Stockholm & The Baltics in Winter

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$2,085 NZD
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Leisurely
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Trip code: 
CES
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Winter
Min age:
16
Group size:
6–20

Visit Sweden & the Baltics at Winter time

As cold winter nights descend over Northern Europe, the pretty capitals of Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia come alive. We start our tour in Stockholm, here there is a delightful old town to explore; alternatively there are plenty of galleries and museums to enjoy. The highlight being the Vasa Museum, housing the 18th century warship of the same name which sank on her maiden voyage, raised in 1961 and painstakingly restored to its former glory. The fairy-tale old towns of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn take on a charming quality, filled with market stalls selling everything from hand crafted wooden decorations to local tipple. However these markets are not the only highlight of this trip. In each city we will enjoy fantastic guided tours, learning how they have changed through the ages. From leading centres of commerce, to closed communist states for a large part of the 20th century, to the proud modern independent nations they are today. Outside the cities we visit the unique Hill of Crosses, the spectacular Rundale Palace and Trakai Castle.

For any fans of Tolstoy’s War and Peace and the recent hit TV series, this trip offers a fantastic opportunity to wander through some of the spectacular filming locations which were used throughout the show. The beautiful old town of Vilnius was used extensively throughout filming and many of the locations visited on our city tour are immediately recognisable. The Rundale Palace was also a popular location for the show as the grand interior acted as the perfect backdrop for many scenes.

Highlights

  • Visit Sweden, Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania
  • Experience traditional Christmas markets
  • Visit the Hill of Crosses and Trakai Castle

Key information

  • 6 days guided sightseeing
  • Group normally 6 to 20, plus guide. Min age 16 yrs
  • 6 night’s in 3-star hotels, all en suite
  • 1 night on an overnight ferry with shared facilities 

 

What's included

  • Flights (if booking flight inclusive)
  • All accommodation 
  • 1 night overnight ferry crossing from Sweden to Estonia 
  • Transfer by air-conditioned coach
  • All breakfasts 
  • Walking tours of Vilnius, Riga, Tallinn and Stockholm
  • All listed excursions 
  • English speaking guide throughout

What's not included

  • Travel insurance 
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas and vaccinations
  • Upgrade to outside facing cabin on ferry (available on request)
Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
+61 3 9998 9052
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Explore Stockholm.

    The tour starts at our hotel in Stockholm where the guide will meet you in the evening.

  • Day 2

    Stockholm city tour; overnight ferry to Tallinn.

    After breakfast you will have a guided tour around the fascinating city of Stockholm. The tour will start in the Gamla Stan (old town) passing through the narrow streets and alleyways of the mediaeval part of the city. The afternoon is free to enjoy the city at your own pace. You can re-visit areas from the morning's tour, or we recommend the spectacular Vasa Museum, housing the 17th century war ship which sank in Stockholm harbour in 1628 before being salvaged from the mud in 1961. Or you can take one of the harbour cruises, these are a great way to see the city even in winter. You will board the overnight ferry to Tallinn at 17.30pm and enjoy dinner on board.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Arrive in Tallinn; afternoon city walking tour.

    The overnight ferry will arrive in Tallinn at around 10.45am. Your luggage will be transported to the hotel whilst you enjoy a guided walking tour around Tallinn. This compact capital city dates back to as early as 1154, and was a notable settlement during the time of the Hanseatic League, much like Riga. Walking through medieval cobbled streets we will explore the Town Hall Square, Toompea Palace, and castle, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral, St Nicolas Church and a 15th century pharmacy – one of the oldest in Europe. The afternoon is free for shopping at the Tallinn Christmas market; here you will find a great selection of handmade gifts, traditional Christmas decorations and delicious festive treats. Overnight in Tallinn City, just outside the old town.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Free morning in Tallinn; transfer to Riga.

    After breakfast you will have some free time for some shopping, or further sightseeing around Tallinn. You will then have a scenic transfer via the seaside resort of Parnu to the historic city of Riga and its central market, the largest of its kind in Eastern Europe. You will arrive in Riga at about 6pm and have the option to eat at the hotel or go for a stroll through the city to a restaurant. Overnight in Riga where you will be staying in a historic town house in the old town.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Guided tour around Riga, afternoon at your leisure.

    Riga is the largest city in the Baltic States and is most well-known for its art nouveau architecture and historic UNESCO old town, dating back to the time of the Hanseatic League. Your morning tour will take in Riga Castle, The Dome Cathedral, St Peter’s Church, the buildings of the Great and Small Guild Halls, and the Monument to Freedom. You will then have a free afternoon to enjoy one of the largest Christmas markets on the tour. This is the perfect opportunity to try some local specialties including smoked sausage, caraway cheese, local fruit and Kvas the local beer made from rye bread. For the braver souls there's home-made liqueurs and vodka! Overnight in Riga.
    Comfortable hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Transfer to Rundale and the Hill of Crosses; overnight in Vilnius.

