Tallinn, Vilnius, Riga
August 20th - August 30th, 2019
This grand voyage introduces you to the remarkable natural wonders, arts, monuments and vibrant cities of the Baltic States.
We invite you on a tour that is overwhelmingly impressive. Join us as we showcase the architectural wonders of Tallinn, Vilnius and Riga, explore their Soviet and Jewish pasts, view their cultural relics and works of art, and voyage to their surrounding natural wonders. Whether you are a seasoned explorer or a first-time visitor, the memories and experiences gathered from this trip will be life changing.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity exclusively offered to just twelve participants. Our overland tour offers numerous cultural excursions that offer an exciting and wide-ranging look at the histories, arts and cultures of the Baltic States, most of which are missed in cruise-based tours. The 100% kosher tour and careful selection of the very best hotels permits you to travel comfortably and confidently, and your personal tour guide is available at all times to make your trip absolutely enjoyable.
The Baltics welcome you – discover them with Deluxe Kosher Tours.
Tuesday, August 20th
We depart on our flight to the capital city of Estonia, Tallinn. Enjoy kosher meals and in-flight entertainment during your journey, or read some of our suggested books about the Baltics (see above).
Wednesday, August 21st Tallinn
Meet and greet, Orientation, St. Olaf’s Church, Toompea Castle, Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, Town Hall Square
Upon arrival in Tallinn Airport we are welcomed to Estonia by our carefully-selected personal Deluxe Kosher Tours tour director. They will bring us to our deluxe hotel, the Swissotel, and offer an introduction to Estonia and Tallinn. We then introduce you to the history, arts, and monuments of this vibrant city with a tour of the old town. We start at St. Olaf’s Church, first built in the 12th century. With its 400ft (124m) high spire this was for a while believed to be the tallest building in the world. We continue down the charming “Lai” street to the commanding Toompea Castle. With fantastic views of the city, this ancient building is now the seat of the Estonian Parliament. Here we learn more about the history and mythology of the city, before visiting the nearby Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. This unmissable site was built in the Russian Revival style in the late 19th century, and its rich decoration on the outside is matched by its sumptuous interior. We then continue to the Town Hall Square, the historic centre and market place of the city. During the summer this square is alive with festivals and fairs. The remainder of the day can be leisurely spent resting and relaxing in the hotel, or take a walk around the local neighbourhood to immerse in some of the sights and sounds.
Thursday, August 22nd Tallinn
Keila-Joa Waterfall, Soviet Paldiski, Padise monastery, Rummu prison quarry, Pärnu
Today we make an excursion to view some of the most unique but little-known sites surrounding Tallinn. We first visit the beautiful Keila-Joa waterfalls before continuing along the coastal cliffs of Türisalu, which boast fantastic views of the Gulf of Finland. We disembark at the Soviet town of Paldiski, built on the edge of the Pakri cliffs. This was the Soviet Navy’s nuclear submarine training centre until 1994, and today remains an exciting place to visit with its Soviet monuments and charming railway station. We then continue to Padise Abbey, a 14th century Cistercian monastery converted into a fortress in the 16th century, containing the oldest church bell in Estonia.
We then continue to the small town of Rummu, where a nearby quarry was used for centuries to extract marble. The detainees of the neighbouring Murru Prison were forced to work here until the mine flooded when the Soviets left in the 1990s. Today the locals use the mining buildings poking out of the lake as diving platforms! Our final destination is the town of Pärnu on the shores of the Gulf of Riga. This colourful beachside community is the perfect place to soak up some sun, and you may spend some time freely exploring until we reunite for the return trip to Tallinn.
Friday, August 23rd Tallinn-Vilnius
Rocca al Mare, Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour, Tallinn TV Tower
After checking out from the hotel we make for the open air museum in Rocca al Mare, a historical park where we can learn more about how early Estonians lived. We then visit the exceptional Lennusadam Seaplane Harbour museum, a highlight of any trip to this city. Here we explore the seaplane harbour warehouses, climb into the world's only surviving mine-laying submarine from the 1930s, admire the full-size replica of the seaplane Short 184, and be amazed at the the biggest icebreaker in the world – the steam ship Suur Tõll. There is much, much more to be discovered in this treasure trove of maritime history. Afterwards we ascend the Tallinn TV Tower, which boasts captivating panoramic views of the surrounding land- and seascape. We then transfer to Tallinn Airport and fly to Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. Here we check in to the luxurious Radisson Blu Royal Astorija Hotel before dinner.
Saturday, August 24th Vilnius
Vilnius Old Town tour, KGB Museum, Money Museum St. Anne’s Church, Gediminas Castle, St. Peter and Pauls Church, Lithuanian Art Museum
After breakfast receive a guided tour of Vilnius’s picturesque old town from our expert tour guide. Vilnius’ old town is alive and exciting – the perfect place to relive the atmosphere of Lithuania in the last century – and is the largest Old Town in Europe, recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site. We visit the KGB Museum for a grim but fascinating history lesson about the country’s location, sandwiched between Nazi Germany and the Soviet heartland. Next we are invited to the innovative Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania, where you can find out how much your weight in gold would be valued and learn about the use of money all over the world. We then visit the Gothic church of St. Anne’s and the baroque St. Peter and Paul's Church, with an awe-inspiring stucco interior. We then transfer to Gediminas Castle, the highest tower of which has a impressive view of the town below, and visit the nearby Hill of Three Crosses. After spending some time in the nearby Lithuanian Art Museum we have dinner, and then you have the rest of the evening free to explore the city.
