Hiking, running, biking – whatever your activity of choice, Estonia’s nature trails will take you through national parks, forests, bogs and along the sea. Breathe some of the purest air in the world and follow in the tracks of fox, rabbits and moose. The following trails range from easy to advanced, some even accessible for wheelchair users.

Viru Bog Trail, Kuusalu

Location Kuusalu Municipality, Harju County
Object no.19 on the national park map
Driving directions Drive 52 km on Tallinn–Narva road (Road no. E20), turn left (sign “Võsu 22, Loksa 15”). Drive 1 km to the parking area to the right of the road (sign “Viru raba”). The trail starts from the parking area.
Geographic coordinates Long-Lat WGS 84
latitude: 59.464375
longitude: 25.638328
L-EST 97 x: 6592980.2 y: 592885.9

3,5 km is one way, circle will be 6 km. The trail introduces the vegetation and terrain characteristic of the raised bog in Estonia.
To protect the vegetation and soil we ask hikers to keep on the boardwalk. Cycling on the boardwalk is not allowed!

Abula hiking trail

Location Saaremaa municipality in Kalasma and Abula villages
Object no 40 on recreation area map
Driving directions Starting from Kuressaare:
Drive 30 km on the Kuressaare-Kihelkonna road, from the crossroads turn tu Pidula. Drive 9 km and from the crossroads turn left. Drive 1 km and turn right. Drive 3 km. Abula hiking trail is located at Mustjala–Kalasma village road, 8.4 km from Mustjala. The trail starts at the Kalasma campfire site.
Geographic coordinates Long-Lat WGS 84
latitude: 58.474276
longitude: 22.115466
L-EST 97 x: 6483103 y: 390061
A wonderful and exciting hiking trail along the seaside. Especially nice in spring. The limestone pine forest and coastal cliffs provide a habitat for many different plant and animal species. The trail starts at Kalasma campfire site and is marked with yellow ribbons.

Karula long hiking trail (36 km)

Location In Karula National Park. The trail has no definite starting or end point. Object no 24 on the national park map.
Driving directions Drive 8 km from Antsla towards Haabsaare, turn right 50 m after the Haabsaare bus stop (signs “Karula rahvuspargi külastuskeskus 7 km”, “Saru 20 km”). Drive 7 km on Haabsaare–Saru road and follow the signs pointing to the Karula National Park’s visitor centre, which lead you to the trail.
Geographic coordinates Long-Lat WGS 84
latitude: 57.7124683
longitude: 26.5051262
L-EST 97 x: 6399498 y: 649297
The hiking trail runs through Karula National Park and has no marked starting or end point. The circular trail is marked with signs leading to both directions; however, it is advisable to move counter-clockwise. The trail is marked with yellow blazes on trees, plastic hiker pictograms on sign posts and tin signs along major trail sections.

Meenikunno hiking trail (5.8 km)

Location Räpina municipality, Põlva County. Object no 25 on the recreation area map.
Driving directions Drive 15 km from Räpina towards Võru, turn left towards Värska. Drive 3.8 km and turn right towards Meenikunno Landscape Protection Area. Drive another 5.5 km and turn right. Drive about 1.5 km to the parking area, where the sign “Liipsaare” points to the right. The start of the hiking trail is about 500 m away.
Geographic coordinates Long-Lat WGS 84
latitude: 57.932105
longitude: 27.310046
L-EST 97 x: 6426011 y: 696026

The 5.8 km circular hiking trail runs on 2.4 km boardwalk and 3.4 km forest path. There are 13 information points introducing the bog and forest along the trail. There is an observation tower on the Liipsaare end of the hiking trail. It is a fascinating trail for nature enthusiasts—hikers, berry-pickers, bird-watchers, etc.

 

Rõuge primeval valley hiking trail (10 km)

Location Rõuge municipality, Võru County. Object no 14 on the nature park map.
Driving directions Drive along Võru–Valga road (Road no. 67) and turn towards Rõuge. Before Rõuge turn left (follow the sign “Rõuge Suurjärve külalistemaja 1,5 km”) and drive to the junction, with a red brick building (schoolhouse) across the road and the Rõuge school bus stop on your right. Turn left at the junction and after the schoolhouse immediately to the right (follow the signs “Ööbikuorg 0,6 km”, “Plaani 11 km”, “Haanja 8 km”). The bordermark of Haanja Nature Park and cemetery are on the left. Drive on (there is a lighted cycle and pedestrian track at the side of the road), and where the cycle and pedestrian track ends, you’ll see Rõuge Ööbikuorg visitor centre and parking area on the right. Near the visitor centre there are signs and information boards introducing the surrounding area.
Geographic coordinates Long-Lat WGS 84
latitude: 57.72783
longitude: 26.93450
L-EST 97 x: 6402243.7 y: 674799.9