    This morning you will leave Riga and head south towards Vilnius. The first stop will be at the Rundale Palace, this palace was designed for the Duke of Courland in the 18th century by Italian architect Rastrelli, who also designed the Winter Palace and Peterhof in St. Petersburg. Today, the palace is the most magnificent example of baroque architecture in the Baltic States. After a tour of the palace you will have a transfer across the border into Lithuania and to the Hill of Crosses, near Siauliai. This site has become a place of pilgrimage for Catholics all over the world and an estimated one hundred thousand crosses, crucifixes, carvings and rosaries engulf the small hill. During the Soviet Occupation the site also became a symbol of the nation’s struggle for independence, so much so the communist government attempted to bulldoze the site on at least two occasions, but with no luck. Overnight in Vilnius.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Vilnius City tour and Trakai Castle.

    Morning walking tour of Vilinus Old Town, the area was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994, and is one of the largest in Northern Europe. The tour will encompass all the main attractions including: Vilnius Cathedral and Square, The Gate of Dawn, and the city’s historic university. After lunch you will travel out of the city to Trakai, the capital of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The town is best known for its stone castle situated on a small island in the nearby lake, dating back to the early part of the 14th century. Overnight in Vilnius.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Trip ends in Vilnius.

    After breakfast the trip ends in Vilnius.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

British passport holders do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the relevant authorities.

Vaccinations

No vaccinations are obligatory.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts included, these will be buffet style and taken in the hotel. They offer plenty of choice, including cold meat, cheese, eggs, bread, jams and juice.

Dinner is not included, but each city has a huge selection of restaurants to choose from. Our guide will be able to advise on venues that best fit your taste and budget.

Cuisine in the Baltic States is often centred around pork, veal, fish, potatoes, sauerkraut and soups such as borsch (beetroot soup with meat, in Lithuania this is also served cold). Dumplings are also very popular and in Vilnius, large, baked dumplings called cepelinai are traditionally served and are very good. In Stockholm you will find carefully prepared ingredients such as game, fish and shellfish, and the best that Swedish farms have to offer. Select a dish with the flavours of the Swedish sea or forest, or enjoy a traditional smorgasbord with herring, salmon and many other delicacies - and Swedish meatballs, of course!

Weather

During the winter months all four countries experience cold weather, sometimes with heavy snow fall. However the air is dry and sunny skies are common, so temperatures shouldn't feel too cold.

CES

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded as Leisurely (1)

Most mornings will be spent on historical walking tours, while the afternoons are free for you to enjoy each city at your leisure. The drives between each city are in modern air conditioned coaches and journey times between each destination can be up to 5 hours in length, but these will be broken up with adequate stops along the way. On board the ferry we stay in two or four berth inside cabins, with single or double accommodation. Upgrades to outside facing (A class) cabins are available on request, please enquire when booking for up to date prices. Entry to Trakai Castle, The Hill of Crosses and Rundale Palace are included. Any other excursions are optional and paid locally.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
+61 3 9998 9052
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

We spend 6 nights in 3 star hotels, all properties are centrally located and within walking distance of all the main sights. Some hotels have sauna's and swimming facilities.
The trip also includes one night on a ferry cruise from Tallinn to Stockholm, the atmosphere on the ship is fantastic making this a night to remember.

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
+61 3 9998 9052
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
0800 643 997
Call for tailormade trips:
+61 3 9998 9052
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

All too often the first couple of months of a year are scarred by broken resolutions and shattered fitness aspiration

  • Reviewed December 2017
    Kathy Macey

    This holiday was like 5 mini adventures in 1!

    All very different experiences enhanced by the winter scenes and family atmospheres - and of course, the company of a really fun group and competent leader. Stockholm - a cosmopolitan city with lots going on (Vasa Museum is a must) Tallin, Riga and Vilnius - so interesting and sombering to learn of their struggles in the past but now their happy and proud approach to life. Narrow alleyways lead out to the fortified walls around the quaint Old Town Squares and in contrast now high end shops in modern pedestrianised shopping malls. Vilnius had the largest market I've ever seen - you could buy almost anything there and the quality of foodstuffs excellent. The Christmas Markets were in full swing with the little huts selling lots of interesting local products and varying types of Grogg/Glogg and other mysterious alcoholic concoctions!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Several : The Vasa Museum in Stockholm - amazing how they salvaged this huge vessel The KGB Museum in Riga - learning of those sad times under Soviet occupation The opulence of The Rundale Palace in Vilnius, The Hill of Crosses & beautiful Trakai Castle Experiencing Roasted Beaver !!!! ....but the best: The magical scene coming out of the restaurant on our last night into the Old Town Square snow falling steadily caught in the Christmas Tree lights - another photo opportunity! - but more magical seeing the delight of one of our fellow travellers who had never seen snow like this before - priceless! Needless to say he was the victim of our snowball fight. Sorry Arun!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jolita - caring, considerate, clear and concise - passionate about her homeland. After checking into our hotels she would always stay around the reception area for half an hour or so to deal with any questions/issues we may have had. .....and she bought us chocolates!! Jolita is a true credit to Exodus.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Time is precious and limited and if you should see anything you may wish to buy - get it when you see it. Clothing wise, yes it was said many times by Jolita - dress like a cabbage - i.e. layers! The walking tours of the towns obviously do spend time standing around talking/questioning/explaining - so wrap up warm and make sure you have adequate footwear for the cobbled streets. Whilst we enjoyed snow and freezing temperatures a shot of the local tipple will warm your body, mind and spirits - well it did ours! Happy travelling in The Baltics!
  • A good Baltic overview

