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Lithuania & Latvia: the Baltics

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Two Baltic capitals frame a discovery-packed ride through a scenic countryside dotted with historic UNESCO sites, laced with easy cycling routes, and bathed in a welcoming culture.

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 10 - 27|
  • Biking: 1 - 3 hr|
  • Group Size: 20
Activity Easy
Easy
E-Bikes Available
E-Bikes Available
Airplane
Air Package Available
People
Guided Group Tour

Starting From

Bike Vacation + Air Package

$4,095

Bike Vacation Only

$3,095

(per person, double occupancy)

Lithuania & Latvia: the Baltics

Two Baltic capitals frame a discovery-packed ride through a fascinating pocket of northern Europe. As you spin through forested countryside and along the Baltic coast, you’ll roam through centuries of history, from pagan days to the post-Soviet era. UNESCO World Heritage sites from the Curonian Spit to Riga’s Old Town dot your easy-cycling path. You’ll also get a taste of local life, including a visit to an organic herb farm. Join us on a new-for-2020 itinerary that will remain preserved in your memory like the amber for which the region is renowned.

What to Expect

This tour offers easy terrain on bike paths and roads through both urban and rural areas. You will encounter traffic, especially in urban areas. Some of the bike paths are unpaved and the terrain can lack shelter from the wind. Our VBT support shuttle is available every day at designated points for those who need assistance.

  • Duration: 10 Days|
  • Daily Mileage: 10 - 27|
  • Biking: 1 - 3 hr|
  • Group Size: 20
Activity Easy Easy
Cycling
Bar Graph Beginner - Experienced
Cyclists
Bus Vehicle
Support

Tour Highlights

  • Admire the view as you cycle through a bucolic countryside and along the Baltic coast.
  • Enjoy a private cruise to the Curonian Spit, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • View some of the world’s largest pieces of amber on a guided tour of Lithuania’s Amber Museum.
  • Delve into the region’s Soviet history on a tour of the Cold War Museum, located in a former underground missile site.
  • Spin around Lake Plateliai in the Žemaitija National Park, a UNESCO site, and picnic on its shores.
  • Savor an authentic Lithuanian barbecue.
  • Discover ancient herbal and medicinal tea recipes on a visit to an organic herb farm.
  • Glide through the heart of Riga on a guided canal cruise.

What's Included

Bike Vacation + Air Package

Bike Vacation Only

Roundtrip international airfare Check
Transfers to and from international airport Check
One night in Vilnius, Lithuania, and one night in Riga, Latvia, in conveniently located 5-star hotels with breakfasts included Check
6 nights in 4- & 5-star hotels Check Check
13 meals: 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 dinners Check Check

Tour Bikes

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Road Bicycle (Carbon frame)

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Step-Through Hybrid/Comfort Bicycle

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Step-Over Hybrid/Comfort Bicycle

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Electric-Assisted Bicycle (E-bike)

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Biking Packages Include:

Custom VBT Bike and Helmet

Two Local, Bilingual Trip Leaders

Vehicle Support

Luggage Transfers

Ride with GPS and Daily Route Notes

Welcome Reception

Facilitated Cultural Experiences

Your Choice of VBT Branded Gear for Your Adventure

Itinerary

Fri, May 29 to Sun, Jun 7 - 2020

Show Itinerary:

Depart from home for the Baltics. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at the Vilnius International Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area—VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. (Please note: Also make certain your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you.)

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign and will make arrangements for your transfer via private car or minibus to your Vilnius hotel (transfer time is approximately 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic).

Please note: The hotel check-in time is 2:00 p.m., and your room may not be available prior to this time. If you arrive early, you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

After checking in, you have free time to explore Vilnius. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Vilnius.

Try one of Vilnius’s wonderful restaurants for dinner on your own.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius

Prior to breakfast, please place your luggage outside your rooms (no later than 7:30 a.m.) so it can be loaded onto the bus. At 8:15 a.m., meet your local VBT representative in the hotel lobby for the transfer (approximately four hours) to the port city of Klaipeda, where you will meet your VBT Trip Leaders. Please have your riding gear readily available in your day pack or carry-on bag, as you will have an opportunity to change into your riding gear prior to the warm-up ride. Your other luggage will be delivered to your hotel in Klaipeda and will not be accessible until you arrive at your room later in the day.

