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Premium Small-Group Coach Touring

Baltic States & Central Europe

THE BALTIC STATES & THE ESSENCE OF CENTRAL EUROPE

Day 1 - Sun 24 September
St Petersburg - Tallinn (1 night)
This morning we'll depart St Petersburg on an early morning flight to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. On our arrival at Tallinn';s International Airport we'll be met by our touring coach and local guide who'll escort us into the centre of the city to commence our walking tour of the medieval Old Town (pictured). We'll visit Toompea Hill with St Mary's Cathedral and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. We'll also see the Kadriorg Palace and the gothic Town Hall and Tower, along with the 500-year-old-pharmacy before we check into our hotel mid-afternoon. The rest of the day is at leisure until this evening's dinner in our hotel. (D)
Day 2 - Mon 25 September
Tallinn - Riga (2 nights)
Today we head south, with a lunch stop at the beach resort of Parnu, on Estonia's coastline in the Gulf of Riga. Take time to promenade along the beachfront with its stone jetties, and view the 19th century timber villas. We'll continue to follow the coast, crossing the border into Latvia, and onwards to its capital, Riga. This evening you're free to wander its interesting streets and find a good restaurant for dinner - maybe the stylish Restaurant La Boheme? (B)
Day 3 - Tues 26 September
Riga - Sightseeing
First up today we'll join our local guide for a walking tour of Riga, one of the most beautiful cities of the Baltic States. Founded on the Baltic Sea in 1201 this cosmopolitan city was described by Ernest Hemingway to be the 'Paris of the North'. It boasts more than 800 art nouveau buildings along with a lively night life. Our walking tour of the Old City includes Riga Castle, the Dome Cathedral, the Swedish Gate (pictured), and the Freedom Monument. This afternoon why not stroll amongst its tall buildings and narrow streets? Perhaps visit the Ethnographical Open Air Museum, or in the evening enjoy an organ concert at Dome Cathedral? There's much to do. (B)
Day 4 - Wed 27 September
Riga - Vilnius (2 nights)
We'll drive through the rolling hills of southern Latvia, cross the border, and then stop at the Hill of Crosses, one of the most holy sites of Catholic Lithuania. A place of pilgrimage, it's estimated that more than 100,000 crosses have been placed here by pilgrims, probably since 1831, following a local uprising. We'll continue southeast through the Lithuanian countryside, which consists of many scattered forests, lakes and rivers. Upon reaching our third Baltic capital, our evening is ours and we're free to explore and dine in the medieval surroundings of Vilnius. (B)
Day 5 - Thur 28 September
Vilnius - Sightseeing
With a more Baroque style, and also being described as the more Bohemian of the three Balkan capitals, Vilnius is renowned for its more than 1200 medieval buildings and 48 churches! We'll join our specialist local guide on a walking tour through one of the largest historical centres in Europe (pictured). The Gediminas Tower, Vilnius Cathedral, Old University and the Gates of Dawn are among many of the attractions on our route. This evening we'll enjoy a Lithuanian dinner at the renowned Belmontas Tavern accompanied by rousing folklore music. (BD)
Day 6 - Fri 29 September
Vilnius - Warsaw (2 nights)
This morning we drive through the southern region of Lithuania, crossing into Poland, and the eastern fringe of the Masurian region, which contains around 2000 lakes. We'll stop in Bialystok, which was a finalist for the European Capital of Culture in 2016. After suffering many reversals, during various wars and invasions over the centuries, this city is now a thriving metropolis which boasts many universities and its Medical Academy is one of the best in Poland. It';s also the home of Albert Sabin, who discovered the polio vaccine named after him. After time for lunch we'll continue our journey to Poland's capital, Warsaw, where we'll have time for exploration around our hotel before finding a local restaurant for dinner. (B)
Day 7 - Sat 30 September
Warsaw - Sightseeing
Today, with our local guide, we become acquainted with Warsaw, and visit its glorious monument to the Stalinist era, the Palace of Culture and Science. Next, it's Radziwell Palace and a visit to the Jewish Ghetto Memorial. After a stroll in the reconstructed Old Town, (photo) we'll return to our hotel where there's time to relax or continue to explore Warsaw at our leisure. (B)
Day 8 - Sun 01 October
Warsaw - Poznań - Berlin (2 nights)
Westward ho across Poland today we cross the Vistula along with the Warta and Oder rivers, before we pause for lunch in Renaissance style Poznań, one of the most important Polish cities of the 10th & 11th centuries. More recently, it was the home town of Field Marshal Paul von Hindenburg, President of the Weimar Republic, and also Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, the operatic soprano. Don't forget to try a St Martin's croissant in Market Square in the old city area, before we continue to the German border, and then Berlin. This evening we'll enjoy the vibrancy of a city that was once the focus of the Cold War years, split by the Wall (der Mauer), leaving the western sector an island in the middle of East Germany. (B)



