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Poland & The Baltic States Tour
TOURCODE: PL9
Duration: 23 Days Countries Visited: 6 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural
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Poland & The Baltic States Tour

With St Petersburg
23 Days
TOURCODE: PL9

Well-preserved Krakow; Cosmopolitan Riga; Tallinn: one of Europe's best preserved old towns; Helsinki: 'Daughter of the Baltic'; The Hermitage, one of the world's leading museums

Tour Overview
Tour Overview
Countries Visited: 6 Activity Level: 2 Tour Style: Cultural

Poland & The Baltic States Tour from Adventures Abroad: Not too often are we presented with the opportunity to take part in an extensive adventure to discover the true nature of Eastern Europe, but now is our chance.

One story we will be telling many friends and family for years to come will be that of the five-kilometre journey we took below the Earth's surface to see some subterranean lakes in the Wieliczka Salt Mines in Poland,or perhaps the one about the time we stood in the Amber Room of the Catherine Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia, where several tons of golden tree-resin loomed over our heads.

We will boast about how we always knew where we were going while wandering along the stone cobbled streets of Riga, Latvia, or how we now know about ancient architecture after walking along the rows of Baroque buildings in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Most probably, we'll be describing the incredible height of the tower of Ivan while visiting the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, or relating how wide the Czar Bell really was.

 


 

Dates & Prices
Dates & Prices

 

 

Prices below are per person, twin-sharing costs in US Dollars (USD). Pricing does not include airfare to/from the tour and any applicable taxes. For single supplement rates and taxes (if any), please refer to below Prices & Dates table.

Select the Number of Travellers:   -   1   +

 

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The above prices are subject to an additional $74 for taxes/fees levied on flights that occur as part of the tour. The internal airfares ARE included (any exceptions are listed in red below), but we list the taxes separately on your invoice as they are beyond our control and can change at any time.

Optional Single Supplement: $1266 USD (number of singles limited).



$500 USD DEPOSIT REQUIRED per person
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Full Itinerary
Full Itinerary

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Day 1 Arrive in Krakow
Arrival in Krakow.

Krakow is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It was originally the home of the Polish royalty (between 1038 and 1596), before the capital was moved to Warsaw. The cobblestone streets, majestic churches (almost 100!), and old world charm make Krakow an unforgettable destination.

PLEASE NOTE: Our Poland program will operate slightly differently depending on the date selected. Because of closures on certain days of the week, the sightseeing order will vary from Spring to Fall (our overnight points, however, remain the same). This itinerary reflects the order of sightseeing for the immediately upcoming departure; once that trip departs, this itinerary will be updated for the following date.

Overnight in Krakow.

Included Meal(s): Dinner



Day 2 Krakow: City Walking Tour
Krakow is very compact, and the whole central region with its cobblestone streets is full of well-preserved architecture, Gothic churches and splendid museums. On our sightseeing tour (largely on foot at a leisurely pace) we visit Wawel Hill with the Royal Castle, Market Square, and the 16th century Renaissance Cloth Hall. We continue onward to Jagiellonian University and St Mary's Church with the Wit Stwosz altar. This was designed in 1489 by Wit Stwosz of Nuremburg and is the finest sculptural work in Poland.

We then stroll down the hill from the castle complex and enter the Old Town, one of the most famous old districts in Poland and the centre of Poland's political life from 1038 until King Sigismund III Vasa relocated his court to Warsaw in 1596. The entire medieval old town is among the first sites chosen for the UNESCO's World Heritage List. The district features the centrally located Rynek Glowny, or Main Square, the largest medieval town square of any European city. There is a number of historic landmarks in its vicinity, such as St. Mary's Basilica (Kosciol Mariacki), Church of St. Wojciech (St. Adalbert's), Church of St. Barbara, as well as other national treasures.

While in Krakow, we'll also have a walking visit of Kazimierz, once an independent town governed separately from Krakow until the late middle ages. Later, it became known as the Jewish Quarter of the city and was finally transformed into a center for Krakow’s beatnik bars and cafe culture.

Overnight in Krakow.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 3 Oskar Schindler Museum & Wieliczka Salt Mines
This morning we visit the Oskar Schindler's Factory Museum. The story of Oskar Schindler and his employees is one which has been well-known since the book and film by Thomas Keneally and Steven Spielberg (whose film 'Schindler's List' was shot almost entirely in Krakow). Individual histories of Krakow's wartime inhabitants guide visitors through the exhibit which covers the war of 1939, everyday life under occupation, the fate of the Jews and the city's underground resistance using vast archival documents, photos, radio and film recordings, period artifacts and multimedia.

We'll then break for lunch* after which we'll head to the Wieliczka Salt Mines. On our 5km (3 mile) journey below the earth's surface we will see the salt-formed caves and grottoes, a subterranean lake and a chapel with statues carved from salt. The mines' 11 levels of galleries stretch 300km (186 miles), and some 20,000,000 tonnes (22,000,000 tons) of rock salt were extracted over 700 years. According to local legend, the deposits were discovered in the 13th century by a Hungarian princess named Kinga, whose lost ring was found in a block of salt extracted here.