Departing Lithuania’s capital of Vilnius, you will shuttle approximately four hours to the port city of Klaipeda, Lithuania’s gateway to the Baltic Sea. From Klaipeda’s busy port, you will have a short boat transfer (5-10 minutes) to the Curonian Spit, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, you will meet your Trip Leaders for an included lunch. Afterward, your Trip Leaders will conduct a safety and bike-fitting session, followed by a warm-up ride on a lovely designated bike path just a short distance from the Baltic shore. After your ride, you will ferry to Klaipeda and walk approximately 15-20 minutes to your hotel.

This evening, gather with your Trip Leaders and fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner.

Please note regarding Ride with GPS: VBT recommends that you download your VBT Maps & Route Notes from a WiFi zone prior to your trip if you wish to use Ride with GPS on your smartphone. During your vacation, you will be able to follow these route notes on your smartphone with turn-by-turn voice navigation as you ride. This option is in addition to VBT’s traditional printed maps and route notes available on tour.

Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel Klaipeda
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 16 km (10 miles)
Warm-Up Loop: 16 km (10 miles)

What to Expect: The easy warm-up ride follows a level paved designated bike path through pine forests bordering the Baltic Sea. The bike path may have leaves and pine needles on it after inclement weather but should not hamper your ride. The bike path may also become busy at times with local weekend cyclists.

After breakfast, you will stroll to the city’s port and embark a privately chartered boat for a cruise (approximately two hours) to the Curonian Spit, a narrow strip of land separating the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Lagoon, and Lithuania’s mainland from Russia. The lagoon’s tranquil waters are part of a migration route for millions of birds each year. Disembark in the small village of Juadkrante, where today’s bike journey will begin.

You will cycle an easy asphalt bike path through the Nagliai Natural Reserve, known for its Grey Dunes (also called the Dead Dunes), rare plants, and four villages excavated from sand. As you ride, inhale the heavy scent of the pine forests bordering the Baltic Sea. If you wish, you may take a short detour to a viewing point where you can see the Russian border.

Then, cycle to the quaint fishing village of Nida for lunch on your own. You might consider one of the small restaurants known for their locally smoked fish.

Amber from the Baltic Sea is among the most prized, and Lithuania is a leading producer. After your ride, you will have the opportunity to meet a local craftsman and learn how he creates jewelry from Baltic amber. Later in the afternoon, you will shuttle by coach (approximately one hour) to a ferry for the five-minute crossing to Klaipeda.

Get better acquainted with Klaipeda’s medieval Old Town this evening, as you meet a local guide for a short walking tour. Afterward, enjoy dinner on your own in one of the city’s numerous restaurants.

Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel Klaipeda
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 32 – 38 km (20 – 24 miles)
Juodkrante to Nida: 32 km (20 miles)
Extra loop to the Russian border: 6 km (4 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride is an easy ride with little elevation gain. Your ride starts in the small village of Juodkrante. First, trace a designated bike path along the town’s streets before joining the bike path through the forests of the Curonian Spit National Park. The park is mainly pine forest, and the asphalt bike path winds through the forest before rejoining streets leading to the village of Nida. Prior to cycling to Nida, you may opt to ride on the main road to the Russian border before looping back to Nida. There could be heavy traffic and trucks at times, as this is a main road into Russia.

This morning, you’ll leave Klaipeda behind and begin cycling north to the seaside resort town of Palanga. With its miles of bike routes, Palanga is a haven for cyclists.

En route, you will ride through Birute’s Park, one of the loveliest and best-preserved parks in northern Europe. The park was the vison of Count Feliks Tyszkiewicz, who also built his palace here in 1897. Today, the Count’s palace is home to Lithuania’s Amber Museum. Enjoy an included tour in which your guide will introduce you to the formation of amber, the extraction process, and amber’s historical significance. The museum houses one of the largest collections of unique amber objects, including the Sun Stone—at 6.6 pounds (3 kg), it is one of the largest pieces of amber in the world.

Afterward, enjoy some free time to explore Lithuania’s prime summer resort town of Palanga with its lovely sand beaches, dunes, and aromatic pine forests. Once a fishing village and source of amber production, Palanga was transformed into a health resort during the 19th century and today is an artistic and cultural center. With its numerous international cafés, Palanga’s main street, J. Basanaviciaus Street, is an excellent place for lunch on your own.

