Zemgale, Jurmala, Lithuania tour

For delegates from China
October 5, Wednesday

08:00 departure from hotel. Proceed South to Zemgale region

09:30-12:00 Rundale Palace visit

The Rundale Palace is set amidst the fertile Zemgale Plains in the south of Latvia. It is one of the two major baroque palaces built for the Dukes of Courland in what is now Latvia, the other being Jelgava Palace. In 1735 Duke of Courland Ernst Johann von Biron bought land in Rundāle with an old medieval castle in the territory of a planned summer residence. The old castle was demolished and construction after the design of Bartolomeo Rastrelli started in 1736 Most of the interior decorations were created between 1765 and 1768 when a sculptor from Berlin Johann Michael Graff, and Italian painters from St. Petersburg Francesco Martini and Carlo Zucchi worked at the palace.

A Baroque palace cannot be imagined without the French garden, an elaborate architectural framework devised of green plantings that should manifest the triumph of art over nature. The park spreads out to the south of the palace, and Bartolomeo Rastrelli designed it together with the palace building. http://rundale.net/en/

12:00 – 13:00 Lunch at Rundale Palace restaurant

13:00 – 15:00 Bauska caslte visit

The Bauska Castle represents an example of military architecture in the period from 15th to 17th century. Its oldest part is the only Livonian Order fortress built especially for the use of firearms, but the newest part – a residential castle fortified with bastions, protective walls and earthen ramparts. http://www.bauskaspils.lv/en/castle-and-museum

Tour proceeds to the Latvian famous resort town Jūrmala

17:00 – 19:00 Jurmala visit

Jurmala's beach, slightly over 24 km in length, is formed of fine white sand, brought here by the coastal stream over thousands of years. The beach is a great place for resting and health strengthening: the rustling waves have a calming effect, the fresh air rich in pine tree aroma and ionized by the sea has a beneficial and healing effect, walking barefoot on the soft, warm sea sand strengthens your body and cleans your mind.

http://www.visitjurmala.lv/en/

Driving back to Riga

20:00 arrival to hotel Radisson BLU Latvija

20:30 - 21:30 Dinner and overnight at Radisson Blu Latvija hotel
October 6, Thursday

Breakfast at hotel restaurant

07:30-9:30 Departure from Riga.

9:30-10:30 Visit to the Hill of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses, Kryzių Kalnas, located 12 kilometers north of the small industrial city of Siauliai (pronounced shoo-lay) is the Lithuanian national pilgrimage center. Standing upon a small hill are many hundreds of thousands of crosses that represent Christian devotion and a memorial to Lithuanian national identity. The Hill of Crosses is an historical architectural monument, it is a unique composition of folk art. The Hill of crosses atract people with it's peace, spirituality, authenticity and sacred nature. Beautifully carved out of wood or sculpted from metal, the crosses range from three meters tall to the countless tiny examples hanging profusely upon the larger crosses. On windy days breezes blowing through the forest of crosses and hanging rosaries produces a uniquely beautiful music.

13:00-16:00 Arrival to Kaunas, Excursion by bus. Visiting Pazaislis monastery, lunch at Monte Pacis restaurant.

16:00 Departure to Vilnius

17:30 Arrival to Vilnius, check in the hotel in Vilnius centre and free time

19:00 Dinner at the restaurant in Vilnius Old town tasting Lithuanian cuisine.

Overnight in Vilnius
October 7, Friday

8:00 Breakfast in the hotel

9:00-12:30 Walking excursion in the Vilnius Old town, visiting the most attractive tourist objects. Tasting Lithuanian specialties in small Vilnius Old town bakeries, eco shops, etc.

Lithuania's capital, Vilnius, is a bewitchingly beautiful city that seduces travelers with its enchanting Old World charm. The attractive Baroque city scape hides the wonderfully eclectic soul of the capital, where a bohemian spirit reigns over courtyard bars, curious museums, quaint cafes and cobbled streets that lead to surprising sights, like a statue of psychedelic composer Frank Zappa. Eccentric and soulful, Vilnius is a true treat. The brightest gem in the city is the Old Town, one of the largest in Europe. Cathedral Square is the heart of the district, dominated by the Vilnius Cathedral and its remarkable bell tower.

12:30-17:30 Departure to Trakai. Visit to the Trakai Castle and lunch at the Karaime Restaurant tasting specialties of Karaime cuisine.

The old town of Trakai – which is extremely popular with the residents of Lithuania and foreign guests – is situated west of Vilnius between the hills, forests and lakes. The shores of the peninsula on which it is located are washed by the waters of Lakes Galvė, Totoriškių and Bernardinų (Lukos). This town, famous for its picturesque landscape and the legendary Trakai Castle, was a cradle of the Lithuanian statehood, an important military and political centre, headquarters of the Lithuanian Grand Dukes, and the capital of Lithuania. Today, Trakai attracts visitors to a wonderful place offering refuge from a hectic city life, with walks around the beautiful area or yacht trips on one of the numerous lakes. Trakai is also known for the Karaimes (a people speaking the Turkic language), who have lived there since the 14th century and have preserved their traditions. The kenesa – a Karaime sanctuary – and houses of Karaimes have survived in Trakai, and the national dishes (the most popular is kybyn – a small pasty stuffed with minced meat) of this ethnic group can be tasted at the Karaime Restaurant.

17:30-18:30 Departure to Vilnius.

19:30 Dinner at the modern restaurant of the Lithuanian chef

Overnight in Vilnius
October 8, Saturday

Breakfast at hotel restaurant

Transfer to Vilnius airport

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