The countries of the North-East shores of the Baltic are relatively unfamiliar to many of us and our tours are designed to introduce their unique cultural heritage and to explain the many outside influences which have made them into what they are today.
Our last tour to this part of the world was in May 2013 when we started our tour in Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius. In the 14th century, it was capital of the largest state in Europe, stretching from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Later, under Polish rule, it became a great cultural centre filled with monuments of Baroque architecture. We visited other historical sites in Lithuania before proceeding by bus to neighbouring Latvia and to Riga, a major Hanseatic port in the Middle Ages. Riga has recovered from the extensive damage it suffered in World War II and is a vibrant and beautifully-restored city with much to see. The northernmost Baltic state is Estonia. Its delightful capital Tallinn contains many echoes of the prosperous trading city it was in the Middle Ages.
A short ferry ride from Tallinn took us to Helsinki, capital of Finland, where we spent a couple of days in this elegant and exciting northern city before catching a train to St Petersburg. We arrived at the Finland Station, as Lenin did in April 1917 and the tour ended with three days in St Petersburg, during which we saw the highlights of this ‘Venice of the North’. For those who wished to visited the political heart and capital of the Russian Federation, we offered a three-day extension, travelling to Moscow by train and flying home from there. Those not opting for the extension flew home from St Petersburg.