Baltic Cities Knitting Tour

Prices from £1,835

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5 Jul 2020 - 13 Jul 2020
Duration: 8 nights
Ref: 20069
With: Carol Meldrum

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Prices from £1,835
Single Supplement: £365
Deposit: £250

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Following the overwhelming popularity of our Christmas Markets tour to Tallinn and Riga, we are now offering you the chance to visit both of these cities in summer along with the third ‘Baltic city’, Vilnius.

Vilnius is the capital of Lithuania, and its largest city. The architecture in the largest baroque Old Town in Eastern Europe is well known and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. We’ll take a sightseeing tour of the city and visit the National Museum of Textiles, where we’ll learn about the homemade fabrics and traditions of the everyday clothing worn by the local population.

Riga is the largest city in the Baltics and is a fascinating mixture of proud Latvian traditions and influences of the various countries that have occupied it. The Old Town’s architecture is stunning. We’ll visit the highlights of the city with our local guide and explore the rich heritage of Latvian costume, taking part in a mitten knitting workshop with a local expert.

Tallinn is one of Europe’s newest capitals and boasts a rich mix of architecture and culture. The Old Town was almost untouched by war and remains perfectly preserved. We’ll visit the highlights of the city with our local guide, learn about Estonian handicrafts and take part in a workshop with local experts.

The tour is accompanied by our Arena Travel expert, Carol Meldrum, who has designed a project especially for this tour.

CAROL MELDRUM'S WORKSHOPS

"Our project is inspired by the beautiful knitted mittens from Latvia and Estonia. Over the course of the trip we will work through the techniques needed to create a colourful slipper sock. The project is worked in the round from the toe up using magic loop technique. For the foot upper, you will have a choice of traditional stranded knit patterns to work from or can go crazy with the stripes.

We will also look at adding embellishments such as embroidery or surface decoration to give your cozy toes slippers their own personality!

We aim to cover the following skills:

  • Turkish / Eastern cast on
  • Magic loop technique
  • Increasing
  • Changing colour - jogless stripe
  • Stranded knitting in the round
  • Carrying yarn over more than 3"

DAY 1: LONDON - VILNIUS

Meet Carol and your Tour Manager at London Gatwick airport for your flight to Vilnius, via Riga. Dinner is included this evening.

DAY 2: VILNIUS, LITHUANIA

This morning we’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city and learn about its past and present. Our local guide will lead us through the narrow streets and squares of the Old Town highlighting the most significant and interesting sites:

  • Gates of Dawn; part of defensive fortifications for the city. Of the ten city gates only the Gate of Dawn remains while the others were destroyed by order of the government at the end of the 18th century.
  • St Anne’s Church; a prominent landmark in the Old Town and one of the most prominent examples of Gothic architecture in Lithuania
  • Dome Cathedral; the main Roman Catholic Cathedral in Lithuania
  • Town Hall Square; the traditional centre of trade and events in the city
  • Vilnius University; one of the oldest Universities in Eastern and Central Europe

We’ll take a lift to the top of Gediminas’ Hill, from where we’ll enjoy a birds-eye view over the city.

After some free time for lunch our walking tour will continue in Uzupis, a neighbourhood of the city that literally translates as ‘on the other side of the river’. The district has been popular with artists for some time. During the tour we’ll visit some boutique shops as well as ‘The Wool House’, a Lithuanian company producing 100% wool products. They produce sheep wool insulation for houses, supply wool for felting and home textiles and manufacture yarns for hand and machine knitting.

DAY 3: VILNIUS, LITHUANIA

This morning we visit the National Museum of Lithuania. Here we’ll learn about the homemade fabrics and clothing of everyday Lithuanians including weaving techniques, colour combinations and patterns. Examples include skirts, aprons, blouses, shawls, overcoats, and headwear as well as mittens, socks, wristlets and shawls.

After some free time for lunch we’ll return to the hotel for the first of our workshops with Carol.

DAY 4: RIGA, LATVIA

We leave Vilnius and Lithuania today and travel by coach to Latvia and our base here, Riga. On route we will stop in Bauska, once a centre of trade between the two cities. We'll have some free time for lunch here, before continuing our journey.

