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Witness a world transformed

  • 09/01/2020 - 09/14/2020
  • 14 Days
  • Starting price $4,895

Witness a world transformed with a fascinating and historic journey through the Baltic Capitals.  Discover Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, a UNESCO site, and one of Eastern Europe’s oldest “Old Towns.” While there, walk through the fascinating KGB Museum. Travel on to Trakai, Lithuania’s medieval capital, and visit 15th-century Trakai Castle. Tour magnificent 18th-century Rundale Palace.  Enjoy the Latvian capital, Riga, the “little Paris of the North.” Take a day trip to Sigulda’s Gauja National Park, the “Switzerland of Latvia.” Explore historic Tallinn, the Estonian capital. See Estonia’s open-air Rocca-al-Mare village museum. The journey ends in Czar Peter the Great’s “window on the West,” St. Petersburg, where touring includes St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Nevsky Prospekt, the Peter & Paul Fortress, and the Hermitage Museum. Join a local family for lunch, and visit the dramatic Peterhof palace.   

Open for booking soon! Call 1.800.293.5725 or email travel@architecturaladventures.org for more details.

Max. guests - 24

Architectural highlights

  • Take in the amazing UNESCO World Heritage site, Vilnius.
  • Explore the Peter and Paul Church, which contains over 2,000 stucco figurines by Italian sculptor Pietro Perti.
  • Marvel at the St. Mary’s Cathedral, Riga’s 13th-century red-brick cathedral that boasts a 6,789-pipe organ.
  • See the majestic 15th-century Trakai Castle, scenically located on an island in Lake Galve.
  • Admire the Rundale Palace, designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who also designed St. Petersburg’s magnificent Winter Palace.
  • Marvel at the Old Town section of Riga with cobblestone streets and buildings constructed during different periods of history including Romanticism, Gothic, Mannerism, Baroque, Eclectic, and Modernism.
  • See the Toompea Castle, an ancient stronghold which now houses the Estonian parliament.
  • Visit the Rocca-al-Mare open-air museum containing more than 100 traditional buildings transported from across the country.
  • Visit the Hermitage, one of the world’s greatest museums of fine art, which is located in the Winter Palace, home of the last of Russia’s czars.

 

More highlights

  • Attend a lunch with a local Russian family and get a fascinating look into the everyday life of an average family living in St. Petersburg.
  • Stroll down the famed Albert Street, known for its Art Nouveau buildings.
  • Explore the fascinating KGB Museum.
  • Enjoy the Hill of Crosses, which draws pilgrims from around the world, many of whom add their own small crosses to an ever-increasing mountain of religious icons.
  • See the Gauja National Park in the Gauja River Valley, called “little Switzerland” because of its deep gorges and flowing rivers.
  • Walk through the sobering Museum of Genocide Victims.

 

Accommodations

  • Set in the Old Town, Radisson Blu Astorija is an upscale Baroque-style hotel dating from 1901 and is a 6-minute walk from the landmark Gates of Dawn.
  • Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel is a quick 7-minute walk from the Freedom Monument, a 9-minute walk from the Latvian National Museum of Art and a 15-minute walk from Riga Cathedral.
  • Radisson Blu Sky Hotel is a contemporary high-rise hotel located close to the medieval Vanalinn (Old Town) district and the Kadriorg Palace.
  • Set in an opulent 19th-century building just off Nevsky Prospekt avenue, the polished Belmond Grand Hotel Europe is a 10 minutes walk from the Church of the Savior on Blood and 1.5 km from the waterfront Winter Palace.

 

Also included

  • 12  nights’ accommodations in listed properties
  • 24 meals: 12 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 7 dinners
  • An experienced Tour Director, in addition to the Architectural Adventures Educational Expert.
  • Entrance fees for all included visits
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout the trip
  • Gratuities for local guides, bus drivers, porters, airport, hotel and restaurant staff
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person

 

What to expect

  • Appropriate for people in good health with overall good mobility
  • Travelers should be comfortable participating in a full day of sightseeing
  • Activities range from light to moderate intensity at an easy pace, but with lengthy walks, sometimes on uneven terrain, and climbing on stairs.

 

Price

  • Land only price: $4,895 per person, based on double occupancy
  • Air inclusive price: $5,698 per person, based on double occupancy, from Boston or New York. ($5,195 air & land inclusive plus $503 airline taxes and fees). Air inclusive pricing from other US departure cities available upon request.
  • $1,095 single supplement
  • A deposit of $500 per person, payable by credit card or check is required to reserve a space; deposits are applied to the payment of the total price
  • Final payment is due by May 29, 2020.

