BALTIC JEWISH HERITAGE TOUR
9 days/ 8 nights
2020 dates: May 15 – 23, July 17 – 25, August 14 – 22, September 4 – 12
DAY 1 Friday VILNIUS. Arrival to Vilnius. Private transfer to the hotel. Accommodation. Friday night dinner. Overnight in 4* Vilnia hotel or similar.
DAY 2 Saturday VILNIUS. Free morning to visit synagogue service or stroll around beautiful street of Vilnius. Afternoon Vilnius Old Town tour. Vilnius used to be a very important Jewish center in Europe. From the 14th century onwards Jews settled in the city, and by the 18th century Vilnius had become the world center of traditional Talmudic learning, eventually becoming known as the Jerusalem of the North. Pass by baroque Vilnius university and learn about Yiddish institute. Vilnius Choral Synagogue (outside), Cathedral square, St.John‘s Bell Tower, gothic corner awaits for you as well as Medieval Jewish quarter, its lanes and courts, the history of Great Vilna Synagogue, the personality of Gaon of Vilna. Ghettos of Vilna where more than 40.000 Jews were concentrated in 1941- 1943, the building of Judenrath on Rudininku street. Overnight in 4* Vilnia hotel or similar.
DAY 3 Sunday VILNIUS – PONAR – TRAKAI – VILNIUS. Morning departure to the ancient capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – Trakai. En route stop at Ponar Forest and Memorial to pay respect to the thousands of Jews, shot in the early days of the war – but (as proved by your visit) never forgotten. Learn about escape tunnel, which location was recently discovered. Later continue to Trakai, famous for the medieval insular castle and heritage of karaites ethnic minority. Get to know how it is related to Judaism. Return to Vilnius. Visit Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum and Samuel Bakk art museum. You will learn about Jewish life, art and Shoah. Drive to Vilna Gaon’s grave in the Vilna cemetery (many come here to ask for a blessing). Overnight in 4* Vilnia hotel or similar.
DAY 4 Monday VILNIUS – ZIEZMARIAI – KAUNAS. Morning departure to Kaunas. En route stop at unique wooden synagogue of Ziezmariai. Arrival to Kaunas - second largest city of the country and the capital of Lithuania between the World Wars. During the sightseeing tour of Kaunas Old Town, you will pass by castle ruins, the Town Hall Square, Cathedral and Perkunas House. Visit former Kaunas Jewish ghetto, Kaunas Choral Synagogue, striking for its black and golden colors, as well as its Children's Memorial. Learn about great things Japanese diplomat Chiune Sugihara has done to save around 6000 jewish people when Holokaust started. Overnight in 4* Europa Royale hotel or similar.
DAY 5 Tuesday KAUNAS – KEDAINIAI – PAKRUOJIS - RUNDALE – RIGA. Morning visit the Ninth Fort Museum, a former death site of thousands of Jewish nationals during the World War II. Continue towards Riga (Latvia). En route stops in Kedainiai and Rundale Palace. Kedainiai is a citadel of Radzivil family, one of the most powerful nobility in late middle age Lithuania and also a town where the Vilna Gaon lived and worked and where 3 synagogues have remained. Before leaving Lithuania don‘t miss Pakruojis town. Pass by impressive manor and the oldest wooden synagogue in Lithuania, dating 1801. Now it is renovated and belongs to the library. Later trip to Rundale palace in Latvia, created by legendary architect B. Rastrelli, with Baroque rose garden. Afternoon arrival in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Accommodation in 4* Europa Royale hotel or similar.
DAY 6 Wednesday RIGA. Get acquainted with charming Old town of Riga, while strolling through the cobble-stone, picturesque streets. Visit the chic "Art Nouveau" district, where many prominent Jewish Latvians, among them the philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin, once lived. Riga has one of the world's most impressive collections of authentic Art Nouveau architecture, and uniquely offers streets whose buildings are preserved almost entirely in this early 20th Century style. In the museum “Jews in Latvia” you will learn about life of Jews in this part of the world. Pass by the site of Jewish Ghetto and visit the only remaining Synagogue, which today serves as the central meeting place for the Jews of Latvia. Standing since the beginning of the 20th century, the synagogue was most likely spared from burning due to its fortunate location in the Old Town, where fires could be devastating to the surrounding buildings. Riga ghtetto and Latvian Holokaust museum. Later continue to Salaspils just outside Riga. You will hear about Nazi camp, established in 1941. During it's operation, roughly 2000 lives were taken here. Although the original camp buildings were destroyed after WWII, Salaspils was turned into a memorial park, which reflects the history of the place. Overnight in 4* Europa Royale hotel or similar.
DAY 7 Thursday RIGA – TURAIDA- PARNU – TALLINN. Drive alongside the Riga Bay to Estonia’s capital city - Tallinn. Pass by part of Gauja National park and stop at Medieval Turaida castle. Another short stop at Estonia’s resort town – Parnu. Late afternoon arrival to Tallinn. Accommodation in 4* L'ermitage hotel or similar.
DAY 8 Friday TALLINN. This morning, enjoy a tour of the charming city of Tallinn, rated as one of Europe's best-kept secrets by several travel and placed on UNESCO's list of World Heritage sites. Drive to the Old Town on top of the hill, to find breathtaking views of the tiled roofs and colorful houses below. Stroll the beautifully preserved Medieval streets and become a part of Tallinn's thousands year-old history. Walk past the impressive Alexander Nevski Cathedral to the Town Hall Square. Visit Tallinn‘s synagogue and learn about Estonian Jewish community life. Free afternoon to enjoy cafes, bars and get beautiful souvenirs. Overnight in 4* L'ermitage hotel or similar.
DAY 9 Saturday End of the tour. Private transfer to the airport. Departure.
1300 EUR/ person
Price valid if minimum 2 people traveling
Single room suplement - 250 EUR
If choosing 5* hotels, price - 1750 EUR/ person in DBL occupancy room
Single room supplement - 550 EUR
Accommodation with breakfast in centrally located 4* hotels
Transport service as per itinerary including arrival/ departure transfers
Sightseeing tours with car and English speaking guide as per itinerary
Friday nights dinner
Admission fees: Gaon Jewish State and Samuel Bakk Museum, Vilnius university, St.John‘s Bell Tower, Trakai castle, Ninth Fort Museum, Kaunas synagogue, Sugihara house, Rundale Palace, Jews of Latvia museum, Riga’s synagogue, Turaida castle, Tallinn‘s synagogue.
Vilnius & Kaunas city taxes