Get a spyglass and tour the Baltic States and Belarus! Minsk the capital of Belarus will offer you a unique example of Stalin Empire Style. Minsk literally meaning the place where people intermingle, this capital city of three million souls will give a grasp of the Big Communist Dream. A cold concrete Soviet city frozen in time you might imagine, not at all! Minsk has kept many beautiful sites with old architecture and people living there are really friendly. Then jump back to the West to discover the Baltic States. In Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, you will be impressed by the St-Anna Church, the Gate of Dawn and the 1579 old University. In Riga, the Freedom Monument and the Dome Cathedral organ will surprise you as well as the endless white sandy beaches of the nearby Latvian sea resort of Jurmala. Ultimately, the last glance in the spyglass will be for Tallinn, the capital of Estonia which proudly kept its medieval high walls around its gorgeous old Hanseatic Old Town. In this trip, many “coups de foudre”, you will get for sure!
Day 1 Thursday: Arrival in Minsk Arrival at the airport, optional transfer to Hotel Minsk**** or similar, check-in, welcome meeting.
Day 2 Friday: Minsk Minsk is one of the last undiscovered secrets of Europe, modern and historical at the same time, a green city with a cosmopolitan and bustling atmosphere and surprisingly bright, clean and safe. The morning sightseeing tour takes us to the Independence Square and the Independence Avenue with its amazing collection of Stalinist Classicism, the Old Town, the Island of Tears, the reconstructed Trinity District and the Janka Kupala Park. The afternoon offers optional visit to Museum of the Great Patriotic War with more than 8000 exhibits related to the devastating tragedy of WWII in Belarus.
Day 3 Saturday: Minsk The day offers and optional excursion to one of the greatest treasures of Belarus, Mir Castle, ca. 100 km southwest of Minsk, a UNESCO World heritage site. The castle is an exceptional example of a Central European fortification, reflecting in its design and layout successive cultural influences of Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance that blend harmoniously to create an impressive monument to the history of Belarus. The evening offers an optional dinner at Restaurant Gambarinus.
Day 4 Sunday: Minsk - Vilnius The morning is free in Minsk to explore more of the city individually. In the afternoon we are driving 180 km to reach Vilnius, check-in at Hotel Radisson Blu Lietuva **** or similar or similar.
Day 5 Monday: Vilnius Vilnius is known for its more than 1.200 medieval buildings and 48 churches. The morning sightseeing tour includes a panoramic tour of the city and a walking tour of the Old Town with Vilnius Cathedral, Gediminas Tower, Peter and Paul Church, St. Anne’s Church, Old University and the Gates of Dawn. The afternoon offers an optional excursion to Trakai, the medieval capital of Lithuania, with the well- preserved Trakai Castle, beautifully located on an island in Lake Galve. In the evening, enjoy an optional folklore dinner at Restaurant Belmontas.
Day 6 Tuesday: Vilnius - Riga Heading for Riga, the first stop is the Hill of Crosses, one of the most holy sites of Catholic Lithuania. After crossing into Latvia, we soon reach the magnificent Rundale Palace, the former summer residence of the Duke of Courland. Following a guided tour of the palace we travel through the rolling hills of Southern Latvia to reach Riga late afternoon, check-in at Hotel Wellton Riverside**** or similar.
Day 7 Wednesday: Riga Founded in 1201 by the German bishop Albert, Riga is the largest of the three Baltic capitals and boasts a real kaleidoscope of architectural styles. The walking tour of the Old Town includes Riga Castle, the Dome Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church, the Swedish Gate, the Three Brothers, the Large and Small Guilds and the Freedom Monument. The afternoon is reserved for an optional visit to Jurmala, the vibrant Latvian sea resort, famous for its wooden architecture and sandy beaches. The evening offers an optional organ concert at the Dome Cathedral.
Day 8 Thursday: Riga After we got acquainted with Riga we have the possibility of discovering medieval Latvia. The optional tour for this morning takes us to the stunning scenery of the Gauja National Park and the town of Sigulda. We listen to the medieval Latvian legend of the Rose of Turaida and see the ruins of the Episcopal Castle and of the Castle of the Knights of the Sword before we return to Riga. The afternoon offers an optional visit to the Riga Motor Museum which has an impressive collection of vintage car including a very unique collection of old Soviet limousines from the Kremlin Garage. In the evening enjoy an optional Latvian dinner at the stylish Restaurant Forest.
Day 9 Friday: Riga - Tallinn The tour continues along the coastal highway to the Estonian summer resort of Parnu. We do a short tour of the resort before we continue through the North Estonian land of forests and arrive in Tallinn early afternoon, check-in at the Hotel Radisson Blu Olympia**** or similar.
Day 10 Saturday: Tallinn Tallinn is a charming blend of medieval tranquillity and modern urban life. The medieval Old Town is a busy place in the summer with its many shops, galleries, souvenir markets, outdoor cafés and restaurants. The sightseeing tour takes us around the old medieval city walls and into the Old Town where we see Toompea Castle, Dome Church, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, medieval Old Town Hall and Great Guild Hall. In the afternoon an optional excursion is offered to Kadriorg Park and visit to KUMU, the award-winning new Estonian Art museum, with its collections of classic and contemporary fine art. The evening offers an optional medieval dinner at Restaurant Maikrahv.
Day 11 Sunday: Tallinn departure Optional transfer to the airport.
Visa Visa can be obtained at arrival at Minsk-2 International Airport for residents of countries, where there is no Belarus consulate. Residents of countries, where there is a Belarus consulate, are required to apply for visa here. Costs for visa support for issuing visa at consular departments in foreign countries are included into the prices. Supplement for visa support for issuing visa at Minsk-2 International Airport: EUR 10.00 pp.