 

Not included

Airfare and air departure taxes and fees if purchasing a land-only package; Airport transfers if purchasing a land-only package; passport and visa fees (if required); meals not specified in the itinerary; beverages not part of the included meals; personal items and expenses; gratuities to tour director, gratuities other than specified; travel and trip cancellation insurance; airline baggage fees and excess baggage fees; pre or post-tour extension; optional sightseeing; communication charges; other items not specifically mentioned in the itinerary or as included.

Prices, itinerary, accommodations, and experts subject to change.

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Architectural Adventures tours are managed by professional tour operators retained as independent contractors by The American Institute of Architects. To read Architectural Adventures full Responsibility Statement and Liability Disclaimer visit architecturaladventures.org/travel-terms. To read the tour-specific terms and conditions from our tour operator Odysseys Unlimited visit architecturaladventures.org/odysseys.

Itinerary

Overview

Begin your journey

Depart from your preferred airport and fly to Vilnius, Lithuania.
Overview

Arrive in Vilnius

Arrive in Vilnius, Lithuania and transfer to the hotel. Explore the city at leisure. Enjoy a welcome dinner and an introduction of the trip.

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Astorija
Meals: Dinner
Overview

Explore the majestic Vilnius

With its cobblestoned streets, Baroque architecture, ancient fortifications, and Gothic churches, it’s easy to see why Vilnius was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. See what makes it one of Eastern Europe’s most admired cities while on the half-day tour. View the Peter and Paul Church, which contains over 2,000 stucco figurines by Italian sculptor Pietro Perti; the Gate of Dawn, built in the early 16th century and the last of Vilnius’s nine city gates still standing; the University, founded by the Jesuits in the 16th century; and the historic President’s Palace. Explore two fascinating museums: the KGB Museum and the sobering Museum of Genocide Victims. In the afternoon and evening, explore the city at leisure.

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Astorija
Meals: Breakfast
Overview

Discover the medieval town of Trakai

Travel 17 miles from Vilnius to Trakai, the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and a jewel of a medieval town. Surrounded by five lakes that are perfect for summer swimming and sailing, it is a popular escape from the city. Visit the majestic 15th-century Trakai Castle, scenically located on an island in Lake Galve, and once a fortress and residence of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. The structure now houses a museum. Learn about the glory days of the Grand Duchy when its power stretched from the Baltic to the Black Sea. Exhibits include prehistoric findings from the local area, glassware, ceramics, 17th- to 19th-century applied art, and furniture. Return to Vilnius in time for lunch. The rest of the day is free to relax or sightsee before gathering for dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Astorija
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overview

The historic Latvian countryside

Leave in the morning for Riga, the Latvian capital. En route, stop for lunch in Siauliai, Lithuania’s fourth largest town famed for its Hill of Crosses. This religious site draws pilgrims from around the world, many of whom add their own small crosses to an ever-increasing mountain of religious icons. Visit this well-known site before crossing the border into Latvia. Travel through the gentle countryside and discover the Rundale Palace, built between 1736 and 1768. Some 1,500 workers were kept busy during the construction of this massive edifice designed by Bartolomeo Rastrelli, the man who also designed St. Petersburg’s magnificent Winter Palace. Though Rundale was privately owned until 1920, it was severely damaged during World War I and was in a sad state of repair until recent renovations restored it to its former splendor. Tour some of the castle’s 138 rooms and view the marvelous paintings and frescoes before continuing on to Riga. After arriving, enjoy dinner at the hotel.

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overview

Sightsee through Riga

With a skyline dotted with medieval towers and spires that illustrate its former wealth and prestige, Riga is a surprisingly sophisticated city which once served as Russia’s most prized warm-water port. Explore the city center and walk down the famed Albert Street, known for its Art Nouveau buildings. See the Art Nouveau Museum of Riga, which was once a private residence of a Latvian architect. The ornamental reliefs incorporated in the building feature stylized motifs from the local flora and fauna. From here, head to the Old Town section of Riga with cobblestone streets and buildings constructed during different periods of history including Romanticism, Gothic, Mannerism, Baroque, Eclectic, and Modernism. Late morning, visit St. Mary’s Cathedral – the Dom – a 13th-century red-brick cathedral that boasts a 6,789-pipe organ. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel
Meals: Breakfast
Overview

Discover “Little Switzerland”