* Because of the fullness of our day, and because past travellers indicated a desire for some independence for dinner while in Krakow (and an earlier night), we include a light lunch instead of dinner today.

Overnight in Krakow.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Lunch



Day 4 Krakow - Oswiecim (Auschwitz) - Czestochowa - Lodz
Our first stop today is the Oswiecim (Auschwitz) and Brzezinka (Birkenau) Nazi concentration camps preserved as memorials to the 1.5 million people of 28 nationalities who perished here, the overwhelming majority of whom were Jewish. Our guided walking tour of the site reveals the compelling history of this region and the very human aspect of this particular historic location.

We continue to Czestochowa, the "spiritual home" of Poland, where pilgrims from every corner of the country come to Jasna Gora (Luminous Mountain) Monastery to revere the image of the Black Madonna, Poland's most important icon. Legend says that the icon was painted by St Luke the Evangelist on a piece of cypress wood from the table used by Mary in Nazareth. The icon was brought from Jerusalem and installed in the monastery around 1384.

We finish our day in Lodz (pronounced: Wooj). A small settlement, that in 1423 was granted civic rights, was thriving at the beginning of the 19th century. Lodz became one of the Europe's biggest and fastest growing textile industry centre. At that time, a new identity of the city - "a promised land" and "a city of many cultures" was created. In Lodz people of different nationalities and religions shared the same dream of a success. Despite the differences they were able to build the city together.

We arrive in time for dinner.

Overnight in Lodz.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 5 Lodz - Warsaw: City Tour
This morning we travel to Warsaw, arriving in time to embark upon a full city tour.

After WWII, a reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today's meticulous restoration of Warsaw's Old Town with its churches, palaces and market-place. It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century. Warsaw has shrugged off its dour Eastern Bloc image, and is finally showing its true colours. The vibrant heart of the largest country in "New Europe", Warsaw is now poised to make is presence felt as a business and cultural hub.

We begin our sightseeing with a drive along the Royal Route and a brief orientation drive around the city before beginning our walking tour of the Old Town, a UNESCO protected site. We visit Castle Square, the Uprising Monument, and then drive over to the Praga area for a view of the river. From there go to the Jewish Ghetto area and to Umschlag Platz where we visit the Museum of History of Polish Jews. The museum features a multimedia narrative
exhibition about the vibrant Jewish community that flourished in Poland for a thousand years.

Overnight in Warsaw.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 6 Warsaw Sightseeing - To Torun
Before leaving Warsaw, we'll visit the Warsaw Uprising Museum, dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 (we visit today instead of yesterday as the museum is closed for group visits on Sundays). The museum sponsors research into the history of the Uprising, and the history and possessions of the Polish Underground State. It collects and maintains hundreds of artefacts, ranging from weapons used by the insurgents to love letters, in order to present a full picture of the people involved. The museum's stated goals include the creation of an archive of historical information on the Uprising and the recording of the stories and memories of the still living Uprising participants.

We then continue our journey to the picturesque medieval town of Torun, a beautiful medieval city in northwestern Poland, situated on the Vistula River. Torun's architecture managed to escape bombing, and as such represents one of the only examples of true Gothic architecture in Poland. At warm times of year Torun's old town is full of street cafes and restaurants where you can eat and drink outdoors and enjoy the medieval atmosphere.

Overnight in Torun.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 7 Torun: Nicolaus Copernicus Museum - Gdansk
This morning we enjoy the sights of Torun. Its Old Town has been included in UNESCO's list for its impressive 13th century Town Hall, superb churches and historic streets preserving Torun's past glory. We will visit the Nicolaus Copernicus Museum, Copernicus House, which collects materials about the life and work of Copernicus: a library, old prints and books from the time of Copernicus, various editions of his work, "Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres," and models of the astronomical instruments he used.

We continue to Gdansk, an absolutely charming place with its tall, narrow buildings, peaked roofs and decorative facades that combine perfectly with the cobblestone streets. The famous Gdansk Shipyards are visible from most parts of the city. During our time in Gdansk we'll visit the marvellous Old Town and its main street -- Dlugi Targ (Long Market).

Overnight in Gdansk.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 8 Gdansk Area Tour
Its position on the Baltic has historically made Gdansk one of the most important port cities in Northern Europe, and tragically also the scene of a rather disturbing past. World War II was ignited by a dispute over the control of the city. By the end of the war the city lay almost completely in ruins. The German population was expelled and replaced by Poles as the city came under Polish rule and changed its name to Gdansk. However, the impact of its former
German ties is still evident. Although most of the old buildings were damaged or destroyed in WWII, they have been painstakingly restored or rebuilt.

This morning we head out of town a short distance to visit the Oliwa Cathedral. This Holy Trinity, Blessed Virgin Mary, and St Bernard's Church was first erected as a Cistercian shrine back in the 13th century. Reconstructed in 1350 after a great fire, it re-emerged in the Gothic style, but many of the new fixtures were to be relatively short lived. The Gothic interior was extremely damaged in a 1577 fire and was replaced with the Baroque fixtures we admire today for their beauty and intensity.

