China Span + One Globe
The Baltic countries are not at the top of most people’s list when traveling to Europe. However, these less traveled countries offer a more authentic experience to the forgotten history of Eastern Europe from their medieval history to the hard fought wars for independence against the Soviet. Sitting on top of each other on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania constitute the Baltic countries as commonly known. Each of their capitals is a UNESCO World Heritage site with cobbled streets, medieval churches, old houses reminiscent of the bygone age and fascinating cultural heritages.
We will start our trip from Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. Unlike most European cities with tourist attractions scattered all around, most of Vilnius’ places of interest are around the main square. We can explore the Baroque style architecture in the old town, Orthodox and Catholic churches and climb to a viewpoint for a sweeping view of the beautiful city.
Our trip includes an interesting destination, Kaliningrad, a little extra chunk of Russia between Lithuania and Poland on the Baltic Sea. It’s known for amber products, with most of the world’s harvestable amber still lying off its coast. We will spend our time to explore the city and understand its history.
Next we move on back to Lithuania and make a stop in Curonian Spit, a UNESCO World Heritage site and national park with fisherman villages, forests and white sand dunes. We will reach Klaipeda during the weekend of the Sea Festival which started in 1934. It is a joyful festival with free street concerts, bustling markets, carnival where people dress up as mythological sea creatures, sailing events, fishermen competition and performances.
As we head towards the south, we will reach Riga, the stunning medieval capital city of Latvia. The city’s most notable landmark is Riga Cathedral, considered to be the biggest of its kind in the Baltic. It also has many other extravagant Art Nouveau buildings and manicured 19th century parks, plenty of sights for us to see. Latvia is endowed with many natural beauties and the Gauja National Park is one of the best manifestations, a visit we will not miss. It is reputed as the Switzerland of Latvia.
Continuing to Estonia, we will spend a night in the university town of Tartu, considered to be the intellectual center of the country. Because of its young and creative population, the city is filled with stunning art installation. We will end our trip in Tallinn, one of the most fairy-tale-like medieval cities of all. It is also an exciting mix of old and new nowadays. Tallinn Old Town is one of the best preserved Hanseatic town centers in the world. Not far we will find the city’s business center with modern towers, large shopping malls and trendy neighborhoods.
This is a trip to explore Europe along an off-the-beaten-path. The sights are exhilarating, the people are warm and the food is delicious, all without the throngs of tourists. Come and join us!
Day 1. arrive in Vilnius, Lithuania
Day 2. Vilnius
Day 3. to Kaunas
Day 4-5. to Kaliningrad
Day 6-7. to Klaipeda, Lithuania
Day 8-9. to Riga, Latvia
Day 10. to Sigulda
Day 11. to Tartu, Estonia
Day 12-14. to Tallinn
Day 15. trip ends in Tallinn