Later this afternoon, you will leave the Baltic coast and shuttle (one hour) inland through Lithuania’s rural agricultural landscapes to the Samogitian Highlands and Žemaitija National Park. Samogitia (Žemaitija) is one of the ethnographic regions of the country, with a proud cultural heritage dating to the pagan era.

Settle into your lovely lakeside spa resort. This boutique hotel is so intimate, your small group will have almost exclusive access to its four-star amenities, including the lovely spa.

This evening, gather with your travel mates and Trip Leaders for an included dinner at the resort.

Hotel: SALA Plateliai Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 33 km (20 miles)
Klaipeda to Palanga: 33 km (20 miles)

What to Expect: Ride out of the city of Klaipeda following designated bike paths along the city’s streets and sidewalks. The bike routes to Palanga follow designated bike paths along country roads with some traffic. In Palanga, you will ride mostly on designated paved bike paths that pass through coastal pine forests and Birute’s Park. Today’s ride is an easy ride with very little elevation gain.

After a hearty Lithuanian breakfast, begin today’s ride on Žemaitija National Park’s bike path, located right in front of your hotel. The park was established in 1991 to preserve the unique landscape and cultural heritage of this region of northwest Lithuania. Lakes cover more than 7 percent of its territory, and you will cycle around the largest of them, Lake Plateliai. Pass through the lovely village of Plateliai before stopping at one of the village’s typical 100-year-old wooden houses with its sloping Samogitian roof. Located inside is the National Park’s visitor center, where you will have a guided tour introducing you to the park’s variety of flora and fauna, as well as the history and folklore of the region. You will also have time to explore the village at leisure before hopping on your bike and continuing your ride back to the hotel. On arrival, enjoy a sumptuous picnic lunch, which will be awaiting you lakeside.

After lunch, cycle a flat, easy route to the Cold War Museum, a former, top-secret, Soviet underground missile site. Here, you will have an included walking tour that will introduce you to the Soviet Union’s nuclear arms mission during the Cold War era.
Then, pedal back to your lakeside resort, where the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Perhaps you’ll take advantage of the spa or take one of the resort’s canoes or kayaks out onto the lake.

This evening (weather permitting), enjoy a hearty Lithuanian barbecue dinner on the resort’s patio while watching the sunset.

Hotel: SALA Plateliai Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 24 – 36 km (15 – 22 miles)

Morning Ride
Loop Ride around Lake Plateliai: 24 km (15 miles)

Afternoon Ride
Loop Ride to the Cold War Museum: 12 km (7 miles)

What to Expect: Žemaitija National Park’s bike path around Lake Plateliai is paved except for approximately 1.2 miles (2 km) of packed dirt (a paved-road option is available) on the morning ride and a short stretch of dirt path on the afternoon ride to the Cold War Museum. Today’s ride is an easy one with very little elevation gain.

Enjoy another lovely morning ride through the Žemaitija landscape. Today’s scenic route traces country roads to the highlands of the park. Let your gaze sweep around you as you pass through some of the loveliest villages of your tour with their quaint Baltic architecture. You will also notice many stork nests dotting the landscapes. Along the way, you will visit a small farm, where you’ll meet a woman who cultivates various herbs. Here, you’ll learn about her medicinal concoctions using the herbs and teas. Many of her recipes date back to her pagan ancestry.

Back at the resort, gather with your travel mates for lunch before setting off for the second Baltic country on your tour: Latvia. Breaking up the afternoon’s three-hour transfer is a stop at the historic pilgrimage site of the Hill of Crosses, a mound in northern Lithuania blanketed with crosses adorned with statues, rosaries, and icons. Dating to at least the mid-19th century, this eerie site has been subjected to many efforts to demolish it—including a 1961 Soviet attempt that destroyed more than 5,000 crosses. Yet, this pilgrimage site has been rebuilt numerous times and even expanded. Today, the exact number of crosses is unknown, but estimates put the count at well over 100,000. In 1993, Pope John Paull II visited the site and declared it a place for hope, peace, love, and sacrifice.

Later in the afternoon, you’ll arrive to Riga, Latvia’s scenic capital and Baltic port. Your five-star “Leading Hotel of the World” is ideally set within Riga’s Old Town. After settling into your accommodations, join a local guide for a walking tour of Riga culminating in a cruise on the lovely canal flowing through the town center.

