Trip Highlights

When you’ve been to all the main tourist “hot spots” in Europe, and you decide to try and find a journey that will take you to stunning, fascinating (and at times slightly alternative) destinations; then you’ve found the right tour. This “epic journey” takes you into Stockholm for a comprehensive look around before having 13 magical days in Finland, and then enjoying the best Estonia and Latvia have to offer. We finish up with 2 glorious days in Prague before heading home. Epic Journeys is thrilled to have worked with two Finns in Dr Taija Nicoli and Atso Akkanen in putting together this exceptional journey and a feature of the tour is we’re only in 8 hotels total for the whole time away (so you’re not having to pack and re-pack on a daily basis). While there are plenty of inclusions throughout the tour there is still enough free time for you to find your own personal experiences.

Travelling by Plane, Coach, Train and Ferry you’re escorted all the way from New Zealand and back again.

  • Destination: SWEDEN, FINLAND, ESTONIA, LATVIA & CZECH REPUBLIC
  • Duration: 30 days / 29 nights
  • Commence: 30/07/2020
  • Ends: 26/08/2020
  • Price: NZD $14,690

Details:

INCLUSIONS

  • Escorted by Dr Taija Nicoli and Mr Atso Akkanen from arrival in Stockholm until departure from Prague.
  • Services of an Epic Journeys escort from Auckland back to Auckland
  • All flights as detailed but specifically Auckland/Stockholm, Oulu/Tallinn, Riga/Prague and Prague/Auckland
  • All accommodation in local, authentic and high-quality hotels
  • Full breakfast daily at all Hotels throughout the tour
  • All other meals and drinks as detailed
  • All transfers throughout the tour
  • All Coach travel as detailed
  • Overnight ferry Stockholm/ Helsinki with private Cabin
  • Day cruise out of Helsinki as detailed
  • Train journey in Finland
  • All other day tours as detailed with all entrance fees included
  • All local English-speaking guides where detailed

COSTINGS

$14,690 per person share twin

$3,940 single supplement

Deposits/Payment schedule

A deposit of $5,000 per person to confirm your place on the tour

A 2nd instalment of $3,000 by 31 October 2019

A 3rd instalment of $3,000 by 31 January 2020

A final instalment of $3,690 by 30 April 2020

Where we are going

SWEDEN

Sweden has a most fascinating history with the warring Vikings from the 8th to the 11th centuries until the 17th century when Sweden became a genuinely great European power and one way or another, Sweden was always involved in a battle or two!! However, and somewhat bizarrely, Sweden has not fought a war since 1814 and was officially neutral in both WW1 and WW11 (although its degree of neutrality, particularly in WW11, has often been disputed). Sweden is a constitutional monarchy and King Carl XVI Gustaf is head of state, but the role of the monarch is limited to ceremonial and representative functions and under the provisions of the 1974 Instrument of Government, the King lacks any formal political power.

There is a Prime Minister and a government of 349 members which “runs the country”. Sweden is also the big brother among the Scandinavian countries. Modern, rich and known as a Social Democratic welfare state, it’s always ranking high on the world’s best places to live.

FINLAND

Finland – the country of thousands of lakes and islands – is one of world’s northernmost countries and a home to 5.5 million Finns and one Santa Claus. Similar to New Zealand in land area and population density, this mystical Nordic country is (not unlike New Zealand) known for its unspoiled natural beauty. In its past, Finland was part of the Kingdom of Sweden for nearly 700 years becoming an autonomous Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire in 1809. Finns celebrated their 100thyear of independence from Russia in 2017 while grinding their teeth about the compulsory Swedish everyone must still learn at school (Finland continues to be a bilingual country). Speaking of Finland’s easterly neighbour; Finland can in many ways thank (current) Russia for its technological successes for had (the then Soviet Union) not demanded war reparations from Finland after WWII, Finland’s industrialisation would likely not been as fierce.

