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A Baltic Christmas

Tour the capitals of the Baltic States, and take advantage of some of Europe's most celebrated and historic Christmas markets.

This sample 9-day (8 night) itinerary covers Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius, the capitals of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania respectively. Chock-full of well-preserved history, it's hard not to feel that you've escaped into another time as you explore the winding medieval alleys and church spires that fill the capital Old Towns. We'll help you explore some of the top rated Christmas markets in Europe, two of which claim to have invented the custom of public Christmas trees. Lithuania's current and historic capitals, neighboring Vilnius and Kaunas, still compete to have the best and most original Christmas markets. We'll let you judge them for yourself. Although there are no international trains, we have you using the area's top-notch intercity bus network (be sure to take advantage of the unlimited free hot cocoa!) For an additional fee, we can also offer door-to-door private transfers, with optional stops in between capitals.
One of our team in the region will be available to you during and leading up to the trip to answer any questions and arrange local services. You will receive access to your Guest Page, with its information on the best these destinations have to offer, including things to see and do, and other inside tips from restaurant recommendations to tipping advice. Upon arrival we will provide you with a local cell phone that you can use to contact our employee (who you will meet in person) throughout your trip. In all of our destinations, we offer a variety of memorable 3-5 star accommodation options, including boutique hotels, charming B&Bs, and spacious apartments. With our firsthand experience, we can ensure they are all clean, comfortable, and centrally located, with local ambience.
Route for Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius tour

3 Nights in Tallinn

3 Nights in Tallinn

4 days in Tallinn

3 Nights in Tallinn

A visit to Tallinn, the oldest capital city in Northern Europe, is a trip back in time. The cobblestone streets, UNESCO-listed medieval walls, and stunning church spires give it an Old World charm you’ll love exploring. But there are all the modern amenities here too, and today Tallinn is a truly unique destination with the best of the old and the new. You’ll also see influences of both the east and west in the architecture and cuisine, as Estonia is a short ferry ride from Helsinki. The restaurants, quaint cafes and chic boutiques are places you’ll love to linger, while the long coastline is ideal for strolling. There are so many different ways to see the city, because Tallinn is so rich in history. See how beer influenced local history, or explore the reminders of life under the Soviet regime. Take a walking tour of the beautiful Old Town, or a driving tour to see more of the city. There are distinct neighborhoods here and each one feels distinct. Tallinn is very tech-savvy, so the business district is always modern and bustling. The bohemian Kalamaja neighborhood is a great place to have a drink or a bite to eat. The picturesque Lahemaa National Park is one of the best day trips from Tallinn, and you’ll have fun wandering through nature here before returning to the city to find more of its charms.

A visit to Tallinn, the oldest capital city in Northern Europe, is a trip back in time. The cobblestone streets, UNESCO-listed medieval walls, and stunning church spires give it an Old World charm you’ll love exploring. But there are all the modern amenities here too, and today Tallinn is a truly unique destination with the best of the old and the new. You’ll also see influences of both the east and west in the architecture and cuisine, as Estonia is a short ferry ride from Helsinki. The restaurants, quaint cafes and chic boutiques are places you’ll love to linger, while the long coastline is ideal for strolling. There are so many different ways to see the city, because Tallinn is so rich in history. See how beer influenced local history, or explore the reminders of life under the Soviet regime. Take a walking tour of the beautiful Old Town, or a driving tour to see more of the city. There are distinct neighborhoods here and each one feels distinct. Tallinn is very tech-savvy, so the business district is always modern and bustling. The bohemian Kalamaja neighborhood is a great place to have a drink or a bite to eat. The picturesque Lahemaa National Park is one of the best day trips from Tallinn, and you’ll have fun wandering through nature here before returning to the city to find more of its charms.

Day 1

Day 1 - Arrival in Tallinn

When you arrive, we'll have a driver waiting to greet you. You'll be taken to your accommodation in the photogenic medieval Old Town of Tallinn, the Estonian capital.

Day 2

Day 2 - Your First Full Day in Tallinn

The Old Town Private Walking Tour

Discover the Medieval Wonders of Tallinn

Included in your vacation package price.

