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10-Day The Treasures of the Baltics

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Tour Highlights

  • Visit to the Old Town and Jewish Quarter of Vilna, Kaunas, Riga and Tallin
  • Meeting with members of the local Jewish community in Vilnius and Riga
  • Visit to the Trakai Castle
  • Visit to the home of Leah Goldberg
  • Shabbat services at the Peitav Shul in Riga

 

Trip Includes


  • 8 nights accommodation in selected hotels
  • 2 nights Vilnius
  • 2 night Kaunas
  • 2 nights Riga
  • 2 nights Tallinn
  • Breakfast daily and 3 dinners
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in a modern air-conditioned motor coach with panoramic windows
  • Services of a friendly and professional English-speaking Expedition Educator throughout the trip
  • Entrance fees per itinerary
  • All hotel portage and tipping included

DAY ONE: Sunday

  • Depart the U.S. for Vilnius.

Overnight:  Flight


DAY TWO: Monday
WELCOME TO LITHUANIA
  • Arrival at Vilnius Airport.
  • Welcome by our representative and assistance with arrival formalities.
  • Transfer to your hotel and check in. Airport transfer included.
  • Relax, unpack and settle in.
  • Welcome dinner at the Medininikiai Restaurant and orientation to the program hosted by Expedition Educator.

Overnight: Vilnius


DAY THREE: Tuesday
HISTORICAL VILNIUS

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Begin your trip to the Baltics with a panoramic introductory tour of Vilnius, Lithuania's largest city and capital, with an Old Town that was listed in 1994 as a UNESCO Heritage site. The tour of the Old Town will be including stops at:
    • The Vilnius Castle Complex, a group of defensive, cultural and religious buildings that  evolved between the 10th and 18th centuries, including the Lower and Upper Castle and the remaining Gediminas' Tower, the traditional symbol of Vilnius, and the Cathedral;
    • The Old University, founded in 1579 by the Jesuits, is Lithuania's largest university and one of the largest in Eastern Europe; its fleet of buildings exhibit various architectural styles, from Gothic and Renaissance to Rococo;
    • Hill of Three Crosses, originally constructed in 1916 by Polish sculptor Antoni Wiwukski, torn down by the Soviets in 1950 and reconstructed in 1989 by Henrikas Šilgalis;
    • St. Anna's Church, originally erected in 1394 and continually expanded throughout the centuries, using various art and architectural styles;
    • The Chapel of the Gates of Dawn, the only surviving of the ten original gates in the town wall, which houses the famous icon of the Virgin Mary, dating from the early 17th century.
  • Lunch at leisure en route.
  • Continue with a guided visit through the medieval Jewish Quarter and what was traditionally known throughout the Jewish world as Vilna, Yerushalayim de Lita (the Jerusalem of Lithuania).  Vilna was one of the most significant pre-Holocaust European communities with a community of over 100,000, and was a world center for the study of Torah and the home of Rabbi Eliyahu Kremer, also known as the Vilna Gaon (the Genius from Vilna). The tour will include visits to the:
    • Vilnius Choral Synagogue, built in 1903;
    • Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum, dedicated to the history of Lithuanian Jewish life, including an exposition on the Holocaust and a contemporary Tolerance Center;
    • The Judenrat (Vilna Ghetto Council);
    • The Jewish Cemetery
  • Da'at Encounter: Meet with representatives of the present-day Jewish community.
  • Return to the hotel
  • Dinner and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Vilnius


DAY FOUR: Wednesday
TRAKAI-KAUNAS (KOVNA)
  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Check out of the hotel and depart for Trakai, one of Lithuania's most charming towns located on a peninsula between two lakes. Trakai is a UNESCO World Heritage City.
  • Visit to the Trakai Castle followed by a stop at the Karaite Synagogue.
  • Lunch on your own at leisure in Trakai.
  • Drive to Kaunas, Lithuania's second largest city and at one time its temporary capital. Until 1940, Kaunas, also known as Kovno, boasted a Jewish population of some 40,000, one-fourth of the city's entire population.
  • Enjoy a panoramic tour of the Old Town where you'll view the Kaunus Cathedral, Old Town Hall and Square and Kaunas Castle.
  • Check into your hotel.
  • Dinner on your own.