Day 9 - Mon 02 October
Berlin - Sightseeing and Excursion to Potsdam
This rejuvenated city has much to offer so this morning we'll visit Berlin's famous landmark, the Brandenburg Gate (photo) and then drive along the Unter den Linden, past the spectacular State Opera House and the Alexanderplatz. With our local guide we'll visit the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, and learn about some of the ingenious methods used to escape from East to West. After lunch we'll cross the River Spree to Potsdam via the Glienicke Bridge where, during the cold war, spies were exchanged between the East and the West. We'll visit the Schloss Cecilienhof and the gardens of the Sanssouci Palace of Frederick the Great, before returning to Berlin and our hotel where there's time to shop on the fashionable Kurfürstendamm, or perhaps visit more museums, such as the Pergamon, or a dinosaur skeleton at the Natural History Museum? Maybe a local currywurst for dinner, washed down with a Berliner Kindl beer, or visit the Bavarian Hofbrau Beerhall? (B)
Day 10 - Tues 03 October
Berlin - Dresden - Prague (2 nights)
On our journey south towards Prague today, we will visit Dresden capital city of the State of Saxony. Situated on the river Elbe, Dresden was the site of controversial bombing raids in WWII by both the British and American Air Forces (pictured: the reconstructed Frauenkirche). Although the city contained both military and industrial targets, most of the 25,000 killed were women and children. Enjoy a hearty Saxon lunch in one of the many restaurants in the restored Aldstadt, situated on the banks of the Elbe. We'll then cross the border to the Czech Republic, and proceed to the Bohemian capital, Prague. Refresh yourself with a famous Pilsner, or perhaps a local wine? (B)
Day 11 - Wed 04 October
Prague - Sightseeing
Today with our local guide we follow the ancient path of the coronation procession of the Kings of Bohemia, view the baroque buildings and gothic churches in the vast old town square and continue to the Astronomical Clock and on to the Charles Bridge (pictured). We'll also take in Hradcany and visit the Castle district, the Strahov Monastery and St Vitus' Cathedral and stroll along the Golden Lane. This afternoon there's time to shop for Bohemian crystal before tonight's special dinner and local folklore show. (BD)
Day 12 - Thur 05 October
Prague - Auschwitz - Krakow (1 night)
Today we journey eastwards returning to Poland to visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp. Words alone cannot describe the horrific crimes committed here, as we'll discover during our guided tour. It's then a short drive to Krakow at the foot of the Carpathian Mountains and dating back to the Stone Age. The former Archbishop of Krakow, Karol Wojtyla, Pope John Paul II, became the first non-Italian Pope since 1523. Tonight, perhaps sample Polish sausage or beetroot soup, in one of the many cafes and bars close to our hotel. Whatever you choose it may taste better with a glass of slivovitz, a plum brandy produced in many east & central European countries. (B)
Day 13 - Fri 06 October
Krakow - Vienna (2 nights)
We'll discover the highlights of Krakow on a guided tour that includes Wawel Hill and Wawel Castle as well as Krakow's stunning Cathedral and historic Old Town. After leaving Krakow in the late morning we'll arrive in Vienna, Austria's capital, in the early evening where the rest of the day is for us to use at our leisure. (B)
Day 14 - Sat 07 October
Vienna - Sightseeing
Our guided sightseeing shows us imperial and modern Vienna. We'll view the State Opera House, Town Hall, House of Parliament, the Hofburg complex and St Stephens Cathedral. We'll visit the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn (pictured) and this evening we'll farewell our tour in style when we drive to Grinzing for an evening of regional cuisine and traditional Viennese music at a 'heurige' wine tavern. (BD)
Day 15 - Sun 08 October
Depart Vienna
This morning our touring holiday ends after breakfast with individual transfers to a Vienna Railway Station or Vienna International Airport for onward journeys. Guests who remain in Vienna and stay on at the tour hotel will also receive a complimentary transfer on the day of their departure. (B)

Note: The above itinerary is subject to change necessitated by any change in Community regulations as well as changes by Government and/or natural circumstances beyond our control.