Today you’ll be exploring the wonders of Tallinn with a local guide who knows all the city’s secrets. You’ll be picked up from your accommodations to walk through the UNESCO-listed center of Tallinn, home to many of the city's unusual historic treasures. From Old Town cobblestones to stunning views, you’ll get a vivid encapsulation of all the city has to offer, along with the unique insights of a knowledgeable native. There’s no better way to get your bearings and learn about the city at the same time.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 2 hours

Europe's Best Christmas Market?

Suggestion to explore on your own

Tallinn and Zagreb frequently trade places at the top of "best Christmas market" lists and polls, and we invite you to decide for yourself which you prefer. Tallinn's Christmas market is wonderfully atmospheric, as it sits at the center of the medieval old town, in front of its city hall. Tallinn invented the tradition of publicly displaying a Christmas tree. Accordingly, a particularly impressive specimen sits at the market's center, with colorful wooden stalls radiating outwards. Come hungry, as you’ll find candied nuts, sausages, and Nordic mulled wine (Glogg) and warm Vana Tallinn liqueur. This market excels in handicrafts, especially traditional hand-knit woollen winter wear such as mittens, socks, and hats.

Day 3

Day 3 - Your Second Full Day in Tallinn

Sea Local History: the Seaplane Harbour and the Open Air Museum

Suggestion to explore on your own

Tallinn boasts of excellent and diverse museums – big and small, old and new, traditional and innovative. One of the brightest stars in the Estonian museum scene is the innovative new Seaplane Harbour, set inside massive historical seaplane hangers, where you’ll learn about Estonia’s rich historical relationship with the water. Be sure to check out the museum ships inside and out, then get something to eat at Cafe Maru's outdoor terrace. Just a 15-minute drive from the centre of Tallinn, you will the Estonian Open Air Museum, showcasing the country's rural architecture and way of life amidst seaside scenery and vernacular architecture from around the country.

Day 4

Day 4 - Traveling to Riga by Bus

The vibrant capital city of Riga is next on your itinerary. We'll have a driver pick you up at your hotel and take you to the bus station. You will be provided with tickets and seat reservations. It's a 4.5-hour journey, and the buses are modern and luxurious, with wireless internet, free refreshments and more. If you'd prefer more comfort and flexibility, we can arrange a private transfer for an additional fee. It includes door-to-door service and the possibility of seeing sights along the way. The university town of Tartu, the coastal towns of Parnu or Haapsalu in Estonia or the castles and outdoor activity areas of Sigulda, Latvia are all en route.

You can upgrade your transfer

By Private Transfer to Riga

Upgrade for an additional cost
We also offer the following excursions in Tallinn

Bog-shoe Hiking Private Tour
Strenuous5 hours
Coastal Cliffs and Soviet Paldiski Group Tour
Moderate7 hours
Coastal Cliffs and Soviet Paldiski Private Tour
Moderate7 hours
Group Estonian Food Tour through Kalamaja
Light4 hours

2 Nights in Riga

2 Nights in Riga

3 days in Riga

2 Nights in Riga

Riga's story is one of resurrection. After being damaged by fighting in World War II, the city has returned to beautiful prominence after two decades of independence. Riga really has come a long way, earning UNESCO World Heritage status and being named the European Capital of Culture for 2014. This is a lovely city that takes art and culture seriously, with a packed classical music calendar and events held nightly. You’ll find plenty to enjoy in this Baltic capital. Exploring the city, you’ll have the largest market and bazaar in Europe on-hand, as well as the largest collection of Art Nouveau architecture in the world. You could spend days wandering around admiring these beautiful buildings. But there’s more to do. The city is rich in museums, galleries and concert halls, so your cultural calendar will be full during your stay. And the nightlife is excellent too, with fine restaurants, boutique bars and cute cafes. Rundale and Sigulda are both gorgeous castles and palaces reachable for a day trip.

Riga's story is one of resurrection. After being damaged by fighting in World War II, the city has returned to beautiful prominence after two decades of independence. Riga really has come a long way, earning UNESCO World Heritage status and being named the European Capital of Culture for 2014. This is a lovely city that takes art and culture seriously, with a packed classical music calendar and events held nightly. You’ll find plenty to enjoy in this Baltic capital. Exploring the city, you’ll have the largest market and bazaar in Europe on-hand, as well as the largest collection of Art Nouveau architecture in the world. You could spend days wandering around admiring these beautiful buildings. But there’s more to do. The city is rich in museums, galleries and concert halls, so your cultural calendar will be full during your stay. And the nightlife is excellent too, with fine restaurants, boutique bars and cute cafes. Rundale and Sigulda are both gorgeous castles and palaces reachable for a day trip.

