At Christmas, as cold winter nights decent over Northern Europe the pretty capitals of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia come alive. The fairy-tale old towns of Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius take on a charming quality filled with market stalls selling everything from hand crafted wooded decorations to the local tipple. But these markets are not the only highlight of this trip. In each city we will enjoy historical guided tours, learning how they changed through the ages. From leading centres of commerce in the Middle Ages, to closed communist states for a large part of the last century, through to the proud modern independent nations they are today. Outside the cities we visit the unique Hill of Crosses in Lithuania and Rundale Palace outside Riga. A grand baroque palace designed by the same architect who build the Peterhof and Catherine Palace in St Petersburg.
After nearly a week in the region we board the overnight ferry to Stockholm, Sweden’s beautiful capital. From here there is another pretty old town to explore, alternatively there is plenty of galleries and museums to enjoy. A highlight being the Vasa Museum, housing the 18th century warship of the same name which sank on her maiden voyage and raised in 1961 from the sea bed in Stockholm harbour.