Helsinki • Tallinn • Saaremaa Island • Riga • Klaipeda • Curonian Spit • Kaliningrad • Vilnius

 Join Bill Altaffer, one of the world’s , in an exploration of the compact countries of the Baltic Coast, a maritime region of Northern Europe that few Americans have discovered. Begin in Helsinki and continue to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania through a patchwork of field and forest. Discover six UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including medieval Old Towns, a sea fortress and a 5,000-year-old strip of sandy dunes.

Day Trip

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Overview Itinerary

MIR Signature Why end mights on this Tour
  • Wander Estonia’s UNESCO-listed red-roofed capital, Tallinn
    Begin a walking tour of UNESCO-listed Tallinn at Dome Hill (Toompea); Estonia’s oldest church, the Lutheran Cathedral of St. Mary the Virgin, or the Dome Church...
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  • Sample the wares at Emila Gustava Chocolate Café
    Stop in at the Emila Gustava Chocolate Café and discover Latvia's rich chocolate-making tradition with an opportunity to sample sweets and shop for...
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  • Visit the resort of Jurmala
    Spend some time in Jurmala, a resort on the Gulf of Riga; pedestrian areas, cafes, spas, bistros, beaches, clubs and a water park combine to give Jurmala a holiday feel....
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  • Climb the Hill of Witches
    Climb the Hill of Witches and wander through the groves of carved wooden figures straight out of old Lithuanian folk tales and mythology....
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Why Travel with MIR on this Tour
  • Over 25 years of Baltics travel experience
  • Travel programs such as Harvard Museum of Natural History and Stanford have chosen MIR to guide them to the Baltics
  • Twice named one of National Geographic Adventure’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth”
  • On-the-ground support and quality you can trust
  • Personalized travel planning from start to finish
  • Guides and tour managers that clients rave about
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Itinerary & Highlights at a Glance

Days 1-4: Helsinki

Tour the main sites of the city, including Temppeliaukio Church, built in 1968 into a solid rock face in Helsinki's city center, and Senate Square. Take a boat ride to explore the UNESCO-listed sea fortress of Suomenlinna.

Highlights

  • Finland’s capital city, Helsinki, with its neo-classical city center
  • Temppeliaukio Church, built into a solid rock face and resembling a Roman amphitheater
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Days 5-7: Tallinn • Saaremaa Island

Ferry from Helsinki to Estonia’s capital, Tallinn, whose Old Town, with its winding cobbled streets, red roofs and remaining turreted fortress wall is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. On a walking tour, admire the Old Town Hall Square, the Gothic Town Hall, now a government showpiece, the old Pharmacy and the Great Guild Hall. Ferry over to Estonia’s largest island, Saaremaa, and visit the old windmills of Angla – four tower windmills and one Dutch.

Highlights

  • Tallinn, Estonia’s capital, whose winding cobbled streets, red roofs and turreted fortress wall are on the UNESCO World Heritage List
  • One of the oldest continuously running pharmacies in Europe, which used to sell powdered unicorn horn in the Middle Ages
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Days 8-10: Riga • Jurmala

On the way to Riga, explore the Tauride Castle ruins in beautiful Gauja National Park. Set out on a tour of Riga’s UNESCO-listed Old Town, including the Dome Cathedral, with walls six feet thick, and the Riga Opera House. Discover Latvia's rich chocolate-making tradition at Emila Gustava’s Chocolate Café. Take a day trip to Jurmala on the Gulf of Riga. Pedestrian areas, cafés, spas, bistros, beaches, clubs and a water park combine to give Jurmala a holiday feel.

Highlights

  • Turaida Castle, originally founded in 1214 by the archbishops of Riga
  • UNESCO-listed Old Town of Riga, capital of Latvia
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Days 11-13: Klaipeda • Curonian Spit • Nida

On the drive to Lithuania, make a stop at Rastrelli’s Castle of Rundale, and climb the Hill of Crosses, a powerful symbol of Lithuanian faith and perseverance. Arrive in Klaipeda, an important port on the Baltic Sea, for an overnight. Visit the Amber Museum in Palanga, a seaside resort. Drive out the UNESCO-listed Curonian Spit, admiring its strange landscape of corrugated dunes, little villages and forests of linden, elm, birch and pine. Overnight in the fishing village of Nida, where writers and artists flourished.