Day 4

Day 4 - Arrival in Riga

When you arrive at the bus station, we'll have a driver waiting to greet you and take you to your accommodation in Riga's Old Town.

Day 5

Day 5 - Your First Full Day in Riga

Riga Private Walking Tour

Introducing Riga

Included in your vacation package price.

Today you’ll be exploring the beautiful city of Riga and its UNESCO-listed Old Town. Historically an important trading port on the Baltic Sea, Riga had a strategic advantage for invaders, which resulted in periods of Polish, German, Swedish and Soviet rule all leaving their mark. You’ll walk through the winding streets of the Old Town to take in the sublime architecture as your guide makes the past come alive for you with stories. Your guide will meet you at your accommodation for this 2-hour tour, and will bring you back to your accommodation, or suggest places for further exploration.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 2 hours

Christmas Trees and a Bunny Kingdom

Suggestion to explore on your own

Riga's preserved old town is an ideal home for its best Christmas markets. The city's German heritage is clear in its gingerbread and mulled wine, but there are many traditional Latvian goods for sale, such as wooden spoons, and hand-knit shawls, mittens, and socks. Warm, traditional warming delicacies such as pea soup with bacon and sea buckthorn juice are easy to find. We recommend visiting the Esplenade Park's “Bunny Kingdom," populated by live rabbits. Vegetables are on hand so you can feed the inhabitants of this miniature walled city (complete with churches and towers). On Saturday, follow the locals and cross the river to the Kalnciems District's own Christmas market. Riga was the second city (after Tallinn) to display Christmas trees, although its tree was originally used for a bonfire. Today, it celebrates with creative trees, arranged along a route connecting many of the center’s landmarks.

Day 6

Day 6 - Traveling to Vilnius by Bus

The next stop on your itinerary is the intriguing city of Vilnius. You'll make the 4-hour journey on a modern, luxurious bus complete with wireless internet. We'll reserve seats for you and arrange for transfer from your accommodation to the bus station. Alternatively, for an additional fee, we can also provide a private car and driver. This gives you more comfort and flexibility as well as the possibility to sight see along the way. You might want to make a stop in Rundale Palace in Latvia or the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. If you choose this option you'll have door-to-door service from Riga to Vilnius.

You can upgrade your transfer

Private Transfer to Vilnius with a Stop in Rundale Palace and The Hill of Crosses

Upgrade for an additional cost
We also offer the following excursions in Riga

Alternative Riga Private Tour
Light2-3 hours
Art Nouveau Private Tour
Light2-3 hours
Funky Bike Private Tour
Strenuous2-3 hours
Gauja National Park Private Hiking Tour
Moderate7 hours

3 Nights in Vilnius

3 Nights in Vilnius

4 days in Vilnius

3 Nights in Vilnius

With one of the oldest surviving Old Town neighborhoods in Europe, as well as a collection of classic architecture from Baroque to Gothic and everything in between, Vilnius is sure to astound you. Walking around the city and marveling at the sites is a pleasure in itself, but there’s much more to do here because Vilnius is also a vibrant cultural epicenter, with concerts and art exhibitions happening regularly. There are also numerous outdoor activities and day trips to enjoy while you stay in the city. It might surprise you, but hot air balloons are a popular pastime in and around Vilnius, and the city is one of the few in Europe that allows hot air balloons to float directly over the city, so you’re guaranteed a spectacular view whether you opt for a flight over the city or nearby Trakai. There’s also a rich Jewish heritage to explore here, including the former synagogue and the larger and smaller ghetto. We’d also recommend delving into the darker areas of the city’s past and exploring the communist era and the history of the KGB in Vilnius at the KGB Museum. Don’t miss Uzupis, a bohemian neighborhood of galleries, restaurants, and cafes that doubles as a tongue-in-cheek sovereign state, complete with its own charming constitution, three-boat navy, and flags (one per season).