Dinner is on your own tonight at one of the many renowned restaurants in Riga.

Hotel: Grand Palace Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 37 km (23 miles)
Loop ride from the resort: 37 km (23 miles)

What to Expect: Your route today begins on the bike path in front of your resort. After a short stretch, you will leave the paved bike path and follow scenic, two-lane country roads through small villages. Due to rolling hills and winding roads, the traffic is slow and minimal. The return follows the same route, so you will enjoy stunning scenery and beautiful views from both directions.

The first half of the ride is mostly uphill on rolling hills, while the last half is mostly downhill. As always, there will be van support for the uphill climbs. This will be the most challenging ride of the tour due to the elevation changes—but it will also be one of the most rewarding rides of the week.

After breakfast, you will shuttle across the Daugava River to join a bike route to Latvia’s Baltic resort town of Jurmala. Originally a cluster of fishing villages, this seaside oasis grew over two centuries to embrace an eclectic architectural mix, as well as an enticing setting of sea and sand. During the Soviet era, it was a favorite summer get-away for high-level Communist Party officials such as Brezhnev and Khrushchev. Today, it is a resort for the Baltic countries and Russia’s rich and famous—as witnessed by its luxurious and very expensive villas. You will have ample time to explore the town’s romantic wooden houses, Art Nouveau architecture, and beautiful beaches. You might even want to join the locals by cycling on the packed-sand bike trail that follows the edge of the Gulf of Riga. After your free-time in Jurmala, either cycle or shuttle back to Riga.

This evening, join your fellow travelers and Trip Leaders for a joyous reception and farewell dinner in your lovely hotel’s dining room.

Hotel: Grand Palace Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 24 – 44 km (15 – 27 miles)

Morning
Riga to Jurmala: 24 km (15 miles)

Afternoon
Jurmala to Riga: 20 km (12 miles)

What to Expect: Today, you will follow designated bike paths that are along city streets and sidewalks or along paved paths through the seaside forests of Jurmala. During the summer months, the bike path can become crowded with cyclists and pedestrians. You will also have the opportunity to cycle with the locals on packed-sand next to the water’s edge, depending on weather conditions and how crowded the beach is.

VBT Air Package guests: After breakfast, spend the day exploring Riga. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations for what to see and do in Riga. Perhaps you’ll browse the Central Market, stroll the tranquil park surrounding the Freedom Monument, or admire the Art Nouveau architecture along Albert Street.

Hotel: Grand Palace Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

VBT Post-Trip Extension guests: After breakfast, transfer to the Riga airport for your flight to Tallinn. Upon arrival at the Tallinn airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area—VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. (Please note: Also make certain your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you.)

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign and who will make arrangements for your transfer via private car or minibus to your Tallinn hotel (transfer time is approximately 30 minutes, depending on traffic).

Please note: The hotel check-in time is 2:00 p.m., so your room may not be available until that time. If you arrive early, you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

After checking in, you have free time to explore Tallinn. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Tallinn.

The capital of Estonia, Tallinn offers you the chance to step back in time in its exceptionally well-preserved Old Town. Dating to its heyday as a member of the Hanseatic League, Tallinn’s Old Town is well deserving of its place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Its distinct Upper and Lower Towns each offer a wealth of attractions to explore. You might start in the Lower Town, where can find the 600-year-old Town Hall and Town Hall the Pharmacy, one of the oldest functioning pharmacies on the continent.

Hotel: Schlössle Hotel or St. Petersbourg Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast,* meet in the hotel lobby for your transfer to the Riga airport and your flight home.** Be sure that you are waiting at the designated time and transfer location.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the Front Desk to verify the times that breakfast is served.

**VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” The transfer is prearranged by VBT and is prepaid. VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: Breakfast

Sun, May 31 to Sat, Jun 6 - 2020

Show Itinerary:

Meet your local VBT representative at 8:15 a.m. in the lobby of the Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius (Universiteto g. 14, LT-01122 Vilnius, Lithuania, telephone +37052201100). If you are late, please contact the hotel to advise of any travel delays or changes, and the staff will pass your message on to your VBT Trip Leaders. Please have your riding gear readily available in your day pack or carry-on bag as you will have an opportunity to change into your riding gear prior to the warm-up ride. Your other luggage will be delivered to your hotel in Klaipeda and will not be accessible until you arrive at your room later in the day.

