The Baltics – seat of over 1,200 years of Jewish heritage. Lithuania and Latvia produced an abundance of scholars and thinkers whose legacy is still immense. Besides Rabbinical greats, many Jews of Lithuanian heritage are writers (including the co-founder of this company) many are scientists and scholars and Israel’s government from the earliest days to the present are graced with an abiding “Litvishe” spirit. Tour Jewish Vilna and Kovno, the two sterling cities of Jewish Lithuania as well as the major seaport town of Klaipeda (once known as Memel), the lovely beach resort of Palanga, smaller Jewish towns such as Pakruojis with the oldest wooden synagogue in Lithuania and Riga, the rich cultural capital of Latvia. You will also enjoy visiting Estonia – a gorgeous gem with its own Jewish flavor and its charming capital of Estonia.
Vilnius, 2 nights, Stikliai Hotel
Klaipeda, 1 night, National Hotel
Riga, 3 nights, Grand Poet Hotel
Tallinn, 2 nights, Telegraaf Hotel
8 Breakfasts (B)
Your land tour includes:
Private arrival / departure transfers
Private touring and sightseeing
Luxury 5 Star Boutique Hotels in Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn
First Class hotel in Klaipeda
Breakfast daily at the hotels
Complete program with insights to the Jewish history and other highlights
All taxes and fees
Your land tour does not include:
Airfare to Vilnius and back from Tallinn
Departure taxes, fuel surcharges and airport improvement fees
Porterage at airports and hotels
Meals and beverages not mentioned
Early check-in/late check-out
Insurance though not included is strongly recommended
Gratuities of a purely personal nature such as laundry and valet service
Tipping to guide, driver and hotel staff
E. & O.E.
These departures are guaranteed (2 travelers minimum)
No deposits are required!
We can accommodate pre/post tour arrangements in conjunction with this departure.
Passport & Visa
No visa is required for travel to the Baltics countries. Always make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the tour ends.
For information or reservations please contact Janice Snider.
Day 1 Monday Arrival in Vilnius
Upon arrival in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, meet your guide and transfer to your luxurious hotel in the heart of the city. In the afternoon, enjoy a walking tour in Vilnius’ Old Town, learning about Jewish life and personalities. Pass by the Medieval Jewish Quarter and the Vilna Ghetto where more than 40.000 Jews were concentrated in 1941-1943 and learn the history of the Great Vilna Synagogue and Gaon of Vilna. Visit the heart of the city – Cathedral Square. Walk by historic Castle Street and admire the Baroque-style Vilnius University where the thriving modern Yiddish institute is located. Return to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Stikliai Hotel.
Day 2 Tuesday Vilnius
Today continue discovering the place in the Baltics once called “the Jerusalem of Lithuania.” Vilnius boasted dozens of synagogues and Jewish schools – consequently, we call it “Vilna,” its Yiddish name. While Poland is the source of joyous Chassidism, the Litvak or “Litvishe” mentality is for the most part known for its Talmudic reasoning. First, visit the only working Synagogue and explore the beautiful Vilnius Jewish Museum and Art Gallery. Next visit the Ponar Forest and Memorial outside Vilnius. Amidst the rustling of the poplar leaves, feel the presence of thousands of Jews taken and immediately shot in the early days of the war. Lastly, visit the Jewish cemetery and pay respects at the Vilna Gaon’s sacred resting place. Above all, the Vilna Gaon personifies the Litvishe heritage, his attribute, “Gaon,” is Hebrew for sage. Return to the hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Stikliai Hotel. (B)
Day 3 Wednesday Vilnius – Kaunas – Klaipeda
This morning depart for Kaunas (or Kovno), the second city of Jewish Lithuania, and at one time the nations’ capital. Visit the Kovno Ghetto and Monument, the Ninth Fort where 30,000 Jews were murdered as well as the splendid Chorale Synagogue. After lunch, visit Sugihara House – honoring the Japanese diplomat who (like Schindler) saved hundreds of Jews. Later, continue to the only seaport of Lithuania – Klaipeda. For centuries this was an important seaport of the Prussian Empire and later Germany was once known as Memel. The Old Town around the harbor represents a typical German Baltic town historically similar to Gdańsk in current Poland. The coastal area was a favorite vacation spot of the Jews of Lithuania, and Klaipeda still has a small Jewish Community Center near the Old Jewish Cemetery. David Wolfson who designed the Israeli flag attended religious school here. National Hotel. (B)
