During this in-depth Baltic tour, sail aboard the 110-passenger Clipper Odyssey to nine countries: Scotland, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Sweden, Latvia, Estonia, and Russia. On the exploration of the Old Towns of Gdansk, Riga, and Tallinn, and the World Heritage Site of Visby on the Northern Europe expedition, the history and legends of the region come to life. The Baltic expedition also includes visits to windswept Sylt Island, the charming villages of Bornholm Island, and stunning St. Petersburg with its opulent palaces, churches, and theaters, among other highlights.
Days 1-2: USA / Edinburgh, Scotland
Depart on an independent overnight flight to Edinburgh. Transfer to hotel and gather this evening for a welcome dinner and briefing.
Day 3: Edinburgh / Leith / Embark Clipper Odyssey
After breakfast a city tour highlights sights along EdinburghÂ’s most famous avenue, the Royal Mile, including Holyrood Palace, stunning St. Giles Cathedral, and Edinburgh Castle. After lunch, transfer to the port of Leith to embark the Clipper Odyssey.
Day 4: At Sea
The team of lecturers prepares you for the exciting cultural and historical encounters ahead on the transit of the North Sea.
Day 5: Sylt Island, Germany
The beautiful, windswept island of Sylt is the northernmost point of Germany. The inviting sandy beaches are known for their Â“wandering dunes,Â” and the vast tidal flats that are feeding and resting grounds for migratory birds. After lunch on shore, go for an optional bicycle tour from the village of Kampen, or enjoy free time to explore Westerland, the charming capital of Sylt.
Day 6: Kiel Canal Transit
Early this morning, begin the transit of the historic 61-mile-long Kiel Canal and sail from the North Sea into the Baltic. Kaiser Wilhelm I set the first foundation stone in place on June 3, 1887, in Brunsbuttel and the final stone was laid by Kaiser Wilhelm II on June 21, 1895, in Holtenau. Today the Kiel Canal is one of the busiest man-made waterways in the world.
Day 7: Ronne, Bornholm Island, Denmark
After breakfast, step ashore on serene Bornholm Island, endowed with sugar-white sand beaches, dramatic cliffs, thick forests, and heather-clad hills. Visit the ruins of Hammershus Castle, ScandinaviaÂ’s largest medieval fortress; the unique, round 12th-century churches, Osterlars and Nylars; and the charming half-timbered fishing hamlet of Gudhjem. Also, visit art studios renowned for their glass blowing and pottery.
Day 8: Gdansk, Poland
Today, enjoy a full-day tour of this city whose history spans nearly 1,000 years. Stop at the Solidarity Monument, in front of the Gdansk shipyard, then view the exhibition, Roads to Freedom, a fascinating audio-visual portrayal of those important, world-changing events. Enjoy a walking tour through lively Old Town with its magnificent collection of Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque buildings and monuments. Pass through the Golden Gate and walk down Long Street to the 15th-century Palace of Artus, where NeptuneÂ’s Fountain commemorates GdanskÂ’s Hanseatic past. Also, visit medieval St. MaryÂ’s Church, the worldÂ’s largest brick church. After lunch, there is time at leisure for further exploration.
Day 9: Klaipeda, Lithuania
Today begins with a drive to the amber center of Palanga. A stroll through the Botanical Park with its 500 varieties of trees and bushes, takes you to the Amber Museum, housed in a 19th-century neo-Renaissance-style mansion. Afterward, drive to the Old Town for a walking tour. From beautiful Theatre Square, explore the narrow streets that meander between the charming half-timbered houses and shops.
Day 10: Visby, Gotland Island, Sweden
This morning, arrive at Gotland Island, the largest island in the Baltic. Its splendid city of Visby, a World Heritage Site, is famous for its intact medieval architecture, especially the 44 guard towers built as part of the city walls in the 11th and 12th centuries. Drive to Almedalen, a green oasis in the city center, then walk past lovely medieval granaries and the cityÂ’s oldest building, the Powder Tower. Visit the Botanical Garden, known for its exotic plant collection and take a ride up to a splendid panoramic viewpoint of the city and its spires. Continue the tour on foot along charming cobblestone streets, to visit the impressive St. MaryÂ’s Cathedral and the Gotland Museum with its excellent medieval collections.
Day 11: Riga, Latvia
The day in Latvia showcases the riches of this 800-year-old Hanseatic river port. The walking tour goes to multiple landmarks, including the Blackheads House, one of the oldest buildings in Riga; St. PeterÂ’s Church, a superb Gothic masterpiece; the 15th-century Three Brothers merchant houses; and St. Jacob and St. John churches. Also, visit the 13th-century Dome Cathedral, whose organ concerts are legendary. Continue exploration by motorcoach, driving past lovely parks along the City Canal lined with the stunning Art Nouveau architecture built in 1899 during the Jugendstil movement. There is free time this afternoon to explore Riga on your own.
Day 12: Tallinn, Estonia
Today, set out for old town Tallinn, a visual feast of soaring spires, towers, and turrets. After a renaissance in restoration and reconstruction; Tallinn proudly proclaims itself the finest preserved city in the Baltic. In the upper Old Town, visit Palace Square and the magnificent cupola-crowned Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. In the lower Old Town, visit the Town Hall Square, once a medieval marketplace; one of the oldest pharmacies in Europe, founded in 1422; and stroll along St. CatherineÂ’s Passage in the Latin Quarter. Also, visit Kadriorg Palace and Park, built by Peter the Great as a summer residence.
Days 13-14: St. Petersburg, Russia
Arrive in splendid St. Petersburg in the early afternoon and enjoy two days of exploration. Highlights of the visit include St. IsaacÂ’s Cathedral and the Winter Palace which houses Catherine the GreatÂ’s incomparable Hermitage Museum. Enjoy an advanced entry and special guided tour which includes the Gold RoomÂ—a dazzling display of jewelry, as well as the famous Scythian and Greek gold. Drive across the Neva River to the burial place of the tsars, Peter and Paul Cathedral, its 18th-century spire dominates the skyline. Visit the spectacular Church of Resurrection, and drive along RussiaÂ’s most famous street, the Nevsky Prospect, lined with magnificent palaces, churches, and theaters. A scenic drive takes you to the magnificent palace and gardens of Peterhof, a grand summertime residence built by Peter the Great.
Day 15: Disembark Clipper Odyssey/ USA
After breakfast, disembark and transfer to the airport for your independent flight homeward.