Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki - Gems of Northern Europe
Riga, Tallinn and Helsinki. Despite their differences in style, the fascinating architecture of these three cities is a constant throughout our tour. In Riga, marvel at the grand Gothic and classical art nouveau houses. In wonderful Tallinn, amble magnificent medieval streets. In the Finnish capital, modernist buildings sit pretty alongside traditional wooden structures. We’ll tick off the big-name highlights in each country, but you’ll also capture an intimate, local perspective of the culture and history.
Your holiday includes:
7 excursions and visits
- Walking tours in Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki and Suomenlinna
- Visits to Rundale Palace and Vaidelotes Farm; Turaida Castle; Temppeliaukio Church
- 7 nights in hotels (accommodation as specified or similar)
- International flights. Prices are based on return flights with Air Baltic from London Gatwick - inbound via Riga. Supplements may apply from other airports
- 9 meals: 7 breakfasts (days 2-8) 2 dinners (days 1 and 4)
- Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service
- Titan tour manager
- Ferry from Tallinn to Helsinki
- Travel in destination by coach
UK - Riga
Titan’s VIP door-to-door travel service collects you from home for your flight to Riga. On arrival, we transfer to our hotel.
Radisson Blu Latvija, Riga (4-star)
Riga is a labyrinth of cobblestone streets, where Gothic churches and ancient buildings transport you back to the Middle Ages. The city’s architecture is simply beautiful - and better yet, many of the perfectly restored buildings have been converted into excellent restaurants and cosy cafés, giving the city a real atmospheric buzz.
On our guided tour this morning, soak up the beauty of this ancient Hanseatic city. Some of the highlights that we pass are the enormous Dome Cathedral, St Peter’s Church, the architectural ensemble Three Brothers, and Old Riga Castle.
After all that walking, you might be feeling a little peckish. The architecturally imposing Riga Central Market is our next stop. This stunning historical building was once used to house the Zeppelins in the First World War, but today is one of Europe’s most bustling meeting spots for locals and tourists alike. A host of food vendors serve Latvian-grown, homemade products, exotic fruits and more - and we’re going to sample some local specialities including bread, marinated vegetables and fish, smoked fish, meats and cheeses.
You’ll then have free time to explore the city under your own steam.
Rundale Palace was designed by FB Rastrellis, the baroque genius who created some of St Petersburg’s finest buildings, including the Winter Palace. This magnificent masterpiece of baroque architecture is easy to fall in love with. The elegant Golden Hall, White Hall and one-time bedroom of the Duke of Courland Ernst Johann Biron are decorated with authentic 18th-century furniture, paintings and china. And the beautiful sprawling French-style gardens are surrounded by a flowing canal.
From the palace, we continue to Vaidelotes Farm for a taste of real local Latvian life. We’ll meet farmers in traditional dress as we learn about the rituals of rural Latvia. This is immersive farm-to-table dining at its best and you’ll get a chance to try pierogi (dumplings) and sheet cakes.
Riga - Sigulda - Turaida - Tallinn
We say goodbye to Riga today as we set off on our journey towards Tallinn. On the way, we stop at the historical marvel, Turaida Museum Reserve. But it’s not your typical museum. This red-brick castle complete with tower is the thing of fairytales, but inside comprises archaeological, historical and art monuments spanning almost 1,000 years. There’s a real blacksmith on site, where guests can try pounding pagan symbols into small chunks of iron.
We continue to Sigulda; the enchanting gateway to the Gauja Valley. Think scenic trails and 800-year-old castles steeped in legend. We’ll visit the 19th-century castle and then down in the river valley, we’ll walk to the biggest grotto cave in the Baltics, Gumanis, located on the ancient river bank.
We carry on along the scenic coastal route to Tallinn, arriving to check into our hotel this evening.
Original Sokos Hotel Viru, Tallinn (4-star)
One of the best-preserved medieval town centres in Europe, wandering around Tallinn is like walking straight into the pages of a fairytale storybook. Ancient churches, medieval streetscapes and beautiful merchants’ houses all jostle for the attention of your camera lens. And the smells of hearty Estonian cooking waft through the streets - Tallinn is a feast for the eyes and the taste buds.
You’ll have the chance to soak up all the Gothic architecture on our city tour this morning. We’ll navigate the narrow streets as we visit Toompea Castle, the 13th-century Dome Church, the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of Alexander Nevskij and Town Hall Square, which dates back to the 15th century.
The afternoon is free for you to explore as you please. Maybe venture to a local eatery for a mug of Kvass (a traditional fermented drink made from rye bread) and a helping of mulgipuder (mashed potato and barley mixed with butter).
Tallinn - Helsinki
We’ll get a little taste of the local life this morning as we join commuters on the ferry across the Baltic Sea to Finland. Helsinki is the capital of Finland and this quirky city is overflowing with magnificent architecture. Contemporary, functional and stylish - this is Scandinavia after all - but also historic and impressive buildings. Fun fact: the city’s train station served as inspiration for Gotham City in the Batman film.
Our coach will meet us at the ferry terminal in Helsinki and we’ll begin our tour. In the historical centre you’ll see Senate Square, the Presidential Palace, City Hall, the Parliament building and the Opera House. We’ll also visit fascinating Temppeliaukio Church - a Lutheran church built directly into solid rock.
Radisson Blu Aleksanteri Hotel, Helsinki (4-star)
Helsinki is made up of a collection of small islands scattered just off the coast of Finland - and today we take to the water to explore. Suomenlinna, the ‘fortress of Finland’ was designed during the Swedish era in the mid-18th century as a maritime fortress. Built on a cluster of rocky skerries connected by bridges, this peaceful area is visually striking and historically evocative. There are several museums, bunkers and fortress walls, and Finland’s last-remaining WWII submarine.
Day 8 Helsinki - UK
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to the UK. Upon arrival, your Titan vehicle will be waiting for the journey home.