St. Petersburg & the Baltics 12 days
89.2% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
From medieval Baltic beauties to Russia’s imperial capital, this corner of Europe is full of delightful surprises. Start your journey in Vilnius, Lithuania, a multicultural city with a timeless historic center. Head north to Riga, Latvia, where you’ll find medieval castles alongside Art Nouveau gems, then continue to the lovingly preserved landmarks of Tallinn, Estonia. End in St. Petersburg, the city of the czars and Russia’s “window on the west.”
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
10 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 4 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Private deluxe motor coach
Multilingual Tour Director
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
The Baltic capitals’ forward-thinking vibe
Fresh seafood straight from the Baltic
Atmospheric Vilnius Old Town
Riga’s colorful Art Nouveau architecture
Photogenic Town Hall Square in Tallinn
The Hermitage—grand palace-turned-art museum
Overnight Flight1 night
Vilnius2 nights - hotel info
Eat, drink, browse, wander, get lost and get found in Vilnius
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
Welcome to Lithuania! A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport and escorts you to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to begin acquainting yourself with Vilnius. At an included dinner this evening, meet your fellow travelers.
Explore the narrow alleys and ancient architecture of Old Town Vilnius
Optional Excursion - Trakai Island Castle
Embark on a guided tour of the Lithuanian capital today. You’ll visit Vilnius’ Old Town including Gediminas Castle, Vilnius Cathedral, St. Anne’s Church, Vilnius University and the ancient Gate of Dawn, home to a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of the Gate of Dawn. This afternoon is free to explore at your leisure. Consider joining an optional excursion to Trakai Island Castle, set in the middle of a lake a short distance from downtown Vilnius.
Must be booked 20 days before departure
Trakai Island Castle $55* pp
Discover Trakai Island Castle, located in the middle of Lake Galve, on this excursion. The red-brick castle has defended the western approaches to Vilnius since 1409. The castle fell into disrepair in the 17th century but has been lovingly restored, and today, it serves as both a cultural landmark and a scenic weekend escape for residents of Vilnius.
Riga3 nights - hotel info
Take a pilgrimage to the hill of crosses
This morning, depart Vilnius for Riga, stopping en route to visit the hill of crosses, a Lithuanian pilgrimage site. From there, continue onto Rundale Palace, the largest baroque castle in the Baltics. After settling in to your hotel in Riga, join your fellow travelers at tonight’s included dinner.
Something old, something new—experience Riga’s medieval and modern sides
Optional Excursion - Cultural Traditions of the Latvian Countryside
Get the insider’s perspective on today’s guided tour of Riga, once the headquarters of the Livonian Order and now the center of Latvian politics and culture. Walk through Vecriga (Old Town) and take in medieval sights like St. Peter’s Church and Riga Castle, which date back to the 13th and 14th century. Then head to the New Town for a look at the Freedom Monument, erected in 1935. The highlight of the tour is the city’s striking Art Nouveau district, recognized by UNESCO as the finest collection of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe. The rest of the afternoon is free to continue exploring on your own, or opt to join an excursion to discover the Cultural Traditions of the Latvian Countryside.
Cultural Traditions of the Latvian Countryside $65* pp
From Riga, travel to the open-air Ethnographical Museum, located on scenic Lake Jugla. A tour guide leads you through the 100-acre museum, whose displays showcase the details of 18th-century rural life through more than 100 reassembled traditional Latvian buildings. From farmsteads and churches to windmills and fishing villages, the museum’s exhibits bring Lativian history’s everyday scenes to life with stunning accuracy. After spending some time exploring, make your way back to Riga.
Stroll right through masterpieces of Art Nouveau architecture
Optional Excursion - Old-World Latvia: Castles Valleys & Villages
Riga is yours to discover on your own. Options include the markets and shops of the New Town, the Jewish quarter of Maskavas and the fascinating Riga Motor Museum. Alternatively, join our special optional excursion to Old World Latvia: Castles, Valleys and Villages.
Old-World Latvia: Castles Valleys & Villages $65* pp
Experience the rural beauty of the Latvian countryside on a journey to the town of Sigulda, called the “Switzerland of Latvia” for its rolling green scenery and famous caves. Upon arrival in Sigulda, embark upon a sightseeing tour, including a visit to the 13th-century ruins of Sigulda Castle, destroyed during the Great Northern War. Continue toward the picturesque Gauja Valley, home to the Gutman Cave, the largest cave in Latvia, extending more than 62 feet into the rock. Lastly, travel up to Turaida for a visit to the majestic Turaida Castle, built in 1214 by Albert of Riga. Take this time to explore the grounds and exhibitions at your leisure, and grab some lunch before returning to Riga.
Tallinn2 nights - hotel info
Stroll the Main Street and soak in the mud baths in Pärnu
This morning, motor through the countryside on your way to Tallinn, Estonia’s historic capital. En route, stop in the resort town of Pärnu. Continue on to Tallinn. The city’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, dates back to the 12th century and is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Europe. Enjoy free time before an included dinner.
