Arrival in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania and transfer to your hotel.
The afternoon city tour features Vilnius Old Town - a UNESCO Heritage site highlighting the main city attractions with its endless church domes, steeples and magnificently restored buildings. The tour begins at the Cathedral Square dominated by the Cathedral itself and Gediminas Castle, the principle landmark of Vilnius, then via the President’s Palace to Vilnius University. After visiting the University courtyards, the tour continues along the main street of the Old Town, Pilies St., to the Gothic corner of Vilnius, showing St Anne’s Church. A short visit to a private Amber gallery gives you the opportunity to learn about Baltic gold. Then the tour continues to the only remaining city gate - Dawn Gate, famous for a miraculous icon of The Virgin Mary, and ends in the old Town Hall Square.
Day 2: A morning tour to Trakai, the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and one of the country’s oldest towns, now famous for its 15th century red-brick Gothic Castle built on one of the small islands in lake Galve. Once the seat of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes, the Castle now houses a museum of local history and a huge collection of objects d’art, including furniture, ceramics, snuff boxes, pipes, etc.
Upon your return in the afternoon we visit the Applied Art Museum which is located in the old Arsenal at the foot of Gediminas Hill. The museum has an exhibition featuring archeologically artifacts from the Royal Palace of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, an exposition of Sacral art linking professional and folk art as well as icons and metal works of Orthodox, Old believers and Uniates.
Day 3: Departure to Minsk, the capital of Belarus where you get settled at your hotel.
The afternoon tour of the city of Minsk includes the Lower and Upper Towns, Independence Square with the House of Government, Victory Square with eternal flame to the victims of World War II, Island of Tears and Troitskoye Predmestye (Trinity Suburb), restored buildings of 19th century.
Day 4: A full day tour to Mir and Nesvizh, the two towns which in the 15th & 17th centuries belonged to the noble and influential family of Lithuanian origin the Radzvills. The family had dozens of towns in their possession, hundreds of boroughs and villages in Lithuania, present day Belarus, Poland and Ukraine. The major attraction in Mir is the three-storey palace built in Renaissance style. Once famous for its picture gallery and library, the palace suffered from wars with Sweden in 1706 and with Russia in 1812. Later, it became the temporary residence of Napoleon. And today, the palace is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, and is undergoing a restoration.
In Nesvizh, the tour features the Radzvills palace and park, the Slutsk gate, the Catholic Cathedral and the Radzvills’ crypt or burial-vault.
Day 5: Departure to Grodno, probably the most picturesque city in Belaruswith a short en route stop in Novogrudok, once the capital of Grand Duchy of Lithuania where Mindaugas, Grand Duke of Lithuania was crowned in 1253. Despite the vicissitudes of history, Novogrudok has retained the evidence of past epochs: ruins of the castle, the barrows, ancient cemeteries, the lay-out of the ancient town, etc.
Upon arrival in Grodno, we settle in at our hotel.
Day 6: A morning tour of Grodno includes a walk in the Old Town, a visit to the Renaissance Bernadine Monastery and Baroque Catholic Cathedral, the castle, 11th century Kalozha Church, and the Synagogue.
Later in the afternoon we drive to Druskininkai, Lithuania’s premier spa and southernmost picturesque town set on Nemunas River and surrounded by pine forests with wonderfully fresh scented air. Overnight in Druskininkai.
Day 7: A short tour of Druskininkai highlights its main attractions: The Neo-Gothic Church of the Virgin Mary of the Scapular, Ciurlionis Memorial Museum, Jacques Lipchitz Memorial Gallery and Grutas Park, a unique park in which pompous statues of former Soviet revolutionaries and political leaders, once dominated the squares of Lithuanian towns and villages, have found their final resting place after being removed more than 10 years ago. Afterwards, we drive back for an overnight stay in Vilnius.
Day 8: After breakfast, enjoy a free morning in Vilnius before your flight home.