A week in Latvia and Lithuania combines splendid capital cities, Hanseatic towns as well as the Baltic coastline with its white sandy beaches, lively seaside resorts, tranquil quiet in the hinterland and picturesque fishing villages.
Arrival to Riga, Latvia's capital city. Car pick-up at the airport. Hotel accommodation.
Enjoy the beauty of this Hanseatic city. A stroll through the cobble-stone, picturesque streets of the Old Town will lead you to the Dome Cathedral, St Peter’s Church, the Old Guild House, Riga Castle, the Powder Tower, and the Opera House. Don’t miss the Art Nouveau architecture from the beginning of the 20th century which made Riga the Art Nouveau Capital of Northern Europe.
Riga - Jurmala - Liepaja (230 km)
This morning you may wish to spend in Jurmala (20 km away from Riga), the summer capital of Latvia full of charming wooden summer cottages, decorated with fascinating carvings dating back to the 1900-s and successfully harmonising with the more recently built cottages and spa health centres. You may stroll along the flat sea coast or just walk along the central pedestrian Jomas Street full of cafes and souvenir stalls. Proceed on to Liepaja, the third largest city in Latvia, a city of successful changes, known for wonderful beaches, rock music festivals. Among it's main attractions is Karosta - former military base from Tsarist and Soviet time and Holy Trinity Church organ. Overnight.
Liepaja - Palanga - Klaipeda, Lithuania (100 km)
After leisurely morning in Liepaja head to the border of Lithuania. The first recomended stop is in Palanga, Lithuania's prime resort. Visit the Amber Museum, the best place to learn the story of amber, the Baltic gold. Take a walk through the park to the beach where you can enjoy and along the beach to the main pedestrian street of the town full of cafes and restaurants. Later in the day proceed to Klaipeda, the main town of the country on the coast, always young, ambitious, creative and tolerant. Overnight.
Klaipeda - Curonian Spit - Klaipeda (100 km)
This morning ake a ferry boat to Smiltyne an enjoy the rest of the day on the Curonian Spit (UNESCO World Heritage site, Lithuania's National Park ), a sandy stretch of land, 98 km long and varying in width from 400 m to just a few kilometres, between the waters of the Curonian Lagoon and the Baltic Sea. A great holiday site, filled with the sweet scent of pines, water and fresh air. Enjoy the day visiting small fishermen villages Juodkrante and Nida, stopping at the Thomas Mann House, walking on the sand dunes as high as 50 metres above the sea level. In the evening take a ferry boat back to the mainland. Overnight in Klaipeda.
Klaipeda - Kaunas - Vilnius (320 km)
This morning take the highway connecting Klaipeda with Kaunas and Vilnius. Kaunas, the second biggest town and Lithuania’s capital in between the World Wars has preserved is famous for its Old Town, original museums, pedestrian street - Freedom avenue - bustling with street vendors, musicians, full of cafes and souvenir shops. Just an hour or so drive from Kaunas will take you to Vilnius. This evening you may still have time to start exploring the Old Town of Vilnius boasting numerous architectural and historic buildings: the Cathedral, the Gothic corner with St Ann’s Church, University campus, Town Hall Square. Enjoy dining at one of many excellent restaurants catering to every taste.Overnight.
Vilnius - Rundale - Riga, Latvia (300 km)
Continue your acquaintance with the capital of Lithuania. You may wish to go up Gediminas Hill for a panoramic view of the city or visit St Peter and Paul’s Church, one of the most impressive Baroque churches in the country.
Early afternoon drive to Riga (highway A2). Upon entring Latvia, in Bauska turn in the direction of Rundale Palace. The palace built in the 18th century is an outstanding example of the early work of Italian - Russian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli who also designed the famous Winter Palace in St.Petersburg. The professionally renovated palace interiors are decorated with authentic 18th century furniture, paintings and china. Continue on to Riga for overnight.
Leave the car at the car rental office in Riga airport.