Antarctica & Arctic
Discover the three Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
a Destinations d > Russia & The Baltics > Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania on Foot
7 nights accommodation, meals as indicated and services of an Explore Tour Leader
Selected departures, May - Jun & Aug - Sep
Discover the cultural heritage oft he Baltic states and explore some of their many national parks. Walk along the Curonian Spit, discover the ruins of medieval fortresses hidden in the forests, try bog walking and explore different ecosystems. Visit the capitals of each country, see the Old Town UNESCO World Heritage Sites and walk around Lithuania's beautiful 15th century Trakai Castle.
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Visit Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius. Discover the 'Old Towns' of these Baltic States capitals
Walk the sand dunes and pine forests of Curonian Spit National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Look for signs of beavers in Lahemaa National Park. Learn to 'bog walk'
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Our trip starts in the Estonian capital, Tallinn. Situated on the coast, in the Gulf of Finland off the Baltic Sea, Tallinn is also a major port. Its 'Old Town' is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city was a European Capital of Culture in 2011.
After a brief walking tour of Tallinn's 'Old Town' we travel east to Estonia's largest and oldest national park, Lahemaa National Park. As well as its rich nature the park also celebrates Estonia's cultural heritage, encompassing ancient fishing villages and 17th and 18th century manor houses. Today we walk the 'Beaver Trail', discovering the diversity of the plant and animal life of the park and looking for beaver dams and dens along the Altja River Valley. If we are lucky we will see also see the beavers themselves amongst the trees or in the water. This walk ends in the 400 year-old fishing village of Altja. Later, after an optional lunch, we learn to bog walk in special bog shoes. Traditionally used by local villagers, these specially adapted clip on 'shoes' allow us to hike through this fascinating ecosystem. We stay overnight in the national park.
Today's two walks cover a total distance of 18 kilometres over approximately six hours. The terrain on the Beaver Trail is gently undulating and forested, and wet and flat for the bog walking. (B)
Today we cross the border into Latvia, and drive to Cesis in Gauja National Park (approx. 3.5 hours). This is Latvia's biggest park and is known as 'Latvian Switzerland' due to its rolling landscapes. The park includes the valleys of the Gauja River and its tributaries, and also over 500 historical features including hill forts, stone castles, churches, watermills and windmills. Cesis itself is a medieval town, over 800 years old, and its 13th century castle was the main stronghold of the Livonian knights who ruled most of Latvia and Estonia during medieval times. In the afternoon we make a walk in the park along a forested nature trail to Gauja River and Gauja Rocks, a famous local site.
Today's five kilometre walk is expected to take around two hours. The terrain is slightly hilly and forested. (B)
This morning we drive to Sigulda to walk a nature trail through the forests and river valleys of Gauja National Park. Walking past the ruins of Livonian medieval fortresses and a neo-gothic castle, the walk ends at the 13th century Turaida Castle. As part of the route we take a cable car and enjoy views down over the forest. In the afternoon we drive to Riga, the Latvian capital, where we have a short orientation tour of the city and overnight. Lying at the mouth of the Daugava River on the Gulf of Riga, Riga 'Old Town' is also a UNESCO Heritage Site, particularly noted for its Art Nouveau and 19th century wooden architecture.
Today's eight kilometre walk is expected to take around three-and-a-half hours. The terrain is undulating and forested.
We drive west to Kemeri National Park, founded in 1977 to preserve the local wetlands, coastal lakes and dunes. Here we walk on a raised boardwalk above the wetlands discovering the distinctive mosses, bog pine trees, and small pools and lakes. We then return to the seaside and spa resort of Jurmala for an optional lunch. Jurmala is known for its curative mineral waters and therapeutic mud, and its interesting multi-style architecture. After lunch we continue south and cross the border into Lithuania. We continue southwest to Klaipeda (approximately six hours) and take a ferry to Nida on the Curonian Spit, our base for the next two nights.
Today's four kilometre walk is expected to take around one-and-a-half hours.The terrain is flat - a raised boardwalk over wetlands. (B)
The Curonian Spit National Park is a 98 km long sand dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. Chains of sand dunes up to 60m high, breaking waves, pine forests and old Curonian houses make up this UNESCO Heritage Site. Today we walk through the different landscapes of the spit: coastal, pine forests and sand dunes in and around Nida.
Today's 11 kilometre walk is expected to take around three-and-a-half hours.. The terrain is mainly flat and sandy, some areas are forested. (B)
Today we make a long journey (approximately six hours) southeast to Trakai the formal capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Located on a peninsula in Lake Galve, Trakai is now famous for its 15th century castle which sits outside the town on a small island. We take a scenic walk around the town and lake, and visit the castle. We then make the short journey to Vilnius, where we have a short city tour and an optional last dinner. The 'Old Town' of Vilnius is also a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Today's four kilometre walk is expected to take around two hours. The terrain is flat and forested in some areas. (B)
Our trip ends after breakfast, in Vilnius. (B)
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