Dinner is included this evening.

DAY 5: RIGA, LATVIA

This morning we’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of the Old Town. The tour will include:

  • Town Hall Square, completely rebuilt after being destroyed in World War II
  • House of the Blackheads, reconstructed between 1995 and 1998 the original building was erected in the 14th Century for the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a guild for unmarried merchants, shipowners and foreigners in Riga
  • Dome Square, deemed to be the heart of the city, this square is the largest in the Old Town
  • Riga Cathedral, commonly known as Dome Cathedral, is the Evangelical Lutheran cathedral in Riga and the seat of the Archbishop of Riga.
  • The Three Brothers is a collection of three houses that form the oldest dwelling complex in Riga. Each represents a period of development in housing construction
  • Riga Castle was founded in 1330 and rebuilt between 1497 and 1515. Today it is the official residence of the President of Latvia
  • Riga Central Market; the market buildings consist of five pavilions constructed using old German Zeppelin hangars and incorporating Neoclassicism and Art Deco styles

During the tour we’ll also have time to visit some yarn shops.

After some free time for lunch we’ll visit the National Costume Centre; the storehouse for the magnificently rich heritage of Latvian national costumes. Every item here has been lovingly handmade by Latvian craftspeople. Latvia was founded nearly 100 years ago, but the history of the national costume is many centuries older. Archaeological findings and costumes restored from 1000-year-old fragments have allowed them to recreate the traditional costumes that are worn today. Mittens are a very important part of several Latvian traditions. Probably the most popular role played by mittens was at a wedding. Tradition says that before an unmarried girl entered marriage, she had to fill a hope chest and mittens were an important part of the chest. A bride would knit between 100 and 300 pairs of mittens and no pair could be identical to another.

Our final visit today is to Tines, a Latvian handmade knitwear company. Tines is a family run business and offers a wide range of high-quality knitwear. Only natural materials are used, 100% wool and linen.

DAY 6: RIGA, LATVIA

This morning we’ll enjoy a Latvian mitten knitting workshop with a local expert.

This afternoon we’ll enjoy another workshop at the hotel with Carol.

DAY 7: TALLINN, ESTONIA

This morning we leave Riga and make our way to Tallinn. On route we’ll stop to stretch our legs in visit Parnu, the fourth largest city in Estonia and a popular holiday resort.

Lunch is included today, after which we visit a textile company. Founded in 1914, it has a long tradition of wool production and home textile design. The company produces woollen yarn, woollen and linen fabrics, blankets, rugs, plaids and tablecloths. The company is especially proud to be amongst just a handful of producers of ethnographic fabrics based on authentic examples from the rich cultural heritage of the Baltic region. We’ll watch the wool being process using historical equipment.

Dinner is included this evening.

DAY 8: TALLINN, ESTONIA

Today we tour Tallinn by coach and on foot. The Old Town is divided into two areas, the Lower Town and the Upper Town. In the Upper Town we’ll visit:

  • St Alexander Nevsky Orthodox Cathedral; built in a typical Russian Revival style during the period when the country was still part of the Russian empire. The cathedral is richly decorated and has eleven bells cast in St. Petersburg
  • Toompea Castle; an ancient stronghold site in use since the 9th century. Today the castle houses the Estonian parliament
  • Dome Church, also known as St Mary’s Cathedral, is the oldest church in Tallinn and mainland Estonia. Originally a Roman Catholic cathedral, it became Lutheran in 1561 and is now the seat of the Archbishop of Tallinn.
  • Kohtuosa viewing platform provides excellent views over the roofs and spires of the Old Town as well as the high-rise buildings in the newer part of the city. In the background is the Gulf of Finland and the port.

