Baltic Holidays

This item appears on page 30 of the November 2008 issue.

Starting in Helsinki, Finland, my wife and I toured the Baltic countries — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — in August ’08.

After searching many websites for the available transportation options between these countries and for hotel arrangements, we discovered that there was an easier way to bypass the uncertainties in these new member countries of the European Union: we had a complete itinerary prepared for us by Baltic Holidays (Geliu 50, Ringaudai, Kaunas, Lithuania; phone +44 161 818 7140,

It included hotels in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius; 3-hour walking tours in each city with a local guide, and transfers between cities by private car and driver. The total cost for a stay of six days in these countries and our return by plane from Vilnius to Helsinki came to about $2,600 for two.

Expertly arranged by Phil Teubler of Baltic Holidays, our itinerary provided us with a flawless yet pleasant and unrushed opportunity to experience the beauty and splendor of these cultural heritage cities. Our private local guides were superb in their knowledge of history, current events and architecture and in their ability to express themselves in fluent English.

In Tallinn, Estonia, we were booked at the Taanilinna Hotel, which was in a quiet residential section on the perimeter of the Old City — a great starting point for our explorations on foot along cobblestone streets.

The hotel is part of a restored historic building and offers very comfortable and nicely furnished rooms. The friendliness of the staff and the generous and wholesome breakfast buffet all left us with a very positive impression of this hotel.

In Riga, Latvia, we stayed at the recently renovated Garden Palace Hotel. Our room and bathroom were small but generally acceptable. This hotel, too, was located within short walking distance of the hub of activities.

Another comfortable car ride took us to Vilnius, Lithuania, where we checked into the Mabre Residence Hotel. The excellent care taken in transforming this historic private residential estate into a hotel, recreation center and restaurant was evident in every detail, including the room that we occupied. At the same time, the furniture and fixtures were modern and comfortable. The generous breakfast buffet, including many local delicacies, was served in the restored wine cellar.

For sheer enjoyment and complete relaxation, leaving all arrangements in Phil Teubler’s hands, I cannot think of a better deal for a visit to the Baltic countries.

Potomac, MD