The Oliwa Cathedral is perhaps best known for its massive, splendid organ. The organ is comprised of over 7,000 pipes and is decorated with movable angels and brightly painted stars. When built, the instrument was the largest in Europe. The main alter is also very impressive, and if the organ is in use, you're sure to be riveted by its magnificent sound!

While in Gdansk we'll also visit the European Solidarity Centre, a museum and library devoted to the history of Solidarity, the Polish trade union and civil resistance movement, and other opposition movements of Communist Eastern Europe.

The balance of the day is free to enjoy Gdansk. Gdansk is sometimes called the Amber Capital of the World; the surrounding area is the richest known source of this semi-precious stone, and the product can be viewed (and purchased, of course) in many shops in town. In order to maximize your free time in this interesting place, we do not include dinner this evening.

Overnight in Gdansk.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast



Day 9 Gdansk - Malbork - Olsztyn
After breakfast, we drive to Olsztyn. En route, we stop at the Teutonic Knights Castle in Malbork, the largest brick building in Europe and one of Poland's greatest tourist attractions.

In the afternoon, we continue to Olsztyn, a town located in a region of lakes and forests. The most attractive part of the city is the old town, encircled by a set of fortified walls.

Overnight in Olsztyn.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 10 Olsztyn - Olsztynek - Warsaw
After breakfast, we return to Warsaw. On the way, we visit the Ethnographic Park in Olsztynek, site of the Museum of Folk Architecture, one of the oldest open-air museums in Europe. The museum contains many interesting examples of folk architecture, including houses, barns, windmills and other traditional buildings. A particular attraction of the park are the interiors of old houses, the evangelical church, a blacksmith, a pottery stand, a windmill
as well as various temporary displays representing items of traditional craftsmanship and modern folk art and handicraft from the region.

Continue to Warsaw.

Overnight in Warsaw.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 11 Warsaw, Poland - Vilnius, Lithuania
Today we fly* from Warsaw to Vilnius and transfer to our hotel.

"Narrow cobblestone streets and an orgy of Baroque: almost like a Jesuit city somewhere in the middle of Latin America," wrote the author Czeslaw Milosz of pre-war Vilnius. Soviet-era satellite suburbs aside, it's a description which still rings true today. Despite being the capital of the medieval Lithuanian state, Vilnius was occupied by Poland between the wars and was inhabited mainly by Poles and Jews who played such a prominent role in the city's life that it was known as the "Northern Jerusalem". Vilnius is still a cosmopolitan place -- around twenty percent of its population is Polish and another twenty percent is Russian -- though with just 543,000 inhabitants it has an almost village-like atmosphere, making it an easy place to get to know.

* NOTE: Depending on final group size and flight schedules (which can be erratic), this journey may take place overland (by private bus). If so, we apologize for the backtracking and inconvenience.

Overnight in Vilnius.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 12 Vilnius & Trakai
This morning we have a walking tour of Vilnius.

Sweden, Poland, France and Russia have all ruled Vilnius in the past, and today we will witness the influences that this has had on this beautiful city. The Old Town is one of the largest in Europe, with nearly 1,500 historic buildings of note built over several centuries creating a splendid blend of many different architectural styles.

Our walking tour will take us to Cathedral Square in the heart of the city. Inside the cathedral we see the famous chapel of Saint Kazimieras, considered an architectural gem. Rising in the distance behind Cathedral Square is the Gedimino Tower, once part of the 14th century defense system. We will also see the baroque Peter and Paul Church, originally built in the 14th century. The Gates of Dawn, on the eastern side of the Old Town, were one of the original nine gates into the city. The original Gothic defensive wall was once over 2 km (1.5 miles) long. From this remaining gate we will walk down through the streets of the old town. Nearby is the Jewish Quarter, with its cobblestone lanes and hidden courtyards.

While in Vilnius we'll also visit the KGB Museum (the Museum of Genocide Victims). For Lithuanians, the KGB Museum symbolises the 50-year-long Soviet occupation. During World War II it was the site of Gestapo headquarters and later of the KGB. The museum building is as intact as it was in 1991, when the KGB left the premises. You will see KGB rooms authentically furnished and secret KGB spying equipment.

After a full morning and a break for lunch, we we'll travel to Trakai, a former capital of Lithuania. The town, situated on the shores of several lakes, has two prominent castles built to fend off German knights in the 14th century. Trakai is famous for its population of Kara-Kalpak people. Brought to Trakai from the Crimean Peninsula by the Grand Duke Vytautas in the late 14th century, the Kara-Kalpak still hold their Jewish religious services in the yellow Kinessa, built in 1812. Our tour here includes a visit to the Trakai Historical Museum, housed within the main rooms of Trakai's island castle.

Overnight in Vilnius.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 13 Vilnius - Kaunas - Siauliai, Lithuania - Riga, Latvia
Today we travel to Riga via Kaunas to see the Castle and Old Town at the confluence of the two largest Lithuanian rivers, the Nemunas and the Neris. We see the Town Hall Square, lined with 15th-16th century merchants' houses, and the 17th century baroque Town Hall dominating its center. Nearby Kaunas Cathedral and Gothic Vytautas Church dominate the riverbank. After our visit we continue north to Riga.