Finland has been a top performer in education, civil liberties and quality of life analyses as well as in rally driving and winter sports. Sauli Niinistö (who, interestingly, became a father at 69 in 2018) is the current President of Finland. Finns consider themselves different from other Nordic nationals. The “crazy Finns” have a completely different language; they love their saunas and host some wacky (world) championships such as “who-can-carry-his-wife-quickest”, “who-can-stay-in-the-sauna-longest” – the best of the lot perhaps being “who-can-sit-on-an-anthill-longest”.

ESTONIA

Officially the Republic of Estonia, the country is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland and Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea and Sweden, to the south by Latvia and to the east by Lake Peipus and Russia. Estonia consists of a mainland and, incredibly, 2,222 islands in the Baltic Sea and is influenced by a humid continental climate. The territory of Estonia has been inhabited since at least 9,000 B.C and ancient Estonians were some of the last European pagans to be Christianized, following the Livonian Crusade in the 13th century.

After centuries of successive rule by Germans, Danes, Swedes, Poles and Russians a distinct Estonian national identity began to emerge in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This culminated in independence from Russia in 1920 but the onset of World War II, when Estonia was repeatedly occupied and contested by both the German and the Russians, proved a temporary undoing. Under Russian rule after WWII, Estonia stayed that way until they finally achieved independence via the “Singing Revolution” of 1987 and finally in August 1991, a full independence.

Nowadays, Estonia is a democratic republic with a 49 year-old female President and 40 year-old male Prime Minister. Kersti Kaljulaid and Juri Ratas run a country which is one of the world’s most digitally advanced countries with an advanced high-income economy that has been among the fastest-growing in the EU. Estonia also ranks incredibly high in the Human Development index, and performs favourably in measurements of economic freedom, civil liberties, education and press freedom. Estonian citizens are provided with universal health care, free education, and the longest paid maternity leave in the OECD.

LATVIA

The Republic of Latvia is another country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered by Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, Belarus to the south-east and shares a maritime border with Sweden to the west. A country of just on 2 million inhabitants, Latvia shares much in common with Estonia in its struggles to gain independence and after centuries of Swedish, Polish and Russian rule the Republic of Latvia was established in November 1918 in the aftermath of WWI. Its independence was interrupted at the outset of WWII and
ultimately became the Latvian Soviet Socialist State until 1990 when it finally regained its independence. Now a democratic sovereign state, Latvia is perceived as a very highly developed country and its capital Riga was named European capital of culture in 2014.

THE CZECH REPUBLIC

The Czech Republic (also known by its abbreviated name of Czechia) is a landlocked country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west, Austria to the south, Slovakia to the east
and Poland to the northeast. Home to nearly 11 million the Czech Republic is a parliamentary republic and its capital and largest city Prague is known throughout the world as a wonderful destination – indeed only London, Paris and Rome (of the great European capitals) receive more visitors annually. It was last year ranked as the 6th safest country in the world and interestingly, one of the least religious countries in the world.

Tour Itinerary

THURSDAY 30 JULY & FRIDAY 31 JULY

Auckland/Dubai/Stockholm

Departing Auckland on Thursday evening around 9pm with Emirates and after a brief transit in Dubai we arrive Friday lunchtime at 1.10pm into Stockholm. After clearing Customs & Immigration we’ll have a private coach transfer (about 45 minutes) into our quite splendid inner-city hotel – the Hotel Kungstradgarden (translates as the King’s Garden) and indeed we’re right alongside the Royal Garden in a most beautiful part of Stockholm. On arrival, the timing is perfect for an immediate check-in, and then an hour to freshen up before meeting back downstairs at 4pm for an Information session with welcome drink and canapes and an opportunity to meet your fellow travellers. We’ve all had a long flight so you’ll sort any further required sustenance yourself – the hotel has a splendid restaurant and there are a myriad of eating options nearby.