In the Lower Town we’ll see:

  • Danish Kings Garden, named after the Danish reign, that lasted for over a century in Tallinn and northern Estonia
  • Town Hall Square, also known as Raekoja Plats, is the centre of the Old Town. In winter it is filled with the magical Christmas market, the centerpiece of which is a towering spruce tree
  • Viru Gates, a pair of picturesque ivy-covered towers, were built in the 14th Century as part of the Tallinn city wall. The towers are all the remains of a much more complex gate system was, most of which was pulled down in the 1880s to make room for traffic.

We’ll also visit the Estonian Handicraft House, the location to buy authentic Estonian handicrafts. Works of the best artisans are represented here, including textiles from natural materials as well as wood, metal and ceramic. We’ll have the opportunity to visit the workshop of Riina Tomberg, a lecturer in Estonian native textiles and expert on Estonian traditional knitting. At Katariina Lane we’ll see the various open studios of the Katariina Guild craftswomen.

Our tour will continue to:

  • charming Kadriorg Park & Palace, the grandest example of palace and park design in Estonian architectural history
  • Pirita seaside area, a breathtakingly beautiful location with a refreshing scent of pine trees. It was also the home of the sailing regatta at the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 and is still a busy sporting location
  • Tallinn TV Tower, home to the highest view point in Estonia

Our visit will end at Eesti Käsitöö Kodu, the largest handicraft centre in Estonia selling high quality beautifully crafted items. With the help of the local experts we’ll learn how some of the items are made.

DAY 9: TALLINN - LONDON

This morning we’ll enjoy our final workshop with Carol at the hotel, before transferring to Tallinn airport for our direct afternoon flight to London Gatwick.

PRICES:

Twin/double room: £1835 per person
Single supplement: £365
Deposit: £250

INCLUDED IN THE PRICE:

  • International flights from Gatwick to Vilnius (via Riga) and Tallinn to Gatwick with 1 piece of hold luggage
  • Airport transfers
  • 8 nights in 4* accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis
  • 1 lunch and 4 dinners
  • Coach travel as described in the itinerary including driver tips
  • City tours of Riga & Vilnius and walking tour of Tallinn old town
  • All entrance fees for included sightseeing excursions
  • Local Latvian mitten knitting and Estonian arts & crafts workshops
  • 3 half day workshops with Carol Meldrum, kit included
  • The services of an experienced tour manager and an English-speaking local guide

NON-CRAFTERS

Why not bring a non-crafting partner with you?
If a non-crafting family member or friend wishes to accompany you on any of our holidays, and is sharing a room with you, then the following reductions will apply to the price the non-crafter pays:
Europe - £50

WHY NOT MEET US THERE?

Stitchtopia Holidays are designed with all crafters in mind, wherever you live in the world! If you would like to make your own flight arrangements and meet us at our first hotel, please let us know - we would love to tell you more about our “meet us there” holiday discounts.

THE "STITCH TOGETHER" PROGRAMME

For single travellers who are interested in our trips, but don’t have a friend able to come with them why not join our "Stitch Together" programme to help with the costs of a single occupancy room? We have designed a way for you to find someone to share a room with on any of our Stitchtopia Holidays.

Find out more about our "Stitch Together" programme >>

Congress Avenue Hotel, Vilnius ★★★★

This 4-star plus hotel is located in the Old Town of Vilnius. The 50 modern and well-appointed bedrooms are designed to reflect elegance, style and comfort. All rooms are equipped with air conditioning, flat screen TV, safe, high speed Wi-Fi, tea/coffee making facilities and hair dryer. Hotel facilities include restaurant and bar.

Welton Riverside Spa Hotel, Riga ★★★★

Opened in 2018, the 4-star hotel is located in Riga’s Old Town. Facilities in the 222 bedrooms include air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, minibar, flat screen TV, telephone, tea and coffee making facilities, safe and hair dryer. Hotel facilities include spa, restaurant, bar and panoramic views from the rooftop terrace, open to guests only

Park Inn by Radisson Meriton Hotel, Tallinn ★★★★

Located in the heart of the capital, this modern hotel is just 15 minutes' walk to the Old Town. Facilities in the superior rooms include air conditioning, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee making facilities, safe, hair dryer, flat screen TV and fridge. Hotel facilities include restaurant, two bars, spa and sauna.