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Good value for $ — accommodations, food, guide, itinerary, and [small] size of group. Have traveled with other tour groups ... and like you best.

Jean Hall
Prairie Village, KS
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Explore the Region

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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Comprehensive tour of a fascinating region
  • Visit to KGB Museum in Vilnius
  • Trakai, medieval capital of Lithuania
  • Rundale Palace, architectural highlight of provincial Latvia
  • Sigulda National Park, the “Switzerland of Latvia”
  • Estonia’s open-air Rocca-al-Mare village museum
  • Historic Tallinn
  • Tour of St. Petersburg’s Hermitage, one of the world’s greatest museums
  • Lunch with a St. Petersburg family
  • Peterhof, royal estate of czar Peter the Great
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Depart U.S. for Vilnius, Lithuania

Day 2: Arrive Vilnius After connecting in Europe, a short flight this morning brings us to Vilnius, the attractive Lithuanian capital with Baroque architecture, numerous churches, medieval towers and fortifications, and one of Eastern Europe’s oldest “Old Towns.” Our afternoon in this historic city is at leisure before tonight’s dinner at our hotel. D

Day 3: Vilnius We see the highlights of the city, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on this morning’s tour, including Cathedral Square, Gediminas’ Tower, Vilnius University, and the President’s Palace. We also tour the fascinating KGB Museum. The remain­der of the day is at leisure, perhaps to relax at one of the many outdoor cafés; explore the old Jewish Quarter and ghetto; or admire the city’s architectural diversity. B

Day 4: Vilnius/Trakai Today we travel about 20 miles outside Vilnius to Trakai, the medieval capital of Lithuania set in a resort village surrounded by five lakes. Here we tour 15th-century Trakai Castle, with exhibits commemorating the days when the Grand Duchy of Lithuania stretched all the way from the Baltic to the Black Sea. After a turbulent history of Russian rule, in 1991 Lithuania became one of the first of the Soviet Union’s breakaway republics and today, again, is a sovereign democratic nation. B,D

Day 5: Vilnius/Riga We leave this morning for Riga, the Latvian capital. En route we stop for lunch in Siauliai where we visit the Hill of Crosses, a pilgrimage site and symbol of Lithuanian nationalism. After crossing the border into Latvia, we travel through gentle countryside to the restored 18th-century Baroque palace of Rundale. Designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who also designed St. Peters­burg’s Hermitage, Rundale’s construction took more than 30 years and 1,500 workers. From here we con­tinue on to surprisingly sophisticated Riga, once known as the “little Paris of the North.” We dine tonight at our hotel. B,L,D

Day 6: Riga This morning’s city tour reveals the special treasures of this Baltic gem, once Russia’s coveted warm-water port and the largest of the Baltic capitals. Riga boasts lovingly restored architecture ranging from medieval to Art Nouveau; a well­-preserved Old Town; magnificent churches, including St. Mary’s Cathedral (the Dom), with its 6,789-pipe organ; and a lively arts scene. The afternoon is free; our well-located hotel offers easy access to Riga’s attractions. B

Day 7: Riga/Sigulda Today we travel east of Riga to Sigulda to visit Gauja National Park, Latvia’s premier nature preserve. Our excursion includes a visit to Gutmanis’ Cave, a 35-foot cavern bubbling with fresh spring water believed to have curative powers; and the ruins of Turaida Castle, whose round red brick tower rises above the forest canopy. We return to Riga mid-day and dine together tonight. B,D

Day 8: Riga/Parnu/Tallinn En route to the Estoni­an capital of Tallinn, we stop for lunch in sea­side Parnu, Estonia’s “summer capital.” We reach Tallinn late this afternoon; dinner is at a local restaurant. B,L,D

