Trakai Castle aerial view, Lithuania

Discover the Baltics Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
Programmes:
Culture
Trip Code:
AVV
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

12 Days Flight Inclusive
12 Days Land only
Ages: 16+

Trip Overview

On this Baltic tour, we explore the highlights of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in under two weeks. The countryside, national parks, and coastal areas of these countries are both varied and stunning, adding a touch of wilderness to the history and culture of the cities and towns that we visit as we journey from Tallinn to Vilnius. With street art, sculpture, incredible architecture, and fascinating historical sites, this trip will undoubtedly satisfy your cultural hunger. However, the wild and open settings and picturesque landscapes will also feed your imagination.

 

 

At a Glance

  • Travel by bus and ferry
  • Optional day walks and city walking tours 
  • Group normally 7 to 20 plus leader, Min. age 16 yrs
  • 11 nights hotels

Trip Highlights

  • Discover three countries in twelve days
  • Visit stunning national parks, castles, and museums
  • Explore the magnificent Trakai Castle

Is This Trip for You?

This is quite a busy itinerary based around sightseeing and exploring the Baltic States. There is a fair amount of walking around towns, cities, and parks, but these are all on good paths – mainly wooden boarded and sometimes cobbled streets in the old towns –  so you will just need a pair of good trainers to be comfortable. The walks are suitable for anyone with reasonable fitness. In order to visit all the highlights of the countries, there are some long bus journeys. The trip is graded leisurely.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as not suitable for full wheelchair users, but it may be suitable for other persons of reduced mobility. Please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Group

Normally 4 to 20, plus local leader and driver.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
7
Max group size:
20

Itinerary

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Tallinn.

    The tour starts at our hotel in Tallinn, Estonia’s capital. Those travelling on the group flights will be met at the airport and transferred to our hotel (approx. 25-30 mins). This evening we will have a welcome briefing with our leader. The evening is free to explore Tallinn, an optional welcome group meal will be organised.

    Go Shnelli Hotel or Similar

  • Day 2

    Tallinn guided tour and free time to explore this fascinating city at your own pace.

    Today we will explore the vibrant city of Tallinn, Estonia's capital, and largest city. The Old Town, framed by old city walls, is full of architectural gems. In the morning we will have a guided tour of the city taking in some of the main attractions like the Toompea palace and castle, the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Dome Church and the St. Nicholas church. We then have a free afternoon to explore the picturesque old town. Unlike most European cities, Tallinn's old town is completely free from modern buildings. You can leave modern life behind as you explore the cobblestone alleys with spluttering torches and secret stairways; the old town holds new surprises around every corner, even for its old residents. We overnight in Tallinn’s old town.

    Go Shnelli Hotel or Similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Explore the pine forests and sandy beaches of Lahemaa N.P. before a guided tour around Tartu City.

    In the morning, we leave Tallinn and start the journey to Tartu stopping off at the Lahemaa National Park, the largest in Estonia. The park is a popular tourist destination due to its untouched sandy beaches, waterfalls, cascades, and mossy pine forests, and it offers a variety of cultural sights like Palmse Manor and the 400-year-old fisherman’s village of Altja. After lunch, we transfer to Tartu for a guided tour. Tartu is Estonia’s second-largest town and the capital of Southern Estonia and is rich with Estonian culture offering festivals, concerts, and theatre exhibitions. We spend the night in a hotel in the centre of Tartu.

    Hotell Tartu or Similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Tour of Cesis and Gauja National Park; transfer to Riga.

    Cesis is an old town with a long history and is now known as a centre of art and culture. Situated on the Gauja River valley, its old town is one of the finest in Latvia. Its cobbled streets have retained a timeless appearance since the Middle Ages as the fine buildings have kept their red-tiled roofs and the façades have been restored, making this a charming place to while away some time. The city is famed for its Medieval castle, a partly preserved fortification that has been knocked down and rebuilt in various forms. We will visit the castle and the museum in the morning and take a guided tour of the buildings.

    We then transfer to Gauja National Park, the region known as Latvian Switzerland. Take a leisurely walk through the adjoining sculpture park featuring works of notable Latvian sculptor, Indulis Ranka.

    Visit Ligatne Paper Mill village, a unique settlement built in the early 20th century by the paper mill’s management, which sought to make the workers' life as comfortable as possible. Afterward, transfer to Riga.

    Rixwell Old Riga Palace Hotel or Similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Guided tour of Riga Old Town; free afternoon to explore at your own pace.

    This morning the magnificent old town of Riga awaits! We will have a guided tour of the city to discover its winding alleys, elegant boulevards and 800 renovated art nouveau buildings. We then have a free afternoon to soak up the charming and romantic atmosphere of the city and enjoy a relaxing lunch before exploring some of the town’s great shops. 

