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The Hidden Baltics & Belarus

An escorted tour of Latvia, Lithuania & Belarus

  • 6 September 2019
  • History and Culture
  • Mir Castle

Having operated voyages around the Baltic for over twenty years, we thought it was time to devise an escorted tour which allows for some more time to discover the many facets of both Latvia and Lithuania with the added benefit of time to explore the little visited yet intriguing city of Minsk in Belarus.

This in-depth journey offers the perfect balance of guided excursions with visits to some stunning National Parks, glorious palaces and gardens, natural wonders such as the Curonian Spit, fascinating museums showcasing remnants of the Soviet era as well as time spent wondering the charming streets of Riga and Vilnius admiring the Gothic architecture.

Despite the often turbulent history of conquests and partitions, since the departure of their Soviet masters, both Latvia and Lithuania have retained their unique character and enchanting old quarters which combined with natural treasures has meant they are fast being recognised as two of Europe’s gems and now is the time to discover their many riches.

In contrast, the city of Minsk was razed to the ground in World War II and very little remains from the pre-war years, there are however a myriad of places of interest to those interested in the Soviet period and just outside the city is Nesvizh Castle, a combination of Medieval, Renaissance and Classical architecture which we will explore during our time in Belarus.

We do hope you can join us for what promises to be a fascinating tour of some relatively unknown places of much interest which are unlikely to remain ‘hidden’ for too much longer given their wealth of cultural and natural wonders.

Useful Links & Travel Advice

Please find a selection of useful websites to refer to for information from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, on visa requirements, NHS travel health advice and other useful travel tips.  


The Hidden Baltics & Belarus - 2019

The Hidden Baltics & Belarus - 2019

For this tour we are using a range of carefully selected hotels.

View accommodation details

Itinerary

  • Trakai Castle, Lithuania
  • Traditional cottage at Rumsiskes open-air museum

Day 1 - London to Riga, Latvia.

Fly by scheduled flight from London to Riga and transfer to the centrally located Avalon Hotel for a two night stay. Explore Riga at leisure this afternoon before meeting for dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 2 - Riga.

Riga, the 800-year-old capital of Latvia is famous for its historic centre and Art Nouveau architecture. On a morning city tour we begin with a panoramic drive along the boulevards of the city, passing by the iconic Freedom Monument. We will take a walking tour of the Old Town, visiting Dome Square to view the exterior of the Dome Cathedral and to see the House of Blackheads; now the temporary residence of the President of Latvia. This house with its 14th century origins was destroyed in 1948 and restored in 1999. Pass through Theatre Square to view the Riga Russian Theatre and the Great and Small Guilds which reflect Latvia’s period as a Hanseatic City. Continue to the Swedish Gates, constructed during Riga’s period under Swedish rule in the 17th century before viewing other interesting buildings such as the Parliament and the ‘Three Brothers’, the oldest complex of dwelling houses in the city. Our tour ends with a walk down Albert Street admiring the interesting Art Nouveau architecture. Enjoy an afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 3 - Rundale Palace & Klaipeda, Lithuania.

After a leisurely breakfast transfer to the Zemgale region of Latvia and the beautiful Rundale Palace. Constructed in the 1730s to a design by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, Rundale Palace was originally the summer residence of Ernst Johann von Biron, Duke of Courland. The 136 room palace was badly damaged in 1919 during the Latvian War of Independence but has been fully restored to its former glory and is now considered one of the most outstanding monuments of Baroque and Rococo art in northern Europe. Take a guided tour through the Palace halls and private quarters, enjoy lunch in its restaurant and explore the Baroque style park and rose garden. This afternoon we journey south and, after crossing the border into Lithuania, we visit the Hill of Crosses, a pilgrimage site to the north of the city of Siauliai. Enjoy a brief visit before we continue on to Klaipeda and check in to the Radisson Blu Hotel for a two night stay.

Day 4 - Klaipeda & the Curonian Spit.

After breakfast we take a panoramic drive through Klaipeda and a ferry across to the Curonian Peninsula, a UNESCO-listed 60 mile long curved sand dune spit that separates the lagoon from the Baltic Sea Coast. Admire the beautiful craftmanship of 80 carved wooden sculptures at the Hill of Witches near Juodkrante before driving to the main settlement of Nida, home to a collection of traditional fishermen’s houses and weathervanes. Following lunch at a local restaurant continue to the 52 metre high Great Dune for panoramic views over the dunes and lagoon. On a clear day it is possible to see into the Russian territory on Kaliningrad at the southern end of the Spit.

Day 5 - Plateliai, Lapiai & Kaunas.