Day 9: Tallinn This northernmost Baltic capital has endured a history similar to that of its cousins: ­ a favored port location often coveted by its more powerful neighbors; centuries of war with brief periods of independence; 20th-century an­nexing by Russia; and finally, again, in­dependence. We see layers of Tallinn’s tumultuous his­tory on this morning’s city tour featuring the surprisingly well-preserved medieval Old Town. Then the remainder of the day is free to enjoy this 800-year-old city as we wish. Green spaces abound, including vast Kadriorg Park, surrounding the palace and featuring a Japanese tea garden. B

Day 10: Tallinn This morning we visit the Estonian Open-Air Museum at Rocca-al-Mare, where 18th– and 19th-century life is recreated with authentic wooden farm houses, churches, and other structures from rural Estonia. We enjoy lunch together then have an afternoon at leisure to explore Tallinn independently. This evening is at leisure to dine on our own in this city with restaurants ranging from “nouveau Estonian” to American. B,L

Day 11: Tallinn/St. Petersburg We depart this morning by coach for St. Petersburg. After arriving late this afternoon we enjoy dinner together tonight. B,L,D

Day 12: St. Petersburg Czar Peter the Great’s “window on the West,” St. Petersburg was built in the early 1700s on 44 islands, mostly swampland – a feat that took the lives of thousands of workers. Today it is a beautiful city, laced with canals, graceful bridges, and Empire-style buildings. Our daylong tour includes a visit to awe-inspiring St. Isaac’s Cathedral, whose construction took more than 40 years. We see the Peter & Paul Fortress, the Bronze Horseman statue of city founder Peter the Great, and the main thorough­fare of Nevsky Prospekt. Then for a fascinating window on Russian life, we join a local family for lunch and conversation. This afternoon we take a guided tour of the world-renowned Hermitage Museum founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 and housing one ­of the world’s greatest fine arts collections. Dinner tonight is on our own. B,L

Day 13: St. Petersburg/Peterhof This morning we travel to Peterhof, one of the many royal “summer” palaces built by the Romanovs during the last two centuries of their rule. Most of these palaces were virtually destroyed by retreating Germans during World War II and later rebuilt to their original designs, complete with gilding. Known for its elaborate fountains with gold statues and 142 jets, Peterhof sits in a huge park with a formal ­18th-century garden. Our tour includes both the Grand Royal Palace and the Upper and Lower gardens. Tonight we gather for dinner to bid “da svidniya” to St. Petersburg. B,D

Day 14: Depart for U.S. We depart this morning for our connecting flight to the United States. B

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities
  • 12 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class, and First Class hotels
  • 24 meals: 12 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all ­entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2019 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

Apr 23
Sep 17
Sep 21
Aug 13
Sep 3
Sep 7
Sep 10
May 11
May 18
May 21
Jul 2
Jul 23
Boston, New York$3,998$4,198$4,398
Phil, Wash, DC$4,198$4,398$4,598
Atlanta, Charlotte,
Chicago, Cincinnati,
Miami, Orlando,
Tampa
$4,298$4,498
$4,698
Cleveland, Dallas,
Denver, Detroit,
Houston, Minn
$4,398$4,598
$4,798
Los Ang, Phoenix,
Portland (OR),
San Fran, Seattle
$4,498$4,698
$4,898

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $503, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

Single travelers please add $995. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days prior to departure. All 2019 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Airline upgrades (subject to availability) on round-trip Trans-Atlantic flight: Business Class – $3,595 per person; Premium Economy – $1,495 per person

A visa is required for this tour. Odysseys Unlimited will provide information about visa requirements upon reservation.

