Latvia ~ Heart of the Baltics

Latvia ~ Heart of the Baltics

Breathtaking Latvia, an off-the-beaten-path gem on the Baltic Sea, delights with pristine woodlands, serene countryside and a cosmopolitan capital adorned with world-class architecture. On this seven-night journey, unpack once in your deluxe hotel in Riga, then set off to discover Latvia’s natural beauty and multilayered history. Explore the impressively preserved medieval castles, Turaida and Cesis, and admire baroque Rundale Palace. Take in the peaceful, Old World ambience of Kuldiga, one of the country’s prettiest towns. In seaside Jurmala, breathe in the pine-scented air and follow walkways through the tranquil Great Kemeri Bog. See Riga’s historic center, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on a guided stroll and select another excursion that suits your interests, from the city’s Jewish or Soviet heritage to its Art Nouveau masterpieces. You’ll also learn about Latvian culture through enriching lectures, a farm visit, a wine tasting and a bread-making lesson! This small-group experience features an ample meal plan with wine at dinner. No single supplement for solo travelers!

Trip Itinerary:

June 12 Depart gateway city

AHI FlexAir passengers depart for Riga, Latvia. Please check your luggage from your gateway city to your arrival city. Your claim checks should have the following airport code: RIX.

June 13 Riga, Latvia

Arrive at Riga International Airport. Proceed through immigration to the baggage claim area and retrieve your luggage. After completing customs, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for the group arrival transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer should exit the baggage claim area and proceed to the Arrivals Hall, where an AHI Travel representative will meet you.

Transfer to the Grand Palace Hotel Riga. Please note, if you arrive before check-in time, your room may not be immediately available.

Meet and mingle with your fellow travelers at tonight’s Welcome Reception and Dinner at the hotel.

Accommodations - Grand Palace Hotel Riga
Meals - Dinner

June 14 Riga

Enrichment: Latvia Today. A local expert shares insights on Latvia’s politics, economy and society.

Discovery: Old Riga Walking Tour. Sitting by the Baltic Sea, Riga has been an influential port city since its founding in 1201. It was one of the wealthiest and most powerful members of the medieval Hanseatic League, and its prominence continued throughout the centuries even as control over the city changed hands. It was the largest city of the 17th-century Swedish Empire as well as one of the most important cities of the Russian Empire. Its prosperity is reflected in its historic center, which is famed for its medieval buildings and world-class art nouveau architecture. Admire colorful Livu Square; the Three Brothers, a trio of buildings that represent the development of architecture between the 15th and 17th centuries; the ornate Blackheads House, an elegant building that has hosted the city’s important social and cultural events for 700 years; and the 13th-century Dome Cathedral. Then, meander the aisles of Riga’s bustling Central Market housed in World War I Zeppelin hangars and sample delicious Latvian treats. (Moderate)

Personalize Your Journey | Choose one of the following excursions. See the Excursion Choices sheet for full descriptions.

Shalom Riga. (Moderate)
Pearls of Riga Art Nouveau. (Moderate)
Soviet Heritage in Riga. (Moderate)
Savor local delicacies at dinner in the Old Town.

Accommodations - Grand Palace Hotel Riga
Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

June 15 Turaida | Ligatne | Cesis

Discovery: Northern Latvia — Turaida, Ligatne and Cesis. This morning, journey into Latvia’s lovely Vidzeme region of rolling, forested hills and valleys. Stop in the enchanting town of Sigulda to see its highlights, then continue to red-brick Turaida Castle, beautifully situated over the winding Gauja River. Take a guided tour of this 13th-century walled complex, the former residence and stronghold of the Archbishops of Riga, and enjoy wonderful views from the tower. Next, in Ligatne, explore a vestige of Latvia’s time under Soviet rule, a Cold War nuclear bunker shrouded in secrecy for decades. Head down into the facility for a fascinating tour and a typical canteen lunch. Afterward, visit another of the country’s remarkable medieval castles, Cesis, built about 1214 as the home of the Knights of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. Walk through the castle ruins set within a peaceful park and visit the 19th-century manor house during your tour. (Moderate)

Free Time: Enjoy dinner on your own tonight and the evening at leisure.