FRIDAY 31 JULY – TUESDAY 4 AUGUST

Stockholm, Sweden

Hotel Kungstradgarden
Vastra Tradgardsgatan 11B
111 53 Stockholm
Ph: +46 8 440 66 50

  • In Friday 31 July Out Tuesday 4 August 4 nights Stockholm
  • Non-smoking room with free WiFi
  • Full breakfast included

SATURDAY 1 AUGUST

Stockholm, Sweden

Our first day proper on the tour and breakfast will be available from 7am. This morning there will be a city orientation tour by coach and we’ll meet in the foyer at 9.30am for that. The Coach tour will just be an hour and a half and we’ll follow that with another 90 minute walking tour (with guides) of the Old Town and that will finish around 1pm. The guides will leave us just 600 mtrs from our tour Hotel and the afternoon and evening are now free to explore. You’ll sort yourselves out for lunch and dinner but there is an abundance of choices to suit all tastes and budgets.

SUNDAY 2 AUGUST

Stockholm, Sweden

Breakfast is again on offer from 7am and we have a 9.45am meet in the foyer for a short Coach transfer to Djurgarden and the world-renowned Vasa Museum. We have a couple of hours to wander around and marvel at the only almost fully intact 17th century ship that has ever been salvaged; the 64-gun warship Vasa that sank on her maiden voyage in 1628. At 12 noon we’ll be transferred back to our tour hotel where again the rest of the day is at leisure although some might wish to stay in Djurgarden and view the Abba Museum and find your own way back to the hotel. Stockholm is built on 14 continuous islands in the Stockholm archipelago (30,000 islands in all) and is a most beautiful city and there are many attractions for you to see. In essence, you have 4 half days free in Stockholm and an opportunity to work out what is most important for you to look at – the Abba museum (mentioned above), Gamla Stan, the Skansen open-air museum (the world’s oldest open-air museum), the weekend markets. The King and Queen’s residence (Drottningholm Palace), which is readily accessible by ferry, would be a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

MONDAY 3 AUGUST

Stockholm, Sweden

It’s back to the working week in Stockholm so the early risers can access breakfast half an hour earlier from 6.30am although our morning itself is in fact free, so if you fancy a lie-in, now’s the time!! The alternative is of course to work through other things on the “must see” list for Stockholm. We will meet as a group though in the foyer early afternoon at 1.30pm where we’ll have a guided tour of the quite splendid Royal Palace. The Palace itself is just a short walk from our Hotel so that’s our mode of transport this afternoon. The Royal Palace is the official Royal Palace of the Swedish monarch of King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia although they actually reside in Drottningholm Palace. This Palace though is in Gamla Stan (the old town) and the offices of the King, the other members of the Swedish Royal Family and the offices of the Royal Court of Sweden are located here. As of 2009 the interior of the palace consists of 1,430 rooms of which 660 have windows and the palace still contains apartments for the Royal families.

TUESDAY 4 AUGUST & WEDNESDAY 5 AUGUST

Stockholm – Helsinki

A big day ahead although the morning itself is at leisure with breakfast available 6.30 through 10am. We’ll be required to check out at noon and a Coach will then take us (with all our luggage) to the Millesgarden Art Museum where we have entrance tickets included. We’ll have plenty of time to find our own lunch as well before meeting back at the Coach at 3pm for the transfer to the harbour (next door) for our overnight ferry to Helsinki. The ferry itself sails at 4.45pm and arrives into Helsinki tomorrow at 10.30am and we all have Class A Cabins with Twin beds and private facilities. A buffet dinner and breakfast on the ship is included for our entire group.

WEDNESDAY 5 AUGUST

Helsinki, Finland

We’re met off the Ferry at 10.30am by Coach and taken, with luggage, on a 90 minute city sightseeing and orientation tour before reaching the tour hotel around 12.45pm where we’ll have time to check in, find some lunch and explore our surroundings. Our beautiful central city hotel is part of the Lapland group of hotels and their ideology is to replicate all that is unique and wonderful about Lapland (the “ North”). Given we’re staying here for 5 nights (and another night at their Lapland Oulu hotel) I think it’s only right to reproduce their “mission statement” where they wax lyrical.