Accommodations
    Radisson Blu Astorija Hotel, Vilnius / Days 2-4 / First Class

    Located in the heart of Vilnius overlooking City Hall Square and Old Town, this traditional hotel was built in 1901 and fully renovated in 1998. The hotel’s facilities that include a restaurant, brasserie, and bar; internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; and fitness center with indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam, and whirlpool. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, mini-bar, tea and coffee making facilities, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

    Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel, Riga / Days 5-7 / Superior First Class

    The Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel, built in 2008, is located in Riga’s city center across from historic Verman Park and close to shops, restaurants, and historic sites. Amenities of the modern 228-room lodging include a restaurant, bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, fitness room, and sauna. Guest rooms are air-conditioned and offer private bath with hair dryer, tea- and coffee-making facilities, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    Radisson Blu Sky Hotel, Tallinn / Days 8-10 / Superior First Class

    The Radisson Blu Sky Hotel is situated within close walking distance of Tallinn’s picturesque Old Town and its shopping and entertainment areas. Amenities of this modern, 280-room hotel include a restaurant and rooftop bar; fitness center, laundry services, spa and sauna; and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, iron and ironing board, in-room safe, TV, and phone.

    Belmond Grand Hotel Europe, St. Petersburg / Days 11-13, Extension / Deluxe

    Ideally located along Nevsky Prospekt, St. Petersburg’s main boulevard, the opulent Belmond Grand Hotel Europe has been welcoming guests for more than 140 years.  The hotel’s many amenities include three restaurants (including Russia’s oldest continually serving restaurant) and three bars, shopping arcade (including a shop selling house-made pastries and chocolates), fitness center with sauna and plunge pool, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access.  Each of the 265 air-conditioned guest rooms include private bath with hairdryer, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

St. Petersburg – On Your Own

3 days/2 nights for $435 total price
Single Supplement: $295

Explore more of this fascinating city – Russia’s cultural heart – at your own pace, from our centrally located hotel on Nevsky Prospekt adjacent to Arts Square.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • 2 nights’ accommodations at Belmond Grand Hotel Europe (Deluxe)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
  • Transfer to airport

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.

Tour Directors for this Journey
Silvija Horsta

“Can’t imagine a better tour director. Her expertise, friendliness, helpfulness, and good nature have assured that we will travel with Odysseys again.”
Judy Busch
Indianapolis, IN

Ieva Kalcheva

“Ieva is just one of the best guides I have ever had.  Of course, her knowledge is exceptional but she also takes a very personal attitude toward every member of the group.  She went out of her way to show us more than we expected.”
Anthony McClure
Dallas, TX

Signe Tarziere

“Signe was most attentive to our needs, very helpful, and provided great information. Signe is one of the most outstanding guides we have had.”
William Abrams
Maple Shade, NJ

Dalija Volkskiene

“We would like in particular to commend Dalija Volkskiene. She went out of her way to help people. She is passionate, authentic, a person with a great heart. You are very fortunate to have her.”
Roger Soder
Seattle, WA

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Michael North
The Baltic, A History
In his erudite history of the “Nordic Mediterranean,” North covers over 1,000 years of trade, politics, architecture, cultural exchange and conflict in the Baltic. His main point: the Baltic’s coastal nations have always been an interconnected economic unit.

W. Bruce Lincoln
Sunlight at Midnight: St. Petersburg and the Rise of Modern Russia
A wonderfully written, informative portrait of St. Peters-burg, focusing on the city’s development in the 18th and 19th centuries as Russia’s “window on the West.” Highly recommended for travelers with an interest in the character and significance of the city and its monuments.

Eyewitness Guides
Eyewitness Guide St. Petersburg
With excellent local maps and site plans, this outstanding visual guide introduces the culture, history and attractions of St. Petersburg.

Eyewitness Guides
Eyewitness Travel Guide Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania
This compact, profusely illustrated travel guide features bright color photography, dozens of maps and a region-by-region synopsis. With a 50-page section on where to stay and eat.

Berndtson & Berndtson
St. Petersburg Map
A detailed, laminated city plan.

Freytag & Berndt
Baltic States Map
A double-sided detailed map of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania at a scale of 1:400,000.

Elaine Blaire
Literary St. Petersburg
Blaire shows St. Petersburg through the words, museums and haunts of 15 writers, including Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Nabokov.