The 10 km hiking trail descends from near the village swing to Rõuge primeval valley, goes past a small pond and runs along the slope of the valley, which is rich in springs. There are two hydraulic rams operating on the shore of Lake Liinjärv. Hydraulic ram is a “perpetual-motion” pump using hydraulic power and is capable of pumping water as high as ten metres or more. The trail continues along the village road between the Liinjärv and Valgjärv lakes and offers wonderful views towards Ööbikuorg valley and Linnamägi. Then the trail goes along the south-western shore of Lake Rõuge Suurjärv – the deepest lake in Estonia. Next the trail goes along the chain of lakes (Ratasjärv, Tõugjärv, Lake Kahrila) to the Hinni canyon.

 

Salevere hiking trail (1.5 km)

Location Salevere village, Lääneranna municipality, Pärnu County
Object no 1 on the national park map
Driving directions Drive 56 km on Risti–Virtsu road (Road no. 10) to Ridase, turn left towards Salevere. Drive 9 km on gravel road to Salevere village, pass the two-storey residential houses and arrive at the parking area and recreation site, which also mark the start of the hiking trail.
Geographic coordinates Long-Lat WGS 84
latitude: 58.690320
longitude: 23.580652
L-EST 97 x: 6505698 y: 475684

LATVIAN BEER (GUIDE)

If you are beer lover, then this post is for you! Anyone who likes beer and is thinking of visiting Latvia may consider to try some of the local brews that Latvia has to offer.

 

For a traditional Latvian lager experience look for:

 

 

 

1. Valmiermuiža beer Unhurriedly brewed for special occasions, in Latvia beer has been the landlord’s pride and joy since days of yore. As a measure of our respect for venerable traditions, at Valmiermuiža we brew live beer patiently and nurture a culture of enjoying beer, so that beer enjoys a place of honour on the festive table just as it did in olden days. The road taken by Valmiermuiža’s brews to beer lovers started with its amber lager. A sumptuous and popular flavour where, offset by the sweetness of caramel, the bitterness of hops quenches one’s thirst and refreshes. In every sip, you can also taste the flowery minted notes of buckwheat honey. Try this lager beer in Valmiermuiža embassy Aristida Briāna iela 9, Rīga 

 

 

2. Užavas beer was founded in 1994 shortly after Latvia’s restoration of independence. Because of the high-quality water of the Užava area, this was the clear choice for the location of our brewery. Here our proprietor first built his residence containing a small brewery. Bringing under the same roof his passion for family and beer making! Three varieties of beer are currently produced – Užavas LIGHT, Užavas DARK and Užavas WINTER (Baltic Dark beer)

 

3. Zoltners beer – the brewery produces two unique original sorts of beer – light and dark. Own production – from the grain to the beer mug. Try this lager beer in Aurora bar, Dzirnavu iela 43, Rīga.

 

 

4. Mežpils  beer – Mežpils Gaišais (Light) is brewed from golden barley malt, and proudly boasts an amber hue, distinctly hoppy bitterness and a subtle hint of caramel – a combination that will be appreciated by even the most discerning beer lovers invariably in search of the genuine and natural article. Mežpils Tradicionālais  beer flavour that has been beloved by many generations encounters the typical characteristics of Mežpils, the result is Mežpils Traditional beer — a light, refreshing and enjoyable lager-type beer with a pretty and gently golden colour. The characteristics of the flavour of Mežpils Tumšais (Dark) beer are highlighted by premium quality malt. This redden brown variety of beer will surprise you with its inimitable aroma of hops and caramel malt, and memorably refreshing aftertaste. Try this lager beer in Aurora bar, Dzirnavu iela 43, Rīga.

 

 

5. Tērvetes beer – Beer has been an essential part of Latvian lifes. In order to preserve the brewing traditions in region of Zemgale, in 1971 Tērvetes brewery was built. There was started the brewing of the well-known and highly appreciated beer Tērvete. Beer is a natural product and good brewing should be in accordance with tradition and natural processes. Thanks to Zemgale fertile land, special beer barley varieties are grown every year in Tērvete, which is the basic raw material for beer production. Tervete beer is made of local raw materials, as a proof of that is quality label “Quality product” or more widely known as”Green spoon” which represents the provenance and high quality of product.

