Tour of Latvia and Lithuania

Tour of Latvia and Lithuania: 6 days, 5 nights

THE TOUR INCLUDES: RIGA, MITAVA, VILNIUS, TRAKAI, KAUNAS, KLAIPEDA, LIEPAJA

Duration: 6 days / 5 nights

The Tour acquaints with a unique cultural heritage of two neighbouring Baltic countries: Latvia and Lithuania.

 Riga remains the most beautiful of the Baltic cities with a stunning skyline of gothic church spires and medieval towers, reflecting a confluence of cultures and religions in Latvia’s rich history. Vilnius was fortunate to escape damage during World War II, so its extensive architectural heritage remains mainly intact and fascinating.

For this tour, we are happy to provide comfortable accommodation, transport and best local guides fluent in various languages. Many tours have been led by the famous Hermitage Professor and Researcher Alexei Leporc.

History of Latvia and Lithuania

 In the 13th-16th centuries Latvia was largely influenced by German crusaders, who formed the state of Livonia, and Lithuania allied with Polish Kingdom in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth union. Later, the region passed under dominance of the Swedish Empire and in 1721 was ceded to Russia.

By 1795, Latvia and Lithuania were under total Tsarist Russian rule and despite numerous rebellions for independence, remained oppressed by the Russians and then Soviets until 1991 when they gained independence and freedom from Communist rule.  Both countries are members of NATO and the European Union.

Tour Initerary

DAY 1

Arrive Riga. Transfer hotel

Riga (population 642,000) is the capital of Latvia and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Riga dates from 1201, and formerly was an important Hanseatic League port on the Daugava River.

After check in enjoy a walking tour of  old Riga – European Capital of Culture (2014). Tour to include the picturesque Alberta Street, famed for its stunning colorful Art Nouveau buildings. See St. Jacobs’ Church and the food market — the largest covered market in Europe dating from 1922 (mainly built from disused German Zeppelin hangars).

DAY 2

After breakfast check out and drive south (84 km) to Mitava to see the magnificent 140 room Rundale Palace built by the architect Rastrelli whose buildings are so characteristic of St. Petersburg (the Winter Palace, in particular).

Rundale Palace was built on the order of the Russian Tsarina Anna (1730–1740) for her lover Count Biron. The interiors of the 18th century palace are richly furnished and embellished with paintings, chandeliers and works of art (largely funded by the Headley Trust — The Sainsbury Family Trust).

After lunch drive to Vilnius (243 km)

Check in hotel and enjoy a short orientation walk in the city center

Evening option: Ballet/Opera at Vilnius Opera House (built 1974)

DAY 3

Walking day in Vilnius Old Town viewing all the highlights of the city, which was nominated European Capital of Culture in 2009.

Undamaged during WW2 the city is a testimony to its unmatched architectural heritage — unique in central Europe. The heart of the city is intact (except for the entirely destroyed Jewish district). Enjoy the fusion of charming medieval, gothic and baroque architecture lining attractive cobbled streets. 

 After lunch drive (1,30 hrs) to Trakai National Park, a vast forested nature reserve with countless lakes. The dramatic 14th century Trakai Castle itself is set on an island and was the summer residence of Grand Dukes of Lithuania.

Evening option: Ballet/Opera at Vilnius Opera House (built 1974)

DAY 4

Breakfast and checkout. Drive (103 km) to Kaunas

On the way stop at Pajaislis Monastery (founded in 1662).

The monastery has remarkable architectural features as well as impressive frescoed interiors. Napoleon based his army here, and during the 19th century the church became Russian Orthodox. Later, under the Soviet authorities, the church was used as an archive, a hospital and finally an art gallery. At present, the monastery has become an active place of worship.

Continue to Kaunas, lunch in Kaunas

After lunch walk through the historic heart of the Old Town of Kaunas – see the 14th century fortification: Kaunas Castle, Vytautas’ Church and the gothic Kaunas Cathedral and the 19th century Russian Orthodox neo Byzantine church of St. Michael the Archangel.

Also see the Museum of Western Art  which shows many works donated since 1991 by Lithuanian oligarchs.

After touring in Kaunas head to Klaipeda (215 km) — the eastern Baltic’s most important ice free port dating from early Teutonic times.

After arrival at Klaipeda check in hotel and dinner

DAY 5

Breakfast and checkout.  Klaipeda City tour

Described in the Encyclopædia Britannica (1815) as “the finest harbour in the Baltic”, Klaipeda prospered during the 18th century from its immense timber trade, also exporting corn, hemp and flax but mainly vital timber for the Lithuania Royal Navy (imports were salt, iron and herrings). The heart of the city remains intact and still contains many charming timbered buildings.

Lunch in Klaipeda

Drive (97 km) to Liepaja, another important, ice-free harbour since early settlement times. In the Soviet era (1918–1991), Liepaja was a secret military base but has since reopened as a trading port.

Liepaja City tour

After touring in Liepaja drive to Riga (216 km)

Upon arrival at  Riga check in hotel and dinner

DAY 6

Breakfast and check out

Visit to the Art Museum Riga Bourse (opened in 2011) in the Art Nouveau centre of Riga — a grand 19th century ‘palazzo’ with ornate interiors  which exhibits silver, Meissen porcelain and Western European art.

Visit to the Museum of Soviet Occupation — a small but well stocked museum that shows the extreme soviet measures taken against the suppressed Lithuanian population in the period of 1940–1991.

After lunch tansfer to the airport

The cost of the Latvia and Lithuania Tour is available on request, as it depends on the number of guests and the date of the tour. We are also happy to arrange tailor-made tours for you to one or more of the Baltic countries. Please contact us to discuss your preferences.

Please fill in the Customise your tour form to give us details about your trip and your tour preferences, for this tour alone or in combination with others.