GUIDED CYCLING TOUR IN THE BALTICS (10 days/ 9 nights)
VILNIUS - NERINGA - RIGA - TALLINN
The Baltic coast and National Parks of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia explored on highly scenic routes, including the three capital cities - Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn - with their old towns designated by UNESCO as the World Heritage Sites; and featuring the previously-closed Curonian Spit. Travel from Lithuania in the south, through Latvia and on to Estonia in the north, enjoy a great variety of towns, villages and landscapes, and get an excellent feel for the different characters of these distinctive countries.
Day 1 Sunday: VILNIUS
Arrival in Vilnius. Individual transfer to the hotel (not included). Check-in at the hotel. 7:00 p.m. (19:00) welcome meeting at the hotel with tour guide. Optional dinner at the hotel.
Day 2 Monday: VILNIUS-TRAKAI-KAUNAS (cycling ~30 km, by coach ~200 km)
9:00 a.m. a city tour of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania for more than 600 years. The tour includes: the Cathedral Square, St.Ann and Bernardines' Church, the Gates of Dawn with a holy image of the Virgin Mary, Russian Orthodox Church of the Holy Spirit, Town Hall Square and Vilnius University (founded in 1579) with St. John's Church. Afternoon trip to Trakai (25 km from Vilnius), the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Visit to the insular castle of the 14th century, erected on a small island in lake Galve. Then cycling on picturesque hilly road and transfer by coach to Kaunas. Arrival in Kaunas, check-in and optional dinner at the hotel.
Day 3 Tuesday: KAUNAS-VENTE-NIDA (cycling ~30 km, by coach ~200 km)
Morning transfer along the Nemunas River to the seaside region. En route passing by Veliuona mound hill and impressive 16th-17th century castles of Raudone and Panemune. In the afternoon cycling to the Vente Horn where visit an ornithological station and the 19th century lighthouse that was active for more than 100 years. Take a boat across the Curonian Lagoon to Nida and enjoy a beautiful view to sand dunes of the Curonian Spit separating the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Lagoon. Arrival in Nida, check-in and optional dinner at the hotel.
Sightseeing around Nida, one of the most beautiful resorts in Lithuania. Exploring the Amber Gallery and a summer house of the famous German writer Thomas Mann. Cycling on the Seaside Cycle Route which takes you along the Curonian Spit to Klaipeda. En route stop at "Dead" sand dunes and colony of grey herons and cormorants, visit the Hill of Witches which houses a hundred fanciful and folksy wooden sculptures scattered along a forest path. Arrival in Smiltyne, take a ferry to the Old Town of Klaipeda, the main seaport of Lithuania. Check-in and optional dinner at the hotel.
Early morning ride to Palanga through the Seaside Regional Park, a former soviet military polygon area. Arrival in Palanga, the biggest seaside resort of Lithuania. City tour including the visit to the Botanical Garden and Amber Museum in the Palace of Count Tyszkiewicz, with over 25000 pieces of amber and 15000 inclusions of insects on display. Afternoon transfer to Riga (Latvia). En route stop at the Hill of Crosses, the unforgettable place with thousands of crosses on two small hills. Arrival in Riga, check-in and optional dinner at the hotel.
9:00 a.m. a city tour of Riga, visiting medieval Hanseatic town, Riga castle, St.Peter`s Church, Dome Cathedral and the Old Guild Houses. In the afternoon cycling to Jurmala, the largest resort in the Baltic States well known for its long white sand beaches, curative mud and mineral waters. Transfer back by coach to the hotel in Riga. Optional dinner at the hotel.
Morning transfer to the Baltic Coast in Saulkrasti where get ready for cycling to Ragana and further through the Gauja National Park to Sigulda, the most popular resort in Latvia, situated in the Gauja River Valley. En route visit Turaida Castle and Krimulda church, the oldest one in Latvia (built in 1205), enjoy spectacular views of the Gauja River valley with Gutmana Cave and explore ruins of the 13th century Crusaders Castle in Sigulda. Check-in and optional dinner at the hotel.
Day 8 Sunday: SIGULDA-IKLA-PäRNU-HAAPSALU (cycling ~30 km, by coach ~290 km)
Day 9 Monday: HAAPSALU-TALLINN (cycling ~45 km, by coach ~130 km)
Morning transfer outside the city, where start cycling to Padise. A further transfer to Tallinn. En route stop in Keila-Joa to explore the waterfall and the highest coastal cliffs in Estonia. Arrival in Tallinn, check-in at the hotel. 4:30p.m.(16:30) a city tour of Tallinn, visiting the Old Town of Tallinn - an example of Gothic architecture in the Baltic and Nordic countries. The tour includes Toompea Castle fortifications, the Dome Church 13th century), the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Alexander Nevskij (19thcentury), Town Hall Square(15thcentury), the Old Guild, and St.Olaf's Church. Optional dinner at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. End of the tour.