This evening, gather with your Trip Leaders and fellow travelers for a welcome reception and dinner.

Please note regarding Ride with GPS: VBT recommends that you download your VBT Maps & Route Notes from a WiFi zone prior to your trip if you wish to use Ride with GPS on your smartphone. During your vacation, you will be able to follow these route notes on your smartphone with turn-by-turn voice navigation as you ride. This option is in addition to VBT’s traditional printed maps and route notes available on tour.

Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel Klaipeda
Meals: Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 16 km (10 miles)
Warm-Up Loop: 16 km (10 miles)

What to Expect: The easy warm-up ride follows a level paved designated bike path through pine forests bordering the Baltic Sea. The bike path may have leaves and pine needles on it after inclement weather but should not hamper your ride. The bike path may also become busy at times with local weekend cyclists.

After breakfast, you will stroll to the city’s port and embark a privately chartered boat for a cruise (approximately two hours) to the Curonian Spit, a narrow strip of land separating the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Lagoon, and Lithuania’s mainland from Russia. The lagoon’s tranquil waters are part of a migration route for millions of birds each year. Disembark in the small village of Juadkrante, where today’s bike journey will begin.

You will cycle an easy asphalt bike path through the Nagliai Natural Reserve, known for its Grey Dunes (also called the Dead Dunes), rare plants, and four villages excavated from sand. As you ride, inhale the heavy scent of the pine forests bordering the Baltic Sea. If you wish, you may take a short detour to a viewing point where you can see the Russian border.

Then, cycle to the quaint fishing village of Nida for lunch on your own. You might consider one of the small restaurants known for their locally smoked fish.

Amber from the Baltic Sea is among the most prized, and Lithuania is a leading producer. After your ride, you will have the opportunity to meet a local craftsman and learn how he creates jewelry from Baltic amber. Later in the afternoon, you will shuttle by coach (approximately one hour) to a ferry for the five-minute crossing to Klaipeda.

Get better acquainted with Klaipeda’s medieval Old Town this evening, as you meet a local guide for a short walking tour. Afterward, enjoy dinner on your own in one of the city’s numerous restaurants.

Hotel: Radisson Blu Hotel Klaipeda
Meals: Breakfast

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 32 – 38 km (20 – 24 miles)
Juodkrante to Nida: 32 km (20 miles)
Extra loop to the Russian border: 6 km (4 miles)

What to Expect: Today’s ride is an easy ride with little elevation gain. Your ride starts in the small village of Juodkrante. First, trace a designated bike path along the town’s streets before joining the bike path through the forests of the Curonian Spit National Park. The park is mainly pine forest, and the asphalt bike path winds through the forest before rejoining streets leading to the village of Nida. Prior to cycling to Nida, you may opt to ride on the main road to the Russian border before looping back to Nida. There could be heavy traffic and trucks at times, as this is a main road into Russia.

This morning, you’ll leave Klaipeda behind and begin cycling north to the seaside resort town of Palanga. With its miles of bike routes, Palanga is a haven for cyclists.

En route, you will ride through Birute’s Park, one of the loveliest and best-preserved parks in northern Europe. The park was the vison of Count Feliks Tyszkiewicz, who also built his palace here in 1897. Today, the Count’s palace is home to Lithuania’s Amber Museum. Enjoy an included tour in which your guide will introduce you to the formation of amber, the extraction process, and amber’s historical significance. The museum houses one of the largest collections of unique amber objects, including the Sun Stone—at 6.6 pounds (3 kg), it is one of the largest pieces of amber in the world.

Afterward, enjoy some free time to explore Lithuania’s prime summer resort town of Palanga with its lovely sand beaches, dunes, and aromatic pine forests. Once a fishing village and source of amber production, Palanga was transformed into a health resort during the 19th century and today is an artistic and cultural center. With its numerous international cafés, Palanga’s main street, J. Basanaviciaus Street, is an excellent place for lunch on your own.

Later this afternoon, you will leave the Baltic coast and shuttle (one hour) inland through Lithuania’s rural agricultural landscapes to the Samogitian Highlands and Žemaitija National Park. Samogitia (Žemaitija) is one of the ethnographic regions of the country, with a proud cultural heritage dating to the pagan era.