“In the middle of Helsinki´s bustling life filled with joyous discussions, you can find the Lapland Hotels Bulevardi and our luxurious rooms and fresh ingredients from the North. On the boulevard, we are surrounded by high-standing maples, buildings and parks that have witnessed the world much more than us. Yet, we bring to the whole neighbourhood something new and special – our story straight from the North.

The harmony of the rooms recounts stories from the extremes and beauties of the nature. Following the Lapland’s way, all details are made stylishly, without futile fuss. The soft steams of the room saunas offer you a novel relaxation, and in the design bath tubs you can dive into the freshness of the rapids.

Our Kultá kitchen’s modern a la carte menu is based on the passion and northern roots of our food ideology. We bring with us our beloved ingredients, such as reindeer and elk meat, whitefish, and burn clearing turnips to which we will infuse the taste of cooking on open fire by using a coal grill.”

Continuing on the “waxing lyrical” theme – our Host in Finland, Dr Taija Nicoli is very keen for us to know the UN has declared in the last year that Finland is now officially the happiest country in the world. The UN placing is the latest accolade for Finland, a country of 5.5 million people that only 150 years ago suffered Europe’s last naturally caused famine. The country has been ranked the most stable, the safest, and the best governed country in the world. It is also among the least corrupt and the most socially progressive and its police are also the world’s most trusted. Its banks are also the soundest and the Finns are very good at converting wealth into wellbeing. Overall, it has to be said, that’s pretty impressive.

WEDNESDAY 5 AUGUST – MONDAY 10 AUGUST

Helsinki, Finland

Lapland Hotels Bulevardi
Bulevardi 28
00120 Helsinki
Ph: +358 9 2525 1111

  • In Wednesday 5 August Out Monday 10 August 5 nights in Helsinki
  • Non-smoking room with WiFi
  • Full breakfast included

THURSDAY 6 AUGUST

Helsinki, Finland

We have a wonderful day ahead and without doubt, one of the highlights of our epic journey. But the day begins with breakfast and it’s available at our Lapland Bulevardi hotel from 6.30am – 10am on Thursday, Friday and Monday; 7.30am – 11am on Saturday and 8am – 12 noon on Sunday. However, we all meet in the foyer at 9.30am today where we’ll catch a tram (some will just walk (guided) the 15 minutes) to Kauppatori (Market Square) where we’ll have 45 minutes free time to explore the market before embarking on a fascinating, private cruise along the coastline of Helsinki. We depart on our cruise on the magnificent steamer “SS Norrkulla” sharp at 11am and enjoy a wonderful “Captain’s Buffet lunch” before arriving at Suomenlinna fortress (one of the seven UNESCO World Heritage sites in Finland) for a guided tour. We’ll have around 2 hours on the island before reboarding our vessel for the trip back into Helsinki although we’ll have one more, brief island stop. If we weren’t already full enough, coffee and dessert will be served on the way back into Helsinki where we’ll be back in the Market Square by 5pm and the Hotel by 5.30pm. Naturally, we’ve left the evening free after the excesses of the day.

Incidentally, the Norrkulla is a genuine steam ship, the only of its kind in Helsinki, and has been sailing here since the 1920’s. This carefully restored museum steam ship is today living her new youth as a beautiful passenger ship. Originally built in Finland during the Russian period in 1911, when Finland was an autonomous Grand Dutchy under the Tzar of Russia, the Norrkulla is the last remaining passenger steam ship that is operating out of Helsinki.

FRIDAY 7 AUGUST

Helsinki, Finland

This is a completely free day for you to work off your own “bucket list” for Helsinki which might include any of the wonderful art museums (eg Kiasma and Ateneum), shopping in some of the large shopping centres such as Fredrikinkatu and Iso-Roobertinkatu, having a sauna at Loyly (public sauna by the sea) or heading to the home of Finland’s most famous composer, Jean Sibelius. Whatever you do, the day is yours completely including sorting lunch and dinner.

