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Best of the BalticJuly 2, 2013 - July 15, 2013
Priced from: $10,980
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Jul 2 - Jul 3 USA / Stockholm, Sweden
Depart on your independent overnight flight to Stockholm. Transfer to our hotel and gather Wednesday evening for a welcome dinner and briefing.
July 4 Stockholm / Embark Island Sky
Built on 14 islands, a tour of Sweden’s capital city takes you to the island of Djugarden, home of the famous warship, Vasa, as well as Skansen, the world’s oldest open-air museum, which displays a collection of historic Swedish buildings. Explore Gamla Stan, one of the best-preserved medieval city centers in the world and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Continue through charming cobble-stoned streets lined with 13th-century buildings to visit the Royal Palace. This evening board the Island Sky.
July 5 Helsinki, Finland
This morning attend lectures introducing the dynamic countries ringing the Baltic. The capital of Finland since 1812, Helsinki is a cosmopolitan city with a small-town feel. This afternoon’s city tour reveals the beautiful neo-classical architecture of Senate Square and allows you the opportunity to stroll through picturesque Market Square, where numerous vendors offer a variety of Finnish foods and souvenirs. Or choose to tour Suomenlinna Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built by Sweden in 1748 to protect Helsinki’s harbor.
Jul 6 - Jul 7 St. Petersburg, Russia
We arrive in splendid St. Petersburg in the early afternoon and enjoy two days of exploration. Visit St. Isaac’s Cathedral and the Winter Palace which houses Catherine the Great’s incomparable Hermitage Museum. Enjoy an advanced entry and special guided tour which includes the Gold Room—a dazzling display of jewelry, as well as the famous Scythian and Greek gold. Drive across the Neva River to the burial place of the tsars, Peter and Paul Cathedral, its 18th-century spire dominates the skyline. Visit the spectacular Church of the Resurrection and drive along Russia’s most famous street, the Nevsky Prospect, lined with magnificent palaces, churches, and theaters. A scenic drive takes you to the magnificent palace and gardens of Peterhof, a grand summertime residence built by Peter the Great.
July 8 Tallinn, Estonia
Today set out for old town Tallinn, a visual feast of soaring spires, towers, and turrets. After a renaissance in restoration and reconstruction, Tallinn proudly proclaims itself the finest preserved city in the Baltic. In the upper Old Town visit Palace Square and the magnificent cupola-crowned Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. In the lower Old Town visit the Town Hall Square, once a medieval marketplace; one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, founded in 1422; and stroll along St. Catherine’s Passage in the Latin Quarter. You will also visit Kadriorg Palace and Park, built by Peter the Great as a summer residence.
July 9 Riga, Latvia
Your day in Latvia showcases the riches of this 800-year-old Hanseatic river port. A walking tour takes you to multiple land-marks, including the Blackheads House, one of the oldest buildings in Riga; St. Peter’s Church, a superb Gothic masterpiece; the 15th-century Three Brothers merchant houses; and St. Jacob and St. John churches. Also visit the 13th-century Dome Cathedral, whose organ concerts are legendary. Continue your exploration by motorcoach, driving past lovely parks along the City Canal lined with the stunning Art Nouveau architecture built in 1899 during the Jugendstil movement. There is free time this afternoon to explore Riga on your own.
July 10 Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden
Spend a relaxing morning at sea and attend lectures from our experts. After lunch arrive at Gotland Island, the largest island in the Baltic. The splendid city of Visby, a World Heritage Site, is famous for its intact medieval architecture, especially the 44 guard towers built as part of the city walls in the 11th and 12th centuries. Drive to Almedalen, a green oasis in the city center, then walk past lovely medieval granaries and the city’s oldest building, the Powder Tower. Visit the Botanical Garden, known for its exotic plant collection and take a ride up to a splendid panoramic viewpoint of the city and its spires. Continue your tour on foot along charming cobblestone streets, to visit the impressive St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Gotland Museum with its excellent medieval collections.
July 11 Klaipeda, Lithuania
Today you drive to the amber center of Palanga. A stroll through the Botanical Park with its 500 varieties of trees and bushes, takes you to the Amber Museum, housed in a 19th-century neo-Renaissance-style mansion. Afterward drive to the Old Town for a walking tour. From beautiful Theater Square, explore the narrow streets that meander between the charming half-timbered houses and shops.
July 12 Gdansk, Poland
Enjoy a full day in this city whose history spans nearly 1,000 years. Stop at the Solidarity Monument, in front of the Gdansk shipyard, then view the exhibition, Roads to Freedom, a fascinating audio-visual portrayal of those important, world-changing events. A walking tour through lively Old Town reveals a magnificent collection of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings and monuments. We pass through the Golden Gate and walk down Long Street to the 15th-century Palace of Artus, where Neptune’s Fountain commemorates Gdansk’s Hanseatic past. Also visit medieval St. Mary’s Church, the world’s largest brick church. After lunch onboard there is time at leisure for further exploration.
July 13 Bornholm Island, Denmark
After breakfast step ashore on serene Bornholm Island, endowed with sugar-white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, thick forests, and heather-clad hills. Visit the ruins of Hammershus Castle, Scandinavia’s largest medieval fortress; the unique, round 12th-century churches, Osterlars and Nylars; and the charming half-timbered fishing hamlet of Gudhjem. You may also choose to visit art studios renowned for their glass blowing and pottery.
July 14 Copenhagen, Denmark / Disembark
This morning enjoy a tour of Denmark’s capital city. Pass by the Tivoli Gardens, the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, and drive through the picturesque canals district past the National Museum, and Christiansborg Palace. Continue on to the old Stock Exchange and across Kongens Nytorv, where you can see the Royal Theater, world famous for its Royal Ballet. Pass the colorful harbor of Nyhavn to Amelienborg Palace followed by a visit to the Rosenborg Palace, which boasts fine collections including the royal crown jewels. After lunch at a local restaurant check in to our hotel with the evening at leisure to pursue your individual interests in this dynamic city. Dinner and overnight at our hotel.
July 15 Copenhagen / USA
After breakfast transfer to the airport for your independent flight homeward.