Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Highlights of Russia & the Baltics tour
Berlin Helsinki Highlights of Russia & the Baltics Trip
Moscow Riga Highlights of Russia & the Baltics Trip
Tallinn Vilnius Highlights of Russia & the Baltics Trip
Cultural Culture Highlights of Russia & the Baltics package
Adventure Historic sightseeing Highlights of Russia & the Baltics package

Highlights of Russia & the Baltics

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4.6 . Excellent
95%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value (3*)
19 days
From: $ 3,935 $ 207 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights (Bullets)

  • Red Square has long been at the heart of Russian history – visit the austere mausoleum of Lenin, the initiator of the 1917 Russian revolution, contrasting with the eye-bulging treasure collection in the Kremlin and Armoury Museum.
  • Share in traditional tastes with visits to the homes of local friends in Suzdal and St Petersburg for a hearty home cooked meal, piles of pancakes and endless cups of tea.
  • With its perfectly preserved medieval wall and watchtowers, Tallinn's quaint Old Town is an ideal place to explore on foot.
  • Explore 13th-century Turaida Castle on a guided tour, then wander through pristine woodlands and along the winding Guaja River.
  • Aukstaitija National Park offers unique opportunities for both action and relaxation. Kayak across pristine lakes, indulge in home-cooked meals or cleanse yourself in a traditional sauna.

Short Description

Get the low-down of the historical, cultural and culinary highlights of Russia and the Baltics on a 19-day immersive experience through Russia, Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Marvel at the grandeur of Moscow, the beauty of Russia's ancient capitals Suzdal and Novgorod, and the grace of St Petersburg. See the medieval spires of Tallinn, the funky bars of Riga and the Baroque-styled quirks of Vilnius. Visit colourful markets, be immersed in art and architecture and kayak Lithuanian lakes. Discover what these northern European neighbours are hiding within their bounds – often the most unassuming of places have the best-kept secrets, and spots on this trip are no exception.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value (3*)
Flight & Transport Inclusions All internal ground transport
Start City Moscow
End City Vilnius

Travel Theme

Cultural High Adventure

Attractions & Cities Visited

Berlin Helsinki Moscow Riga Tallinn Vilnius Warsaw

Activities & Interests

Culture Historic sightseeing

Age Requirement

15-99

N/A
See more

Itinerary

Day 1 Moscow

Zdrastvutye! Welcome to Moscow, a city that has survived centuries of revolution and tumult, from the days of the tsars through the communist era to the growing pains of democracy. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight at your hotel. After the meeting, your leader will organise an optional meal so you can enjoy your first taste of delicious Russian cuisine with new friends. If you arrive in Moscow with time to spare, there’s plenty to see in this fascinating, historic city. Consider taking an immersive local-led tour with Urban Adventures like the Moscow Underground tour, which reveals Soviet Russia through the mind-bending Moscow Metro.

Day 2 Suzdal

Get ready for a morning of travelling. You'll take the train to Vladimir and then get transferred to Suzdal, arriving around middday. The town is a main stop on Russia’s legendary Golden Ring, the circle of ancient and former capitals that played an important part in the formation of the Russian Orthodox Church. Fairy tale-esq Suzdal is filled with contrasting examples of early Russian architecture, where onion-domed monasteries stand next to lovingly decorated wooden cottages. In the afternoon, get to know Suzdal on a 3-hour walking tour of this ‘open-air museum’. Take in the grandeur of the Kremlin, the carved stonework of the Cathedral of the Nativity, the trading square, market and monasteries. If there’s time, walk along the banks of the river and then pop into a local cafe for tea, bliny (pancakes) with caviar, or the Suzdal specialty of medovukha (honey-based spiced mead) or peek inside the crumbling churches that line the narrow streets and alleys. Tonight, meet with your group and be welcomed into a local household to enjoy some hearty home cooking.

