOX audio communication system in use throughout the Finnish and Russian part of the tour

Optional tours and meals:

- 4 hr excursion to Wieliczka Salt Mine: £ 56.00 pp
- Polish dinner at Restaurant Hawelka: £ 37.00 pp
- 3 hr excursion to the Royal Lazienki Park with Palace on the Water: £ 37.00 pp
- Polish dinner at Restaurant Podwale: £ 37.00 pp
- 3-hour excursion to Trakai Castle: £37.00 pp
- Folklore dinner at Restaurant Belmontas: £37.00 pp
- 4-hour excursion to Gauja National Park: £46.00 pp
- 3-hour excursion to Open Air Museum - £37.00 pp
- Organ concert at Dome Cathedral: £32.00 pp
- 4-hour excursion to Jurmala: £37.00 pp
- Latvian dinner at Restaurant La Boheme : £37.00 pp
- 3-hour excursion to Kadriorg Park and visit to KUMU: £37.00 pp
- Medieval dinner at Restaurant Peppersack: £37.00 pp
- 3-hour excursion to Seurasaari Open Air Museum: £42.00 pp
- 4-hour excursion to Peterhof: £70.00 pp
- Visit to folklore show at Nikolaevsky Palace: £46.00 pp
- 4-hour guided tour to Catherine's Palace: £65.00 pp
- 3-hour visit to the Hermitage Art Museum: £46.00 pp
- Russian dinner at Restaurant Kitsch: £56.00 pp
- 3-hour guided shopping tour on Nevsky Prospekt: £32.00 pp
- 3-hour excursion to Kremlin and one cathedral: £56.00 pp
- 4-hours excursion to Novodevich Convent: £51.00 pp
- 3-hour Moscow by night tour and river cruise: £ 46.00 pp
- 3-hour visit to the Tretyakov Gallery: £42.00 pp
- Visit to Old Russian Circus: £65.00 pp