En route we stop at the Hill of Crosses, located just north of the small industrial city of Siauliai. Siauliai is the Lithuanian national pilgrimage center, and a city of famous cultural traditions and legends. On a small hill stand thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and act as a compelling resistance memorial to the German and Soviet occupation. Today newlyweds often come here after their wedding ceremony to ask for God's blessing.

After our stop we will proceed to the border and continue on to Riga.

Overnight in Riga.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 14 Riga: City Tour
Today we will enjoy a walking tour of the Old Town of Riga, getting us to some of the top sights and giving us a real feel for the city.

Over the last decade Riga has been going through a restoration phase, revitalizing many of its faded art nouveau buildings into pristine gems. While these buildings can be found throughout the central downtown area, the best place to see them is in a neighbourhood of streets centered around Alberta Street. Riga literally has hundreds of buildings in this flamboyant style as it experienced a period of unprecedented wealth at the beginning of the 20th century when art nouveau was all the rage in Europe.

While exploring this part of the city we will visit the Art Nouveau Museum, which is a completely restored art nouveau apartment. Our walk will include a stop at the mighty Freedom Monument, dedicated to those who fought for Latvia’s independence. We will pass by the Latvian National Opera House as well as the Powder Tower. Kalku Street is the main 'semi-pedestrian' thoroughfare, and it slices straight through Old Town leading us to Livu Square, created after the destruction caused by World War II. Today this is one of the Old Town’s most bright and cheerful corners. Bastion Hill Park runs along the northeastern edge of the city. Once the old city’s fortifications, Bastion Hill was replaced with this romantic park full of gardens, canals, and ornate bridges. The park makes a great transition space between downtown Riga and the historic center.

Working our way through the backstreets of the Old Town we come to a fixture of Riga’s skyline, St. Peter’s Church. The tallest church in the city, this large Gothic church dates back to 1209, although little of the original church is actually left. We can take the elevator to the top of the 130 meter high tower for great views down upon the rooftops of the city.

Another of Riga’s enchanting city squares is the Dome Square which sits out below the impressive Riga Cathedral. Throughout the city of Riga there are a lot of exceptionally well-preserved buildings, but the Three Brothers are quite unique in that they are the oldest residential buildings in the city. These three adjoining buildings date from between the 15th to 17th centuries and are home to local craftsmen. We will pass by Riga Castle, which today houses the offices of the Latvian president.

One of the last remaining segments of the city’s defenses is the Swedish Gate, a small gateway through what looks like a row of traditional residences. We will stop at the Town Hall Square to see the iconic House of the Blackheads where we admire the stunning design of its facade. Built for members of a merchant guild known as the Blackheads in the 14th Century, this is one of Riga’s most picturesque landmarks.

This afternoon is yours free to explore.

Overnight in Riga.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 15 Riga: City Touring
Today we will get to some of the landmarks which lie outside the city’s Old Town, including a drive through modern Riga.

We will start with a visit to the massive Central Market. This visit will help to give you a sense of what local life is like in today's Riga. This bustling indoor & outdoor market focuses on several large 1920s pavilions and the area around them. Here we discover plenty of local Latvian goods, from meats and fish to loads of other locally grown produce.

We continue with a panoramic drive around Riga that will take in some of the most famous sights. Our route along the embankment of the River Daugava provides us with wonderful views of the city, and we will drive through the modern part of the city where we see the University Building, the Academy of Arts and the central train station. Along Riga’s riverfront we will come to the Riga Ghetto and Latvian Holocaust Museum which details the city’s history of the Holocaust. Set inside an outdoor courtyard, this museum details what happened to the local Jewish population during the city’s Nazi occupation. The exhibits here focus on individuals' stories and photographs.

Built during Latvia’s period under Soviet rule, the towering figure of the Latvian Academy of Sciences is hard to miss. Here we will take the elevator up to its observation deck for great views of Riga with the church tower visible amongst the skyline. A short trip from the city center brings us to the Latvian Ethnographic Museum. Here we will see what rural Latvian life was like over 100 years ago as dozens of original farm buildings, houses and even a church were transported to this picturesque lakeshore to preserve them for posterity.

Once back in the center you will have some free time this afternoon. Perhaps make a visit to the rooftop terrace of the Galleria Riga shopping centre for a cold drink and some incredible views.

Overnight in Riga.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 16 Riga, Latvia - Parnu - Tallinn, Estonia
This morning we depart Riga for Tallinn, visiting Parnu en route. There was a trading settlement in Parnu before the German crusaders arrived, but recorded history of the city dates back to the 13th century. From the middle of the 19th century, Parnu developed as a resort town with its good beaches and relatively good weather. During the Soviet era, Parnu's guesthouses, inns and hotels were converted to sanatoria. We will do a stroll through parts of the Old Town, including the town's oldest building, the Red Tower.

We continue to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.

Historically, Tallinn has been attacked, sacked, razed and pillaged on numerous occasions. Although extensively bombed by Soviet air forces during the latter stages of World War II, much of the medieval Old Town still retains its charm. The Tallinn Old Town became a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 1997.

