This NEW rail / coach tour experiences less-visited Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia - three sovereign states on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea.
All are members of the European Union, NATO and the Eurozone and are classified as high-income economies by the World Bank.
The region is home to numerous railway systems, each with its history and idiosyncrasies and the journeys into the hinterland will evoke interest and understanding of the local way of life.
Add in Helsinki, the capital of Finland - a vibrant seaside city of beautiful islands and great green parks.
An extended stay in Russia’s St Petersburg, a city of haunting magnificence and once imperial capital that seems to have been built as a monument to its own passing.
Travel between Helsinki and St Petersburg will be by a modern rail connection.
Minsk - the capital of Belarus is contrary to its dreary reputation, a progressive, modern and clean city rebuilt after being devastated during World War Two. It will almost certainly surprise.
Tallinn, Estonia’s capital is a destination in its own right and its attractive 13th century landmarks and vibrant modern culture make it an ideal final destination.
Mid-afternoon depart on Qatar airlines. Midnight arrival in Doha, change planes.
Morning arrival at Helsinki. After clearing customs and immigration, transfer to our central city hotel. An afternoon canal / harbour cruise is your first glimpse of the Finnish lifestyle and culture.
A morning sightseeing tour of the city takes you past old estates and farms on the way to Haikko Manor, a historical house and spa hotel by the sea. The elegant rooms, antique furniture and former Russian influence are the perfect setting for lunch.
Continue on to nearby Porvoo, the second oldest town in Finland. Absorb the Finnish way of life on a walking tour of the old wooden town, over bridges and alongside decorative rows of riverside storehouses. Return to Helsinki.
Begin the day at Market Square from where we take a short ferry ride to the UNESCO island sea fortress of Suomenlinna. This 250 year old stronghold of Swedish, Russian and Finnish influence, is an important part of Helsinki’s history and the buildings, cultural treasures, animal and plant life will impress. Return to the city with the rest of the day at leisure.
Morning departure for the train journey across the border to St Petersburg, arriving mid-afternoon. Remainder of day free before a special evening canal cruise to discover the importance of this port to the Russian nation.
This morning is devoted to a taste of the architectural wonders of the city founded by Peter the Great, including the Peter and Paul Fortress and Isaac’s Cathedral.
The afternoon tour includes the Admiralty Building, Royal Square and the fascinating bridges on the Neva River.
Today we get a taste of Russia’s opulent past by travelling south to Pushkin / Catherine Palace that has the magnificent Amber Room and its surrounding park.
Today visit the Hermitage, the largest museum in the world which houses fabulous collections of paintings, statues, antique furniture and gifts to Catherine the Great and other rulers of Russia.
In the afternoon take the hydrofoil to visit Peterhof. Tour the Grand Summer Palace and Park – former home of Catherine and Alexander – the park is 1500 acres!
The day starts with, a late morning transfer for your international flight to Minsk on Belavia Air. On arrival, transfer to your central city hotel.
Our morning city tour of Minsk, which was almost completely destroyed during WWII, has a wonderful array of parks, buildings and spacious avenues. Later visit the Museum of Architecture and Rural Life.
A morning visit to the Historic and Cultural Centre is followed by a free afternoon to explore or shop.
Travel by coach the short distance to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Transfer to our centrally located hotel with the balance of the day free.
Today’s tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Old Town is a mix of coach and walking. We will see historical and architectural monuments, the Gates of Dawn, a splendid icon of the Virgin Mary, Vilnius University and Cathedral Square.
At midday, depart by train to Trakai, the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (28km from Vilnius). A cruise on the lake which serves as a moat for the beautiful 14th century castle that stands on an island in the middle of Lake Galve. Return to Vilnius with dinner in a local restaurant.
Travel by train to Kaunas where our city tour includes the funiculars in Kaunas, the only city in Lithuania with this type of transport.
The funicular has been in service since 1931, linking the old part of the city with the slopes of Aleksotas hill and offering marvellous panoramic views of the city. Lunch is traditional Lithuanian before returning by train to Vilnius.
Travel by coach to Anykščiai to visit the railway museum before the special experience of riding on the narrow-gauge railway. This unique heritage line, built in 1899, runs between Panevėžys, Anykščiai and Rubikiai and dates from the era of steam locomotives and wooden carriages. Since 2001, the narrow-gauge railway has only been used for passenger transport. Lunch at a traditional restaurant in Panevėžys before travelling by coach to Riga.
The morning begins with a Riga highlights tour, including a visit to the biggest indoor market in the Baltic States and cultural and historical highlights. After lunch in a local restaurant, travel by train to Jūrmala, a summer Spa Resort in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, located on the Baltic Sea. Known for its beautiful wooden houses built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Enjoy a walking tour and free time in Jūrmala before returning to Riga.
Depart by train to Gauja National Park to visit the 13th century Turaida Castle in Sigulda (sometimes called ‘the Switzerland of Latvia’), set on the banks of the River Gauja. After lunch in Gauja National Park, continue to Tartu, referred to as the intellectual capital of Estonia because of its famous University founded in 1632.
After checking into our hotel, a walking tour of this fine city includes a visit to the Kissing Students Fountain in the centre of Town Hall Square which has become the most popular meeting place in the city.
An early departure by train to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia (the most northern of the Baltic States). Arrive mid-morning for a tour of Tallinn which is one of the most completely preserved medieval towns in Europe. The medieval Old Town is known around the world for its well-preserved completeness and authentic Hanseatic architecture.
Afternoon free to explore these wonderful streets before a medieval dinner.
After breakfast, depart by coach to Lahemaa National Park to enjoy the bays, forests, limestone cliffs and huge boulders of the nature reserve of the Gulf of Finland. Make a short ‘Beaver Trail’ walk to see how these mammals live, then visit German manor houses dating back to the 18th century and the village of Käsmu with its historic museum. Return to Tallinn late afternoon. Evening free.
A mid-morning departure by fast ferry to Helsinki. After lunch transfer to the airport for your homeward flight on Qatar Air
|Cost Per Person * |
Auckland - Auckland
|Twin Share||Single Supplement|
|Business Class Upgrade||+$5,529|
|Early Booking Discount ( 01-03-2019 )||$150|
|Previous International Pukekohe Travel Tour Discount||$100|
*This is a cash or cheque price. Credit cards will incur a 2% fee
*Itinerary and costs subject to change, airline and fuel charges and currency fluctuations prior to final payment
Travel Insurance is essential. Please feel free to contact us for a quote.
Weather – Temperature
Weather in September is usually settled and the hours of daylight are about 12 hours with dawn and dusk extending the time.
|Riga / Vilnius||+08°c||17°c|
This tour requires comfortable day clothing with good walking shoes and a lightweight windproof jacket.
Breakfast – will include dense dark bread, cold meats, cheese, tomatoes and cucumber. Porridge with berries, potato cakes or a rice pudding may also be offered.
A wide range of fast food outlets are available in cities.
Finland / Lithuania / Latvia / Estonia - Euro
Russia – Russian Ruble
Belarus – Belarusian Ruble
ATMs are readily available in the countries visited.
No mandatory inoculations are required. Walking tours are an important part of the tour and a reasonable standard of fitness is required. The ground at historical sites is often uneven and with stairs and cobble-stoned streets.
Note: Pukekohe Travel reserves the right to correct errors and omissions on our website without recourse.
* Itinerary subject to change