Uncover military and political history among pristine lakes and forests

Uncover the cultural riches and historical intrigues of four fascinating countries on an 11-day tour with stops in northern Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Contrast the challenging stories of Westerplatte with the natural splendour of the pristine Masurian Lake District. Discover medieval architecture of castles and forts as well as the bunker known as Wolf`s Lair, the military headquarters used by Hitler. Wander the beautiful Old Town of Vilnius and discover Riga’s Art Noveau architecture. Unwind in a remote farmhouse set among evergreen forest on Saaremaa Island and finish in Estonia’s capital Tallinn. This tour blends military and political history, pristine woodlands and lakes and unique Baltic cultures – all of it lying well off the typical tourist trail.


Start
Gdansk, Poland
Finish
Tallinn, Estonia
Destinations
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
AMKG
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Cruise the historic shipyards and sights of Gdansk on a galleon-style ship, the perfect vessel that reveals the maritime and political history of this port city.

  • Tour the remnants of Wolf’s Lair, an important military headquarters used by Hitler during the battle for the Eastern Front in WWII.

  • Stalk along the ramparts of one of the world’s largest brick castles, Malbork, a beautifully-preserved fortress completed in 1406.

  • Discover the treasures of Riga – both historic and culinary – on a walking tour through the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town with snack stops along the way.

  • Take a breath of pine-scented air during a relaxing and restful stay on Saaremaa, the largest island in Estonia, which is known for its heavy forest coverage and traditional villages.

Is this trip right for you?

  • In order to see as much as possible, this trip involves a few long drives. While the driving take place in a private vehicle and will be broken up with stops along the way, we recommend reading the itinerary for travel time estimates. Please note that roads in northern Poland and the Baltic states are generally good, but those in rural areas can get a bit rough. If you suffer from motion sickness, consider bringing along some medication.

  • This trip stops in at some places with dark histories. Not everyone will necessarily want to visit Westerplatte or Wolf’s Lair, so please let your group leader know if you have any hesitations.

  • While Gizycko and the nearby lakes are beautiful, they are wetlands. Mosquitos and midges can sometimes be a nuisance, so consider bringing mosquito spray and a head net.