Overnight in Tallinn.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 17 Tallinn: City Tour
Today we have a guided WALKING tour of this important Baltic Sea harbour city. We begin with a visit to the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, built in the nineteenth century. The cathedral dominates the Lossi Plats, and is an imposing testament to the Russian imperialist influence. We also visit the Dominican Monastery, which played an important role in bringing Christianity to Estonia. We have the opportunity to visit the Toompea Castle site, a 13th century castle where the current parliament of Estonia holds its sessions. In the immediate area we will also visit the Toomkirik Lutheran cathedral, founded in 1233, with its impressive carved tombs inside.

This afternoon you will have some free time to stroll through the picturesque Old Town with its jumble of medieval buildings, turrets and walls. For passengers ending their journey in Helsinki (ie not continuing to St Petersburg or our Nordic tour), we will be enjoying a farewell dinner.

Overnight in Tallinn.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 18 Tallinn, Estonia - Helsinki, Finland: City Walking Tour
Today we take a fast ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki (HAVE YOUR PASSPORTS HANDY!).

Helsinki is situated at the arrowhead of a peninsula, surrounded by an archipelago of 315 islands, perfectly placed between its two great trading cousins, Stockholm and Moscow. From a European perspective, Helsinki is relatively young (450 years), yet it is Finland's sixth-oldest town. The Swedes, who extended their empire into Finland in 1155, founded the city of 'Helsingfors' (the name still used by the Swedes) in 1550 when King Gustav Vasa needed a site for a strategic, competitively placed trading port. It languished as a coastal backwater until Imperialist Russia invaded in 1809.

On arrival we'll have a walking tour of Helsinki.*

* PLEASE NOTE: Your activities in Helsinki today will vary depending on what tour option you have chosen. Those travellers who are ending their trip here or continuing to St Petersburg tomorrow will enjoy a leisurely walking tour of Helsinki today. Travellers who are continuing on our Nordic Explorer itinerary will have their Helsinki touring tomorrow and an afternoon at leisure today (you are welcome to join today but some sightseeing will be repeated tomorrow).

Due to the leisurely nature of our afternoon and the possibility of an early departure for some travellers tomorrow, we do not include dinner this evening. Your Tour Leader will help you plan your afternoon/evening.

Overnight in Helsinki.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast



Day 19 Helsinki, Finland - Train to St Petersburg, Russia
We depart Helsinki on Finnish train 'Allegro' to St Petersburg (+/- 3.5 hours), arriving in the mid-afternoon.*

St Petersburg is a relatively new city, founded in 1703. When it was nine years old it became the capital of Russia and retained this status till 1918. Even now it is referred to as the "Northern Capital" of Russia. Over almost 300 years of its history, St Petersburg accumulated all the grandeur of the Russian Imperial Court and became one of the largest centers of culture, science and industry. Created by Peter the Great as a sea port on the Baltic, it was essentially "a window to the West" for Russia, combining the best of the West and the East.

* PLEASE NOTE: You will say farewell to your Baltics Tour Leader and travellers not extending to St Pete's this morning; you will be met by your St Petersburg guide upon arrival at St Pete's Station.

Overnight in St Petersburg.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 20 St Petersburg: The Russian Museum & Peter and Paul Fortress
This morning we visit the Russian Museum. The museum opened in 1898 by Alexander III in the beautiful Mikhailovsky Palace -- well worth inspecting before we take a look at the collection inside. Works of Russian art abound with over 370,000 pieces in the collection. There are prized paintings, sculptures, iconographic art and several masterpieces. It truly is an encyclopaedia of Russian life, character and soul.

We also visit the Peter and Paul Fortress and St Isaac's Cathedral. At the fortress we will see how the fort played an important role in the development of St Petersburg. Inside the stone walls we will visit the Cathedral of Peter and Paul, the final resting place of the Romanovs. At St Isaac's Cathedral we will notice the interior reliefs of exceptional beauty. We will also hear of the many legends that make this church famous throughout Russia.

During our time in St Pete's, we'll also visit the Church on the Savior of Spilled Blood, a marvelous Russian-style church was built on the spot where Emperor Alexander II was assassinated in March 1881. After assuming power in 1855 in the wake of Russia's disastrous defeat in the Crimean War, Alexander II initiated a number of reforms, freeing Russian serfs (peasants, who were almost enslaved to their owners) from their ties to their masters, and undertook a rigorous program of military, judicial and urban reforms, never before attempted in Russia. The decision was taken to build a church on the spot where the Emperor was mortally wounded. The church was built between 1883 and 1907 and was officially called the Resurrection of Christ Church; its construction was almost entirely funded by the Imperial family and thousands of private donors.

As we travel around from point to point today you will also have a general orientation / panoramic tour of this compact city.

Overnight in St Petersburg.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 21 St Petersburg: Peterhof Palace & the Hermitage
This morning we visit Peterhof Palace (Petrodvorets), a remarkable example of an eighteenth and nineteenth century country estate. Built by Peter I in 1717, the palace was to be "better than the French king's at Versailles." An intricate system of water fountains surrounds the palace in the immaculate gardens. We will have a chance to walk through the palace and the gardens. We return to the city by hydrofoil (weather/season permitting).

