10-Nights The Baltics & Helsinki - Connections Boutique Group Journeys
The Baltics & Helsinki
Set forth on an unhurried journey through Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland, discovering former Soviet republics steeped in complex history, capital cities dressed in stunning architecture and progressive cultures along the coast.
- Discover four countries, including little-known but fascinating Baltic gems, and Finnish design-forward legend, Helsinki
- Visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the deeply storied, culture-heavy Old Towns of Vilnius and Riga
- Take an entertaining tour of Latvia's architectural gem, Rundale Palace, complete with ghost stories and extravagant gardens
- Explore Riga's National Opera House during an exclusive backstage visit
- Join an Estonian sculptor for a master class at his gallery
- Discover the history of modern Finnish design on a visit to the Iittala & Arabia Design Center
- 19 meals, with 10 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners
10 nights from $4395 per person
Often referred to as "Pearl of the Baltic," this neat city is known for impressive architecture, wide boulevards, and beautiful harbor. Grand Senate Square, dominated by exquisite Tuomio Church and onion domes of Russian Orthodox Uspenski Cathedral, is an example of neo-Classical, Empire-style impressive architecture. Visit the lively harborfront market and Temppeliaukioa Church (Rock Church), which was created in the 60's from man-made and natural materials. Finland’s musical heritage comes alive in great Finlandia Hall, designed by renowned architect Alvar Aalto. Finland’s beloved composer, Jean Sibelius, is remembered by a beautiful monument on Helsinki’s outskirts. Helsinki has good museums displaying everything from art to architectural design. Open-air Museum - the small wooded island of Seurasaari - has a collection of vernacular buildings assembled from all over Finland which provide insight into how country folk lived until recently. Suomenlinna Fortress is the largest in the world and often called Gibraltar of the North.
Tallinn's many occupations over the centuries have resulted in a cultural mix and unique ambiance of this maritime city. Old Town's cobbled streets and 13th-14th century buildings attract thousands of visitors annually who admire the city’s heritage of medieval buildings, the imposing City Hall, the Orthodox Cathedral, Toompea Castle and Oleviste Church. See former guild houses, including the Great Guildhall of the medieval Hanseatic League. Other attractions include impressive Town Hall Square with 15th century Gothic Town Hall, and numerous Gothic churches including Toomekirik. Toompea Castle has fine views over Tallinn. In Hirve Park, Estonians have rallied recently in protest of foreign occupation. "Tall Herman" and "Fat Margaret" are two towers among the remnants of the original defense walls. The "Fat Margaret" tower now houses a Maritime Museum on Tallinn’s history as a busy port. Other museums include: The House of Knights on Toompea Hill which displays Estonian art from the 19th and 20th centuries; the Museum of Decorative and Applied Art.
Now reasserting its proud Baltic heritage after the return of Latvia's independence, this ancient Hanseatic river-port is the largest city of the Baltic States and a showcase for the restored Old Riga with its cobbled pedestrian streets, towers and spires of medieval churches and venerable facades of gabled 17th century German merchants' homes. It is surrounded by a moat and contains several medieval buildings, including a 13th-century cathedral and guild halls from the 14th century. Riga is still historically and architecturally fascinating.
Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania and one of the country's oldest cities. It stretches along both banks of the fast flowing Neris River, and is set among hills pine forests. Vilnius is very old city indeed. The honor for founding Vilnius is justly given to Gediminas (a Lithuanian Duke) in the year 1323. Having declared Vilnius his "royal town", Gediminas created the conditions for its subsequent growth as the political, economical and cultural center of Lithuania. The fortress on Castle Hill was used for defense purposes and was called the Upper Castle.
Following the craftsmen in other European towns at the end of the 15th century, Vilnius craftsmen began to join together by professions into guilds. Many Catholic churches and monasteries appeared in the town. Stone buildings sprang up inside the Lower Castle. The new Cathedral was among them. Crafts and trade continued to develop in the 16th century. Many beautiful new buildings in the late Gothic and Renaissance style appeared in the town. The most significant event in the cultural life of 16th century Lithuania was the founding of the Vilnius Academy in 1579, which was endowed with the rights and privileges of a university. In 1795 Vilnius became the center of a new gubernia consisting of the lands annexed to the Russian Empire. A number of new Classical style buildings were built, including the Cathedral, which had been reconstructed at the end of the 18th century, a new town hall, and the Governor-Generals' Palace. In 1860, a railway, the first in Lithuania, crossed Vilnius and connected with St. Petersburg and Warsaw.
During World War I Vilnius was occupied by the Kaiser's troops for three and a half years. On 16 February, 1918, Lithuanian Council in Vilnius proclaimed an independent Lithuanian Republic. In the autumn of 1920, Vilnius and the region to which it belonged were occupied by Poland. On October 10th, 1939, Lithuania and the Soviet Union signed a treaty on mutual aid, in accordance with which Vilnius and the Vilnius Region were returned to Lithuania. In 1940, Vilnius became the capital of Soviet Lithuania, which meant it was an administrative center of occupied Lithuania.
On March 11th, 1990, the Supreme Council restored Lithuania's independence.
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All prices are per person, based on double occupancy, unless otherwise stated and are subject to availability and change without notice and does not include international or internal airfare. All prices are quoted in U.S. Dollars. Prices listed for each offer may pertain to specific departure dates. Single supplement applies. Other restrictions, blackout dates and holiday surcharges may apply.