Sunday, August 25th Vilnius
Grutas Park of Soviet Sculptures, Trakai, Karaite museum, Panerai Memorial
After breakfast we leave Vilnius and go west to Grutas Park, an open-air museum continuing monumental sculptures and bas-reliefs of Soviet period figures. We then transfer to the ancient capital and residence of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, Trakai. This historically cosmopolitan municipality, with communities of Karaims, Tatars, Lithuanians, Russians, Jews and Poles living together, has left behind a truly unique cityscape to explore. We visit the 14th century island castle, with a museum of Lithuanian history, before going to the Karaite Museum to learn about this small Jewish group. On our return journey to Vilnius we stop at the town of Panerai, where we visit at the quiet Ponar Forest and mysteriously beautiful memorial to one of the most historic local holocaust sites. In the evening we have our Shabbat dinner with the local community.
Monday, August 26th Vilnius
Shabbat services, Seudat Shabbat, Bernardinai Gardens, Botanical Gardens
After the Shabbat services and lunch with the local community, you are welcome to spend the rest of the day freely. Those who wish are invited to have a peaceful afternoon walking through the Bernardinai Gardens, a gorgeous green space perfect to relax in. Visit the nearby Bernardine Monastery, or go instead to the lush Botanical Gardens of Vilnius University.
Tuesday, August 27th Vilnius
Jewish State Museum, Great Vilna Synagogue and Schulhoyf, Jewish Old Town walking tour
Today we immerse ourselves in the fascinating history of the Jews in Vilnius. We begin at the Jewish State museum where we learn about such influential figures as Vilna Gaon and Mordekhai Antokolsky. We visit the site of the historic Great Vilna Synagogue and schulhoyf complex, to learn about the destruction of Jewish monuments in the city during the mid-20th century. We walk around the old Jewish quarter to view the “cheap houses” - big dwelling houses built by baron Hirsch for Jewish poor people after the great flood of 1931.
In the evening we visit the National Museum of Lithuania, where we can learn more about the rich history of medieval Europe brought to life by its collection of artefacts and written documents. You have the rest of the day free to wander through the town before dinner.
Wednesday, August 28th Vilnius-Riga
Žiežmariai tour, Rundāle Palace, Sigulda, Turaida Castle
We check out early, and leave Vilnius by bus. Our first destination is the town of Žiežmariai, one of the oldest Jewish communities in Lithuania. This is a fascinating town to walk around with our expert guide, and even includes a rare, surviving wooden synagogue. We then continue through the varied and beautiful Lithuanian countryside until we cross the border to Latvia. Here we stop to view the Rundāle Palace, one of the most spectacular estates in the country, containing an excellent collection of historic decorative arts and furniture as well as immaculate Baroque gardens. We continue to Sigulda, northeast of Riga, where we can explore the terrific Turaida Castle which emerges out of the foggy forests like a fairytale citadel. In the evening we check in to the Royal Square Hotel & Suites in Riga, the capital city, and relax after our long adventure.
Thursday, August 29th Riga
Cathedral, St. Peter’s Church, National Opera, Academy of Arts, Riga Castle, Jewish tour
We welcome you to the capital of Latvia with a guided tour of the city. We visit the Cathedral and then make our way to St. Peter’s Church. Here you can experience wonderful panoramic views of the city from the tower. We continue to the National Opera to admire this majestic building, and continue to the Academy of Arts, the country’s leading institution of higher education and scientific research in art. Our tour brings us next to Riga’s Castle, passing also the famous Swedish gate and barracks. Here we make our way through the exhibits of the National History Museum of Latvia, learning about the medieval origins of this city.
After lunch we invite you for a tour of Jewish Riga. We make our way through the old Jewish quarter of the city, viewing the memorial for the destroyed Great Synagogue of Riga and visiting the small yet informative Jewish Museum, where we learn about the influential Jewish historian Shimon Dubnov. You have the rest of the day free to explore the city, pick up any gifts, or relax at the hotel.
Friday, August 30th Riga
After breakfast we transfer to Riga International Airport for our return flights home.
Cost Per Person:
Based On Double Occupancy (two to a room)
- Round-trip airfare from New York, London or Tel Aviv
- All domestic airfares
- An English-speaking, experienced tour guide/chauffeur
- Full board accommodations for entire trip
- 3 Kosher meals daily
- All admissions as per itinerary
- Visa fees as required
- Health and Travel Insurance
- Budget for extra snacks, gifts, or other expenses of a personal nature
- Any other services not specified
$1,795 (Single Supplement)
ITINERARY AND HOTELS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE
RATES MAY BE ADJUSTED IF THERE’S A FLUCTUATION IN CURRENCY OF MORE THAN 4% FROM SEPTEMBER 1, 2015
RATES MAY BE ADJUSTED IN THE EVENT OF AN INCREASE IN AIRLINE FUEL CHARGES
- Among the Russians – Colin Thubron
- Journey into Russia – Laurens van der Post
- To the Baltic with Bob – Griff Rhys Jones
- The Baltic States, the Years of Independence, 1917-1940 – Georg von Rauch's
- The Singing Revolution: A Journey through the Baltic States – Clare Thomson