Settle into your lovely lakeside spa resort. This boutique hotel is so intimate, your small group will have almost exclusive access to its four-star amenities, including the lovely spa.

This evening, gather with your travel mates and Trip Leaders for an included dinner at the resort.

Hotel: SALA Plateliai Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 33 km (20 miles)
Klaipeda to Palanga: 33 km (20 miles)

What to Expect: Ride out of the city of Klaipeda following designated bike paths along the city’s streets and sidewalks. The bike routes to Palanga follow designated bike paths along country roads with some traffic. In Palanga, you will ride mostly on designated paved bike paths that pass through coastal pine forests and Birute’s Park. Today’s ride is an easy ride with very little elevation gain.

After a hearty Lithuanian breakfast, begin today’s ride on Žemaitija National Park’s bike path, located right in front of your hotel. The park was established in 1991 to preserve the unique landscape and cultural heritage of this region of northwest Lithuania. Lakes cover more than 7 percent of its territory, and you will cycle around the largest of them, Lake Plateliai. Pass through the lovely village of Plateliai before stopping at one of the village’s typical 100-year-old wooden houses with its sloping Samogitian roof. Located inside is the National Park’s visitor center, where you will have a guided tour introducing you to the park’s variety of flora and fauna, as well as the history and folklore of the region. You will also have time to explore the village at leisure before hopping on your bike and continuing your ride back to the hotel. On arrival, enjoy a sumptuous picnic lunch, which will be awaiting you lakeside.

After lunch, cycle a flat, easy route to the Cold War Museum, a former, top-secret, Soviet underground missile site. Here, you will have an included walking tour that will introduce you to the Soviet Union’s nuclear arms mission during the Cold War era.
Then, pedal back to your lakeside resort, where the rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Perhaps you’ll take advantage of the spa or take one of the resort’s canoes or kayaks out onto the lake.

This evening (weather permitting), enjoy a hearty Lithuanian barbecue dinner on the resort’s patio while watching the sunset.

Hotel: SALA Plateliai Resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 24 – 36 km (15 – 22 miles)

Morning Ride
Loop Ride around Lake Plateliai: 24 km (15 miles)

Afternoon Ride
Loop Ride to the Cold War Museum: 12 km (7 miles)

What to Expect: Žemaitija National Park’s bike path around Lake Plateliai is paved except for approximately 1.2 miles (2 km) of packed dirt (a paved-road option is available) on the morning ride and a short stretch of dirt path on the afternoon ride to the Cold War Museum. Today’s ride is an easy one with very little elevation gain.

Enjoy another lovely morning ride through the Žemaitija landscape. Today’s scenic route traces country roads to the highlands of the park. Let your gaze sweep around you as you pass through some of the loveliest villages of your tour with their quaint Baltic architecture. You will also notice many stork nests dotting the landscapes. Along the way, you will visit a small farm, where you’ll meet a woman who cultivates various herbs. Here, you’ll learn about her medicinal concoctions using the herbs and teas. Many of her recipes date back to her pagan ancestry.

Back at the resort, gather with your travel mates for lunch before setting off for the second Baltic country on your tour: Latvia. Breaking up the afternoon’s three-hour transfer is a stop at the historic pilgrimage site of the Hill of Crosses, a mound in northern Lithuania blanketed with crosses adorned with statues, rosaries, and icons. Dating to at least the mid-19th century, this eerie site has been subjected to many efforts to demolish it—including a 1961 Soviet attempt that destroyed more than 5,000 crosses. Yet, this pilgrimage site has been rebuilt numerous times and even expanded. Today, the exact number of crosses is unknown, but estimates put the count at well over 100,000. In 1993, Pope John Paull II visited the site and declared it a place for hope, peace, love, and sacrifice.

Later in the afternoon, you’ll arrive to Riga, Latvia’s scenic capital and Baltic port. Your five-star “Leading Hotel of the World” is ideally set within Riga’s Old Town. After settling into your accommodations, join a local guide for a walking tour of Riga culminating in a cruise on the lovely canal flowing through the town center.

Dinner is on your own tonight at one of the many renowned restaurants in Riga.