This morning we drive to Plateliai National Park, where we will visit the nuclear missile site built under great secrecy in 1960 by the Soviets. From here nuclear missiles were targeted towards the biggest European cities including Berlin, London, Madrid and Paris. It was from this very same site in 1962 that missiles were deployed to Cuba in what became known as the Cuban missile crisis. We will visit the four remaining decommissioned nuclear missile silos, their control station and the underground facilities, giving an insight into the hidden secrets of the Cold War period. After lunch we visit Lapiai and the home of the first British defence attache to Lithuania. He will recount stories of his life from his time as a bomber pilot, a diplomat during the Cold War in Moscow and of life now in independent Lithuania. We will visit his refurbished old house and the original outbuildings built in 1926, wander around the large garden and see the Lapiai Castle Hill. Following the visit transfer to Kaunas and check in to the Daugirdas Hotel for an overnight stay. Enjoy dinner in a local restaurant this evening.

Day 6 - Rumsiskes, Trakai & Vilnius.

After breakfast at the hotel we will drive to Rumsiskes, home to an open-air ethnographical museum. The 150 cottages, windmills and even a church were transferred here from different villages to give an authentic representation of life in Lithuania in the 19th century. En-route to Vilnius we will stop in Trakai, the first capital of Lithuania and home to the stunning Trakai Castle, a well preserved 15th century castle beautifully located on the lake. Following lunch at a local restaurant we transfer to Lithuania’s capital Vilnius for a two night stay at the Imperial Hotel.

Day 7 - Vilnius.

We have a full day to explore the Old Town of Vilnius which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. Our city tour will commence with a walk to the Gates of Dawn, historically the gates of Vilnius’ original defensive walls. The tour continues with a panoramic drive around Vilnius. Make a short stop to see St Anne’s Church, one of the city’s best known landmarks and a masterpiece of the late Gothic period and make a stop at the 17th century Peter and Paul’s church. After a short stroll through the winding streets of Vilnius Old Town we visit the 14th century Vilnius University. Following time for an independent lunch in the Old Town, visit the KGB Museum, representing the darkest days of the Soviet.

Day 8 - Minsk, Belarus.

Following an early breakfast transfer to Vilnius station and join a train for the transfer to Minsk, one of Europe’s least visited capitals. Badly damaged in World War II, much of the city was rebuilt in typical Stalinist style in the 1950s, though our tour will begin in the Trinity District, an historic neighbourhood on the banks of the Svislach River that retains plenty of examples of 19th century buildings. Whilst here we will walk to the Island of Tears, a memorial to the Soviet Afghanistan war, before we transfer to the Upper Town to visit the Virgin Mary Church and the impressive Orthodox Cathedral. After some time to explore at leisure we will meet for lunch at a local restaurant before driving to Independence and Victory Squares. Our final stop will be a visit to the World War ll museum. Check-in the Marriot Hotel for a two night stay.

Day 9 - Nesvizh.

Following breakfast drive to the small town of Nesvizh, whose palace and castle complex is one of the architectural treasures of Belarus. Construction work took place through the 16th to 19th centuries and therefore combined the techniques of Medieval, Renaissance and Classical architecture with the distinctive art of local craftsmen. Explore the many rooms of the palace and wander around the beautiful parklands before we enjoy lunch in the castle restaurant. Transfer back to the hotel for some free time before meeting for dinner. On route we will visit the Ballet and Opera Theatre for a guided tour before enjoying a farewell dinner at a local restaurant which offers panoramic views of the city.

Day 10 - Minsk to London.

Transfer to Minsk airport for your return scheduled flight to London.

  • Riga
  • Rugged landscape of the Curonian Spit

Dates and Prices

Prices per person based on double occupancy
6 to 15 September 2019
Category Price
Twin £2995
Single £3495

Tour Reference Code: LABALTBEL

Price Includes: Economy class scheduled air travel, nine nights hotel accommodation as described (or similar) on bed and breakfast basis, all meals except lunch on days 1, 2 and 7 and dinner on days 2, 4, 6 and 7, excursions, Noble Caledonia Tour Manager, gratuities, airport transfers.

Not Included: Travel insurance, visa.

NB. It must be noted that this tour will involve being on your feet for long periods and navigating many cobblestoned streets and uneven paths. For security reasons porterage assistance is not available at Vilnius Station. Guests will be expected to take their own luggage from the coach, through passport control and up onto the platform.

Group Size: We are restricting the group size to just twenty participants

The Hidden Baltics & Belarus - 2019

For this tour we are using a range of carefully selected hotels.

 
  • National Hotel, Klaipeda
    National Hotel, Klaipeda
  • National Hotel, Klaipeda
    National Hotel, Klaipeda
  • National Hotel, Klaipeda
    National Hotel, Klaipeda
  • Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel, Riga
    Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel, Riga
  • Ramada Hotel, Vilnius
    Ramada Hotel, Vilnius
  • Ramada Hotel, Vilnius
    Ramada Hotel, Vilnius
  • Hotel Information

    Riga, Latvia

    Avalon Hotel

    The hotel is situated in the city’s historical centre, in the heart of the Old Town. Guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi access, laundry service (at additional cost), and an onsite Spa and Beauty Salon. The hotel restaurant serves a selection of International cuisine for breakfast and offers European fusion cuisine for lunch and dinner. Each room features air-conditioning/heating, cable TV, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer, safe, and an ensuite bathroom with amenities.