Day 3 Moscow

This morning, say goodbye to Suzdal and travel back to Moscow. The afternoon and evening is all yours to spend. Maybe hop on and off the metro to explore the palace-like stations, visit Tretyakov Art Gallery, or spend a leisurely afternoon at Gorky Park. Tonight would also be the perfect time if you want to see any of the theatre performances, but we recommend you to book the ticket in advance as they are in high demand.

Day 4 Moscow – Overnight Train

Visit the mausoleum of Russia’s most famous revolutionary – Lenin. Join the groups of tourists and locals waiting see the preserved body of the initiator of the 1917 Russian revolution, contained in an austere building in Red Square. Continue with a local guide to the Kremlin grounds, home to the oldest and most important churches in the country, and the resting place for many Tsars and Tsarinas. Walk through the soaring towers and cathedrals of the political and spiritual heart of Russia before entering the Armoury Museum, home to an eye-bulging former royal collection of ambassadorial gifts, Faberge eggs, coronation robes and glittering jewels. This evening board an overnight train to Novgorod (approximately 8 hours) from Moscow's Leningradskiy railway station.

Day 5 Novgorod

Arrive early in the oldest city in Russia. Explore the city's sights on foot with your local guide. The city's foremost attraction is the graceful Kremlin on the banks of the Volkhov River. Inside there are museums and the Cathedral of St Sophia, as well as the amazing Millennium Monument, which tells the story of 1000 years of Russian history. On the opposite bank of the river are quiet shady streets, the graceful ruins of Yaroslav's Court, and other echoes times gone by. In your free time, maybe check out the Yurev Monastery on the shores of Lake Ilmen, visit the Wooden Architecture Museum just outside of town, or catch a performance at the Philharmonic Hall. In the summer you can relax on the little riverside beach or take a boat trip on the Volkhov River. Tonight, maybe hit the banya (bath house) for a refreshing steam and wash with the locals.

Day 6 St Petersburg

Travel by private bus from Novgorod to St Petersburg, one of Russia’s most celebrated cities (approximately 4 hours). Truly one of Europe's grandest cities, the living museum of St Petersburg is a blend of baroque European architecture and Russian royal history, built by the Russian tsar Peter the Great by forced peasant labour. Head out on a walking tour with your leader to learn about the city. In the evening, visit the home of our local friends and have a tea party, Russian-style. Not all of the family members speak English, but with your leader on hand to interpret and their warm hospitality, you'll be feeling like one of the family in no time. These families live in St Petersburg's Soviet-era communal apartments, which are still common in St Petersburg. This is a truly unique local experience that you won't find anywhere else.

Day 7 St Petersburg

Built on 42 islands, St Petersburg is also known as the ‘Venice of the North’. Spend a free day exploring the city, crossing its many rivers and canals at your own pace. Perhaps enjoy incredible views across the city from the colonnade at St Isaac’s Cathedral, or walk along Nevsky Prospekt – St Petersburg’s main street. Maybe pop into one of the many bakeries or coffee shops along the way, or head down to Aleksandr Nevsky Lavra where Russia's great musicians and writers like Tchaikovsky and Dostoyevsky are laid to rest in the cemetery. Feeling artistic? You could give life to a family of matryoshka dolls in a painting workshop. Whatever you choose, the city is easy to get around and your leader can help you make the most of your free day. Tonight, perhaps gather together your fellow travellers and seek out a cosy restaurant.

Day 8 Helsinki

After breakfast, transfer to the train station in St Petersburg for your onward travel to Finland. Say goodbye to your Russian leader and hop on the train to Helsinki. Keep in mind that you do have another meeting scheduled at 6 pm, so if you’ve got a few hours spare once you’ve arrived, perhaps check out the magnificent Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, Senate Square or catch a performance at the National Theatre. You may want to consider purchasing the Helsinki Card – which is both an economical way to travel on Helsinki City Transport (HKL) services and free admission to the main Helsinki sights and nearly 50 museums.