Discover the castle amidst Tallinn’s cobblestone streets
Meet your expert local guide this morning for a tour of Tallinn by motor coach and on foot. Pass through the ancient stone gates of the Old Town and into a world of cobblestone streets, Gothic cathedrals and town squares. You’ll see Toomkirik Cathedral, a Lutheran church founded in the 13th century. Also view Toompea Castle, where the Estonian parliament meets, and Town Hall Square. Then visit Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, a 19th-century Russian Orthodox church with a beautiful mosaic interior, and the Estonian Art Museum, housed in an 18th-century noble’s house. The rest of your afternoon is free to explore the city on your own. We suggest walking through the streets of the Old Town or taking a trip to Kadriorg Park, built for Peter the Great. Later, opt to join tonight’s succulent Traditional Baltic dinner.
St. Petersburg3 nights - hotel info
Ogle the dazzling art and architecture in St. Petersburg
Peter and Paul Fortress, Alexander Nevsky Monastary, Hermitage Museum
This morning, meet your local guide for an extensive tour of St. Petersburg. You’ll see Palace Square, one of Europe’s great meeting places, which saw victory over Napoleon in 1812 and all-night vigils for democracy in the 1980s. Continue on to walk through St. Peter and Paul Fortress and Cathedral Church, and view St. Isaac’s Cathedral from the outside. Drive down the Nevsky Prospekt, a tree-lined boulevard that resembles Paris’ Champs-Élysées and visit the Alexander Nevsky Monastary. Later this afternoon, you’ll enjoy an included entrance to the famed Hermitage Museum. The Hermitage features more than 3 million pieces of art and sculpture ranging from ancient Greece to Renaissance Italy and modern times. Highlights include works by Leonardo and Caravaggio, as well as priceless jewelry in Catherine the Great’s Treasure Gallery. Your tour director will advise you on how best to tackle this giant attraction—a map and guidebook are essential to navigating this enormous museum.
Immerse yourself in the watery wonderland of Peterhof
Optional Excursion - Peterhof
Join an optional excursion to nearby Peterhof, also known as Peter’s Palace, a stunning ensemble of palaces, dining halls and summer homes that rivals Versailles. View fountains, gardens and art galleries—most of which were completely restored after Soviet and Nazi bombings during World War II. Alternatively, spend a free day in St. Petersburg however you wish. Dinner is included tonight.
Peterhof $99* pp
Journey to the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland to visit Peterhof, Peter the Great’s summer residence. On a guided tour, you'll explore the opulent palaces and gardens of Peterhof and learn how this former retreat of the czars has changed throughout Russian history.
Extend Your Stay
Add Moscow $799*
Moscow offers a glimpse into the complexities of modern Russia. In every corner of the city, ancient monasteries stand next to towering skyscrapers and Russia's new millionaires walk down the street alongside pensioners. It's a city where Western influences rub elbows with the religions of old, and where beautiful cathedrals once abandoned under the Soviets are undergoing meticulous and loving restorations. To understand Russia, one must experience Moscow.
Moscow3 nights - hotel info
Go metro—art exhibit, history lesson and transportation all in one
Optional Excursion - Moscow by Night
Enjoy a free day in Moscow. Visit the Tretyakov Gallery and Sculpture Park, or browse through the Izmailovsky Park and Market, where you can bargain for a wide variety of already reasonably priced souvenirs. This evening, opt for our Moscow by Night excursion to tour some of the cities exceptional Metro Stations.
Moscow by Night $29* pp
Discover Moscow's landmarks on an evening tour of the city. Drive down Tverskaya Street and Novy Arbat Avenue, pass by Red Square and visit the Metro stations on the Ring Line, which house outstanding examples of Stalinist art and architecture. Be sure to bring your camera—the Metro at night offers up outstanding opportunities for photographers.
Passport & Visa
In order to enter Lithuania, Russia, Estonia and Latvia, U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of your return home. A visa is also required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter Russia. You can obtain an individual visa through our recommended provider VisaCentral (www.visacentral.com/goaheadtours) or by applying directly through the Russian consulate. If you opt to apply with the Russian consulate and require additional assistance and/or documentation from Go Ahead Tours, a special arrangements fee of $95 per person may be charged. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
There are no major health risks at your destinations. It is always advisable to check with your doctor or health-care provider for the latest updates and overseas travel requirements.
Transportation / Walking on tour
Round-trip flights arrive in Vilnius and depart from St. Petersburg (or Moscow for the extension). Included transportation on St. Petersburg & the Baltics is by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the cities by public transportation and on foot.
St. Petersburg’s metro system is the easiest way to get around the larger city. It’s ultra-fast. There’s rarely longer than a three-minute wait. Buses, trolleybuses (electric trams) and trams are also available and efficient. Tickets can be purchased from major kiosks and, sometimes, from the drivers.
