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Destinations Offered > Estonia > Exploring the Baltic Coast

This leisurely program allows you to explore the countries of the Baltic coast in a comfortable but comprehensive manner. In addition to the major areas of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania you also ger to see other areas such as Kalingrad which was the East Prussian area of Konigsberg until the end of WWII but now an enclave of Russia. You’ll also spend time in Gdansk a charming coastal city with a lot of history, the place where the first shots of WWII were fired and the first steps in the crumbling of the Soviet Union began. Throughout, excellent meals and superb hotels will be the norm.

13 Days:$8,764 per person inclusive of superior rooms in deluxe hotels, all meals, personally guided sightseeing and private car and driver. International airfare is additional. Private departures based on your schedule for a minimum of four and a maximum of six guests. Private departures based on two people available on request.

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Trip Dossier

Personal Highlights:


• Visiting Riga’s central market, one of Europe’s largest and sheltered in five World War I Zeppelin hangars.
• Sampling “down home” Lithuanian Cuisine in Vilnius
• Visiting Kalingrad, a Russian exclave situated between Lithuania and Poland and the Baltic Sea
• Exploring Gdansk, the birthplace of Solidarity and Poland’s Freedom
• A Scenic Cruise on Gdansk Bay

Day 1 Depart USA

You board your aircraft for the overnight flight to Tallinn, the charming capital of Estonia which will be your first stop on your exploration of the Baltic coast.

 

Day 2 Welcome to Estonia

You will arrive in Tallinn in the morning and after passing through customs you will meet your guide who will help you with your luggage and escort you to the car which will take you to the hotel. Since it escaped the bombings of World War II the old town of the city is basically unchanged for the past 600 years and you will get a chance to see for yourself tomorrow. Your hotel is centrally located and was, at one time, the old telephone exchange before its conversion to a luxury hotel. After freshening up you may want to explore the area around your hotel. Dinner is at the hotel this evening.

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Day 3 Old Town and the Trip to Muhu Island

After breakfast you will meet your guide for a walking tour through the old town including a light lunch. While in the old town your guide will point out to you the former guild houses and the Peeping Tom building, named for the notorious voyeur. After lunch set off to Muhu Island where you can enjoy unspoilt nature, meadows and forests but in a 16th Century manor with its own beach and well-stocked cellar. You will take a brief ferry ride to the Island which is situated off the western coast of Estonia. There is a spa, a wood burning sauna and a seawater hot tub down by the beach so there is much to choose. This evening enjoy fine dining with seasonal ingredients and herds and vegetable from the manor's own garden

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Day 4 St. Catherine’s Church and Kugova Village

In earlier times, Muhu was owned by the Order of the Brethren of the Swaord which sounds like something from a Dan Brown novel. Their church was St. Catherine's and you will visit it today. You will also visit Kugova Village which will give you a better grasp of how the Baltic fishermen lived in an earlier generation. You will also tour the natural wonders of the island including the Uugu cliffs and caves, ancient burial sites and a juniper forest before returning to the Manor

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Day 5 The Road to Riga

You have the morning free to relax, walk the beach or indulge in a spa treatment. After lunch you will take the ferry back to the mainland and head to Latvia and its capital city of Riga, the largest of the Baltic capitals and home to a varied collection of architectural styles. You check into your luxury hotel and have a chance to relax and explore the local area before dinner.

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Day 6 Central Market and Berg’s Bazaar

After breakfast you meet your guide for an architectural tour of the city. The city is noted for its diversity and during your tour you will see examples of Eclectic, National romantic, Art Nouveau, Neo-Gothic, Neo-Baroque and Ultra Modern. Your hotel is an excellent example, 19th Century on the outside and 21st on the inside. As a change of pace you will then go to the Central Market where you have lunch; this market is one of Europe's largest and is sheltered under five zeppelin hangars left over from World War I. After lunch you return to the hotel where you have time to explore the Bergs Bazaar an architectural gem which surrounds the hotel filled with cobbled streets, lively squares, quaint shops, interesting galleries and inviting cafés. Pretty Vermanes Park and the Latvian National Opera are only steps away.