Hotel: Grand Palace Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today’s Ride Choices:
Cumulative Distance Range: 37 km (23 miles)
Loop ride from the resort: 37 km (23 miles)

What to Expect: Your route today begins on the bike path in front of your resort. After a short stretch, you will leave the paved bike path and follow scenic, two-lane country roads through small villages. Due to rolling hills and winding roads, the traffic is slow and minimal. The return follows the same route, so you will enjoy stunning scenery and beautiful views from both directions.

The first half of the ride is mostly uphill on rolling hills, while the last half is mostly downhill. As always, there will be van support for the uphill climbs. This will be the most challenging ride of the tour due to the elevation changes—but it will also be one of the most rewarding rides of the week.

After breakfast, you will shuttle across the Daugava River to join a bike route to Latvia’s Baltic resort town of Jurmala. Originally a cluster of fishing villages, this seaside oasis grew over two centuries to embrace an eclectic architectural mix, as well as an enticing setting of sea and sand. During the Soviet era, it was a favorite summer get-away for high-level Communist Party officials such as Brezhnev and Khrushchev. Today, it is a resort for the Baltic countries and Russia’s rich and famous—as witnessed by its luxurious and very expensive villas. You will have ample time to explore the town’s romantic wooden houses, Art Nouveau architecture, and beautiful beaches. You might even want to join the locals by cycling on the packed-sand bike trail that follows the edge of the Gulf of Riga. After your free-time in Jurmala, either cycle or shuttle back to Riga.

This evening, join your fellow travelers and Trip Leaders for a joyous reception and farewell dinner in your lovely hotel’s dining room.

Hotel: Grand Palace Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today’s Ride Choice:
Cumulative Distance Range: 24 – 44 km (15 – 27 miles)

Morning
Riga to Jurmala: 24 km (15 miles)

Afternoon
Jurmala to Riga: 20 km (12 miles)

What to Expect: Today, you will follow designated bike paths that are along city streets and sidewalks or along paved paths through the seaside forests of Jurmala. During the summer months, the bike path can become crowded with cyclists and pedestrians. You will also have the opportunity to cycle with the locals on packed-sand next to the water’s edge, depending on weather conditions and how crowded the beach is.

After breakfast, your tour ends. Hotel check-out time is 11 a.m.

Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy Your Vacation Longer With Low-Cost Trip Extensions

Airplane

Air Package Only

Pre-Trip Extension - Vilnius

2 Nights From $245 per person, double occupancy

  • 2 nights at the 5-star Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius
  • Daily breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

Depart from home for the Baltics. The particulars of your arrival overseas are detailed with your flight itinerary.

Upon arrival at the Vilnius International Airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area—VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. (Please note: Also make certain your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you.)

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign and will make arrangements for your transfer via private car or minibus to your Vilnius hotel (transfer time is approximately 15-20 minutes, depending on traffic).

Please note: Hotel check-in time is 2:00 p.m., and your room may not be available until this time. If you arrive early, you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

When you have checked into your hotel, you have the rest of the day to relax or to begin your exploration of the city. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Vilnius.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius

Nearly all historic sites and cultural activities are located close to your hotel, making exploration easy. Directly in front of the hotel is Cathedral Square and the Cathedral of St. Stanislav and St. Vladislav, which is the most important cathedral for Lithuania’s Catholics. You will find an impressive example of early Baroque architecture in St. Kazimir’s chapel. A short stroll away is the Bernardine Gardens—home to a rose garden and a musical fountain. Later, visit Gediminas Avenue, Vilnius’ main avenue, connecting Cathedral Square with the Lithuanian Parliament in the heart of the city. In the evening, you might meander to Gedimino Street, where you will find various cafés and restaurants for dinner on your own. Your hotel concierge will be more than happy to offer suggestions.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius
Meals: Breakfast

Enjoy an elegant breakfast in your hotel, including honey harvested from the hotel’s rooftop beehives. Then, continue to explore Vilnius’ Old Town, right behind your hotel. Pilies Street is one of its oldest and most colorful streets. From medieval times until World War II, Stickliu Street was home to Vilnius’ Jewish community. You will also find various antique and souvenir shops in the Old Town, as well as a variety of small coffeehouses, cafés, and restaurants for lunch and dinner at your leisure.