With one of the oldest surviving Old Town neighborhoods in Europe, as well as a collection of classic architecture from Baroque to Gothic and everything in between, Vilnius is sure to astound you. Walking around the city and marveling at the sites is a pleasure in itself, but there’s much more to do here because Vilnius is also a vibrant cultural epicenter, with concerts and art exhibitions happening regularly. There are also numerous outdoor activities and day trips to enjoy while you stay in the city. It might surprise you, but hot air balloons are a popular pastime in and around Vilnius, and the city is one of the few in Europe that allows hot air balloons to float directly over the city, so you’re guaranteed a spectacular view whether you opt for a flight over the city or nearby Trakai. There’s also a rich Jewish heritage to explore here, including the former synagogue and the larger and smaller ghetto. We’d also recommend delving into the darker areas of the city’s past and exploring the communist era and the history of the KGB in Vilnius at the KGB Museum. Don’t miss Uzupis, a bohemian neighborhood of galleries, restaurants, and cafes that doubles as a tongue-in-cheek sovereign state, complete with its own charming constitution, three-boat navy, and flags (one per season).

Day 6

Day 6 - Arrival in Vilnius

When you arrive at the bus station, we'll have a driver waiting to greet you and take you to your accommodation in the Old Town.

Day 7

Day 7 - Your First Full Day in Vilnius

Vilnius Private Walking Tour

Discover the Best of Vilnius

Included in your vacation package price.

Today you’ll be getting in touch with the real Vilnius, with help from an expert local guide. Your guide will show you the ins and outs of the city, regaling you with stories from the past and present. You’ll learn more about Vilnius’ Jewish, Polish, Russian and Lithuanian heritage while discovering the city’s most impressive sites, including Old Town, St. Stanislovas and Vladislovas Cathedral, Vilnius University, the Presidential Palace and more. Your guide will pick you up and drop you off at your accommodation, or can suggest areas for further exploration after your tour concludes.


Activity Level : Light
Duration : 3 hours

A Christmas Rivalry

Suggestion to explore on your own

Vilnius and Kaunas’ rivalry takes many forms. Chief among them are its Christmas trees, which get more elaborate every year as the current and former capital try to prove their supremacy. Kaunas is worthy of a day trip or a night (several years ago it boasted a "tree" made of white yarn, with a trunk composed of local chocolates), but Vilnius’ markets really stand out. The city's largest square, in front of the cathedral, naturally hosts the main Christmas market. This bazaar excels at pastries and candied nuts, as well as a surprising amount of herbal teas. The nearby city hall's market is a bit smaller and quieter, for those seeking something more atmospheric. For something different, head to the alternative Christmas market hosted by the train station at the other end of the old town. Here you're more likely to hear techno than choral carols, and can drink hot chocolate beer or eat fondue. Concerts are held for adults and children near food trucks.

Day 8

Day 8 - Your Second Full Day in Vilnius

Trakai Private Tour

See Another Lithuania with a Trip to Trakai

Please ask your travel advisor for the cost to add this to your package

Vilnius' most popular day trip destination is Trakai Castle. This is perhaps the region's most beautiful fort. Built on an island, Trakai Castle stands out for its beauty, with its red brick and views of the surrounding national park and its lakes. What makes this castle unique, however, are the Karaites who garrisoned it for centuries, and still live in the neighboring village. The descendants of Tatars who converted to a non-mainstream branch of Judaism (they only follow the Hebrew Bible/Tanakh), Karaite warriors so impressed the Lithuanian Grand Duke during his conquest of Crimea, that he brought them home to guard his key castles. Trakai's village has unique wooden architecture, with the "kenesa," the wooden synagogue, at its center. Be sure to check out the Kibinai, the community's famous mutton pies, similar to Cornish pasties.


Activity Level : Moderate
Duration : 4 hours

Day 9

Day 9 - Departure Day

Based on your flight time, we'll have a driver meet you at your accommodation and take you to the airport.

We also offer the following excursions in Vilnius

Beer Tasting Private Tour
Light3-4 hours
Druskininkai & Grūtas Park Group Tour
Light9 hours
Food Tasting Group Tour
Light3.5 hours
Food Tasting Private Tour
Light3.5 hours

What's Included

Here are all the services provided as part of your complete vacation package. See what every JayWay trip includes.
Please let us know if you'd like to upgrade any transfers or add any additional tours or excursions to your itinerary.