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Day 7 Jurmala and Vilnius

Today you head to Lithuania and its capital city of Vilnius. First, however, you will drive to the resort town of Jurmala which is Latvia's main resort and the largest resort city of the Baltic States. While there are ultra modern hotels on its 30 miles of beaches, of greater interest are the wooden houses from the 19th Century and the old town with its parks and relaxed way of life. You will visit the town and then head south to Vilnius stopping for lunch along the way. You arrive in town and are taken to your charming hotel which is located in the heart of old town and offers both comfortable accommodations and superb cuisine. Tonight experience the best of Lithuanian cuisine.

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Day 8 Exploring Vilnius

After breakfast you meet your guide for a personally guided exploration of the city. You will start by visiting the area around your hotel including the university and the President's building. You will then explore the old Jewish Quarter. Until World War II, Vilnius was known as the "Jerusalem of the North" with a rich Jewish culture. You'll visit the Jewish Ghetto and the Museum before returning to the hotel. Tonight enjoy dinner at the hotel's fine dining restaurant where royalty from many countries have previously dined.

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Day 9 Driving to Poland via Russia

This morning you will cross the border into Russia, at least the part of Russia embedded in Eastern Europe. Kalingrad was "awarded" to Joseph Stalin at the Potsdam conference partly as reparation for the damage inflicted on Russia by the invading Germans and partly because Russia needed a warm weather port for its Baltic Fleet. It had previously been the province of East Prussia known as Konigsberg. While originally occupied by true Prussians, the area was captured by the Teutonic Knights who built up the area as part of the Hanseatic League. Overtime the original Prussians died out and the Teutonic Knights became the Prussians we know from the times of the Kaiser. Kalingrad is an "exclave" since it is surrounded by Lithuania, Poland and the Baltic Sea with no physical border with Russia. During the cold war this was not a problem but with both Lithuania and Poland now members of NATO it is somewhat problematic for the Russians living there. It is a pleasant area however and you will overnight at an excellent hotel and spa near the water before heading into Poland.

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Day 10 Gdansk-Witness to History

After breakfast you head south to Poland and the tri city area on the Baltic consisting of Sopot, Gdynia and Gdansk. Of the three, it is Gdansk that is the best known because of Lech Walesa, Solidarity and the shipyard strike of 1970. Many consider this to be the beginning of the fall of the Soviet Union and the new era for Eastern Europe. Interestingly, on a peninsula close to the city on September 1, 1939, a German soldier fired on his Polish counterpart beginning World War II which, in turn, led to the Soviet Union. Prior to this, however, the town had a 1,000 year history as a center of commerce and learning. After crossing the border you head for Gdansk and your hotel which is a 17th Century Manor House on the outskirts of the city.

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Day 11 Gdansk Old Town and Sopot

In the morning you will meet you guide for a walking tour of the old city including the "Royal Way" and the merchants' homes along Dlugie Pobrzeze, the "long waterfront". You will also see Artus Court, the Gothic Town Hall and monumental St. Mary's Church towering above the city. You will take a break for lunch at a Kashubuan Restaurant, an indigenous people from a nearby area offering renowned cuisine. After lunch you visit the Oliwa area with the massive pipe organ at Oliwa Cathedral, still in use today. Your guide will then escort you to the car for the trip to the seaside town of Sopot where you have the chance to walk Europe's longest wooden pier and enjoy the views of Gdansk Bay before returning to

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Day 12 Gdynia and a Gdansk Bay Cruise

After breakfast you meet your guide and head to the port city of Gdynia which is part commercial port and part museum. You will be able to see the destroyer "Blyskawica" which is the only Polish warship built before World War II and the sailing frigate "Dar Pomorza". In the afternoon you take a cruise around Gdansk Bay giving you another perspective on the three cities. In the evening you are taken to Sopot where you have a farewell dinner in a seaside tavern together with a glass of traditional herbal-spiced "Goldwasser", Gdansk vodka to toast your visit to the Baltic Coast

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Day 13 Return to USA

In the morning your car will be waiting to take you to the airport for your return trip to the USA. You arrive back in the afternoon of the same day

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Accommodations
Day 2
Tallin, Estonia

