Best of the Baltic
Based on the expeditionary nature of our trips, there may be ongoing enhancements to this itinerary.
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.
Depart USA / Stockholm, SwedenJuly 4 — July 5
Board your independent overnight flight to Stockholm. Transfer to our hotel, and gather Friday evening for a welcome dinner and briefing.
Stockholm / Embark SerenissimaJuly 6
Join a half-day tour of this dynamic city with lunch at a local restaurant. Board the Serenissima this afternoon.
Turku, FinlandJuly 7
Today visit Turku, the oldest city in Finland and its one-time capital. Your tour includes the 13th-century castle and cathedral, the handicrafts museum, and lively market. Conditions permitting, board local boats to cruise among verdant islands and rocky outcroppings of the scenic Turku archipelago.
The capital of Finland since 1812, Helsinki is a cosmopolitan city with a small-town feel. A city tour reveals the beautiful neoclassical 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.
St. Petersburg, RussiaJuly 9 — July 10
Arrive in splendid St. Petersburg in the late morning 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 palace and gardens of Peterhof, a grand summertime residence built by Peter the Great.
Tallinn, EstoniaJuly 11 — July 12
Spend two days exploring Tallinn. The old town is 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.
Riga, LatviaJuly 13
Your day in Latvia showcases the riches of this 800-year-old Hanseatic river port. A walking tour takes you to multiple landmarks, 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 both 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.
Visby, Gotland Island, SwedenJuly 14
Disembark this morning 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.
Klaipeda, LithuaniaJuly 15
Today, 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.
Gdansk, PolandJuly 16
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 and world-changing events. A walking tour through lively Old Town reveals a magnificent collection of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings and monuments. 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.
Bornholm Island, DenmarkJuly 17
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.
Copenhagen / Disembark / USAJuly 18
Arrive in Copenhagen and disembark the Serenissima. Transfer to the airport for your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the same day.