Day 4 Thursday Klaipeda – Palanga – Pakruojis – Joniskis – Riga
Drive along the coast to the nearby beach resort town of Palanga, a popular vacation spot. The local Jewish community played an important role in this resort‘s development establishing amber-processing, vacation rentals and health retreats. Enjoy the lovely Park, Palace and white sand beaches. Later continue to Siauliai and visit the Chaim Frenkel Villa built in Art Noveau style. Learn about the fantastic businessman who established the largest leather factory in the entire Russian Empire. Continue to Pakruojis which is home to the oldest of the traditional wooden Synagogues in Lithuania. The building suffered during the Holocaust as well as during the Soviet days when it was used for various activities. However, in 2017 it was restored and stands today as the best sample of this traditional style of a synagogue. After a short drive arrive in Joniskis, home to an impressive former complex of synagogues. From here continue to Riga, the capital of Latvia. En route pay respects at the sites of the former Salapils Concentration Camp and of the Rumbula massacre. In the late afternoon arrive in Riga and check-in at the hotel. Grand Poet Hotel. (B)
Day 5 Friday Riga
Embark on a full-day tour of Jewish Riga including the Jewish Quarter and Memorial to the Great Synagogue (which was burned down). Visit the wall honoring Righteous Gentiles in order to learn the story of Jannis Lipke who saved many Jews. Pass the19th century Jewish School en route to the Latvian Holocaust Museum located in the former Riga Ghetto. Next visit the small, but informative Jewish Documentation Center part of a museum exhibit on Jewish life from the 18th century to the present. This Center illustrates how the Jews played a major role among intellectual Latvian society and how their community was nonetheless destroyed by the Nazis. Additionally, the newest section of this museum illustrates how Jewish life was reborn after Latvian independence. The exhibit is therefore named: “The Jewish People Survived!” Cap the day with a visit to Peitav Synagogue, before returning to the hotel in the late afternoon. Grand Poet Hotel. (B)
Day 6 Saturday Riga
Enjoy a full day at leisure or join an optional tour (included). First walk through the Old Town, one of the important ports of the Hanseatic League, Stroll by Medieval landmarks such as the Old Guild House, Powder Tower and magnificent House of the Blackheads. Learn about Riga’s role as a member of the powerful Hanseatic League between the 1400s and 1600s and discover must-sees such as St. Peter’s Church and the Swedish Gate. Next visit Riga’s renowned Art Nouveau houses — including one of the few Art Nouveau synagogues in the world. You will also see the childhood home of Sir Isaiah Berlin, philosopher and famous Oxford professor. His commemorative plaque is appropriately engraved in Latvian, English and Hebrew. Return to the hotel in the afternoon. Grand Poet Hotel. (B)
Day 7 Sunday Riga – Parnu – Tallinn
Begin this day with a visit to the uniquely fascinating Jewish Cemetery. Later depart Riga by coach and drive north towards the charming Republic of Estonia. Stop at the scenic resort town of Parnu situated upon the shores of the Baltic. Continue to Tallinn and check in at the hotel. Telegraaf Hotel. (B)
Day 8 Monday Tallinn
In the morning explore the city of Tallinn rated by many travel magazines as one of Europe’s best-kept secrets and deservedly placed on UNESCO’s list of “World Heritage” sites. Drive to the Upper Old Town located on top of a hill and enjoy vistas of the city below and the Baltic Sea beyond. Later enjoy a stroll in the Historic Lower Old Town. This part of Tallinn has been carefully preserved through the centuries. It is one of the finest examples of a Medieval Hanseatic town. Stroll past the Gothic Town Hall to St. Catherine‘s Passage featuring quaint old merchants’ houses. Continue to the intimate Synagogue and Jewish Center, the heart of Jewish life in Estonia. Telegraaf Hotel. (B)
Day 9 Tuesday Tallinn
Transfer to the airport for flights back to Canada/USA. (B)
B=Breakfast L=Lunch LL= Light Lunch D=Dinner