Hotel Telegraaf
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Quite possibly, the best boutique hotel in Tallinn and a sophisticated addition to the medieval city centre, Hotel Telegraaf is a beautifully restored 19th century historic building, formerly Tallinn’s telephone exchange, with a day spa, pool, superb restaurant and a vibrant bar. Contemporary design is reflected in deep soothing colors in the lobby and restaurant creating a feeling of warmth. A stunning winding staircase with wrought-iron banisters leads to the cozy, comfortable rooms and suites. The Russian-themed restaurant, Tchaikovsky, serves Russian cuisine influenced by recipes from ‘old masters’. Wander through the cobbled streets of Tallinn to discover its numerous castles and extravagantly decorated domed churches.
Days 3 - 4
Muhu Island, Estonia

Padaste Manor
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A secret Baltic hideaway, Pädaste Manor is a refreshing island escape in a picturesque manor overlooking breathtaking coastline - a fantastic place to try Estonian cuisine, indulge in pampering spa treatments and explore a totally unspoiled island. All the more impressive for its remote location, Pädaste Manor is the epitome of simple luxury - elegant, romantic and supremely comfortable. Warm wooden floors in beautifully proportioned rooms with indigenous touches create an unforgettable sense of place. Choose between the grand Manor House, the Carriage House or the Private Farm House in its own orchard for complete privacy. Try a Muhu hay bath, one of the spa treatments using local ingredients. Take an island tour around dolomite caves or wander the coastline by canoe. End the day with an exquisite Estonian meal and then watch a film in the manor’s private cinema.
Days 5 - 6
Riga, Latvia

Hotel Bergs
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A sleek designer retreat hidden away in the hip, cultural quarter of Riga, Hotel Bergs is a modern hotel nestled behind a 19th century brick façade in Bergs Bazaar. With an interesting collection of Latvian art, the hotel has an excellent restaurant, a bar, cutting-edge conference rooms and a panoramic glass-walled gym. Inside, an enticing color palette of coffee, mocha and oatmeal successfully blends with art nouveau fireplaces, African wood carvings, and abstract works of art and large expanses of glass. Its relaxing atmosphere makes it feel more like a stylish modern home than a city centre hotel. Dine in award-winning Restaurant Bergs on the summer terrace overlooking the courtyard fountain. Outside, Bergs Bazaar is an architectural gem filled with cobbled streets, lively squares, quaint shops, interesting galleries and inviting cafés. Pretty Vermanes Park and the Latvian National Opera are only steps away.
Days 7 - 8
Vilnius, Lithuania

Hotel Stikliai
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The modern, elegant and comfortable hotel meets the demands of the choosiest guests. The three hydraulic lifts, air conditioning and modern telecommunications fit in well with the antique furniture and art crafts, potted plants and fresh flowers. The enlarged hotel now has 43 rooms, all designed in excellent taste. Every comfort is catered for in the individual design of rooms, including large comfortable beds, elegant chairs, beautiful fabrics and luxurious bathrooms. Each room is air-conditioned and features a mini-bar, safe deposit box, satellite and cable television, two telephone sets in bedroom and bathroom, hair dryer and internet access. Laundry and valet service and 24-hours room service is also available.
Day 9
Kalingrad, Russia

Falke Hotel
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Whether you are travelling on business or leisure, the Falke Resort Hotel Svetlogorsk Kalingrad will suit your every requirement and make your stay an unforgettable one. Located 28 miles from the city centre, this hotel is in proximity to the Organ Hall and the Brakhert Museum. The Falke Resort Hotel offers 59 air-conditioned and well-decorated guestrooms that are provided with all the modern facilities that ensure utmost ease and luxury. Guests at this hotel can relish delicious food at the restaurant in a fine atmosphere. During your free time, you can workout at the gymnasium, relax at the sauna or take a plunge in the onsite swimming pool.
Days 10 - 12
Gdansk, Poland

Dwor Oliwski
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A pretty 17th century manor on the outskirts of Gdansk, Dwór Oliwski set in peaceful wooded gardens with a small picturesque lake, an excellent Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, an atmospheric wine lounge and a great spa with a pillared indoor pool. The ambience is very warm and friendly and the guest rooms large and pleasant with elegant furnishings. Spend the day relaxing in the cozy lounge or swimming in the refreshing pool. Visit the spa, complete with saunas and fitness room. The grounds are a delight, lovely for an afternoon stroll.