Riga

LITHUANIA-LATVIA: HILL OF CROSSES, RUNDALE, BAUSKA, RIGA, BIRŽAI

Date: Sunday 04 September – Tuesday 06 September 2016
Duration: 3 days, 2 overnights in Riga
Transport: Coach, walking
Departure: 8 AM, Daukantas (Presidential) square in front of Vilnius University
Cost per person: 305-370 Eur
Minimal number of people: This tour operates with a minimum of 12

Important information: Please note that the tour involves a reasonable amount of walking around the hillforts. Most of the route is relatively flat or has a slight incline. Please have your passport or ID card with you.

Starting from Vilnius we will drive to the unique and famous Hill of Crosses on Jurgaičiai Hillfort. The Hill of Crosses is a historical architectural monument with 100 000 crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial of Lithuanian national identity. After lunch the tour will continue to Rundale Palace – the most outstanding monument of Baroque and Rococo art in Latvia and 18th century summer residence of the Dukes of Courland. The tour will continue to Bauska Castle, former fortified settlement of the Balts at the river of Memele. Bauska Castle is an example of military architecture in the period from 15th to 17th centuries, a residential castle fortified with bastions, protective walls and earthen ramparts. The collection of the Bauska Castle Museum includes materials obtained in archaeological excavations.

The second day is dedicated to the capital of Latvia – Riga. Riga‘s Old Town is a designated UNESCO World heritage site. Riga is a city were centuries meet – dwelling houses and churches from the 13th century, fortification systems, towers and gates from the 16th century. The winding streets will take you to the 19th and 20th century parks and Art Nouveau buildings. All this combined with the urgent growth of the 21st century.

During the third day we will visit Biržai (Lithuania) region famous for sinkholes, brewery traditions and Biržai castle – a Dutch-style fortress with bastions built by the Duke Radvila family and used to defend Lithuania’s northern borders in the 17th-18th century wars with Sweden. The castle was turned to ruins by Swedes in 1704. Restoration of the castle and its surroundings have started in 1970s. Representational palace, two gunpowder buildings, a bridge and the arsenal have so far been restored. Coffee break in the castle restaurant is planned.

During the lunch we will taste traditionally brewed craft beer in the restaurant „Alaus kelias“ of the Rinkuškiai Brewery and afterwards drive back to Vilnius.

Itinerary:

Day 1

  • Hill of Crosses
  • Lunch in „Audruvis“ restaurant
  • Rundale Palace
  • Bauska Castle
  • Arrival and Check-in at Riga hotel

Day 2

  • Guided tour in Riga
  • Free time

Day 3

  • Biržai Castle Museum
  • Lunch and local beer degustation at „Alaus kelias“ restaurant
  • Return to Vilnius