Stay in seven countries on one escorted rail tour
Discover the contrasting cultures of the fascinating Baltic region, from colourful Scandinavia to the splendour of Russia, via the historic countries of Latvia and Estonia. Explore glorious palaces and UNESCO World Heritage sites on this unique Baltic Explorer rail tour.
After meeting at our dedicated Departure Office, we leave St Pancras on the Eurostar to Brussels in Standard Premier Class. We change trains and travel in First Class to Bremen for the night, via Cologne. On Day 2 we travel by high-speed rail (Standard Class) via Hamburg to Copenhagen, the Danish capital that is home to the world's oldest monarchy. We spend two nights at the Scandic Copenhagen Hotel.
This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Copenhagen, passing the Amalienborg Palace, a large octagonal structure, surrounded by four identical rococo palaces, one of which is home to the reigning monarch, Queen Margrethe II. We also visit the famous statue of the Little Mermaid and enjoy a cruise in the colourful canal area of Nyhavn.
This morning we join the high-speed service to Sweden's beautiful capital, travelling over scenic Øresund Bridge along the way. On arrival, we walk to our hotel for two nights, the Scandic Continental. On Day 5 we take a city coach tour to visit sights such as the Royal Palace, the cathedral and the Old Town. The afternoon is free to explore Stockholm, a wonderful maritime city.
Today you are at leisure until the evening, when we join the ferry for the overnight cruise to Riga. Enjoy the fabulous views as we pass the Stockholm archipelago.
The ferry docks in Riga shortly after breakfast and we transfer to our hotel, the Radisson Blu Daugava Hotel. Day 8 is then spent taking a guided tour the city's main attractions; travelling back to the year 1201, we enjoy a pleasant walking tour that takes us through Riga's 900 year-old history as we explore the old winding streets of Old Riga and have a tasting of the area's unique 'black balsam', a traditional liquor brewed with local botanicals.
Today we travel by coach along the Gulf of Riga to the Estonian capital, Tallinn. At the heart of this historic city is the hill of Toompea, a maze of cobbled streets and alleyways filled with medieval houses; Tallinn's colourful Old Town is UNESCO-protected. On arrival we enjoy a guided tour of the city, which includes the Dome Church, the Town Hall Square and views of the Toompea Castle, Estonia's seat of power. We then transfer to our hotel for two nights, the Nordic Forum C Hotel.
Day 10 is free to explore Tallinn; in the Old Town there are plenty of historic sites to visit, including the House of the Brotherhood of Blackheads, the only preserved Renaissance building in Tallinn. Another option is the unusually named "Keik in de Kok", which means "Peek into the kitchen". This historic tower is believed to have acquired its name due to its height, which allowed those in the tower to see through the windows of the surrounding buildings. The tower houses a permanent exhibition of Tallinn's military history and serves as an entrance to the Bastion Tunnels, a network of hidden tunnels built in the 17th century during Swedish rule.
This morning we depart for Helsinki by ferry, arriving in the early afternoon. We continue by coach on a tour of Helsinki, including Senate Square and the elegant Lutheran Cathedral. Following the tour, we transfer to the Scandic Park hotel for a two-night stay. Day 12 is free for you to explore Helsinki. Finland's capital lies on an archipelago surrounded by many smaller islands, many of which are connected by regular ferry services.
Today we travel by train (Standard Class) to St Petersburg*, arriving this afternoon in this, by far the most cosmopolitan of Russia's cities. On arrival we visit the Hermitage, founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, in the magnifi cent Royal Winter Palace. We check in to our hotel for three nights where we enjoy a Russian welcome ceremony.
*Please note: due to border restrictions, you will need to transport your own luggage for this rail journey.
We enjoy a tour to discover the stunning architecture and history of this fascinating city, during which we see the vast St Isaac's Cathedral with its gold dome, the lavish Church of the Saviour on Spilled Blood and the grand Nevsky Prospect We continue to Peterhof Palace. This majestic complex is a UNESCO World Heritage site, renowned for its beautiful grounds filled with spectacular fountains and waterways.
Our excursion on Day 15 sees us take a private tour of Saint Petersburg's Fabergé Museum, an opulent building home to the world's largest collection of works by Carl Fabergé, including nine of his famous Imperial eggs. We also visit St Petersburg's impressive vodka museum, the only one of its kind in the world! Synonymous as the drink of mother Russia, vodka has long played a fascinating role in the lives of the people here - from Tsars to peasants - and during your visit, you'll learn all about Russia's history, culture and drinking traditions. There'll even be some tastings for that extra touch of authenticity.
You fly* back from St Petersburg to London today if you chose our air option. Please note: you will need to take your luggage back to th UK with you on your flight as opposed to it travelling via our luggage transfer service.
Otherwise, we leave St Petersburg by train (Standard Class), travelling on the Allegro service to Helsinki. On arrival, we transfer to the port for the overnight ferry* to Travemünde, a Baltic resort. As we depart Helsinki we enjoy a scenic view of the Baltic, sailing past islands dotted around the coastline, before continuing our 611 nautical mile journey through the Gulf of Finland. After dinner on board the ferry, we arrive in Travemünde in the evening of Day 17, and spend the night at the Maritim Strandhotel Travemünde.
Please note: your luggage will travel on the ferry with you, as opposed to via our luggage service.
This morning we transfer by coach to the city of Hamburg, where we board the train and travel to Cologne. We spend the night in Cologne where we enjoy a farewell dinner as a group, the perfect way to round off our holiday.
We leave Cologne and travel by rail to Brussels, where we join the Eurostar to London.
We are happy to offer a fly home version of this tour which runs at 16 days in length. On Day 16 (after breakfast) you will be transferred to the airport in St Petersburg for your flight back to London.
Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.
An escorted experience and all travel arrangements
Comfortable accommodation in your destination
Delicious meals included
Exciting excursions and free time to explore
NEW FOR 2020: Inclusive Luggage Transfer
British Citizens require a visa to enter Russia. Please see the Visa section of 'Things You Should Know' for further details.
Please note: This tour may be suitable for reduced mobility passengers, please call for further information.
of travellers would recommend this tour
based on 11 verified reviews
on the whole accommodation was excellent Scancia in
The holiday covered a wide range of experiences. The schedule allowed time for savouring the various locations. The hotels were generally located to give easy access to the main places of interest.
Tour manager was excellent. All the other people on the tour were very friendly and this made the tour extremely enjoyable.
Very well organised, an interesting and varied itinerary with useful down time for personal use, and the services of an excellent tour manager.
No of travellers on the tour was far too many for one tour manager to control, given that many were well over 70yrs. On one occasion the train doors closed as the group was disembarking, leaving 5 still on board! I also was not happy with the meal arrangements in hotels. Too many, barely adequate buffets, both in quality and quantity. The quality of Tour Guides varied from excellent to mediocre.
Superb tour manager, great local guides and a full but interesting Itinerary in many beautiful cities. We have wanted to make this tour for a few years and we were not at all disappointed! The ferries were an interesting aspect of a Great Rail Journey and the journey from Helsinki to Travemünde was wonderful, flat sea lovely weather, stunning sunsets, comfy cabin, great food and friendly helpful staff. Those guests who flew home missed an absolutely relaxing treat!
There were a lot of problems on the tour, none of them Great Rail's fault, such as cancelled trains, late coach pick-ups for various reasons; we managed to make all our connections but it was quite stressful.
The group tour was well organized. Some of the prepaid meals could have been better.
Poor quality flight for journey from St Peterburg. Shocking on board service
Good tour manager All trains etc on time Good company Excellent breakfast Hotels on the whole excellent
Stay in seven countries on one escorted rail tour