Overnight: Kaunas


DAY FIVE: Thursday
JEWISH KAUNAS (KOVNA)
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Morning tour of Jewish Kaunus or Kovno:
    • Slobodka Jewish Ghetto, home of the famous Slabodka Yeshiva, considered the ‘mother of yeshivas' and the forerunner of the Hebron Yeshiva;
    • Zamenhoff and Mapu Streets, named in honor of Eliezer Zamenhoff, the inventor of the international Esperanto language, and Abraham Mapu, a native of Slobodka and a Hebrew novelist of the Haskalah movement, considered the creator of the Hebrew novel;
    • Home of Leah Goldberg, one of Israel's most well known pre-state poets and authors, many of whose poems in Hebrew refer to her longing for her birthplace;
    • Ohel Yakov Synagogue and Jewish Cemetery;
    • Children's Memorial;
    • Holocaust Museum and Memorial
  • Lunch on your own, followed by a leisurely afternoon on your own to explore this picturesque city which boasts numerous restaurants, bars and cafes as well as art galleries and Lithuanian folk art souvenir shops.
  • Return to the hotel and dinner on your own.

Overnight: Kaunas


DAY SIX: Friday
KAUNAS-RIGA
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel and depart for Sauliai, Lithuania's fourth largest city, for a short city tour.
  • Stop en route at the Hill of Crosses, or Kryziu Kalnas, a Lithuanian national pilgrimage site where hundreds of thousands of crosses of all sizes and styles stand to represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian national identity.
  • Lunch on your own en route.
  • Cross into Latvia and arrive in Riga, where the Jewish presence dates back to the 13th century.
  • Da'at Encounter: Visit the Jewish Museum and meet with representatives of the Jewish community.
  • Check into your hotel and time to relax.
  • Private Shabbat dinner at the hotel.

Overnight: Hotel Revel Ridzene
            


DAY SEVEN: Saturday
RIGA
 
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Shabbat services at the Peitav Synagogue, built in 1905 and Riga's sole surviving synagogue.
  • Walking tour of Riga's Old Jewish Quarter, which at its peak, prior to the Holocaust, was home to some 44,000 Jewish inhabitants. Visit the Memorial of the Burnt Synagogue, destroyed by the Nazis in 1941.
  • Lunch en route on your own.
  • Continue with a tour of Riga's Old Town, with visits to:
    • Riga Castle;
    • St. Mary's Dome Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the Baltics;
    • Large and Small Guilds, the former is home to the Riga Orchestra while the latter is a Crafts Corporation House.
    • Freedom Monument, a 138-foot-high monument honoring soldiers killed during the 1918-1920 Latvian War of Independence;
    • House of Blackheads -- originally mentioned in the 14th century as an important center of public life for unmarried merchants, the Brotherhood of Blackheads -- which was later destroyed during World War Two and reconstructed at the beginning of this century;
    • St. Peter's Church, first built in the 13th century and since expanded;
    • Riga's Art Nouveau district, one of the largest centers of Art Nouveau in Europe.
  • Return to the hotel and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Riga


DAY EIGHT: Sunday
RIGA-TALLINN

  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel and proceed to Salaspils to see the monument complex in remembrance of the Soviet victims of the Nazis, and then to Rumbula to visit the monument to the 25,000 Jews executed by the Nazis in early December 1941. Continue to  the Holocaust Memorial and burial spot of 40,000 victims from throughout Europe murdered in Bikernieki Forest.
  • Lunch on your own en route.
  • Drive via Paernu, Estonia's main summer resort, and continue to Tallinn, Estonia's capital and largest city, situated on the Gulf of Finland.
  • Arrive in Tallinn and check into your hotel.
  • Dinner and evening at leisure.

Overnight: Tallinn


DAY NINE: Monday
TALLINN
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Visit to the Klooga Holocaust Memorial, located at the site of an Estonian forced labor camp set up by the Nazis during World War Two and the Jewish cemetery in Rahumae, including the Jewish Chapel and Levinovitschi Mausoleum.
  • Da'at Encounter: Visit to the Tallinn Jewish Center, school and museum as well as the Beit Bella Synagogue, inaugurated in 2007 and the first synagogue to be built in Tallinn since 1944, when the original synagogue was destroyed by a Soviet air bombing on the then Nazi-occupied city.
  • Lunch at leisure on your own.
  • Tour of Tallinn's Old Town including visits to:
    • Town Hall Square
    • Alexander Nevsky Cathedral
    • Niguliste Church
    • Dome Cathedral
    • Toompea Castle
    • Old Pharmacy House
  • Lunch en route at leisure.
  • Return to the hotel and time to freshen up.
  • Enjoy a farewell folklore dinner at the Kaval-Antsu Talu restaurant.