This afternoon we explore one of the world's leading museums, the Hermitage. With over 400 exhibition halls, it is virtually impossible to list all of the treasures. While walking through the many galleries, look out for Madonna by Raphael, Judith by Giorgione, Titian's Saint-Sebastian, and many, many paintings by Rembrandt. Inside this beautiful Winter Palace are some of the finest collections of French impressionist works. In addition, there is a fine collection of ancient and classical works from ancient Egypt, Syria, and Mesopotamia. One could easily spend several days wandering the halls inside the building; for the purposes of our formal guided tour today, we concentrate on the highlights and provide an orientation to those wishing to explore further on their own during some designated free time. You are welcome to remain in the museum and make your own way back to the hotel on your own.

Overnight in St Petersburg.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 22 St Petersburg: Catherine Palace & Time at Leisure
This morning we travel to Pushkin to see the sumptuous Catherine Palace, created in the eighteenth century by Catherine the Great, the second wife of Peter III. Designed by Rastrelli, this palace is a truly stunning example of classical baroque architecture and interior design. The true glory of the palace is the Amber Room, made of several tons of the golden tree resin -- the lightest gem in the world. The room was first installed in the Winter Palace, but in 1755 Empress Elizabeth ordered Francesco Rastrelli to move it to the Catherine Palace.

We then return to St Pete's where you'll have some much-deserved free time on your own this afternoon.

Overnight in St Petersburg.

Included Meal(s): Breakfast and Dinner



Day 23 Departure
Departure from St Petersburg.

NOTE: Due to Russian visa requirements, please advise your booking agent or tour consultant if you plan to extend your stay in Russia after our tour.

SCASTLIVOGO PUTI!

Included Meal(s): Breakfast

 


 

Trip Info
Trip Info

 

Inclusions
Breakfast and dinner (hotels & local restaurants) daily. All sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers and for early arriving / late departing land & air customers who book their extra hotel nights through us.


Exclusions
International airfare to/from the tour. Tour Leader gratuities, lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international air taxes (if applicable), excursions referenced as 'optional'. Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on optional meal costs and shopping.


Seasonality and Weather
This tour is offered in spring, summer and fall the most popular of which is are spring and fall when temperatures are relatively mild and crowds thinner. Showers quite possible in spring and fall, somewhat less so in summer though can occur any time. Summers can be humid though long daylight hours maximize exploration.


Transport and Travel Conditions
Land transport throughout by private air-conditioned motor coach, 24-36 seats depending on ultimate group size (see 'group size'). Though we will have a couple of full bus days there are plenty of stops of interest. Hydrofoil crossing to Finland. Comfortable 2nd class day train to St Petersburg.

Am I suitable for this tour? Please refer to our self-assessment form.


Accommodation
Well-located, air- conditioned, mid-range hotels (3 star) throughout. Many are smaller properties (3-4 story) that may not have elevators. All hotels have en suite bath, though most have shower only. Porter service is rarely available; you MUST be independent with your luggage. Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins.


Staff and Support
Tour Leader throughout, driver, local step-on guides in various locales.


Group Size
10-18 (plus Tour Leader)

 


 

Map & Hotels
Map & Hotels

Regions visited: Central And Eastern Europe and Western Europe
Countries visited: Poland; Lithuania; Latvia; Estonia; Finland and Russia


*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Radisson SAS Warsaw
5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation 5 Star Accommodation
Location: Warsaw
Country: Poland

Conveniently located in the heart of the business district and tourist quarter of Warsaw, Radisson SAS Centrum Hotel welcomes both business and leisure travellers. The hotel is close to the
... of Science and Culture and the Warsaw Central Station, and just a 20-minute drive from the airport.

Read More
Hotel Ascot Premium
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Krakow
Country: Poland

The modern hotel is located in the heart of Krakow. Standard room equipment includes: Cable TV and radio, free wireless internet, telephone, safe, bathroom with shower, hairdryer, air- conditioning.


Mercure Helios Torun
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Torun
Country: Poland

The Mercure Helios Torun is located in the city centre, very close to the old town and the birthplace of Nicolaus Copernicus. Hotel offers 105 modern single and double rooms
... 5 suites. All rooms are equipped with SAT TV, pay TV, radio, telephone, minibar and fast Internet access.

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Mercure Hevelius Hotel
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Gdansk
Country: Poland

The Hotel Mercure Gdansk Hevelius is just a stone's throw away from the Old Town. The hotel also offers a unique view of the picturesque Old Town or the historic
... Shipyard.

Read More
Hotel Congress
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Vilnius
Country: Lithuania

The hotel Congress, situated in the very centre of Vilnius, is the ideal place for business travellers and tourists. As one of the oldest hotels of Vilnius, it was constructed
... the banks of the Neris river, next to the legendary Bridge Zaliasis ("Green Bridge") dating back to the 16th century. The hotel is contiguous to the Old Town which can be admired through the bedrooms windows.