 

For a Craft beer experience look for:

 

 

1. Malduguns Craft Beer – this microbrewery started to operate in 2013 and immediately made a huge step forward: it was listed in ”The top 100 brewers in the world” award in that year. Now they are very well known in Latvia and in the countries nearby. Malduguns produces very tasty Ales with a creative craft touch. They have now more than ten different beers, like the delicious Rudais Rudens, an Extra Special Bitter (ESB), and the spicy Sānslīde, an India Pale Ale (IPA), in addition to almost twenty variations of the single hop IPA Zaļā Bise (Green Shotgun), each using a different kind of hop. The brewery is located in the Rauna district, 110 km from Riga. Try this lager beer in Vinil bar, Kalnciema iela 39, Rīga.

 

2. Labietis Craft Beer  /Aristida Briāna iela 9A2,Riga / – There are 12 different beers on tap here, as well as additional seasonal brews on offer, as well as bottles to take home. Have a seat at one of the huge wooden tables, or when it’s sunny out, head to the outdoor terrace. Try this craft beer also in Riga Central Market, Centrāltirgus iela 1, Riga

 

 

 

3. Viedi Craft Beer – beer from a microbrewery founded in 2015. The recipes started as experiments. They produce unfiltered and non-pasteurized Ales, like the delicious Rodeo (APA) and their most famous, Blondais Grēks (Blond Sin), a Wit beer. The brewery is interested in not only offering a good beer, but also educating the public about the beer culture and creating conditions for the availability and variety of beer in Latvia at the same level as in the United States or Belgium. Try this craft beer in Bar Gauja, Stabu iela 32,  Rīga.

 

24.04.2017 – 30.04.2017

Sigulda Restaurant Week, guests are invited to enjoy three-course meals from a selection of nine restaurants in Sigulda and the surrounding area. Each restaurant will offer meal sets for two prices – 15 and 20 euros.

Five Sigulda restaurants will be welcoming food lovers throughout the week – Aparjods, Garšas Frekvence, Fazenda, Sigulda and Gadalaiki, as well as another four restaurants in the surrounding area – Kungu Rija, Bīriņi Palace Restaurant, Mālpils Manor Restaurant, and Rāmkalni Restaurant.

The meal offers at the restaurants will be published on Sigulda social-networks and by the restaurants themselves from April 18. We kindly recommend those who wish to enjoy a meal at one of the participating Sigulda Restaurant Week restaurants to book a table ahead of time.

Text & Photos – http://www.rigagauja.lv/en/9230-sigulda-restaurant-week-1

 

Everybody is invited to mark the Spring Equinox on Sunday, March 19, with a sunrise ceremony at 6:00-8:00 a.m. in Arkadija Park. During the event, participants will wash face in the Marupite river. Sunrise ceremony with songs, willow and birch twigs, swings and other rituals to ensure fertility, health and beauty.

To create the right mood for the event, take willow-catkins, budding birch twigs, colorful yarn ribbons to decorate the swings, and, of course, painted Easter eggs as offerings for swings, fortune telling, competition, eating, presents, treats.

From 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. Spring Equinox celebration at Livi Square.

Celebration of Spring Equinox with decorating swings and swinging, Easter songs, painting eggs, egg battles and games, dances.

The event is organized by the Latvian Folklore Society, traditionally with participation of Riga folklore groups.

Text & photos – https://www.liveriga.com

Travelling to Estonia is easy – by plane, train, ferries.

By plane

The city’s international airport, Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport, provides excellent facilities and a wide variety of services. Its convenient location – just 4 km from the city centre – means transport to most destinations takes surprisingly little time. Information on international and domestic airlines can be found here.

Airlines flying to Tallinn

The airport’s information service point is located in the departure hall. It opens 2 hours before the day’s first flight and closes after the last arriving flight. Lennart Meri Tallinn Airport: ph. +372 605 8888, www.tallinn-airport.ee.

By Rail

Two Go Rail trains serve the Tallinn-Moscow route, departing from both cities in the afternoon. Night passes unnoticed in the sleeping car. Two of Go Rail’s trains serve the Tallinn-St Petersburg route. The trains, which depart both cities in the morning and afternoon, complement each other in terms of time, providing a flexible timetable for passengers in both countries. Trains from the Latvian capital Riga set out for Valga in southern Estonia three times a day. The trip takes three hours. The railway station is situated near the Old Town
For further information: GoRail, ph. +372 631 0044, www.gorail.ee.

By Bus

Two international bus lines offer connections to Tallinn from several other European cities. Regular routes connecting Tallinn with Riga, Vilnius and St Petersburg operate several times a day.

International connections are provided by Lux Express and Ecolines.
Domestic bus lines, fares and timetables can be found here.

International and intercity buses arrive and depart via the Tallinn Central Bus Station (Tallinna Autobussijaam): Lastekodu 46, ph. +372 680 0900.

