Kaliningrad to Karelia
a romantic Journey from the white baltic SHORES to the dark forests of the great north
Kaliningrad – Sovetsk – Curonian Spit – Petrozavodsk – Kizhi Island
Regular monthly departures: this tour is offered regularly once a month from May to October. Let us know your desired departure month by clicking on the ask-us button below and we will match your preferences with the relevant scheduled group departure. If you are unsure about the month you wish to travel in, then simply tell us a period or a season of the year and we will provide you a range of scheduled group departures: just pick up yours!
Our scheduled group departures don't suit your plans? If you are travelling with friends and there are 5 or more of you, you can set your own dates and we will organise a tour just for you without charging any additional fee. If you are travelling solo or with less than 4 companions we will organise a slightly more expensive tailored tour according to your time schedule and specific geographical preferences.
DAY 1 - Kaliningrad
- Our tour guide will meet you in the arrival hall of Kaliningrad International Airport (exact meeting time will be communicated well in advance per email in accordance to your flight schedule).
- Introductory briefing about the region, the route and the set of rules to observe while travelling in Kaliningrad Region.
- During the day we will explore Kaliningrad, formerly Königsberg, a rather grayish and yet fascinating Baltic port town, where German architectonic heritage, Stalinist grandeur and Soviet modernism incongruously run into each other.
- Highlights of our city tour will include well-preserved Prussian-era buildings, such as the city gates, the fishing village, the old bridges over the Pregolya river and the German cathedral, as well as the rather brutal House of the Soviets, a truly impressive concrete attraction.
- We'll also pay a visit to the house and the grave of Immanuel Kant, the world-famous German philosopher who spent his entire life in Prussian Königsberg.
- After a traditional Prussian lunch we'll continue our city tour by paying a visit to the legendary B-413 Soviet Submarine Museum and the Kaliningrad Amber Collection.
- Dinner and overnight in Kaliningrad.
DAY 2 - Kaliningrad Hinterlands
- We'll devote the entire day to the exploration of the rarely visited countryside, which has plenty of Prussian heritage and Soviet nostalgia to offer. You will feel romantic and melancholic travelling across desolate plains, dark forests and misty moorlands dotted with crumbling German ruins and traditional Russian villages: enjoy this unique offbeat Baltic experience!
- Our main stops in the Kaliningrad backcountry will include: Gvardeysk, formerly Tapiau, and Chernyakhovsk, formerly Insterburg, slightly eerie Prussian towns famous for their forts and the Trakehner stud farms; Sovetsk, formerly Tilsit, renowned for its Teutonic bridges and buildings and Neman, formerly Ragnit, located right on the border with Lithuania and home to impressive castle ruins.
- Driving away from the New Iron Curtain (as the frontier between Russia and EU-and-NATO-member Lithuania is now being called) we'll slowly head back to Kaliningrad breaking the journey in some truly desolate and highly photogenic towns along the way such as Shepetovka and Bolshakovo.
- Before reaching Kaliningrad we'll make a final historical stop in Polessk, formerly Labiau, and Turgenevo, formerly Groß Legitten, for a last taste of Prussian atmospheres.
- Dinner and overnight in Kaliningrad.
DAY 3 - Baltic Coast, Curonian Spit and Lithuanian Border
- Today we'll be spent travelling along the poetic Baltic coast.
- We'll begin our journey by visiting Baltiysk and Yantarny, renowned for their Soviet military bases, ancient lighthouses, pretty seaside cottage and amber mining traditions.
- We'll then continue north to the Prussian, and later Soviet, resort towns of Svetlogorsk and Zelenogradsk, famous for their pretty historical buildings and endless white beaches.
- After lunch we'll finally reach the Curonian Spit , a curved sand-dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea coast.
- Since 2000, the Curonian Spit has been included in the UNESCO World Heritage List and for a good reason: this 98-km long and only 500-m wide strip of land is a place full of magic: white sand dunes, pristine wetlands, green meadows, untouched pine forests and dreamlike beaches create the perfect natural backdrop to an even more captivating history of Teutonic knights, Prussian outposts, war relics, Soviet secret bases and bohemian artists' colonies.