Highlights

  • Castle of Rundale, designed in the early 18th century by Rastrelli
  • Hill of Crosses, covered by a multitude of crosses, some of them treasured examples of folk art
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Days 14-15: Kaliningrad

Continue to the Russian part of the Curonian Spit, driving to Kaliningrad with a stop en route in Svetlogorsk, an attractive coastal resort town. Explore Kaliningrad, Russia’s only year-round ice-free port, where the inhabitants often consider themselves to possess a unique cultural heritage, not quite European and not quite Russian.

Highlights

  • Svetlogorsk, a resort area offering the most vibrant cafe and beach scene in the region
  • Kaliningrad, an exclave of Russia separated from the main part of Russia by Lithuania and Poland

Days 16-20: Kaunas • Trakai • Vilnius

Depart overland to Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania and one of the biggest river ports in the Baltics. Here, visit the St. George Church ensemble dating back to the 16th century, Vytautas Church from the 15th century and the Perkunas House, a 16th century trading house built over the remains of a temple to the Thunder God, Perkunas. Continue to Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius and its UNESCO-listed Old Town. Wander through squares, archways and courtyards, down Pilies Street with its 16th to 18th century structures, and by lovely St. Anne’s Church, the most famous building in Vilnius.

Drive a little way out of town to visit the restored 14th century island castle at Trakai, built in the style called Brick Gothic on a little island in Lake Galve. Also visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Kernavė in the Pajauta Valley, which has been settled for at least 10,000 years. An accident of geology made the conditions in the valley perfect for preserving its cultural layers: Each succeeding settlement was covered with the alluvial soil of the river valley, which formed wet peat, preserving the artifacts intact. Return to Vilnius for a celebratory farewell dinner.

Highlights

  • Kaunas, second-largest Lithuanian city, with its white Gothic Town Hall, called the White Swan
  • Pazaislis Monastery and Church, the largest monastery complex in Lithuania and a superb example of Italian baroque architecture
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See Dates & Prices for more details or to see suggested extensions.

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Tour Dates & Prices

There are no departures available at this time.

Please contact us for more information and a MIR Destination Specialist will contact with you shortly. Thank you!

What’s Included

On Your Tour

  • Shared accommodations in well-located four star hotels in the major cities and best available hotels elsewhere.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary, including in private homes. A few meals are not included so that you may enjoy a chance to experiment on your own.
  • Services of an experienced, English-speaking MIR Tour Manager (with a minimum of 6 passengers) with local guides at specific sites.
  • Arrival/departure transfers. MIR will arrange for all travelers to be met on arrival and seen off on departure whether we make your airfare arrangements or not, provided you arrive and depart on the tour start/end dates in the tour start/end cities.
  • Transportation throughout itinerary by private van or motorcoach.
  • Star Class one-way tickets for Helsinki-Tallinn ferry.
  • Guided sightseeing tours and entrance fees as outlined in itinerary.
  • Special events, excursions and cultural performances per the itinerary.

Before Your Tour

  • Personalized pre-departure support from one of our knowledgeable Tour Specialists.
  • Complete pre-departure information including detailed packing list and reading list.
  • Touring with MIR handbook with country-specific information, maps, and travel tips.
  • Final document packet including luggage tags, final updates, and more.
  • Assistance booking your custom flight arrangements (on request; please note that international and internal airfares are not included in the land tour cost).
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Prepare for Your Trip

International Airfare

MIR's in-house, full-service air department will gladly assist with your air travel needs.

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Reading List

MIR recommends reading up before you leave home. So settle back in your armchair with some of our favorite books about our favorite places.

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Visas

Most MIR programs require one or more visas, and each visa requires a completely blank page in your passport. Visa information for this particular tour is listed in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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Travel Insurance

Stay a Little Longer…

MIR can arrange for an extended program in nearby Western Russia or Eastern Europe. All of MIR’s destinations are open to you, and all can be attached to this program.  Please contact MIR for more details about exciting options for extended travel.

Or, choose from one of our private travel suggested itineraries:

Is this Trip Right for You?

It is important to keep in mind that while Kaliningrad, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are fairly modern and cosmopolitan, some aspects may not live up to the standards North American travelers expect.

A full list of details about the rigors of this tour is given in the Detailed Descriptive Itinerary.

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MIR's Travel Journals offer first hand accounts of MIR's fascinating destinations.

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