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Hotel Vecriga
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Riga
Country: Latvia

With only 14 rooms, this hotel is suitable for our smaller groups. In the very centre of Old City is located one of the coziest Riga hotels – Vecriga (in
... Old Riga). Construction of the building began in the 15th century. Every room has a mini bar, telephone, TV.
Read More
Reval Central
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Tallinn
Country: Estonia

All Hotel Central's guestrooms offer multi-channel and pay TV, free WiFi Internet and blackout curtains. Each room has a minibar, hairdryer and direct-dial telephone. Modern decor with the comforts of
... />
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Sokos Hotel Vakuna
4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation 4 Star Accommodation
Location: Helsinki
Country: Finland

Set in the city center, this stylish, contemporary hotel is a 2-minute walk from Helsinki Central train station and 3 km from Linnanmäki amusement park. Bright rooms offer free Wi-Fi,
... TVs, minibars, and tea and coffeemakers.
Read More
Cronwell Inn Stremyannaya
3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation 3 Star Accommodation
Location: Saint Petersburg
Country: Russia

Cronwell Inn Stremyannaya is the first hotel of the Cronwell Hotels & Resorts Gallery which was opened in St. Petersburg at the beginning of 2010.

Cronwell Inn Stremyannaya hotel
... located in the historic center of St. Petersburg in just 3 minutes walking distance from the Nevsky Prospekt, Moscow railway station, Mayakovskaya metro station, 15 minutes – from main city attractions and only in 30 minutes from Pulkovo airport.

The hotel is located on the famous Stremyannaya street, in a fully renovated historic building.
Read More

 


 

Gallery

 


 

Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make a reservation? How and when do I pay?
The easiest way to make a reservation is to contact us by telephone. You can also book online through our website. A non-refundable $500 deposit is payable at the time of booking; if a reservation is made within 60 days, full payment is required. Some trips require a larger deposit. If international airline bookings require a non-refundable payment in order to secure space or the lowest available fare, we will require an increase in deposit equal to the cost of the ticket(s). Early enrolment is always encouraged as group size is limited and some trips require greater preparation time. Once we have received your deposit, we will confirm your space and send you a confirmation package containing your trip itinerary, any visa/travel permit related documents, invoice, clothing and equipment recommendations, general information on your destination(s), and forms for you to complete, sign and return to us. Your air e-tickets (if applicable), final hotel list, final trip itinerary, and instructions on how to join your tour, will be sent approximately 2-3 weeks prior to departure.
I am a single who prefers my own room. What is a single supplement?
All of our tours have a single supplement for those who want to be guaranteed their own room at each location. This supplement is a reflection of the fact that most hotels around the world do not discount the regular twin-share rate for a room by 50% for only one person occupying a room. Most hotels will give a break on the price, but usually in the range of 25-30% of the twin-share rate. This difference, multiplied by each night, amounts to the single supplement. The conventional amount can also vary from country to country and some destinations are more expensive than others for single occupancy. In order to be "single friendly," the supplements we apply are not a profit centre for us and we do our best to keep them as reasonable as possible. On most tours we limit the number of singles available, not to be punitive, but rather because many hotels allow for only a limited number of singles; some smaller hotels at remote locations also have a limited number of single rooms available. Please note that most single rooms around the world are smaller than twin-share rooms and will likely have only one bed.
What about cancellations, refunds, and transfers?
Should you need to cancel your trip, you must notify us in writing, by letter, e-mail, or by fax immediately. Deposits are non-refundable, though if you cancel more than 90 days prior to tour departure date, the deposit is transferable to any other tour taken within 12 months of the original tour start date, minus a per person transfer fee (some tours have a 100% nonrefundable/ nontransferable deposit; you will be informed of this at the time of booking). Less than 90 days prior to departure, all monies paid are 100% non-refundable, nontransferable. Name changes are not permitted. Insurable risks may be covered under trip cancellation insurance policies, if purchased. We will not grant partial refunds for any unused trip arrangements—voluntarily missed meals, sightseeing, transport, etc—after the trip has commenced, or any refunds to trip members who do not complete any portion of the itinerary for whatever reason. All air tickets are non-refundable and valid only for the flight(s) indicated. We may cancel departures if forced to do so by circumstances such as war, civil or political unrest or what is commonly referred to as force majeure. In these instances we will refund all passengers in full if cancellation takes place more than 60 days prior to tour start date. If cancellation occurs within the 60 day period, we will offer to postpone your trip to another departure of the same tour code within 12 months of the original tour start date; or, if circumstances do not permit, an alternative will be offered at that time. We will not be responsible for costs associated with re-issuance or extension of visas, airline change fees, or for any compensation. We strongly recommend that all travellers purchase trip cancellation insurance, either through Adventures Abroad or elsewhere, as this may provide coverage under such circumstances. If we cancel your tour due to insufficient enrolment, we will endeavour to find an alternative tour for you. If this is not acceptable, all monies paid will be refunded in full and will constitute full settlement. We will not be responsible for any expenses incurred, such as visas, vaccinations, independently purchase airfare, or any compensation. Notice of cancellation due to insufficient enrolment in any program will be given approximately 60 days prior to departure.
Do you have a shared accommodation program?
Yes! If you are single traveller and are willing to share, we will do our best to pair you with a same-gender roommate. On most of our tours, if we fail to pair you, we will absorb the single supplement fee and you will default to a single room at no extra charge. At some destinations, however, where single rooms are not significantly discounted, or not at all, we may apply a "mandatory" single in the event that we cannot find you a share partner. This is usually 50% of the usual supplement, but can be as much as 100%. If applicable, this proviso will be noted on each tour page on this website, on your invoice, and in our tour date/price book (available for download under "Resources").