By Ferry

Ships from Helsinki bring thousands of travellers to Tallinn’s busy passenger port each day. There is an overnight ferry link with Stockholm and a semi-weekly cruise ship connection to St Petersburg. Large cruise ships stop in Tallinn from spring until autumn.

Ferries cross the Gulf of Finland between Tallinn and Helsinki several times a day, covering the distance in roughly 2 to 3 hours. From late spring to late autumn, high-speed vessels also operate on the route, reducing travel time to just 1.5 hours.

Ferries between Tallinn and Stockholm depart every evening, with the trip taking approximately 15 hours.

Eckerö Line
ph. +372 664 6000
www.eckeroline.ee

Viking Line
ph. +372 666 3966 (in Estonia: 1719)
www.vikingline.ee

Tallink
ph. +372 640 9808 (in Estonia: 1 7808)
www.tallinksilja.com

St. Peter Line
ph. +372 666 0800
www.stpeterline.com

 

Vilnius lies at the crossroads of East and West. Such a central location makes a capital city easily reachable by plane, train, bus.

By plane

Vilnius is easily accessible by air from all major European cities. It takes never more than three hours to fly from many European cities and “hubs” including Barcelona, Paris, Copenhagen, London, Frankfurt. The Vilnius International Airport is located just outside the centre of Vilnius. It is only 7 km/15 min driving distance from the centre of the city.

Other airlines flying to Vilnius:

For up-to-date information on flights, schedules, new routes and airlines see www.vno.lt

By Rail

Lithuania has a well-developed rail network. Direct rail links between Lithuania and Belarus, Russia and Poland provide convenient and inexpensive connections. Vilnius is the focal point for rail connections in the region. Vilnius Railway Station is situated close to the Old Town, just accross the street from the bus station. Routes and schedules are available at www.litrail.lt

By bus

There is a choice of international bus lines connecting Vilnius with other European cities. Buses are the cheapest but least comfortable method of reaching Vilnius. There are direct buses to the capital city from many European countries. Routes and schedules are available at www.eurolines.lt and www.ecolines.lt. The city’s bus station is centrally located. It is only a five-minute walk distance to the main train station and ten minutes to the Old Town.

Hiking around Latvia and discover the most spectacular routes. You can walk the shoreline, you can wander through river valleys and forests, you can just watch the landscape. Here is some hiking routs in Latvia.

 

SIGULDA

1.Three Castle Route (6 km /4h)

Sigulda train station – Pils Street – Key Square – Sigulda Medieval castle and New castle – Sigulda Lutheran Church – Walking Stick Park – cable car – Krimulda manor and Krimulda Medieval castle ruins – Serpentine road – Gūtmans’ Cave – Turaida Museum Reserve. Return by bus No. 12.

2.Sigulda in tales and legends: large route (13 km /4,5 h)

Sigulda train station – Pils Street – monument to Kr. Barons – Sigulda Medieval castle and New castle – Sigulda Lutheran Church – Walking Stick Park – chair lift – pathway along the Gauja River – pedestrians bridge across Gauja River – Krimulda manor and Krimulda Medieval castle ruins – Serpentine road – Gauja bridge – stairs up to the town – Festivity Square – Sigulda train station

3.Gauja valley picturesque nature (6 km /3 h)

Sigulda train station – Walking Stick park – stairs down to Gauja bridge – pathway along the Gauja River right bank to Līgatne side – Olu hill – rest area Vējupīte – Ravens ravine and cave – Painter’s Hill – Sigulda train station

CĒSIS

4.Cīrulīši Nature Trails (4,6 km /3 h)

The Cīrulīši Nature Trails will introduce you to the evolution of the beautiful Gauja River valley from Ice age to nowadays! The Cīrulīši nature trails at Cēsis reveal the history of the Gauja River and its surrounding nature. The area has two comfortable, easy accessible routes – 2,7 km and 4,6 km long. During the walk, fascinating natural objects can be seen: the impressive Cīrulīšu cliffs also called Spoguļu (Mirror) Cliffs beautifully reflect in the water of the oxbow lake. Dzidravots (Clear spring) is place where to quench your thirst after a walk. Legend of Līgavas (Bride) cave legend will again verify the power of love, but Cīrulīšu cave is also called the abyss.

Route map HERE

5.River Amata. Rocks and Cliffs (21 km /10h)

For travellers not afraid of large and frequent terrain differences, and also for those wishing to see and enjoy the beautiful banks of primeval valley of the River Amata while heading along remote forest paths. The path leading along the right bank travels through the upper and lower part of the valley, and therefore at some places difference of more than 40 m in height is experienced. This is sort of a geo-tourism route with an insight of dolomite and sandstone outcrops from the Devonian Period which are found in the primeval valley of the River Amata shaped by the glacier. Route: Amatciems – Melturi – Kārļamuiža – Kārļi – Zvārte Rock – Veclauču Bridge.