SATURDAY 8 AUGUST

The Finnish countryside

We meet in the foyer at 9.45am and board our private bus transfer to Karkkila and the old manor house of “Paanu” where we spend the day. By 11.30am we should be there and an introduction to “Paanu” itself and then a rare chance to enjoy the warmth in a traditional nearly 100 year old family sauna (built in 1927)! Beer & other drinks will be served afterwards! After and/or before the sauna, relax or take a walk in the nearby forest / lakeside. We will also get to try “mölkky” and ”summer darts” – traditional Finnish summer outdoor games! This is “HiDeHi” on a grand scale and of course we’ll need sustenance so around 1pm we’ll have Coffee and Carelian pies with egg butter (karjalanpiirakka) and we’ll also grill sausages on a fire! We’ll need time to recover of course and what better way than immersing ourselves in the area and period with an English-speaking movie about the Winter War which will be played (back-to-back) during the day for those who wish to “dig deeper”. Then we’ll have an early dinner from 4.30-6.00 pm and then have our coach take us back to our hotel in Helsinki.

SUNDAY 9 AUGUST

Helsinki, Finland

Another completely free day to tick off those things and places you’ve missed on Friday and there are weekend markets that abound in Helsinki with two well-known Flea Markets at Hakaniemi Square and Hietalahti (which is in the design district of the city).

MONDAY 10 AUGUST

Helsinki to Suomassalmi, Finland

A big travelling day awaits us but it’s full of interest as after a 10.15am check-out we transfer to the main railway station and catch the 11.19am train to Kajanni arriving at 5.31pm. This train journey is quite spectacular as we journey through the Finnish countryside through forests and past lakes of unspeakable beauty. Lunch is available on the train at extremely reasonable prices and we’ll have our own special carriage as well. On arrival at Kajaani we’re met by a local Coach and taken the last 90 minutes into the small township of Suomussalmi, our home for the next 4 nights. With our arrival at the tour Hotel at approximately 7.30pm you’ll make your own decision where to eat although the hotel has an excellent restaurant and there are many options nearby.

MONDAY 10 AUGUST – FRIDAY 14 AUGUST

Suomussalmi, Finland

Kylpylahoteli Kiannon Kuohut
Jalonkatu 1
89600 Suomussalmi
Ph: +358 8 710 770

  • In Monday 10 August Out Friday 14 August 4 nights in Suomussalmi
  • Non-smoking room with WiFi
  • Full breakfast included

TUESDAY 11 AUGUST

Suomussalmi, Finland

Breakfast is served daily between 7am and 10am during the 4 mornings we’re here and Group A will have a leisurely start to the day with an 11am departure from the Hotel while Group B will be departing at 9.30am so Group A and B have alternate programs with Group A on the Bear Safari today and the Hossa National Park on Thursday 13 August while Group B are off to the Hossa National Park today and doing the Bear Safari on Thursday!!!! This day needs to be read in conjunction with Thursday 13 August.

Programme 1 Arola Farm (Group A: 11th August, Group B 13th August)

11.00 am: Bus transfer (20 mins) to Silent People outdoor installation where we’ll spend an hour (11.30 – 12.30 pm) with a guide.

12.45-1.30 pm: Bus transfer to Arola farm (45 mins)

1.45-3 pm Lunch followed by activities on the farm (close to Russian border)

3-9 pm: Bear safari.  We will have our dinner in huts deep in the middle of the forest. The group (approx. 22 people) will be divided between 3-4 huts. We will be deep in the forest, guided by our expert guides. We will be seeing wild bears and will have amazing opportunities to take photos of them. The bears have a rhythm – are wild and don’t function like zoo bears – and we cannot shorten the tour by 1-2 hours…if we want to do it, it is 6 hours, from 3-9 pm. If 6 hours in the forest watching wild bears doesn’t do it for you – perhaps this is a day to stay home and do the washing.

