Discover the "Old World"... from Baltic cities to St. Petersburg and Moscow, where architectural gems from the Middle Ages intertwine with age old customs, ingrained in local towns, cities and villages…
Explore Helsinki, Finland; Riga, Latvia; Vilnius, Lithuania; and Tallinn, Estonia – with their age-old castles, medieval lanes, and incredible architecture – and experience a kaleidoscope of different views traveling by coach, train and high-speed ferry. Visit Moscow's Kremlin and Red Square, with a private presentation by an insider from the Soviet era, and tour St. Petersburg's Peter and Paul Fortress. More special experiences include lunch in the celebrated Gallery of Artist restaurant and a visit to see works by Zurab Tsereteli in Moscow... and in St. Petersburg, an evening of Russian ballet, a gala "Tchaikovsky Night" dinner, and a Tauck Exclusive guided visit to The State Hermitage Museum when crowds are fewer!
Tour begins: 6:00 PM, Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square. Your transfer is included from Vilnius Airport to the Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square in the heart of Vilnius' Old Town, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Join us for a welcome reception and dinner tonight at your five-star hotel on Vilnius' historic Cathedral Square.
Old Town Vilnius and the castle of Trakai
Take a walking tour of Old Town Vilnius to appreciate its remarkable Baroque architecture, the city's 16th-century cathedral and adjacent Cathedral Square. Wind your way along the Yellow Roads and go off-the-beaten path in Trakai, a picturesque town with a castle dating to the Middle Ages; return to Vilnius to explore as you please.
Travel to Riga, Latvia via the "Yellow Roads"
Depart Vilnius and journey along the Yellow Roads through the pristine countryside of Lithuania; cross into Latvia and stop in seaside Jurmala on your way to the capital, Riga, an important trading center for Central and Eastern Europe from the 13th to the 15th centuries. Visit the city's opulent 19th-century Opera House, which was painstakingly rebuilt in the 1990s and is a source of great national pride for the Latvian people. Your home for the next two nights is located in the heart of the old city. Enjoy dinner at the hotel tonight.
Explore historic Riga, Latvia's capital
Take a drive to Riga's Art-Nouveau New Town, considered the best in Europe, for a guided walking tour; also check out Riga Market and the cobbled streets of Old Town, revealing buildings dating back 800 years, including Riga Castle, the Swedish Gate and the Three Brothers Medieval Dwelling House. This combination of period architecture has earned Riga's Old Town UNESCO World Heritage Site designation. For those who wish, join us to explore some of the somber reminders of the tragic years of the Holocaust at the Jewish Museum and old Jewish Cemetery (holidays permitting).
Journey to Tallinn, Estonia's capital
Depart Latvia and cross into Estonia this morning, stopping in seaside Parnu for lunch. Continue on to today's final destination, the capital city of Tallinn, an outstanding example of a medieval Northern European trading center; explore the lower city on a walking tour with your local guide. Overnight at your contemporary hotel, ideally located just minutes from Tallinn's Old Town. Enjoy dinner à la carte tonight at one of the city's most celebrated restaurants, the elegant Gloria.
Toompea Castle & a ferry to Helsinki, Finland
Begin the day in Tallinn's remarkably well-preserved city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where you'll take a guided walk to view its cathedrals, the old Estonian Royal Palace and Toompea Castle. Then board a ferry to cruise first class across the Gulf of Finland to Helsinki. Finland's capital city is an intriguing mix of parks, waterways, and various architectural styles, which you'll explore on a sightseeing tour. Visit the extraordinary Temppeliaukio (The Rock) Church, built into solid rock in the 1960s; see the Neo-Classical Senate Square, the green cupolas and white columns of Helsinki Cathedral, the Sibelius Monument and Finlandia Hall. Enjoy dinner as you please in Helsinki this evening.
Via high-speed rail to glorious St. Petersburg
From Helsinki, your Baltics and Russia tour continues to opulent St. Petersburg via a fast train; the historic center of Peter the Great's "Window to the West" is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Get aquainted with Russia's cultural capital on an orientation tour that includes the imposing Peter and Paul Fortress, among the city's oldest structures, built in 1703. Inside the fortress, Peter and Paul Cathedral, with a tall golden spire, contains the tombs of the Russian czars, including the city's founder Peter the Great. Your home for the next four nights is itself a historic landmark – the celebrated Belmond Grand Hotel Europe on the famous Nevsky Prospekt. Dinner tonight is à la carte at a local restaurant in St. Petersburg.
A day around St. Petersburg and a night at the ballet
Today begins with an excursion to Petrodvorets, on the Gulf of Finland, for a tour of the Peterhof, the summer palace of Peter the Great. After lunch on the palace grounds, a hydrofoil whisks you back to the city for a visit to St. Petersburg's Grand Choral Synagogue (holidays permitting), followed by some free time. Tonight, enjoy a glorious evening of Russian ballet (schedule subject to change).
Catherine Palace & more St. Petersburg treasures
Journey to Pushkin (Tsarskoye Selo) for a visit to the opulent Catherine Palace, expanded by Empress Catherine the Great in the mid-18th century, and its remarkably restored Amber Room. Back in St. Petersburg, take a guided tour that includes a visit to the 19th-century Church of Our Savior on Spilled Blood, built as a memorial to Czar Alexander II on the site of his 1881 assassination. Spend the rest of the day exploring more of St. Petersburg on your own.
The State Hermitage Museum and Tchaikovsky Night
Today, Tauck has arranged an early morning visit – when crowds are fewer – to The State Hermitage Museum, boasting one of the largest collections of art and artifacts in the world. Displays include prehistoric cultures, classical antiquities, and Western European art; you'll also view the Impressionists Gallery. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure, then join us this evening for a sumptuous "Tchaikovsky Night" dinner at the L'Europe restaurant – accompanied by live music and a pair of dancers from the Marinsky Theatre or a comparable local ballet company.
Moscow Views & an Artist’s Palette
Take another high-speed train journey to Moscow for a three-night stay near the Kremlin. A drive along the river leads to lunch at the fantastical Gallery of Artist restaurant in Dolgorukov House, one of the most beautiful neoclassical buildings in the aristocratic Old Moscow district. The President of the Russian Academy of Arts, the artist Zurab Tsereteli, restored and reconstructed the building and opened his art gallery here; you’ll see a collection of his over-the-top works. After lunch, visit St. Savior’s Cathedral and tour Manege Square; GUM, the State Department Store; and Red Square before arriving at your hotel where dinner tonight includes beer and wine.
From the Tretyakov to the Moscow Metro
Begin the day with a lecture on the history of Russia at the hotel. Then join your local guide for a visit to the State Tretyakov Gallery/National Museum of Russian Fine Art, featuring 11th- to 20th-century paintings and sculptures by Russian artists. Next, head to Bolshoi Square to tour the beautiful Moscow Metro, renowned for its opulent architectural designs and plentiful public art, with a local guide, before returning to the hotel for dinner this evening.
Inside Red Square & the Kremlin
Today, tour Red Square and the 64-acre Kremlin, the center of Russian power for centuries and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You'll enjoy early entry into the Kremlin Armory, then walk through Alexander Gardens and visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Spend the afternoon pursuing what interests you most in Moscow. Tonight, please join us for a farewell reception and dinner at your hotel at "the doorstep of the Kremlin."
Tour ends: Moscow. A transfer is included from Four Seasons Hotel Moscow to Sheremetyevo International Airport or Moscow Domodedovo Airport. Please allow a minimum of 3 hours for flight check-in.