Route map HERE

6.Cēsis –Ērgļu Cliffs– Jāņmuiža (14 km /6h)

Suitable for travellers interested not only in the towns, but also in magnificent landscapes and one of the most monolith sandstone cliff walls in the Baltics — the Ērģeļu Cliffs. Destinations are easily linked with public transportation. Route: Cēsis Railway Station – Raunas iela – Lenču iela – Pieškalni – Ērģeļu Cliffs – Rāmnieki – Jāņmuiža

Route map HERE

 

7.One Day Around Cēsis (21km / 10h)

Suitable for very active hikers interested in nature and physical activities. The route introduces with excellent views of the primeval valley of the River Gauja, the history of the valley since the end of the Ice Age, and the values of boreal forests. The route runs through Gauja National Park.

Route: “Ozolkalns” – Cīrulīši Nature Trails – Mūrlejas iela – Gaujas iela – bridge over the River Gauja – Kvēpenes iela – Lake Raiskums – along the banks of the River Sveķupīte – along the banks of the River Lenčupe – Pārgaujas iela (Sarkanās Cliffs) – bridge over the River Gauja – Gaujas iela – Alkšņu iela – Kovārņu iela – “Cīrulīši” – “Ozolkalns”. Distance: ~ 24 km. You can take the shorter circle till the bridge over the River Gauja ~8 km.

Route map HERE

VALMERA

8.The Ancient Knight path (46km / 2 days)

Amazingly picturesque circular route from Valmiera to Sietiņiezis passing through Vaidava and Kocēni is suitable for pedestrians and cyclists. In the past, it has been referred to as a part of the Gauja corridor area of the Livonian Order. This route is also known and mentioned in the Livonian Chronicle of Henry as the Ancient Knight path that connected the ancient Hanseatic cities – Wolmar (Valmiera) and Wenden (Cesis).

Route map HERE:

9.Around the Burtnieki Lake (70km / 2 days)

This route will lead you through picturesque landscapes and along the way you will see great variety of nature wonders. You will have an opportunity to come across rare and protected species of plants and animals, especially some species of birds. Several parts of the route are the same as already marked regional route No. 17 and local route No. 112
Start and Finish: Burtnieki rural territory council
Route: Burtnieki – Dūre – Silzemnieki – Košķele – Vecate – Bauņi – Matīši – Burtnieki
Route map HERE

Information about direct flights, railway, bus and ferry…

By plane

Riga has a range of direct flights with European cities: London, Manchester, Liverpool in the Great Britain, Paris and Nice in France, Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Dusseldorf in Germany, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, Barcelona in Spain, Rome in Italy, Istanbul in Turkey, Tel Aviv in Israel and more others. You can use different airlines to fly to Riga. airBaltic is the Latvian national airline that flies to Riga from more than 25 international cities.

Other airlines flying to Riga:

Riga International Airport is the biggest in the Baltic States. It offers flights to 78 destinations in the entire world. Schedule and map of flights is available here: www.riga-airport.com

By Rail

The central train station is located in the very center of the city. Direct trains link Riga with St. Petersburg, Moscow and Minsk. See more detailed information about local and international train timetables www.ldz.lv

By bus

Riga has good developed bus traffic to many cities in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Great Britain, France and etc.

Companies that provide passenger traffic services to Riga:

By ferry

Every day a passenger ferry drives direct from Stockholm to Riga. The trip lasts approximately 15 hours. More information about daily ferry traffic between Stockholm and Riga can be found here: www.tallinksilja.com

Kaļķu / Vaļņu iela, Rīga
Date: 14.01.2017
Time: 14:00 – 20:00

Riga Street Food Festival (winter)

Riga’s top chefs have risen to the challenge to create their own versions of Latvian gastronomic masterpieces in the blistering cold. Meals prepared will highlight the wide range of Riga-Guja region winter produce, encompassing both the primeval and the contemporary.

In 2017, the Riga-Gauja region will bear the honorary title of European Region of Gastronomy.

Dzintars Kristovskis, chef of Valmiermuiža embassy in Riga and the Riga-Gauja region ambassador: “European Region of Gastronomy is about returning to the roots – back to the produce and raw materials that we’ve hailed, respected and consumed for centuries, that have grown right here, behind the city walls – in our bountiful forests, meadows, fields, rivers and lakes.”

Text & Photos – www.latvia.travel/en