Accommodations - Grand Palace Hotel Riga
Meals - Breakfast, Lunch

June 16 Rundale | Vaidelotes

Enrichment: Baltic Republics and the Soviet Influence. Examine the impact of the Soviet Union’s occupation and annexation from 1940 to 1990.

Discovery: Southern Latvia — Rundale Palace. Sitting regally amid the Zemgale Plains, Latvia’s breadbasket, elegant Rundale Palace was built by the Dukes of Courland in the 18th century. The palace was an early project of French-born Italian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli, who would later design the Catherine Palace, Winter Palace and other opulent imperial residences in St. Petersburg, Russia. See the splendidly restored rooms within its refined baroque exterior and stroll in the ornamental French garden during your guided visit. (Moderate)

Discovery: Vaidelotes Farm. Enjoy a warm welcome at this working family farm as the owners show you around the property and talk about their crops, equipment and medicinal herbs and plants. (Moderate)

Gather with your fellow travelers for dinner tonight in Riga.

Accommodations - Grand Palace Hotel Riga
Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

June 17 Abavas Winery | Kuldiga

Discovery: Western Latvia — Abavas Winery and Kuldīga. Today, explore Kurzeme, Latvia’s western region. Also known as Courland, it is home to a scenic wine-growing region on the Abava River. Visit the family-owned Abavas Winery and relish the pastoral beauty of their vineyard, along with a tasting of their wines and ciders. Afterward, feel transported to a quieter time as you revel in the unhurried, Old World ambience of Kuldiga, one of Latvia’s prettiest towns. Delight in the Old Town, where its collection of well-preserved medieval architecture lines the streets. See the vaulted brick bridge over the Venta River and the town’s wide, low waterfall. At a farm shop, taste a favorite regional food, homemade sklandrausi, a rye pastry pie with a potato and carrot filling. (Moderate)

Free Time: Make plans of your own after returning to Riga.

Accommodations - Grand Palace Hotel Riga
Meals - Breakfast, Lunch

June 18 Jurmala | Kemeri National Park

Discovery: Jurmala and Great Kemeri Bog. Breathe in the fresh, pine-scented air of Jurmala, a popular coastal resort on the Baltic Sea where Latvians have come to unwind since the 1800s. Enjoy its laid-back atmosphere and the romantic, historic wooden villas that evoke summer days of the past. Nearby, in Kemeri National Park, join your nature guide for an unforgettable walk through the Great Kemeri Bog, an untamed mossy landscape punctuated with bog pools, lakes and pine trees. Bird watchers will be rewarded as this striking landscape also is an important bird habitat. Don’t forget your camera! Later, roll up your sleeves and learn how to make traditional black bread, a hearty rye, at a bakery. (Moderate)

Free Time: Spend your evening at leisure in Riga.

Accommodations - Grand Palace Hotel Riga
Meals - Breakfast, Lunch

June 19 Riga

Enrichment: Latvia’s Culture, Music & Traditions. Discover the enduring customs that define Latvia.

Free Time: Spend your final day enjoying all that Riga has to offer. Maybe you’ll go back to the Central Market to pick up the fixings for a picnic at Mezaparks, followed by a walk through the Riga Zoo next door, or stroll down Miera Iela, where locals flock for an eclectic mix of cafés, brewpubs and boutiques. You may also wish to check out the vintage cars at the Riga Motor Museum or study the paintings at the National Museum of Art.

Share in a Farewell Reception and Dinner tonight and celebrate your delightful Latvian journey.

Accommodations - Grand Palace Hotel Riga
Meals - Breakfast, Dinner

June 20 Depart for gateway city

After breakfast, AHI FlexAir passengers traveling on flights that qualify for a group transfer and Land Program passengers who have purchased seats on the group transfer depart for Riga International Airport for your return flights home. Your Travel Director will provide the details.

Meals - Breakfast

Map:


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