- Dinner and overnight in Kaliningrad.
DAY 4 - Leningrad (St. Petersburg) and train to Karelia
- In the morning we'll transfer to Kaliningrad International Airport to catch our flight to Leningrad aka St. Petersburg.
- We'll spend the rest of the day touring the city Soviet heritage before eventually taking a late-night train to Petrozavodsk, the capital of the Autonomous Republic of Karelia,
- Needless to say, an afternoon in St. Petersburg is not enough to see, understand and appreciate this immensely fascinating city, full of historical, cultural and architectonic wonders. If this is your first time in town, we strongly suggest you to prolong your stay once we get back from Karelia on the final day of the tour; in case you require our assistance we'll gladly organise a 3-day guided tour around town; see below for more info.
- Dinner and overnight on the train.
DAY 5 - Petrozavodsk and Kizhi Island
- After an early morning arrival in Petrozavodsk and a quick tour of this rather sleepy Soviet town, we'll embark on a boat ride to Kizhi, an island located near the geometrical centre of the mighty Lake Onega.
- The island is famous across Russia and the former USSR mainly for two reasons:
- We'll spend the morning touring the island and its architectonic and natural sights, while the bravest of us can try to plunge into the chilly waters of the Onega.
- After lunch we'll head back to Petrozavodsk, where we'll pay a visit to the Karelian State Museum and then enjoy some free time for souvenir shopping and/or gastronomic discoveries.
- Dinner and overnight in Petrozavodsk.
DAY 6 - Karelian villages
- After breakfast we'll slowly head west, crossing the magical atmospheres of rural Karelia.
- We'll travel through a fairy-tale landscape of deep forests, wooden villages and tiny pretty lakes before eventually reaching the blue waters of Lake Ladoga in Pitkyaranta.
- We'll then drive along the wild shores of the lake crossing abandoned Soviet outposts and tiny fishing villages along the way, before eventually reaching Olonets, the "most Karelian" place in the whole republic.
- In Olonets, the only place in the Republic where Karelians constitute a majority, we'll have the chance to meet these secretive and fascinating Finno-ugric people and learn more about their culture, traditions and troubled history.
- Dinner and overnight in Olonets.
DAY 7 - Flight back home or transfer to further destinations
- After enjoying a last Karelian-style breakfast together we'll take care of your transfer to the airport/train station of choice.
- For those flying out: we will arrange transfer to Saint Petersburg International Airport for your flight back home.
- For those wishing to take the train/bus to reach further destinations: we will arrange transport to the local train/bus station.
- For those wishing to visit marvellous Saint Petersburg: we'll arrange a 2-night-3-day guided city excursion, which will also include a visit to the unknown and underground realities of this legendary Russian metropolis; the cost of the St. Petersburg extension is 360 € per person, regardless of the group size.
- For those wishing to explore more of the Baltic: we'll organise a 7-day trip across the three post-Soviet EU-states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania), focussing our sightseeing on the Soviet and Russian heritage of the region; the cost of this extension is 950 € per person based on a 4-person group.
- End of the tour.
4 to 9 participants: 1580 €
The price includes: double/twin room accommodation (breakfast included; single supplement: 20 euros/night), private transport in the region (minivan and hydrofoil), one-way flight from Kaliningrad to St. Petersburg, first-class train ticket from St. Petersburg to Petrozavodsk, entrance fees to the attractions listed in the itinerary, guiding and translation service.
The price does not include: international flights and any other flight not explicitly included in the tour price and itinerary, meals, drinks and tips, visas if required, entrance fees to attractions not listed in the itinerary, insurance.
The route of this tour has been carefully designed after several research trips in the region. It is, however, always possible to slightly modify the itinerary according to the needs and the suggestions of the participants. Our motto is flexibility. It is also possible to make the tour the other way around, starting from Karelia and finishing in Kaliningrad.
Airport transfer in St. Petersburg is available for just 35 euros per ride.
where the heck am i travelling to?
BELOW you can see the different tour stages marked on a map of the region you are going to explore with us
POSSIBLE TOUR COMBINATIONS FOR THIS ITINERARY INCLUDE
DDR - East Germany and/or Soviet Belarus