Day 9 Tallinn

Leave Helsinki after breakfast and catch a ferry across the Gulf of Finland to the Estonian capital of Tallinn (approximately 3 hours). Arrive mid-afternoon, check into your hotel and start your time here with a short orientation walk through the city. The rest of your day is then free to enjoy this exceptionally preserved medieval city and all it has to offer. Perhaps head out and enjoy some of the region's culinary specialties or stop for a drink and people watching on the main square. With its steep red roofs, spires, pastel-coloured buildings and new restaurants and bars, Estonia's capital is a real treat to explore. Seeing the vibrant streets of Tallinn now, it's difficult to fathom that Soviet occupation only ended in 1991.

Day 10 Tallinn

Today is free to do as you wish, but an exploration of the Old Town is recommended. Located here is the last remaining gothic town hall in northern Europe, Old Thomas; the Raapteek, which has housed a pharmacy since the 15th century; and St Olaf Church, a major landmark of Tallinn. You can head towards Upper Tallinn, home to the noble families, to see amazing views of Lower Tallinn and the medieval spires of the town walls. The 13th-century Toompea Castle, where the Estonian Parliament sits, and the 19th-century orthodox Alexander Nevsky Cathedral are some of the main attractions of Upper Tallinn. Alternatively, you could head to Pirita to chill out at Tallinn's most popular beach, or visit Kadriorg Palace, a palace built by czar Peter the Great for his second wife Catherine I. Make sure you spend some time in the beautiful gardens surrounding the palace. Or perhaps head to the Kalamaja district, with it's well-preserved streets lined with colourful wooden houses.

Day 11 Tallinn / Riga

Spend the morning in Tallinn and visit any sites you missed yesterday. Depart by bus after lunch, crossing the border and arriving in the Latvian capital of Riga in the early evening. The 4-hour journey is a good chance to take a nap or relax with a podcast. Riga is renowned for its welcoming locals and a fascinating art nouveau heritage. Tonight, perhaps grab a drink at one of the many bars in the Old Town after you’ve settled into your lodgings.

Day 12 Sigulda / Riga

Travel by public transport to Sigulda, a pretty town with medieval history that backs onto Gauja National Park. Take the cablecar across the river to Turaida Castle, which began construction in 1214 and is made from striking red bricks. Take a guided tour and then explore the castle grounds which feature sculptures set in evergreen woodland. Take a hike along the winding Gauja River with your leader, taking in the clear air and thick Latvian forest. Return to Riga in the afternoon and spend the rest of the day as you please.

Day 13 Riga

Today you will finally get the chance to explore your base for the past two nights, beautiful Riga. Take an orientation tour and see the Doma Cathedral, St Peter's Basilica, House of Blackheads, the Swedish Gate, The Great Guild & Small Guild and the Cat House. There is nothing scheduled for the rest of the day, so you are free to explore at your own pace. Perhaps pay a visit to The Museum of Occupation of Latvia, which offers insight into the hardships suffered by Latvians during its occupation by, first, the Germans and, later, the Soviets. The Central Market Halls are a great place to haggle for supplies for a picnic lunch if it takes your fancy. Make sure you give the bitter but reputedly healthy Riga Black Balsam a try. The recipe is secret, but it contains rare ingredients such as Valerian, Wormwood, Black Pepper, Ginger, Gentian and Linden flower.

Day 14 Siauliai / Klaipeda

Set off by private bus after breakfast and cross the border into Lithuania. After a stop at the famous Hill of Crosses at Siauliai, continue onto the former Prussian city of Klaipeda (approximately 6 hours in total), the city of sculptures and jazz. Klaipeda used to be a member of the Hanseatic League and is the gateway to the Curonian Spit – a long and narrow sand dune peninsula separating the Curonian lagoon from the Baltic Sea. Upon arrival check into our local family-owned guesthouse, then head out to the waterfront and explore the Old Town centre, which features 18th-century wooden buildings and other historic monuments.