    Rixwell Old Riga Palace Hotel or Similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Explore the seaside town of Jurmala.

    In the morning we transfer from Riga to Jurmala. Jurmala is the largest seaside and spa resort in the Baltic States and is known for its unique natural resources such as its healing mineral waters, pine forests and sand dunes. The town is also famous for its unique wooden Art Nouveau architecture. After exploring the town we will transfer back to Riga for the night. Those who wish to stay a little longer in Jurmala can do, a local train back to Riga costs between 2-4EUR per person. 

    Rixwell Old Riga Palace Hotel or Similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Explore Rundale Palace, the Hill of Crosses and the port of Klaipeda.

    Firstly we visit Rundale palace which was designed for the Duke of Courland in the 18th century by Italian architect Rastrelli, who also designed the winter palace in St. Petersburg. Today, the palace is the most magnificent piece of architecture in the Baltic States, surrounded by impressive gardens. We then cross the border to Lithuania and have some time to explore the famous Hill of Crosses before transferring to Klaipeda Port for a short tour around the small old town. The tour is a perfect chance to explore the old town with its reconstructed merchant houses and the remains of Klaipeda Castle. We spend the night in the centre of Klaipeda.

    Dange Hotel or Similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Transfer to the Curonian Spit and explore the sand dunes.

    We start the day with a short ferry ride across the lagoon to the Curonian Spit, a UNESCO world heritage site situated between the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea. Here we have the day to explore the largest drifting sand dunes in Europe. There will also be a visit to the Hill of Witches and an excursion to the Lithuanian sea resort of Nida to climb the Great Dune for the views. We transfer back to Klaipeda where we spend the night.

    Dange Hotel or Similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Visit the Plokstine Cold War Museum; city tour around Kaunas.

    We transfer to the Plokstine forest and visit the Cold War Museum located in the former Soviet Union’s complex of ballistic missile launch. Today, this secret base is open to the public. We can view the internal control facility and see former missiles as well as listen to expositions about the five decades of the Cold war, one of the most famous and dangerous military conflicts in human history. We then travel to the town of Kaunas, and here we take a walking tour around the beautiful old town. The old town of Kaunas has a collection of important monuments like the 13th century castle, the old town hall, the Cathedral Basilica and the church of St. Francis Xavier. We stay overnight in Kaunas.

    Best Western Santaka Hotel or Similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Visit Trakai Castle and transfer to Vilnius.

    This morning there is the option to visit the Church and Monastery of Pazaislis to see one of the most wonderful Baroque architectural masterpieces in north-eastern Europe (entrance fee is 6 euros, payable locally). The monastery is located on the picturesque bank of the Kaunas lagoon. We then stop in Trakai, the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Here we will go on a tour around the incredible 14th century castle, which is situated on a small island in the middle of the lake.

    We then transfer to Vilnius where we stay the night.

    Comfort Hotel LT - Rock'n'Roll Vilnius or Similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Guided tour of Vilnius; free time to explore.

    Today we have the whole day to explore Vilnius. There is a guided tour of the city in the morning and then plenty of time to explore the city at your own pace. The city was developed around its Town Hall and there is a great deal of diverse architecture to explore. There are many narrow streets that lead to intimate courtyards, in addition to the larger landmarks of the castle complex, Cathedral square, and the Royal Palace. There are also plenty of museums to while away some hours. We overnight in Vilnius.

    Comfort Hotel LT - Rock'n'Roll Vilnius or Similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast
  • Day 12

    End Vilnius.

    End Vilnius.

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Accommodation

Hotels

On this trip, you stay in 3-star hotels which are ideally located for access to the key sights. A real highlight is the hotel in Kaunas where you have access to the pool and sauna.

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £335.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

There will be buffet breakfasts in the hotels offering plenty of choice including cold meats, cheese, eggs, bread, jams, juice, and coffee.

Lunches will be a mixture of picnics bought from local shops and cafe stops.

Dinners will be taken in the hotel restaurants or out in local restaurants and will be hearty meals. Cuisine in this area is often centred around pork, veal, fish, potatoes, sauerkraut, and soups such as borsch (beetroot soup – in Lithuania this is also served cold). Dumplings are also very popular and in Trakai, large baked dumplings called kibinai are traditionally served and are very good.

Transportation

Travel will be by private bus and scheduled boat services. The journey times vary and there are some longer distances to cover (up to 340km) which will mean several hours on the bus. However, we feel this is essential to cover the highlights of the three countries.