    Klaipeda, Lithuania

    Radisson Blu Hotel

    The central Radisson Blu Hotel provides easy access to the harbour and cultural attractions, including the picturesque Old Town. The NewPort restaurant is a perfect place for a hearty breakfast each morning or delicious evening meal. The rooms are elegantly decorated, and guests will feel at home with all the mod cons including complimentary Wi-Fi, TV, individual climate control, tea and coffee making facilities, in-room safe and hairdryer.

    Kaunas, Lithuania

    Daugirdas Hotel

    The Daugirdas Hotel is located in the heart of Kauna’s old town. It is within walking distance of significant historical monuments such as the Town Hall square, Kaunas Castle, museums and the town centre with the famous Liberty Avenue. All rooms at the Daugirdas Hotel are classically furnished and decorated with warm colours and feature air-conditioning/heating, complimentary Wi-Fi, hairdryer, safe and satellite TV. The hotel also has an onsite bar and restaurant where guests can enjoy delicious meals of international cuisine and perhaps an evening drink.

    Vilnius, Lithuania

    Imperial Hotel 

    Located in the historical district, the Imperial Hotel is a few moments’ walk from  the Church of the Holy Spirit, Vilnius Town Hall and Town Hall Square. The rooms of the hotel have a traditional interior design inspired by that of the early 19th century. Each room offers air-conditioning with flat-screen satellite TV and complimentary Wi-Fi as well as a private bathroom with bathrobe, slippers and amenities. The elegant restaurant serves international and Lithuanian cuisine, while in summer the courtyard features outdoor seating.

    Minsk, Belarus

    Marriot Hotell

    The Minsk Marriott Hotel is situated on the Riverwalk, close to the Football Manege and Island of Tears. All of the hotel rooms seamlessly blend comfort and style and boast modern décor, helpful in room amenities and ultra-comfortable bedding. The rooms also feature tea and coffee making facilities, a safe, TV, air-conditioning and bathrobe and slippers.

     

  • View all tours
  • Hotel Information

    Riga, Latvia

    Avalon Hotel

    The hotel is situated in the city’s historical centre, in the heart of the Old Town. Guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi access, laundry service (at additional cost), and an onsite Spa and Beauty Salon. The hotel restaurant serves a selection of International cuisine for breakfast and offers European fusion cuisine for lunch and dinner. Each room features air-conditioning/heating, cable TV, tea and coffee making facilities, hairdryer, safe, and an ensuite bathroom with amenities.

    Klaipeda, Lithuania

    Radisson Blu Hotel

    The central Radisson Blu Hotel provides easy access to the harbour and cultural attractions, including the picturesque Old Town. The NewPort restaurant is a perfect place for a hearty breakfast each morning or delicious evening meal. The rooms are elegantly decorated, and guests will feel at home with all the mod cons including complimentary Wi-Fi, TV, individual climate control, tea and coffee making facilities, in-room safe and hairdryer.

    Kaunas, Lithuania

    Daugirdas Hotel

    The Daugirdas Hotel is located in the heart of Kauna’s old town. It is within walking distance of significant historical monuments such as the Town Hall square, Kaunas Castle, museums and the town centre with the famous Liberty Avenue. All rooms at the Daugirdas Hotel are classically furnished and decorated with warm colours and feature air-conditioning/heating, complimentary Wi-Fi, hairdryer, safe and satellite TV. The hotel also has an onsite bar and restaurant where guests can enjoy delicious meals of international cuisine and perhaps an evening drink.

    Vilnius, Lithuania

    Imperial Hotel 

    Located in the historical district, the Imperial Hotel is a few moments’ walk from  the Church of the Holy Spirit, Vilnius Town Hall and Town Hall Square. The rooms of the hotel have a traditional interior design inspired by that of the early 19th century. Each room offers air-conditioning with flat-screen satellite TV and complimentary Wi-Fi as well as a private bathroom with bathrobe, slippers and amenities. The elegant restaurant serves international and Lithuanian cuisine, while in summer the courtyard features outdoor seating.

    Minsk, Belarus

    Marriot Hotell

    The Minsk Marriott Hotel is situated on the Riverwalk, close to the Football Manege and Island of Tears. All of the hotel rooms seamlessly blend comfort and style and boast modern décor, helpful in room amenities and ultra-comfortable bedding. The rooms also feature tea and coffee making facilities, a safe, TV, air-conditioning and bathrobe and slippers.

     

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Book with Confidence

Speak to one of our advisors on 020 7752 0000