 

What People are Saying
Elaine D.
Coupeville, WA - US
Torres del Paine and our local tour guide were great. Also, I really was amazed at our guide's knowledge while visiting Perito Moreno glacier. Seeing it calve was fantastic. The hotels were all very good. Our tour leader was very easygoing but always aware and on top of things. His great sense of humor helps to diffuse any bumps in relations. Truly value his experience and great natural way with people. I would recommend this company and tour to anyone!
Michael N.
St Albert, AB - CA
We tried to plan a trip to Italy for several years and this tour exceeded our expectations. We never felt rushed yet we covered a lot of the major sites and museums and still had time to do a few of our own things Our tour guide Andrew was amazing and we would highly recommend him and this tour. November turned out to be a wonderful time to go because, although it did rain and was cloudy,the museums and many sites were not crowded at all. Our local guide at the Uffuzi gallery in Florence was amazed that there were so few people. He told us that he had never been in the gallery that holds the Michelangelo painting by himself.. ever! Italy is an amazing country to visit and this tour covers the highlights with a fantastic guide, delicious food and charming hotels, all arranged for you.
Alan A.
St Agatha, ON - CA
An insightful trip into a major cultural event, Day of the Dead. As well you visit significant archeological sites and churches. If you have any interest in Mexican culture, beyond beaches and tequila, this is the trip for you. You will gain so much knowledge of the history and struggles of the Mexican people. I can't recommend this trip enough.
Eleanora M.
Kingston, ON - CA
Having a narrow and perhaps stereotypical view, influenced by the media. I was blown away by what I experienced:Turkey is a beautiful country with modern, safe cities,dramatic scenery, spectacular mosques and palaces, amazing well-preserved ruins of Greek and Roman antiquity. A melting pot of Muslim, European, Greek, Roman cultures, fabulous food and warm friendly people... so many World heritage sites I would encourage others to visit Turkey.
Arleen C.
Sagamore Hills, OH - US
I had been searching for several years for a tour that included Paraguay and was delighted to find this one. The mission visits were excellent, in terms of both the sites and the explanations. The Pipore Yerba Mate tour was terrific and I loved our guide there. Iguazu Falls was spectacular and again, we had a very good guide. Our trip to Purmamarca was surprising and very good. The buses and vans were very good. The hydrofoil trip was good also. All the dinners were wonderful, with excellent food and in lovely locations. The hotels were very good. Overall it was an excellent tour, with many interesting destinations.
Erle J.
Gloucester, ON - CA
A good tour with lots of interesting sites and spectacular scenery. I really learned a lot about these 3 countries and Latin America. I most enjoyed the Jesuit Missions, Iguazu Falls, and the Safari to the Clouds. All the hotels were very good. Meals on the tour were very good. I really liked our tour leader ordering appetizers to be shared which allowed me to try more local foods. Local Guides were either very good or excellent.
Merle H.
Glenview, IL - US
We loved the whole trip and the surprises of touring in between trains. Also some of the little towns for lunch were a delight. The food on this trip was exceptionally great. All the meal choices and ordering off the menu was perfect. Our tour leader ordered tapas for us and a few planned meals were great too. If we hadn't walked as much as we did, we would have gained weight. The best thing was that all the hotels were centrally located and we could walk easily to highlight places and good restaurants. Perfect. You did an outstanding job selecting these hotels. Loved the train (and dashing for two of them). Had never done train travel before and the stations and facilities were mind blowing. First class seats were really nice. Love your guides and quality of local guides. Love AA.
Linda R.
Thunder Bay, ON - CA
We enjoyed the scenic west coast of Ireland the most. In particular, Killarney, Dingle peninsula, Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands. Also the Giant's Causeway. The local guides in Dublin, Londonderry and Belfast were very good. We had a small van for our small group and it worked out very well. The meals were tasty and substantial. There was generally a good variety of selections. A very good tour.
Vera G.
Victoria, BC - CA
I loved the Ring of Kerry, Dingle Peninsula and Aran Islands. Belfast, Dublin and Killarney were the best cities. The hotels were good and well located. Hotel staff were excellent and rooms were clean and comfortable. Another great Adventures Abroad trip! You never disappoint!
Steven H.
Vancouver, BC - CA
By-and-large the sights, locales, neighbourhoods, etc were extremely interesting. The bus was great! A good size for the group size. It gave us a good sense of a 'home-on-the-road'. I didn't know what to expect for meals and was very pleased with what was presented. Our tour leader, Subash's, knowledge of 'everything Indian', the customs, sights, culture, etc was inexhaustible. He was the perfect person to introduce us to the culture, people, sights and history of India. His insights into the Hindu philosophy were deep, informative and colourful. I consider myself luck to have had him as our guide (almost a mentor). I felt that the quality of the hotels were very good and more often than not, higher than expected. The uniqueness of the two 'Orchard' settings and the desert 'camp' tents were quite fun and very comfortable. Overall: Highly Enjoyable, Very Well Managed, Well thought out Itinerary, Excellent Tour Guide.
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