9.30 – 10.30pm Bus transfer back to the hotel

WEDNESDAY 12 AUGUST

Finland

A lovely leisurely start to the day and time to meander the town of Suomussalmi before a 3pm departure from the tour hotel where we have a short walk to the harbour where our cracking little boat tour will depart from – then the rest of the day goes as follows: –

3.30-4.30 pm Boat tour

5-6 pm: Kulttuuripolku (Culture Trail)

6.30-9 pm: Dinner included at Wanha Kurimo with entertainment from a local band (we’ll get to dance along to Finnish dance music!)

THURSDAY 13 AUGUST

Finland

Programme 2 Hossa National Park (Group A: 13th August, Group B: 11th August)

9.30 am day starts

11 am Julma Ölkky boat trip (Finland’s biggest canyon lake), 30 mins

12 noon onwards: Guided hike to Värikallio (4500 year old) rock paintings. Talk about the area’s history followed by lunch and coffee by the fire (in the forest)

5 pm: Visit to the Hossa National Park Visitor’s Centre

7-8.30 pm: Dinner at Hossa reindeer park: forest mushroom soup, sautéed reindeer (and a vegetarian option), berry dessert option.

8.30pm Bus transfer to the hotel (90 minutes)

FRIDAY 14 AUGUST

Suomussalmi to Oulu, Finland

With breakfast served from 7am we’ll have a leisurely start to the day as we don’t need to meet in the foyer until 9.45am (checked out please) before our 10am coach transfer to the seaside city of Oulu where we’ll arrive around 12.30pm lunchtime. You’ll check-in on arrival and then the rest of the day is completely free to catch up on correspondence, wander the city, sort out your laundry or whatever “floats your boat”.

FRIDAY 14 AUGUST – SATURDAY 15 AUGUST

Oulu, Finland

Lapland Hotel Oulu
Kirkkokatu 3
90100 Oulu
Ph: +358 8 881 1110

  • In Friday 14 August Out Saturday 15 August 1 night in Oulu
  • Non-smoking room with WiFi  
  • Full breakfast included

SATURDAY 15 AUGUST

Oulu to Tallinn, Estonia

Breakfast is available from 7.30 – 11am on Saturdays and the morning is completely free but we’ll all need to be checked out by 12noon when our Coach will take us out to Oulu Airport for our flight to Tallinn. We’ll sort our own lunch at the airport prior to departure.

Finnair Flight Departs Oulu: 2.30pm Arrives Tallinn: 5.10pm

On arrival into Tallinn we’ll be met by Coach and transferred directly into our tour hotel where the evening is free.

SATURDAY 15 AUGUST – TUESDAY 18 AUGUST

Tallinn, Estonia

My City Hotel
Vana-Posti 11
10146 Tallinn
Ph: +372 622 0900

  • In Saturday 15 August Out Tuesday 18 August 3 nights in Tallinn
  • Non-smoking room with WiFi
  • Full breakfast included

SUNDAY 16 AUGUST

Tallinn, Estonia

We’re here in Tallinn for the 3 nights and Breakfast is available from 8am today but from 7 – 10am on Monday and Tuesday. Back to today and you’ll need to be at Breakfast when it opens because we meet in the foyer at 9am for a city sightseeing and orientation tour which includes a fascinating visit to the KGB museum. We’ll have a brief 1 hour (12noon to 1pm) walking tour of the old town with guides before being left to your own devices for lunch and the afternoon. However, we’ll meet back up in the foyer of our tour hotel at 5.45pm for a group dinner in a local restaurant in the old town.

MONDAY 17 AUGUST

Tallinn, Estonia

A completely free day for us to explore Tallinn at our own pace and factoring in our own interests. This is a city full of antique shops, flea and street markets and art galleries and wonderful cafes and restaurants so we have all day to indulge ourselves!!

