Baltic Hiking Extravaganza: Cross-Border Adventure
Hiking in the fresh air is a worthy journey during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. For anyone looking for somewhere different to take a hike, the new, 1,330 mi (2,141 km) hiking route is a great option. The hiking route takes the hiker through the national parks and forests of Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia and offers the opportunity to explore the beautiful wilderness of the region.
The Forest Trail
If you aren’t quite up to hiking the full, 1,330 mi (2,141 km) distance, there is no problem. The Forest Trail has been divided into convenient, 12 mi (20 km) stages. Along the way, there is a variety of accommodation and transport options to choose from. The hiking trailheads along forest and country roads and trails and sandy or rocky beaches, meaning there is always something new to see.
The Forest Trail starts at the Polish-Lithuanian border, close to the town of Lazdijai, and heads through Latvia then turns into Riga and ends up in the beautiful city of Tallinn in Estonia. This long-distance trail forms part of the E11 European long-distance path and it is estimated that it could take between 102 and 114 days to hike the whole trail.
Seeing Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia
Of the 1,330 mi (2,141 km) trail, 464 mi (747 km) is set in Lithuania, 447 mi (720 km) is in Estonia and 420 mi (674 km) heads through Latvia. The Baltic Forest hiking website offers full descriptions, maps, and downloadable GPX routes to help hikers plan their way. The details explain the start and endpoints, what the road surface is like, how long the expected hike should take, and also what is worthy of seeing along the trail.
The website details also describe the most interesting landscapes, natural landmarks, and places along the hiking route. Highlights in Lithuania include Žemaitija National Park and Dzūkija National Park, a 345 square mi (555 square km) park that is a paradise for nature-lovers. In Latvia, hikers are able to experience Gauja National Park and Kemeri National Park, while in Estonia, the trailheads from Alutaguse National Park and Lahemaa National Park.
It should be borne in mind that parts of the hiking trail are still under development. Trail-marking will take place in Kurzeme and Lithuania during the summer of 2021. It is also important to bear in mind that there may be cross-border restrictions due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Check out the Baltic Forest Hiking website for further information and any warnings of border closures.
Visit Riga and Tallinn
For those with the time to stop off and explore during the hike, Riga is a worthy place to visit. This Latvian city is dominated by Gothic spires but also features art nouveau architecture to liven up the visit. Riga is the largest of all three Baltic capitals and is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city.
Enjoy the experimental restaurants, hip bars, and modern art centers, or head the short distance to the sea resort of Jurmala, with its beautiful white sand beach. Here, a person can lose themselves in the lovely blueberry-filled forests and gorgeous sea dunes, just outside the city’s boundaries.
Heading to Estonia, Tallinn is a beautiful European capital, full of medieval streets and ancient churches and lined with noble merchants’ homes. Tallinn offers a vibrant food scene where visitors can experience the culture of the city.
This port city features 21st-century development while retaining and protecting the charms of its UNESCO-listed Old Town. This is one of Europeans most complete walled cities and is fascinating to explore.
Take a hike on the new Forest Trail through the Baltics this summer – enjoy gorgeous scenery, while experiencing the culture of three different European countries along the way. Get a taste of the trial in the video included here.