James Jenkin, Inna Zaitseva
Lonely Planet Russian Phrasebook
A handy shirtpocket phrasebook for Russian basics focusing on pronunciation, basic grammar and essential vocabulary for the traveler.

Eric Christiansen
The Northern Crusades
The wilder-than-fiction story of the 13th- to 15th-century conquest and conversion of the pagan tribes of the Baltic coasts by knights of the Teutonic Order.

Peter Waldron
Russia of the Tsars
Waldron recounts the exploits of Peter the Great, the tsars and the splendor of their capital city, St. Petersburg, in this lively, well-illustrated and compact overview of the largest and most diverse empire of its day.

Orlando Figes
Natasha’s Dance, A Cultural History of Russia
In this lively cultural history, Figes looks at both the great works by Russian masters and longstanding folk traditions. The title is drawn from a scene of Tolstoy’s War and Peace in which a European-educated countess performs a peasant dance.

Solomon Volkov, Antonina Bouis
St. Petersburg, A Cultural History
This wonderfully written summary of art, music, theater and literature, written by a native historian and musician, includes profiles of the city’s artists and writers over the last 300 years.

Anatol Lieven
The Baltic Revolution
A Latvian correspondent for the London Times, Lieven weaves history, interviews and analysis into a vivid cultural portrait of post-Glasnost Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

Olegs Yakovlevichs Neverov
The Hermitage Collections
This sumptuous visual survey celebrates the museum, its history and collections.

Simon Sebag Montefiore
Stalin, The Court of the Red Tsar
An enthralling, comprehensive portrait of Joseph Stalin and his court, drawing on archival material and interviews with surviving figures. At 800 pages, there is ample room for personal and anecdotal information about Stalin.

Vladimir Nabokov
Speak, Memory
Nabokov’s richly imagined memoir wonderfully evokes cultural life among the well-to-do in late 19th-century St. Petersburg. Nabokov called his childhood home, now a museum off St Isaac’s Square, “the only house in the world.”

Robert Massie
Peter the Great, His Life and World
In this Pulitzer Prize-winning biography, Massie portrays the giant of history who transformed Russia from backwater tsardom into a major empire.

Czeslaw Milosz
Native Realm, A Search for Self-Definition
The great Lithuanian-born Polish poet and Nobel laureate Milosz traces much of 20th-century European history in this tale of his own life, from his early years in Vilnius to the unimaginable horrors of Nazi-occupied Warsaw through to the 1950s.

Robert K. Massie
Catherine the Great
Eager readers of Massie’s Nicholas and Alexandria or the Pulitzer Prize-winning Peter the Great will not be disappointed by this latest, an old-fashioned tale of politics, power and 18th-century Europe, drawing effectively from the ambitious Catherine’s own memoirs.

Andrei Bely
Petersburg
Bely conjures a whirlwind of impressions and impulses in this kinetic meditation on the nature of the city in this modernist masterpiece, written in Russian in 1939. It follows a young revolutionary ordered to assassinate his own father by with a time bomb.

Robert Chandler (Editor)
Russian Short Stories
This fine collection of tales captures the sweep and soul of Russian literature, including works by Pushkin, Gogol, Dostoevsky, Chekhov and Tolstoy along with lesser-known greats.

Denise Neuhaus
The Christening
This accomplished novel, set against a backdrop of the last days of the Soviet Union, follows three Estonian women in Tallinn and Stockholm.

Henning Mankell
The Dogs of Riga
Swedish detective Kurt Wallander travels from Ystad to Latvia on the trail of a horrific murder in this second book, steeped in Baltic ambiance.

David Benioff
City of Thieves
David Benioff turns his grandfather’s stories of surviving the infamous Siege of Leningrad into a wise and touching coming-of-age novel that’s hard to put down. Seventeen-year-old Lev and his charismatic buddy Koly are sent out by their German captors to bring back a dozen eggs, just the start of a gripping odyssey.

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