Overnight: Tallinn


DAY TEN: Tuesday
  • Breakfast at the hotel.
  • Check out of the hotel.
  • Transfer to the airport for flight home. (Airport transfers included. Please allow a minimum of three hours for check-in.)
  • Flight back to the U.S. (arrive on the same day).
 

Need to Know

  • Tour prices are per person in U.S. dollars. All hotel accommodations, motor coach transportation, special dinners, sightseeing, admissions, luggage handling and the services of local guides, drivers, and the Expedition Educator are included.
  • Hotel Accommodations: The tour price includes all hotel accommodations, in hotel rooms with private baths. Our standard is to provide the best available hotels while considering value. Although the level of the accommodations may differ slightly from hotel to hotel, we are committed to your comfort. Two-bed rooms are reserved in most hotels. Triples are two-bed rooms with a rollaway cot where available and are not recommended when considering the comfort of those in the room. King-size beds are not available in most hotels; what is considered king-size usually consists of two single beds pushed together and made up separately, but with one headboard. Some two-bed rooms may have two twin - not full- or queen-size - beds.
  • Meals are included as specified in the itinerary.
  • Expedition Educator: All trips are conducted by our Expedition Educators or local guides who remain with the group throughout the tour.
  • Gratuities Included: All gratuities for restaurant and hotel staff.
  • Luggage Responsibility: All tour packages allow one piece of luggage per person and one carry-on bag. Excess luggage will be subject to charge of up to $100 per piece. The Travel Agent and/or Tour Operator shall not be held responsible for any damage to or loss of luggage/personal items. All damage/loss must be reported at time of incident and documented in writing by local authorities for submission to your insurance company.


Not Included


  • Airfare to the tour departure point and from the tour ending point is not included. Airfare may be purchased from us for travel originating in the United States. Please see Flights tab in the right-side toolbar.
  • Personal Expenses: All personal expenses such as: laundry, valet service, cables, telephone calls and postage are not included.
  • Guide and Driver Gratuities:
    • 4 seater - $70  (i.e. 2 pax) - per day
    • 7 seater - $90 (i.e. 3-5 pax) - per day
    • 10 seater - $110 (i.e. 5-7 pax) - per day
    • 10-19 passengers: Guide $10, driver $5 - per participant per day
    • 20 passengers and more: Guide $8, driver $4 - per participant per day 


       

Additional Information


  • Airline Security Measures: In the U.S., you must provide identification in the form of a passport at the time of airport check-in for travel to international destinations. Your passport name must match the name on your tour reservation and airline ticket or you may be denied boarding.
  • If you are traveling from an airport outside the jurisdiction of the U.S, you will need to determine what travel documentation and identification is required for that particular airport.
  • Due to heightened security regulations, certain items such as a metal nail file, pocketknife, cigarette lighter or tweezers, and some liquid, gel, or aerosol items may not be permitted in your carry-on luggage. Please call your airline prior to departure to obtain current information on non-permissible carry-on items and recommended airport check-in times. You may also wish to visit the Transportation Security Administration website atwww.tsa.govto obtain more information on acceptable identity documentation and prohibited luggage items.
  • Holidays and Museum Closures - Museum visits and personal shopping time may be disrupted due to unforeseen circumstances or the many religious, state and local holidays locally observed in the destinations being visited.
  • Photography During Tours: We will occasionally use photographs taken by fellow guests or your trip director for promotional purposes. If you prefer that your photo not be used in any marketing activities, please notify us at the start of your tour.
  
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Important to Know
  • Land-only price does not include arrival/departure transfers unless otherwise indicated.
  • By paying a deposit upon registration, you are agreeing to ARZA World terms.
  • We highly recommend carefully reviewing those terms for full details about conditions and penalties.
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Explore the towns and cities of the Baltics, the squares and synagogues of Vilna, Kovno, Riga and Tallin, all centers of Jewish life before World War Two, where learning and culture flourished. From architectural marvels to Holocaust memorials, the Baltics are an experience in Eastern European history and Jewish memory, offering an opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of how modern Judaism was developed.