Day 15 Curonian Spit National Park / Klaipeda

Today, take a day trip to explore the unique World Heritage-listed Curonian Spit National Park – the second-oldest national park in the former Soviet Union. This is a spectacular landscape full of beaches, sand dunes and forested areas. The peninsula is only 400 metres wide in parts but 98 kilometres long. It formed only 5000 years ago by strong winds and currents which constantly change the shape of the landscape to this day. Only recently a whole village was swallowed by the inexorable sand. According to legend, the spit was formed by the girl giant Neringa, who poured sand into the Baltic Sea to protect the bay from storms and create an embankment for fishermen to live. On our day trip you will explore the tiny village of Nida and the surrounding beaches by bike. Look in the distance to see the Russian border, and learn about amber, which has been mined here since the 19th century. Spot the rather unique attribute of the area, the weather vanes. Each village has its own unique design. For lunch, perhaps try the smoked pike for which the spit is famous.

Day 16 Aukstaitija National Park

After breakfast, travel by a mix of private transport and local trains to the town of Ignalina (approximately 6 hours) and then on to Aukstaitija (pronounced owk-sty-chee-ah) National Park and the charming village of Ginuciai where our home stay is located. As one of the most delightful national parks in the Baltic states, Aukstaitija has 126 lakes, an abundance of waterways, hills and woods. Enjoy the hospitality and home-cooking of our host family for the next two days.

Day 17 Aukstaitija National Park

This morning you will take a guided kayak ride through the lakes and rivers, past villages and through forests, to an ancient pagan site on top of a hill with a wishing tree. The top affords great views across the surrounding forests and lakes. The rest of the day is free to visit some of the local attractions, such as the nearby villages that date from the 14th century and consist of traditional wooden houses and farmsteads. The 19th-century Ginuciai Watermill is another point of interest. You can hike to some glorious lookouts, do some fishing, take a swim in the lake or river rapids, or just relax. Perhaps ask our host family to fire up the sauna for the ultimate relaxation and cleansing experience.

Day 18 Vilnius

Continue your journey today by local train to the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius (approximately 4 hours). Having once been occupied by Sweden, Poland, France and Russia, each occupier has left its mark in some way on this picturesque city. Vilnius offers a different picture of the Baltics than Riga and Tallinn, but it’s every bit as interesting. On arrival, take an orientation walk with your leader that covers Cathedral Square and its free-standing belfry an the length of pedestrianised Pilies Gatve, lined by baroque churches. The rest of the day is free. A definite must is a visit to the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights, previously called the Museum of Genocide Victims and better known under the name KGB Museum, as it is located in the former KGB headquarters of Vilnius. If you’d like a break from Vilnius’ historic monuments, maybe take a walk through some of the charming gardens around the city. Perhaps visit the ‘republic’ of Uzupis. This inner-city quarter declared independence from Lithuania in 1997 and has statue of Frank Zappa.

Day 19 Vilnius

Your Baltic Experience comes to an end today. Have the time to stay on and dive deeper in Vilnius? An Urban Adventure is the perfect way to see the city through local eyes. Check out urbanadventures.com/destination/Vilnius-tours for information.

Availability

Checking price
Price From $ 3,935
Price Per Day: $ 207 per day
Checking price
Start DateFinish DateBase PriceDeparture GuaranteedAvailability 
Jun-19-2021Jul-07-2021$ 3,935Yes8 spots left Reserve
Jul-10-2021Jul-28-2021$ 3,935Yes6 spots left Reserve
Jul-31-2021Aug-18-2021$ 4,090Yes11 spots left Reserve
Aug-14-2021Sep-01-2021$ 4,090Yes11 spots left Reserve
Aug-28-2021Sep-15-2021$ 4,090Yes12 spots left Reserve
Sep-04-2021Sep-22-2021$ 4,050Yes7 spots left Reserve
Sep-18-2021Oct-06-2021$ 3,935Yes11 spots left Reserve