Itinerary

Welcome to atmospheric Gdansk, Poland's fourth-largest city and major seaport. There are no activities planned until a welcome meeting this evening 6 pm. If you arrive with some time to spare, maybe head out to the National Museum for a dose of fine art, follow in the footsteps of visiting royalty with a lap or two of Royal Way, or travel a suburb over to Sopot and take a stroll along Europe's longest wooden pier.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Gdansk - Oliwa Cathedral - Free
  • Gdansk - Amber Museum and Prison Tower - PLN12
  • Gdansk - European Solidarity Centre - PLN20
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Get to know Gdansk on an orientation walk with your leader. After strolling through the city and taking in the sights, board a galleon-style ship for an old fashioned cruise on the waters of the Baltic Sea. Cruise along the peninsula of Westerplatte and get insight into the city's shipbuilding heritage and political history. See the Gdansk Shipyards, which are inexorably linked with Eastern Europe’s Solidarity movement, as well as the repair yards and the historic Wisloujscie Fortress, constructed in 1308 but rebuilt several times in the centuries since. There will be time for you to explore Westerplatte, considered to be the place where the first shots of WWII were fired. Return to Gdansk and enjoy a free evening. If you’re thirsty, think about grabbing a beer at one of the lively bars along the Elblag Canal.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Gdansk - Westerplatte and Gdansk Shipyards Boat Cruise
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today involves a fair bit of driving with several interesting stops en route to break up the journey. The first stop, just a 30-minute drive out of Gdansk, is Malbork Castle. This beautifully-preserved fortress, completed in 1406, is a classic example of medieval architecture and the world's largest brick castle. Following an audio-guided tour of the castle, enjoy lunch before continuing on to Wolf`s Lair, the first military headquarters from which Hitler oversaw the fighting on the Eastern Front. You'll be shown around the site by a local guide then, following a refreshment stop, continue on to Gizycko (approximately 3.5 hours). The ‘summer capital’ of Poland, Gizycko is situated on the shore of Niegocin Lake and is considered the gateway to the Masurian Lake District. Tonight, maybe grab a well-deserved dinner at one of the local tawernas (taverns).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Malbork - Castle Visit
  • Wolf's Lair - Walking Tour with Local Guide
  • Wolf's Lair - Entrance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Total driving time approximately 4 hours.
Rise and shine for a morning boat ride on Niegocin Lake, the seventh-largest lake in the country. Take a gentle cruise to ‘Love Island’ on the other side of the lake, which is filled by yellow-faced cormorants and other wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for creatures that are trickier to spot like storks, swans, deer and wolves. The Masurian Lake District contains over 2000 lakes and was a finalist in the New 7 Wonders of Nature initiative. Head back ashore and spend the afternoon however you wish, perhaps with a swim in the lake, or a hike or cycle to one of the neighbouring villages. History buffs might want to check out Boyen Fortress, the remains of a 19th-century Prussian stronghold used as a German military intelligence service during WWII.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Masurian Lakes - Boat Tour on Niegocin Lake
Optional Activities
  • Masurian Lakes - Boyen Fortress - PLN10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning after breakfast, travel east into Lithuania and its capital Vilnius (approximately 2.5 hours). Settle into your hotel then join the group for a city tour led by a local guide. Pass through Cathedral Square and the Old Town, and learn about the famous Grand Duke Gediminas, the legend of Vilnius' creation and the prestigious history of Vilnius University. Continue to the painting of Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn, a famed painting of the Virgin Mary that adorns the 16th-century city gates. After the tour concludes you’re free to explore at your leisure. Consider joining the group for an optional dinner – your leader knows all the best spots to grab a bite.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vilnius - Walking Tour with Local Guide
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day to explore all that this lively city has to offer. There are plenty of optional activities on offer, so if you’re not sure what to choose remember that your leader is on hand to help you decide. Maybe take a hike to Gediminas Castle Tower for views over the city. Vilnius is also home to a unique bohemian neighbourhood, Uzupis, which residents declared a republic in 1997. With mixture of graffiti covered cafes and UNESCO-listed Old Town, Uzupis is a fascinating and photogenic place to wander. Historically minded travellers may be interested in an Urban Adventure that explores the Soviet Stories of Vilnius, a great way to see a different side of the city (including a Soviet-style lunch).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Vilnius - University Museum - EUR3
  • Vilnius - National Museum - EUR3
  • Vilnius - Flavours of Vilnius Urban Adventure - EUR82
  • Trakai - History Museum & Castle - EUR8
  • Vilnius - Gediminas Castle Tower - EUR5
  • Vilnius - TV Tower - EUR8
  • Vilnius - Undiscovered Vilnius Urban Adventure - EUR39
  • Vilnius - Soviet Stories of Vilnius Urban Adventure - EUR42
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Hop aboard a comfortable public bus to Riga, Lithuania (approximately 4 hours). On arrival, transfer to the hotel, located a short walk from the symbolic Freedom Monument – or, as she's affectionately known to the locals, Milda. Head out on a guided walk with your leader, navigating the narrow cobbled streets to discover the significant sights of the Old Town. Visit the Central Market, which just happens to be Europe’s largest, and taste a few local specialities along the way, such s the traditional Riga Black Balsam, an herbal liqueur.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Riga - Foodie Walk with your Leader
  • Riga - Central Market Visit
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Enjoy a free day getting to know Riga at your own pace. Most of the Art Noveau architecture for which the city is famed is located in a part known as 'the quiet centre'. A leisurely stroll along the canal that intersects the town's central park is another popular optional outing, as is a visit to one of its many museums. The recently renovated Art Museum, located only a few minutes walk from the hotel, is particularly impressive. Perhaps take in views of the city with a drink at a rooftop cafe (your leader will be able to make some recommendations) or, if the weather is right, make the trip to the popular beach resort town of Jurmala (30 minutes by train).
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Riga - Beer Spa - EUR98
  • Riga - Museum of Occupation of Latvia - Free
  • Riga - St Peter's Tower - EUR9
  • Riga - Riverboat Cruise - EUR18
  • Riga - Museum of War - Free
  • Riga - Mentzendorff's House - EUR3
  • Riga - Latvian National Museum of Art - EUR6
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Rise early for the trip to Saaremaa island, the largest island in Estonia, by private minivan and public ferry. This heavily forested island is known among Estonians as the perfect place to relax in nature, and you’ll see soon why. Arrive in the island's south by late afternoon and transfer to a local farmhouse – your accommodation for the evening. Enjoy a home-cooked dinner tonight.
Accommodation
  • Farm stay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Saaremaa Island - Home-Cooked Dinner
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Total travel time approximately 6 hours.
Transfer to the biggest town on the island, Kuressaare, and spend a few hours exploring. Then, hop on a public bus to the Estonian capital of Tallinn (approximately 4.5 hours). Tonight's accommodation is in Tallinn's atmospheric Old Town, which you'll get to know on an orientation walk with your leader. Tonight, why not head out with the group for an Estonian meal, then wash it down with a glass of kali, a fizzy drink made from boiled rye bread.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Total travel time approximately 4.5 hours.
Your trip ends this morning after breakfast. There are no activities planned for today, though bear in mind you will have to comply with the hotel’s internal check-out rules and times. Tallinn has a lot to offer so we recommend you spend a few more days here. We are happy to book additional accommodation for you, subject to availability.
Optional Activities
  • Tallinn - Kiek in de Kök Tower Museum - EUR10
  • Tallinn - Estonian History Museum - EUR8
  • Tallinn - City Bike Tour - EUR21
  • Tallinn - TV Tower - EUR13
  • Tallinn - City Museum - EUR6
  • Tallinn - Peter The Great Museum - EUR4
  • Tallinn - Kadriorg Palace - EUR6
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 1 dinner

Transport

Private vehicle, Boat, Ferry, Public bus, Taxi

Accommodation

Comfortable Hotel (9 nights), Farm stay (1 night)

Included activities

  • Gdansk - Westerplatte and Gdansk Shipyards Boat Cruise
  • Malbork - Castle Visit
  • Wolf's Lair - Walking Tour with Local Guide
  • Wolf's Lair - Entrance
  • Masurian Lakes - Boat Tour on Niegocin Lake
  • Vilnius - Walking Tour with Local Guide
  • Riga - Foodie Walk with your Leader
  • Riga - Central Market Visit
  • Saaremaa Island - Home-Cooked Dinner

Dates & availability

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Important notes

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement is bookable on this trip, subject to availability at the time of booking. The price of the single supplement does not include the following nights, where a single room does not form part of the package. In this case you will be matched up with another traveller of the same gender. If a single room becomes available at check-in for these nights, there may be the option for you to upgrade to a single room and pay the surcharge locally for that night:
- Day 9 Saaremaa Island
Please also note that due to the small properties we use in Europe there is only a limited amount of single supplements available per trip departure. If you would like to book a single supplement and enquire about availability please speak to your booking agent.

Essential trip information

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