Born in a Crusader rampage and stained with the blood shed in the conquest of many Empires. The modern day Baltics are a blend of various cultures and dark history, exploring the Baltic countries provides countless, unique opportunities for adventure. This year, YPT bring you the Soviet Baltics tour. An action packed and in depth road trip which kicks off in Lithuania and takes us through four countries in just over a week. We will be exploring Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and a spend a day over in Finland. In between we will explore the remains of the Soviet occupation of the Baltics, undergo Lithuania’s infamous Soviet bunker survival experience, drive tanks and Soviet army trucks, fire Kalashnikovs, discover the Latvian Chernobyl and its secret Soviet satellite bases, and much more!
Arrival in Vilnius at own leisure and check into centrally located accommodation
Meet up at 6 pm in the lobby, we will all get to know each other before heading out for some traditional Lithuanian food and go over the tour plan.
Overnight in Vilnius
Friday 6th August – Vilnius
Today will be an early start as we meet our driver and head out of Vilnius to the Ignalina Nuclear Power Station. Almost identical to the infamous Chernobyl Power Plant, we will get inside here, learn the history of the plant, and meet the workers to understand how everything works.
Inside, we will have the chance to stand on the reactor used for filming in the Chernobyl HBO series, visit the turbine hall and control panel station. The area looks exactly like Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station used to be.
The drive to the power plant will be two hours each way and we will spend around three hours inside the plant itself.
Return to Vilnius for evening dinner and some world-renowned Lithuanian beer in one of the many great bars of Vilnius.
Overnight in Vilnius.
Saturday 7th August – Vilnius
We’ll enjoy breakfast then meet a local guide who will take us back in time to relive the atmosphere of the Chernobyl disaster of 1986. We will see the neighborhood used to portray the fictional Pripyat and other authentic Chernobyl locations featured in the HBO miniseries.
We’ll also see the infamous KGB prison of Vilnius, part of the huge network of prisons and detention centers the Soviets implemented here. This NKVD “inner” prison was set up in the basement of the former courthouse in 1940. Now the prison looks the same as it did in August 1991, when the KGB vacated it.
We’ll then visit the self-declared micronation Užupis which means “beyond the river” in Lithuanian. the district declared itself an independent republic (The Republic of Užupis) in 1998. You can even get your passport stamped with the coat of arms of the republic here!
We then transfer to the bus station, grab some lunch and jump on the bus to Riga, Latvia! The bus will likely be fitted with TV screens so you can enjoy a movie on the way.
Evening arrival in Riga, check into the hotel and enjoy an evening meal.
Overnight in Riga.
Sunday 8th August – Riga
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll meet our driver and head out into the Latvian countryside and stop at some long-forgotten Soviet monuments on the way.
Our main destination is the Ligatne Bunker, built during the Cold War when the Soviet Union maintained constant high alert for a Western nuclear attack. Built under a sanatorium for discretion, it was designed to protect the Communist elite of Latvia in the event of a nuclear apocalypse, the bunker was supplied with everything necessary to survive several months after a nuclear fallout.
We’ll descend deep underground and enter through a blast-proof door to privately explore the entire bunker system with a local expert.
The Soviets left this bunker in a hurry so all of the interiors are completely original, from the government phones with a direct line to Moscow to the military canteen with peeling propaganda posters on the wall.
After a few hours in the bunker complex, we’ll ascend to ground level and enjoy lunch at the sanitariums Soviet-style canteen with great food.
We’ll then return to Riga to explore this central Baltic city from its wealth of dark history relating to both the Nazis and the Soviets to its impressive old town with stunning architecture.
In the evening, we’ll round off the bay with some traditional Latvian food and beers.
Overnight in Riga.
Monday 9th August – Tallinn
After breakfast, we’ll head to the bus station and stop for a brief look at the Riga market housed in buildings that were former Zeppelin hangars.
We’ll board our bus for the drive to Tallinn, Estonia.
On arrival, we check into centrally located accommodation before we explore the city.
We’ll explore Tallinn’s charming downtown, from its formidable medieval defenses to the glorious examples of Soviet brutalist architecture.
See the hotel Viru. During the Soviet era, the top floor of the hotel housed a KGB radio center, used to eavesdrop and spy on the hotel guests. 60 of the hotel rooms had concealed espionage devices, and even some of the tables in the restaurant had microphones. On the top floor is a KGB museum which we’ll visit.
Evening dinner and drinks
Overnight in Tallinn hotel.
Tuesday 10th August – Tallinn
We grab breakfast and some snacks for the road before we begin our trip up to Narva on the Russian border! For a day discovering hammers and sickles, Lenin statues, and T-34 tanks which will take us from beautiful medieval castles and coastal cliffs to ash-hills, half-empty industrial ghost towns, and a Soviet-themed museum.
We will climb around the stunning ruins of Toolse fortress, Discover the Soviet industrial town & ash hills of Kohtla-Järve, enjoy amazing Stalinist architecture in Sillamäe, roam around the ghost town of Viivikonna.
During the day, we will grab lunch at a local Estonian tavern.
We’ll stop at an incredible WW2 battlefield in the wilderness, there is a museum here and it is littered with relics from Nazi tank turrets and vehicles to machine guns and helmets.
See the Narva-Jõesuu Tsarist beach resort and the Kunda Hydro plant ruins.
We’ll explore Narva castle and gaze over the border into mother Russia itself, inside the castle is one of the last Lenin statues left in the EU, now abandoned with his hand outstretched towards Russia.
We’ll drive back to Tallinn stopping at a Soviet T34 tank on the side of the road.