Weather & Seasonality

Weather Information

The climate is largely influenced by the Baltic Sea. The summers are warm with temperatures from 20 to 30 degrees celsius. In the evenings the temperatures will not drop too much. There is little rain in the summer but of course, it is always a possibility so it is best to be prepared. The days will be long, with 19 hours of daylight. In spring and autumn, there is the possibility of light rain, temperatures can be cool. Estonia is the furthest north and therefore the coldest, although the temperature range described applies. Lithuania is the furthest south, which makes it the warmest country of the three. Estonia is often described as the more Scandinavian country than the other two.

Weather Charts

AVV

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 12 Days

The group flight from London is a daytime flight departing on Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of Air Baltic (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 12 days starting in Tallinn and ending in Vilnius

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Tallinn in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

If you would like us to organise a private transfer, the cost is approximately £32 and is payable before departure. Please ensure that you provide us with all relevant information at least 2 weeks before departure.

Additional transfer from/to airport: 1‐2 seats £32, 3-6 seats £45.

Location start:
Tallinn
Location end:
Vilnius

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Small day bag for water, camera, and guide book when walking or sightseeing
Water bottle to use when walking and sightseeing
Sun hat, sunglasses, and sun cream
A comfortable pair of trainers or walking shoes for the walks – the paths are not difficult but can be slippery if wet.
Towel and swimming clothes
A warm jacket or fleece for cool evenings, some waterproofs, warm clothes, and insect repellent 

Water Included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout so all you need to do is bring a bottle to re-fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!

Reading List

The Rough Guide to the Baltic States - Jonathan Bousfield
Baltic Capitals - Bradt Travel Guides

Tallinn, Estonia

Practical Information

Passport

Estonia

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information offered below is to help you with that process. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

UK passport holders do not need visas for this trip. Other nationalities should check with the relevant embassies.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

There are no specific health risks on this trip.

Vaccination

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Estonia's Timezone:
Europe/Tallinn EEST (GMT +03:00)
Latvia's Timezone:
Europe/Riga EEST (GMT +03:00)
Lithuania's Timezone:
Europe/Vilnius EEST (GMT +03:00)

Electricity

Estonia's Electricity:

European plug ‐ 2 round pins.

Money

Estonia's Currency

The national currency of Estonia is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Exchange rates are correct at the time of publication.

Latvia's Currency

The national currency of Latvia is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

Lithuania's Currency

The national currency of Lithuania is the Euro (EUR), with an exchange rate at the time of publication of approximately 1.2 to the UK£ and 0.9 to the US$.

ATM Availability

It is best to change your money on arrival as the exchange rates are fair. You will visit lots of large cities and the guide will show you where to change money if you need to do so throughout the tour.

ATMs and banks are available in the larger cities. You can use credit/debit cards in many shops and restaurants though cash is usually preferred for smaller purchases.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

Lunch costs may vary depending on the venue, if you buy lunch en route at a local shop €5-8 will be enough, but if we stop at a café you are likely to spend closer to €12. Dinner will usually be about €15-20 (depending on what you choose). If you wish to have alcohol with your meal, a beer will cost around €3-4 and a bottle of wine €20-25. We suggest you budget around  €20-30 per day for meals.

Entrance fees to sites will be between €5 and €10.

Tipping

Our local staff are paid well and fairly for their work with Exodus. Tipping is at your discretion but many clients wish to tip their leaders and driver at the end of the trip, we suggest €20 for the guide and €10 for the driver. Most groups prefer to present the money to the leader at the end of the week with two separate envelopes (one for the leader and one for the driver). This is completely at your own discretion and to be used as a guideline only.

Responsible Tourism

Tourism can be a real help to local communities, providing income, positive cultural exchanges and a financial incentive to protect their natural environment. Ours is a 'total approach' to responsible tourism, covering everything from the way we plan and operate our trips to the practices of Exodus as a company. 

As much as possible, we try to use accommodations that are locally owned or at least employs local staff and uses local produce. When meals are not provided, our guides will recommend and encourage clients to visit local cafes and restaurants to try local delicacies. Purchasing fresh smoked fish is a good way to support local fishermen and their business.

 This trip includes visits to historical sites, museums, guided park and city tours by local guides where the profits generated from entrance fees and tours not only contributes to the upkeep of the place, but also provides job opportunities to those living in the surrounding communities. On entering the Curonian Spit, we have to pay ecological fees for our vehicle where the money goes to support the municipality of the area.

 Going on this trip supports the Beaver Ben Camp Charity Project organized by our local partner. It is a 10-day ecological summer camp to the Curonian Spit National Park for children from disadvantaged families. Through the camp, it aims to raise awareness on the environmental issues faced due to mass tourism and other human caused impacts. This provides a chance for the children to play a part in protecting the nature park and to let them know that they have the responsibility to protect the environment and minimise the negative impacts caused by humans. 

In March 2019, Exodus Travels launched the Exodus Travels Foundation where we support initiatives all around the world. But it cannot exist without travellers who care. Get involved or learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus here

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.