TUESDAY 18 AUGUST

Talinn to Parnu, Estonia

With breakfast available from 7am you can schedule your own start to the day, but we need to be checked out by 10am and ready to jump aboard our Coach transfer to Parnu where we have 3 nights at the Hedon Spa and Hotel. The journey to Parnu will take a couple of hours so we’ll arrive around 12.30pm and time for check-in. The rest of the day is completely our own to explore Parnu and of course arrange a sandwich for lunch and dinner with friends.

TUESDAY 18 AUGUST – FRIDAY 21 AUGUST

Parnu, Estonia

Hedon Spa & Hotel
Ranna Puiestee 1
Parnu 80012
Ph: +372 449 9000

  • In Tuesday 18 August Out Friday 21 August 3 nights in Parnu
  • Non-smoking room  
  • Full breakfast included

WEDNESDAY 19 AUGUST

Parnu, Estonia

Today is a completely free day for you to enjoy Pärnu and all it has to offer. Pärnu town centre is 15 mins away by foot and has multiple restaurants as well as an art gallery; a mini zoo and even a casino. Those who enjoy golfing will love Pärnu Bay Golf Links which boasts a coastal stretch of land with sandy soil and fescue grasses “a true test of every golfer’s abilities”. You can reach this beautiful, highly acclaimed golf course in 10 minutes by taxi. If you feel like taking it completely easy, our hotel provides a tranquil setting for a number of spa treatments and also boasts 2 lovely restaurants where you can enjoy a small or even a bigger bite for lunch. Tonight, we’ll enjoy a group dinner together in Pärnu town centre.

THURSDAY 20 AUGUST

Parnu, Estonia

As per the norm you’ll have your breakfast on your own schedule, but you’ll need to be

in the foyer at 9.15am and our coach will take to the “Russian Farmyard in Pärnu County” around 10 am and spend the next 1.5 hours touring the site. Our following stop is the nearby Tamme Herb Garden where we’ll hear about various local herbs and vegetables and enjoy a light meal of herb tea and homemade herb pie after a short walk. At 1.30 pm our bus will transfer us back to Pärnu where we have the rest of the afternoon and evening free to relax and enjoy some Estonian hospitality.

FRIDAY 21 AUGUST

Parnu, Estonia to Riga, Latvia

We check out at 9 am and say goodbye to Pärnu before taking a 2.5 hour trip to Cesis town. The beginnings of the town of Cesis can be traced back 800 years and are related to the medieval Cesis castle. From approx. 11.30 am onwards, we will tour this fascinating castle together with our expert guides. For the brave, this will mean descending into the dungeon of the tower where the old castle prison was kept! After a 90 minute tour of the castle and its beautiful garden, we’ll have lunch included in one of Cesis town’s restaurants. We then have about an 1 hour to explore the town before a 90 minute journey to Latvia’s capital city Riga. After arriving in Riga at approx. 5 pm, we’ll check into the historic Monika Centrum Hotel Latvia for the next 3 nights. In the evening you can just relax or find a local restaurant for an evening snack before it’s time for bed.

FRIDAY 21 AUGUST – MONDAY 24 AUGUST

Riga, Latvia

Monika Centrum Hotel
Elizabetes Str 21
LV- 1010
Riga
Ph: +371 670 31900

  • In Friday 21 August Out Monday 24 August 3 nights Riga
  • Non-smoking room with WiFi
  • Full breakfast included

SATURDAY 22 AUGUST

Riga, Latvia

After enjoying breakfast at this lovely centrally located hotel, our private guides meet us in the foyer at 9.30 am to take us on a fascinating 3 hour tour of the Old Town and in the main Art Nouveau district of Riga. The Art Nouveau architecture in Riga makes up roughly one third of all the buildings in the centre of Riga, making the Latvia capital the city with the highest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture anywhere in the world. Built during a period of rapid economic growth, most of Riga’s Art Nouveau buildings date from between 1904 and 1914. We will be traveling by coach and by foot and will be finished with the tours by 1 pm. After finding your own place for lunch, we have free time to explore the city a bit more before a Latvian Dinner and Show at 6.30 pm.