Tallinn

3 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Tallinn Airport Transfer
The Old Town Private Walking Tour
Tallinn - Riga Bus
Tallinn Bus Station Transfer

Riga

2 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Riga Bus Station Transfer
Riga Private Walking Tour
Riga - Vilnius Bus
Riga Bus Station Transfer

Vilnius

3 Nights Accommodation
Breakfast (hotels only)
Vilnius Bus Station Transfer
Vilnius Private Walking Tour
Vilnius Airport Transfer
The package excludes:

  • Flights to and from Europe.
  • Tips for Tour Guides, Drivers and Local Reps.
  • Meals (other than breakfast if included in room rate and meals listed as included in food tours and excursions, unless explicitly stated otherwise).
  • Parking fees for your Rental Car (if you are booking one with us) unless otherwise indicated. Some hotels provide free parking facilities.
  • Travel Insurance. See the insurance link on our website

Benefits of Traveling with JayWay

A JayWay vacation is more than the sum of its parts. Our team work tirelessly to ensure your experience is memorable for all the right reasons. Your trip is personalized to maximize your enjoyment. You're taken care of every step of the way.

A Travel Advisor who speaks your language
We will make sure that all your requirements and interests are taken into account in preparing your itinerary.
A totally tailored itinerary for your vacation
Your trip is customized for you by  an experienced trip planner and an expert on the region.
A choice of hand-picked hotels and excursions
We've personally inspected and tested all the hotels and local tour providers we work with to ensure quality.
Detailed pre-trip preparation to make the most of every day
Your Europe-based Tour Manager will be in touch by email and phone a month before you arrive to finalize timings.
On-trip Concierge Service to smooth out any bumps in the road
Our local staff are at your service throughout your journey via the local prepaid cellphone which we provide.
Personalized Guest Page to make sure you're not missing out
Packed with detailed information and recommendations curated by locals on the best things to do, see and eat.

Glowing Reviews from Our Guests

4.9 / 5

Average of our Guest's Ratings of vacation packages including these destinations
Review by John, Kathleen, MaryAnn & Ron

John, Kathleen, MaryAnn & Ron

North Carolina

If you are looking for a travel experience that exceeds your expectations, than JayWay Travel is the only way to go! Professional and knowledgeable - they deliver on what they promise!"

If you are looking for a travel experience that exceeds your expectations, than JayWay Travel is the only way to go! Professional and knowledgeable - they deliver on what they promise!"

Year : 2019
Visited : Lithuania, Latvia
Itinerary : Vilnius, Esperanza Hotel and Spa, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Riga
Rating :
5 / 5
Year : 2019
Visited : Lithuania, Latvia
Itinerary : Vilnius, Esperanza Hotel and Spa, Kaunas, Klaipeda, Riga
Rating :
5 / 5
Review by Leonore & Truman

Leonore & Truman

A great way to travel independently! Very helpful and responsive to our group.

A great way to travel independently! Very helpful and responsive to our group.

Year : 2019
Visited : Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland
Itinerary : Tallinn, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Gdansk, Krakow
Rating :
5 / 5
Year : 2019
Visited : Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland
Itinerary : Tallinn, Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius, Gdansk, Krakow
Rating :
5 / 5
Review by Robert & Sara

Robert & Sara

Massachusetts

JayWay Travel does a great job in preparation of your trip and assures things are in place before you depart on your trip. While there you are greeted and given great support throughout your stay. The thrill of meeting family in Latvia and see where my parents were born, experiencing the beauty of the Baltics from City to Sea and all the beautiful green in between! Wonderful job!

JayWay Travel does a great job in preparation of your trip and assures things are in place before you depart on your trip. While there you are greeted and given great support throughout your stay. The thrill of meeting family in Latvia and see where my parents were born, experiencing the beauty of the Baltics from City to Sea and all the beautiful green in between! Wonderful job!

Year : 2019
Visited : Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
Itinerary : Tallinn, Riga, Klaipeda, Vilnius
Rating :
5 / 5
Year : 2019
Visited : Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania
Itinerary : Tallinn, Riga, Klaipeda, Vilnius
Rating :
5 / 5

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