Clothing & Packing Tips
Light, loose-fitting clothing that provides comfort when exploring the sights is essential for your tour. A sun hat, sunglasses and a sturdy pair of walking shoes are recommended for sightseeing. It’s always a good idea to be prepared for any eventuality—a lightweight sports jacket and emergency rainwear are advised. If you plan to visit an especially elegant restaurant or attend the opera or theater, you will probably feel more comfortable in something more formal. Also, remember that it is preferable not to visit churches or other religious sites with bare legs and shoulders (entrance may be denied on this basis).
The Russian ruble, the Lithuanian lita, the Latvian lat and the euro (in Estonia) are the currencies you’ll be using on this trip. Better rates of exchange are usually available in your destination countries, although it is worth ordering some currency from your local bank to use when you first arrive. We strongly suggest bringing a combination of cash, ATM/debit cards and credit cards with you to make purchases. We suggest informing your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so they don’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges. At this time, it is extremely difficult to exchange U.S. traveler’s checks in Russia. We suggest that you bring U.S. currency in small denominations to spend during your stay there. U.S. currency is most likely to be accepted for exchange if it is brand-new and clean. Credit cards are not widely accepted in Russia.
At the conclusion of your tour, it is customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalency of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
One of the best-preserved Old European Towns on the continent, the Estonian capital of Tallinn holds treasures such as Toompea Castle and 19th-century Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Drama unfolds here, too. This was the center of Estonia’s 1988 Singing Revolution, when thousands gathered to sing previously banned national anthems.
Get a taste for medieval Latvian life at Riga’s Open-Air Ethnographic Museum, a small restored village featuring craftwork, windmills, traditional Latvian cuisine and plenty of pints at the old tavern.
89.2% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
A different area of the world
Great Itinerary, Not the Best Month
5 = The itinerary was great and all the guides were informative. The leader, Maria, was amazing and the guides in Riga and Moscow were especially engaging. The hotel rooms were fine, although the hotels are tour-bus hotels. 3 = July is the wrong month to visit. The key sites (medieval Riga and Tallinn, the Hermitage, Peterhof, the churches in the Kremlin, etc.) were choked with cruise ship and other tourists. The excessive crowding spoiled the Hermitage tour. 1 = GoAhead needs to improve it's processes. I got my visa at a local Russian consulate. GoAhead gave me wrong information for my application; the Invitation from Russia also had my birthday mixed up. My friend and I landed two days early in Vilnius which was approved and arranged by GoAhead. Unfortunately, our written confirmation listed the wrong hotel. The desk clerk called the US without any luck as the staff did not know the correct hotel either. And so on........
The Best of the Baltics
I enjoyed the tour immensely. My main objective was to see St. Petersburg and I wasn't disappointed. My only regret is that we didn't spend more time in and about St. Petersburg. I also enjoyed Estonia and would have liked to have started the tour there or St. Petersburg and finish in Estonia.
"Best Tour Director"
Thomas was fabulous! Because he grew up "behind the Iron Curtain" he was able to give tremendous insight to this tour. And the fact that he was an history major was even more special because he could answer any of our questions about the geo-political climate in Eastern Europe and Russia.
This tour was a fantastic experence. the tour director was very knowlegable, and very accomodating to all the travelers. Thomas was an awesome tour director and very accomodationg to all the travelers. He went the extra mile to make everyone confortable and able to participate in all the extras.
Our Tour Director Lala went above and beyond what was expected. She was able to help us organize additional excursions, helped us with the language barriers and tried teaching us the Russian alphabet so we could be more independent. I would certainly recommend this tour to anyone who has been hoping to see this part of the world and wasn't sure where to begin.
My 12 day St. Petersburg & The Baltics tour was awesome. I enjoyed experiencing different cultures, art, and food. The amber shopping in Lithuania was very inexpensive. ~ I cannot commend our tour director, Lala, enough. She was an excellent guide, engaging, and accommodating to the group's needs. Lala was very knowledgeable about history and all the local places of interest. Mostly, I appreciated the little things Lala did for the group. These were above and beyond my expectations.
Amazing experience with a GREAT guide
I cannot express how wonderful our tour guide was. When we discovered that we had an issue with our Russian visas, Lala was positive, realistic, and devoted to help us in any way she could. It turned out that there was nothing she could do, but she helped us figure out another solution. This goes above and beyond my expectations. She is patient, direct, and unbiased when given information to the group and dealing with the group. She is a true diplomat of the world.
Best of the Baltics
Late June was the perfect time to visit Vilnius, Lithuania as well as Riga, Latvia and Tallinn, Estonia. I never expected a heat wave in northern Europe! Our hotels were very modern and comfortable, and the food was great. Lala was the best tour guide ever. She got us all safely across the border into Russia and took us for a fabulous boat ride through the canals the first evening to introduce us to St. Petersburg. The Baltic countries were celebrating the summer solstice and it was hard to imagine how cold it must be there in the winter. I would recommend this tour to anyone wanting to experience a unique part of Europe.
To Russia and beyond with love
Latvia, Estonia and Russia were just fabulous. It was a tremendous trip. The subway stations in Moscow are worthy of special attention and a local guide. They are so unexpectedly beautiful.