SUNDAY 23 AUGUST

Riga, Latvia

With breakfast commencing at 8am we’ll need to be there at opening time because we’ll meet at 9 am in the foyer for an 1.5 hour journey to Rundale Palace – also known as the “Latvian Versailles.” Rundale Palace is one of the two major baroque palaces built for the Dukes of Courland in Latvia and – since it was built in the 18th Century (1736-1740 and 1764-1768) it has served as a hospital for Napoleon’s army; as a school, and as a grain storehouse. The Palace was severely damaged in 1919 during the Latvian War of Independence. It was established as a museum in 1972 and fully restored to its former glory thereafter; the work having been completed by 1992. We will enjoy a private, fully guided tour of this stunningly beautiful castle until approx 1 pm. We’ll then have  a group lunch together in the Palace restaurant before having free time in the French Garden in the Palace grounds. We’ll meet at approx. 3.30 pm for a bus transfer back to Riga where the rest of the day and evening are free.

MONDAY 24 AUGUST

Riga to Prague, Czech Republic

An opportunity for a lie-in if desired as the morning is free to explore the last bits of Riga, perhaps by revisiting the Old Town and its picturesque shops. We will check out at 11am and meet back in the foyer at 1.15pm for our bus transfer to the airport where we will take a 4.30 pm non-stop flight to Prague.

Air Baltic Flight Departs Riga: 4.30pm Arrives Prague: 6.05pm

On arrival at Prague’s Vaclav Havel Airport we’ll be met and transferred to our inner-city accommodation, the beautiful Hotel Don Giovanni, where the evening is free.

MONDAY 24 AUGUST – WEDNESDAY 26 AUGUST

Prague, Czech Republic

Hotel Don Giovanni
Vinohradska 2733/157a
130 00 Prague 3-Zizkov
Ph: +420 267 031 111

  • In Monday 24 August OUT Wednesday 26 August 2 nights in Prague
  • Non-smoking room with WiFi
  • Full breakfast included

TUESDAY 25 AUGUST

Prague, Czech Republic

It’s our last full day on tour and we start with a half day orientation and sightseeing tour that’ll start in the hotel foyer at 9am and finish in the middle of town at 1pm. Lunch is at your own devices and the afternoon is free before we gather as a group at the tour Hotel for a farewell Gala dinner which starts at 6.30pm!!!

WEDNESDAY 26 AUGUST

Prague/Dubai/Auckland

We have another full day in Prague although we’ll need to check out of our rooms at 11am and leave our suitcases with the Concierge. Our Coach picks us up in the foyer at 6.30pm for our trip out to Prague’s airport for our flights home. (B)

Emirates flights

Departs Prague: 10.30pm Arrives Dubai: 5.50am (27 August)

Departs Dubai: 10.10am Arrives Auckland: 9.50am (Friday 28 August)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Guide for this Tour

 

Hosted by Dr Taija Nicoli and Atso Akkanen

Dr Taija Nicoli and Atso Akkanen have been life-long friends and share a passion for travel, food and adventure. Taija considers herself “Whitiangan” after spending 15 months working in the Coromandel peninsula as a GP – time that “made me”, she states. Medicine, travel and Taija’s wee daughter Helmi are the most important things in Taija’s life. Atso has been in and around the tourism industry in many parts of Scandinavia and together, they cannot wait to show you the very best Finland and our other destinations have to offer.

PRICE: $14,690 NZD

per person

Single Room supplement is NZD$3,940

All enquiries contact
info@epicjourneys.co.nz or
Phone: 0800 031 539.

Book it

Not Travelling from Australia/ New Zealand?

Tour Cost

US$10,940 per person Share Twin US$3,420 Single Supplement

A deposit of US$4,000 required to confirm your place on the tour. A 2nd instalment of US$3,000 is required by 28 February 2019 and the balance is due on or before 31 July, 2019.

Costs do not include flights to/from USA
Please get in touch if you would like us to organise flights for you.