    Stockholm plus the Baltic capitals and a few stops between them. It gives you some sense of the history of the Baltic republics, their similarities and differences, and what life was like when they were Soviet Socialist Republics. The trip notes describe this as a Christmas markets trip, but most of them didn't open till the first weekend of December - our late November departure was too early. We caught the one in Tallin, which was pretty and pleasant but not exactly impressive. Stockholm deserves extra time. Arrive two or three days early if you've never been there, and don't worry about changing money - they don't even like cash. The ferry is sort of a low-end cruise ship - bar, buffet, entertainment, that sort of thing. Clothing: layers layers layers! We had temps right around freezing the whole time, which is very manageable if you plan properly.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably the Hill of Crosses and the history behind it.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jolita was outstanding!
  • Reviewed December 2015
    Fiona Mitchell

    CES 2015

    Interesting and varied 1 week trip giving a good introduction to the 4 countries. Good mixture of activities sightseeing, Christmas Markets. Highlights of trip were Runsdale Palace, Hill of Crosses and Trakai Castle and beautiful capital cities visited

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Overnight ferry from Stockholm to Tallin, ships official and unofficial entertainment was very memorable.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent very good knowledge of all countries and activities, keep everything running smoothly

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Baltic countries appear more expensive that Eastern European Countries e.g. Poland Dress warmly and use coffee shops tactically to warm up, we were lucky with the weather (mild) but in cities you will out walking most of day
  • Reviewed December 2015

    Superb Winter Visit of 4 Charming Cities

    This was my first trip with Exodus and I chose it because how it seemed such an unusual and interesting area of the world to explore. I was not disappointed; each town was brimming with life, with good cultural visits to break up the long drives, good food and a superb leader made the trip unforgettable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Climbing to the top of the viewpoint over Tallinn at night time and seeing the city from above.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jolita was excellent, really enthusiastic and generous. My hands were cold (despite already wearing gloves) so she very kindly gave me a couple of handwarmers. Touches like this, and giving us local sweets on the long drives, made us feel very welcome. With seemingly limitless knowledge and enthusiasm for the cities, it made the trip a pleasure having her guide us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring two pairs of socks for each day, maybe two pairs of gloves too as a lot of the walking tours involve a lot of stopping so you'll get cold! Sea-sickness tablets for the ferry, as we hit a storm - you can never be too careful! Oh and make the most of the markets at night, they look so amazing but you need to get there before they close (8pm-9pm)!
  • The Baltics in Winter

    A great way to get a taster of Sweden, Estonia, Latvia & Lithuania; to learn about the history of the Baltic region; and if you go in December, to get in the mood for the festive season.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Taking a ferry across the Baltic Sea was quite exciting for me as I'd never done anything like that before - including sitting on deck in the freezing cold night air! First seeing the fairy tale medieval centre of Tallinn. The afternoon excursion to Trakai in Lithuania - I loved the combination of woods, lakes and traditional wooden houses. The air smelled of wood smoke, the setting sun showed off the landscape to perfect effect and there's a lovely café with a view of the castle where you can warm up with a hot drink and freshly-baked ginger bread.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and really helped the group to gel. She couldn't have done any more to make us feel comfortable and get the most from the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Wear very warm clothing and foot wear for the walking city tours - it can get pretty nippy standing in the Baltic wind, especially if it's accompanied by rain, hail, sleet or snow! Take sea sickness tablets - just in case of a choppy Baltic crossing on the ferry.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Whistle stop tours of regions such as this aren't for everyone so it's important to have realistic expectations about what you can see, do and achieve in each destination. Also, hitting the road early is sometimes inevitable, so there aren't many opportunities for a lazy morning or to make use of the very nice hotel facilities for example.
  • Reviewed January 2015
    Craig Venes

    Stockholm and the Winter Baltics

    A whistle stop tour of the capitals of the Baltics and Sweden

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    We went to some free church concerts in Vilnius and Riga and they turned out to be really enjoyable. The KGB museum in Tallinn is well worth the 9 euro charge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The tour leader was very amiable and keen to make the group gel.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take warm clothes. Have a book or something else to do on the long drives as the scenery is not very inspring particularly in the very grey winter months.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would drop the very limited time in Stockholm and have more time in Riga or Tallinn.

Dates & Prices

Call us on 0800 643 997