Since ancient times it has been well known as a trail from the north of Europe to the Baltic Sea, so called because of the greatest treasure of the Baltic coasts, the amber trail. The cities, located on the border of the Baltic sea, have constituted the Hansa commercial union, creating its own bourgeois ethos and culture. Cavaliers' convents which achieved grand influence, have left numerous Gothic castles. One of them is the biggest castle in Europe - Malbork Castle. The complex history led to the German, Scandinavian, Russian and Polish influences of Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox culture that we see everywhere. Gdansk was one of the richest cities of Northern Europe. Vilnius undoubtedly displays the most Baroque influence of the cities to the north of the Alps. Riga is not only the Hanseatic town but also the capital of the North European secession. Tallinn boasts the Gothic and very romantic Old Town.
A short ferry cruise from Tallinn allows a whole day visit to Helsinki. For those who fancy it there is a chance to come with us farther to Saint Petersburg.
1st day: Vilnius
afternoon: Arrival to Vilnius. Check-in.
Vilnius - where the East meets the West. A visit to the historical Vilnius: the Gates of Dawn with the holy image of the Virgin Mary (entrance), Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit, the former Bazylians' Church, the Jewish District, Town Hall Square, Saint Anna's Church, the University with St. John's Church, the Cathedral with St. Casimir's Chapel, the Gothic Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul
evening: Leisure time.
Dinner and night in a hotel.
2nd day: Vilnius
morning: The Lithuanian road to independence - a visit to the former headquarters and the prison of NKWD and KGB in Vilnius - the martyr place of Lithuanian patriots, the Parliament, the monument to the victims of the revolution. Meeting with an ex-prisoner of the Stalinist system in the former Soviet Union (Gulag).
afternoon: Departure to Trakai - the first capital of Lithuania, picturesquely located among lakes. A visit to the Trakai Peninsula with the Island castle - the former residence of Lithuanian Grand Dukes.
evening: Time for your self. Night in Vilnius
3rd day: Vilnius - Riga
morning: Departure to Riga passing through the charming Baltic landscape.
afternoon: Riga - the capital of Latvia and North European Secession. Visiting the Old Town with St. Peter's Church, the old Guild Houses, The Three Brothers (the oldest stone residential buildings in the city representing different stages in the architectural development of Riga), the Dome Cathedral, the Memorial monument.
evening: Leisure time. Night in Riga
4th day: Riga cont.
morning: Continuation of the city sightseeing tour.
afternoon: Departure to Jurmala - the famous Baltic seaside resort. Leisure time.
evening: A minority in their own country - meeting with the Latvian journalist. Discussion about the present Latvian-Russian relationship.
Night in Riga.
5th day: Riga - Tallinn
morning: Departure to Tallinn along the Baltic seaside. A short stop in medieval Pärnu, the merchant city.
afternoon: Tour of Tallinn - the capital of Estonia: visiting the Old Town - an example of Gothic architecture. The programme includes: Toompea Castle fortifications, the Town Hall's Square, the city wall with its defence towers, Kiek In de Kok (the most powerful cannon tower in 16th-century Northern Europe), Alexander Nevski Cathedral (Tallinn's largest and grandest Orthodox cupola cathedral) - the Great Coastal Gate and Fat Margaret (built as a defence on the seaward side of town), Kadriorg palace (a magnificent, Baroque structure, surrounded by manicured gardens and fountains, that Russian tsar Peter the Great had built as a family retreat in the early 18th century), Tallinn's medieval residential houses called The Three Sisters, the Cavaliers House, the Presidential Palace.
Night in Tallinn.
6th day: Tallinn
morning: Continuation of the city sightseeing tour. Meeting and discussion with a university representative about the anxieties and expectations of entering the European Union.
afternoon: Going for a walk in the National Park of Lahemaa which protects the coast, to discover small islands, cliffs and waterfalls.
evening: Time for your self. Night in Tallinn.
7th day: Tallinn - Helsinki - Tallinn
On the opposite coast of the Baltic sea's.
A ferry excursion to Helsinki. Tour of the city. Return to Tallinn.
8th day: Tallinn