Sunday, June 25
Depart from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to Vilnius, Lithuania
After arrival in Vilnius, you will be transported to your hotel. In the evening, there will be a Welcome Dinner at a traditional Lithuanian restaurant.
Tuesday, June 27
Trakai, Kernavė, Vilnius
This morning you will visit Trakai, the medieval capital of Lithuania, with its restored castle in the middle of Lake Galve. After a regional lunch, you’ll visit Kernave, an ancient site in the Neris valley, the government seat of King Mindaugas 750 years ago. One still can admire and climb the many mounds where, hundreds of years ago, great castles stood. Upon returning to Vilnius, you will make a stop at the TV Tower, the site of the January 13th massacre. Here, during a stand-off with the Soviet army, civilians keeping vigil to protect the tower and Lithuania's newly redeclared independence were crushed by Soviet tanks. Meet with a local historian for a talk entitled “Lithuania’s Past and Present”.
Wednesday, June 28
Today you will tour Vilnius with its beautiful churches. Stops include: Vilnius Wednesday Cathedral and its catacombs, Vilnius University, the Money Museum, and Vilnius Valdovų Rumai. The tour concludes with a visit to the KGB Museum, where so much suffering was endured by the people of Lithuania during the Soviet occupation. The rest of the evening is free.
This morning you will depart for Kaunas, Lithuania’s second largest city, with a stop in Rumšiškės, a 500-acre open-air ethnographic museum that brings Lithuania's history and regional diversity to life.
Upon arrival in Kaunas, you will tour the Old Town, the Cathedral Square, Rotuše (the capital building), as well as Kaunas castle and the Resurrection Basilica. After your hotel check-in, you will have enough time to enjoy Kaunas on your own.
Friday, June 30
After breakfast, you will depart for the Baltic resort town of Palanga with a special stop in Kėdainiai, boasting a fully restored Old Town with its unique buildings. Afterwards, continue on to Palanga. After the hotel check-in, you will have enough time to enjoy the resort on your own. Tour participants who would like to visit their ancestral towns can arrange to be picked up by a driver and taken to the place of their choosing. In the evening, they will rejoin the tour group in Palanga for an overnight stay.
This morning you will tour Palanga. You will visit the Amber Museum, Hill of Birute, and the beautiful Botanical Garden. Lunch will be at the unique Lithuanian Restaurant Pas Juozapą. The rest of the afternoon and evening, you may enjoy the resort on your own.
Sunday, July 2
Neringa, Nida, Kretinga, Palanga
Today you will visit the Curonian Spit, Neringa, a long, thin, curved sand-dune isthmus that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast. After a short stop in the port city of Klaipeda and a visit to Švyturys Brewery, you’ll be transported by ferry to Neringa. Your first stop will be the Witches Mountain in Juodkrante, where you will be able to admire many unique wooden sculptures and other artwork. You will continue to Nida, a quaint fishing village, where you will have an opportunity to shop for some beautiful amber jewelry and to visit the highest dune on the isthmus. Upon returning in the afternoon, you will dine in the enclosed winter garden of a grand estate, the Tiškevicius Mansion in Kretinga. The mansion was built in the 19th century by a nobleman, Mikalojus Zubovas, and purchased in 1874 by Juozapas Tiškevičius. After returning to Palanga, join in a time-honored tradition among resort-goers, a sunset stroll along the famous Palanga pier.
Monday, July 3
Hill of Crosses, St. Petersburg
Today the tour will take you to one of the most revered places in Lithuania, The Hill of Crosses, where thousands of crosses have been placed by people asking God for special favors or thanking Him for favors granted. After lunch, continue on to Riga, the capital of Latvia, for a flight to St Petersburg, Russia. Upon arrival in St Petersburg, transfer to the hotel for check in.
Tuesday, July 4
After breakfast, you will embark on a sightseeing tour of St. Petersburg, including its main architectural landmarks: the Palace Square and Alexander’s Column; St. Petersburg Square and the Bronze Horseman; the Senate and Synod buildings; St. Isaac’s Square featuring St. Isaac’s Cathedral; the monument to Nicholas I; Mariinsky Palace; the Spit (Strelka) of Basil Island with its Rostral Columns; and the imposing building of the former Stock-Exchange for a marvelous view of the Peter and Paul Fortress. You will break for lunch on your own. The afternoon tour will take you to the Hermitage, one of the greatest museums in the world. The Hermitage keeps about 3 million monuments of culture and art of the European and Oriental peoples, from high antiquity to the present. Among the Hermitage’s treasures are artworks by Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Rembrandt, and Rubens, as well as a famous collection of impressionist and post-impressionist works of art.
Wednesday, July 5
After breakfast you will tour Peterhoff. It is the most famous summer residence of Russian Emperors, located 25 km west on the Gulf of Finland. Started by Peter I as a wooden house, in 1723 the enlarged palace became official summer residence. The main attraction of the place is the Lower Park with Grand Cascade decorated with more than 150 fountains built in 1722 to rival gardens of Versailles. Lunch at the Podvorie restaurant Afternoon tour to Pushkin’s palaces and parks which were created under Empresses Elizabeth and Catherine the Great between 1744 and 1796. The palace is 300 metres long, with the golden domes of its chapel rising at its north end.
Thursday, July 6
Morning tour to Yusupov’s Palace, the richest of non-imperial palaces of St. Petersburg. This palace was the home of the noble and powerful Yusupov family, relatives to the Russian Tsars. It was in this palace where the assassination of Rasputin, one of the most scandalous figures in Russian history, took place. The tour ends with a private boat ride along the Neva River. The remainder of the day is on your own.
Friday, July 7
After breakfast, you will be taken to the airport for your flight home.
$4,270 per person, does NOT include airfare or Russian VISA, which must be obtained prior to departure from the USA (Single Supplement: $985) Reserve today! Call 773.582.6500