Travel east of Riga to Gauja National Park in the Gauja River Valley, called “Little Switzerland” because of its deep gorges and flowing rivers. Just 350 square miles, this relatively compact national park boasts several different landscapes as well as a number of ancient houses and castles. This half-day excursion includes a visit to the Turaida Castle. Admire the castle’s fort of red brick that towers above the forest canopy, and tour the museum and gallery inside. Delve into one of the park’s major attractions, Gutmanis’ Cave, named after a healer who used its spring waters as a cure. Return to Riga this afternoon and have the remainder of the day to freely explore more of this ancient town. Gather for a group dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Elizabete Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overview

Enjoy seaside Parnu

Transfer from Riga to the Estonian capital of Tallinn, stopping along the way in seaside Parnu for lunch and to admire the community that was once the favored summer resort of Russian czars. Known as the summer capital of Estonia, today Parnu is famed for its summer jazz festival, which attracts thousands each year. Late in the afternoon, arrive in Tallinn, located on the Gulf of Finland. Enjoy a group dinner at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Sky Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overview

Tallinn, the Estonian stronghold

Its strategic waterfront position made Tallinn a coveted port by many seafaring nations, and it has changed hands a number of times through the centuries. The city was founded as an Estonian stronghold in the 10th century, but two centuries later the Danes attempted a takeover. In 1561, it was seized by the Swedes and remained in their power until the Russians gained control in the 18th century. Despite its many trials and tribulations, Tallinn grew to be a prosperous port with a medieval Old Town that has remained unchanged for centuries. View this historic city in two ways: a bus tour and a walking tour. From the comfortable bus, see Kadriorg Park and its lovely gardens, the Song Festival Grounds, and the ruins of 15th-century St. Birgit’s Convent. The half-day tour includes visiting the fortified Old Town, which features well-worn cobblestone streets; Toompea Castle, an ancient stronghold which now houses the Estonian parliament; 13th-century Dome Church, the oldest church in Estonia; the huge Town Hall Square; and a host of splendid structures ranging from the 15th to the 17th centuries.

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Sky Hotel
Meals: Breakfast
Overview

Walk through Rocca-al-Mare

Visit the Rocca-al-Mare open-air museum containing more than 100 traditional buildings. Situated in a scenic forested park overlooking Kopli Bay, the museum features authentic architecture dating back to the 18th century, including 12 complete farms, an inn, fire station, church, tavern, schoolhouse, windmills, and smithy. After lunch at a local restaurant, enjoy the afternoon at leisure for further independent exploration.

Accommodations: Radisson Blu Sky Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overview

Arrive in St. Petersburg

Depart early in the morning for St. Petersburg. After a stop in Narva for lunch, reach this most majestic of Russian cities. Spread over 42 islands, 68 canals, and hundreds of bridges, St. Petersburg is one of the world’s grandest cities – precisely Peter the Great’s intention when he began his massive building project. Enjoy dinner as a group at a local restaurant.

Accommodations: Belmond Grand Hotel Europe
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Overview

Explore the Window on the West

Enjoy the opportunity to see what Peter the Great accomplished in constructing his “window on the West” while visiting Palace Square, the historic heart of St. Petersburg; touring St. Isaac’s Cathedral, among the world’s largest; viewing the imposing Peter and Paul Fortress built on an island in the Neva River; and strolling through the city’s main shopping boulevard, Nevsky Prospekt. Visit the Hermitage, one of the world’s greatest museums of fine art. Located in the Winter Palace, home of the last of Russia’s czars, the vast Hermitage is extraordinarily impressive inside and out. See treasures by artists including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, and Rubens, along with a superb collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art. Join a local family for lunch and conversation – a fascinating look into the everyday life of ordinary Russians, and a small group highlight.

Accommodations: Belmond Grand Hotel Europe
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Overview

Royal summer palaces

Travel from St. Petersburg to Peterhof (Petrodvorets), one of the many royal “summer” palaces built by the Romanovs during the last two centuries of their reign. Often called the “Russian Versailles,” Peterhof is reminiscent of the French original because of its grand palaces set within a series of massive fountains. Though it was nearly completely destroyed by the Germans in World War II, the entire site has been reconstructed with the help of photos and drawings. Perhaps the most dramatic sight is the Grand Cascade, a succession of more than 140 fountains and canals engineered by Peter the Great himself, with a central statue of Samson tearing open a lion’s jaws. While here, visit the Grand Palace, containing a host of ornate rooms, galleries, and flower-laden pavilions. Enjoy a special farewell dinner at the hotel.

Accommodations: Belmond Grand Hotel Europe
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Overview

Depart St. Petersburg

Transfer to the airport this morning for flights home.

Meals: Breakfast
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