Hotel: Grand Hotel Kempinski Vilnius
Meals: Breakfast

Airplane

Air Package Only

Post-Trip Extension - Tallinn & Helsinki

3 Nights From $745 per person, double occupancy

  • 2 nights in Tallinn at the Schlössle Hotel or St. Petersbourg Hotel & 2 nights in Helsinki’s Hotel Haven
  • Ferry service between Estonia & Finland
  • Daily breakfast
  • City Information
  • Airport transfers

After breakfast, transfer to the Riga airport for your flight to Tallinn. Upon arrival at the Tallinn airport, claim your luggage and clear customs. If your luggage is lost, fill in a PIR form before leaving the customs area—VBT representatives are not allowed into the customs area. (Please note: Also make certain your VBT luggage tags are affixed to your bag so your VBT representative can identify you.)

After exiting customs, enter the arrival hall and look for your VBT representative, who will be holding a VBT sign and who will make arrangements for your transfer via private car or minibus to your Tallinn hotel (transfer time is approximately 30 minutes, depending on traffic).

Please note: The hotel check-in time is 2:00 p.m., so your room may not be available until that time. If you arrive early, you may store your luggage with the reception desk.

After checking in, you have free time to explore Tallinn. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in Tallinn.

The capital of Estonia, Tallinn offers you the chance to step back in time in its exceptionally well-preserved Old Town. Dating to its heyday as a member of the Hanseatic League, Tallinn’s Old Town is well deserving of its place on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Its distinct Upper and Lower Towns each offer a wealth of attractions to explore. You might start in the Lower Town, where can find the 600-year-old Town Hall and Town Hall the Pharmacy, one of the oldest functioning pharmacies on the continent.

Hotel: Schlössle Hotel or St. Petersbourg Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Continue your independent exploration of Tallinn. You might venture to the Upper Town today. Atop Toompea Hill here, you can visit two 13th-century landmarks: Toompea Castle and the Dome Church. And stroll through Kadriorg, a forested neighborhood once favored by Russian tsar Peter the Great. Here, you’ll find the Museum of Foreign Art and the picturesque Swan Pond.

Hotel: Schlössle Hotel or St. Petersbourg Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast, meet your VBT representative, who will escort you to Tallinn’s port for your ferry transfer across the Baltic Sea from Estonia to Finland (approximately two hours). Exact details of today’s departure time will be given to you by your Trip Leaders while on tour.

Arrive at the ferry docks of Helsinki, the “White City of the North,” around midday. Upon disembarkation, you’ll be met by a VBT representative, who will transfer your luggage to your harbor-side hotel while you walk the short distance (under a half mile, with written instructions). Your hotel room may not be available until 3:00 p.m., but the hotel can store your luggage until your room is ready. Your VBT City Information will help you make the most of your time in Finland’s historic, neoclassical capital dotted with Art Nouveau buildings. Visit the impressive Helsinki Cathedral and browse the collections of the National Museum. Peruse the local goods and produce at Market Square, or stop by the distinctive Temppeliaukio Kirkko, or Rock Church, sculpted from a block of underground granite.

Hotel: Hotel Haven
Meals: Breakfast

You have another free day in Helsinki. Creativity appears on every corner in this major design city of northern Europe. Explore the Design District, where galleries showcase the work of up-and-coming designers. Or visit the Design Museum, an outstanding collection housed in a beautiful Beaux Arts building. To view the work of one of its most beloved native sons, Alvar Aalto, head to Finlandia Hall on Töölönlahti Bay, a gleaming white-marble masterpiece. Or savor a meal and the setting at the breathtaking Savoy restaurant; every detail of this 1937 exterior and interior was designed by Aalto, including the service stations and lighting fixtures.

Hotel: Hotel Haven
Meals: Breakfast

After breakfast* this morning, transfer to Helsinki Airport (approximately 60 minutes, depending on traffic) for your departing flight.** Please ensure that you are ready in the hotel reception area at the designated time.

*Please note: For guests with early-morning departures, breakfast at the hotel may not be available. Please check with the reception desk to verify the times when breakfast is served.

**VBT recommends that you check your transfer time in your “Transfer Reminder.” VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense.

Meals: Breakfast

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Dates & Prices

Bike Vacation + Air Package

10 days, includes round-trip international airfare, airport shuttle, and additional hotel nights with included breakfast.

Single Supplement: $545

Departing From New York, NY (JFK)

Bike Vacation Only

7 Days. Includes bike vacation only.

Single Supplement: $395

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For more information, call: 800-245-3868

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