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Intrepid Travel.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

3,771 Intrepid Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

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Great 648
Average 124
Disappointing 59
Terrible 119
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Highlights of Russia & the Baltics

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Great company that I will continue to use

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I traveled with Intrepid to Morocco for 3 weeks in 2018. The style of travel is perfect for me, with many authentic local and cultural experiences, that I would not be able to do if traveling on my own (such as village homestays, or being the only tourists at the small local bathhouse). The group atmosphere is great to meet like minded travel companions and is welcoming to solo travelers and people traveling together. I have many more trips with them in mind for when we can travel again.
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Trip of a lifetime

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I traveled with Intrepid a few years back. It was certainly a trip of a lifetime. I went on a tour in southafrica and it was absolutely stunning. It was a simple tour (we slept in tents), but thats what I was looking for. Great guides and lots of local activities. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
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Should give full refunds for services that cannot be provided

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Booked a trip to Borneo back in Nov 2019 for March 2020,(via Flight centre) then the virus hit, happy to wait it out, now Feb 2021 and still no possibility of international travel, no requirement for tour in Aus so request a refund for services that cannot be supplied, told there will be a $1000 refund fee for "unrecoverable costs" non of which have ever been itemised to us. I strongly believe this is unreasonable and unjust. Will never use this company in the future and will advise others not to either.
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Avoid

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My family went to China with Intrepid and were abandoned there after the CCP's crackdown on HK. We were treated appallingly and the entire group signed off from Intrepid and had to make our own way out, They refused to pay compensation and everyone in the group did not travel with them again. Great guides (outside of China) but no longer the company envisioned by its founders. Complicit in the abandonment of the HK people. Avoid.
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My last (but not final) Intrepid Trip…

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My last (but not final) Intrepid Trip was on their Northern Lights Escape Tour in late Feb. 2020. While it was a short tour, it was well-curated and customer-focused. Our guide made it a point to offer tips, stops, & activities after gathering information about our interests throughout the trip. He also set realistic expectations for seeing the elusive Northern Lights, so go with an open mind to explore the other natural wonders in the country, like the also seasonal ice caves. The group had a good mix of people from eclectic backgrounds and countries (English, Aussies, Spanish) which is another reason why I gravitate to Intrepid Travel when I want to travel solo. I was the sole American on the trip, so it was almost a mini tour within a tour to me. I was lucky to catch the Northern Lights twice on this trip, but I would also jump at another chance to visit Iceland again. Intrepid Travel has my highest recommendation.
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My Trip was the southern loop from the 24/10/2020 to the 31/10/2020

- my dad and I applied for this trip and I especially was so very excited

- our Tour guide was Sy, whom was exceptionally professional, multy talented having being the tour guide and driver both of which he did exceptionally well

- my Dad and I feel very privilidged having Sy as our tour guide since everything he said was necassary; we learnt so much

- favorite places Milford sounds, Te anau, Catlins organized accommadation lovely, centrally placed and clean practical, included activities nice/satisfactory

What stood out for my dad and I was Sy our tour guide whom is seasoned experienced, one feels secure and gaurenteed for a good time knowing that Sy is their tour guide, Thank you kindly, Sy
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Details

Flight & Transport Inclusions

All internal ground transport Overnight Sleeper Train,Private Vehicle,Public Bus,High Speed Train,Taxi,Metro,Ferry,Canoe,Tram

Group Size

Small Group - 24 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 12

Accomodations

Hotel (12 nights),Guesthouse (6 night),Overnight Sleeper Train (1 night),Homestay (2 nights)

Guides

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

Age Notes :

Min. Age: 15

Max Age: 99

Additional Information

Finish point

  • Railway Apartments & Hotel
  • Geležinkelio Gatve 6
  • Vilnius
  • LITHUANIA
  • Phone: +370 68030505

Trip ID#:

intrepid-WBSRC

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