BEST HIKING ROUTES IN LITHUANIA (2019)

Walking along those trails, you will not only see the most interesting natural objects, but also hear millions of sounds of the Lithuanian forest, dispel the mystery of the wetlands, and at a moment of repose refresh yourself with water from our streams or springs. Read more..

Treetop Walking Path / Parnidis cognitive path / Ecological Cognitive Trail “Litorina” / Juniper valley / Pūčkoriai Cognitive Trail /

 

 

In this blog you can find some ideas where to stay while you travel around Latvia. If you like adventure, you may want to stay in a hotel that’s a lot more than just a place to lay your head down at night. Nestled on a secluded island in Dagda lake or Treehouse or maybe in Beaver house?! It can be your experience of lifetime! Here is our Top 10! And we would love to help you to plan your trip! Just ask!

#10 Niedras, lake resort; #9 Kalnozoli, guest house; #8 Sīpoli Mare, guest house;#7 BB Campign; #6 Villa Usma floating house;#5 Peldmāja in Pāvilosta;#4 Beaver house on Usma lake;#3 Melnsils, camping;#2 On island, luxury tent;#1 Čiekurs, treehouse.

 

    

What You Should Know About the Hill of Crosses, Lithuania?

 

 

Hill of Crosses (Kryžių kalnas) is located 12 km north of the city of  Šiauliai in northern Lithuania.

From Vilnius to Hill of Crosses – 221km (around 3h by car) Map.

From Riga to Hill of Crosses – 123km (around 2h by car) Map.

 

Hill of Crosses

 

 

Facts About the Hill of Crosses

1. The Hill of Crosses currently has over 100,000 crosses from all over the world. There are actually too many to count.

2. The first cross was put there in the 1800’s.

3. There are two stories that go with the hill – a story of faith and healing & a story of nationalism and the fighting spirit of the Lithuanian people.

Hill of Crosses

History of the Hill of Crosses

The first story is that a Lithuanian farmer had a very sick daughter who was going to die. He tried every kind of medicine and went to every doctor he could find. No matter what he did, her health just got worse. Every night, he sat by her bedside, holding her hand, wishing she would get better.

One night, while sitting by her bed, he fell asleep. That night he had a dream. In his dream, a woman dressed in all white came to him and told him that if he wanted his daughter to get better he had to follow her instructions. He was told to build a large wooden cross. He was then to take the wooden cross across the country and place it on a hill. It would be a sign of faith and love for God, and if he did this his daughter would be healed.

He had no other options at this point and decided to build the cross. He carried the cross 13 hours each way to Siauliai. Here, he put the wooden cross up on the hill. Tired and worn down, he started his long journey home.

When he finally reached his hometown, his wife and daughter were both waiting for him. They had amazing news – his daughter had somehow been cured of her illness! She was out of bed, awake, and joyfully awaiting his return!

The story of the miracle hill spread throughout Lithuania. People would pilgrimage to the site and place a cross on the hill hoping it would also cure their sick loved ones. It became the Hill of Crosses that performed miracles!

The second story: For those of you who do not know a lot about Lithuanian history, they have a long and sordid past with the Soviet Union dating back to the 1800’s. In the 1800’s, Lithuania had been occupied and were under Russian regime. The official religion was Russian Orthodox, and the official language was Russian. They were forbidden to practice any other religion, hang any crosses, or speak any other language other than Russian in public.

 

How to get to Hill Of Crosses?

  1. You can rent car and visit Hill Of Crosses  from Riga (around 2 hours, one way) or Vilnius (around 3 hours, one way). From Vilnius you can have day trip Hill Of Crosses and Siauliai. From Riga you can have day trip to Hill of Crosses and Rundāle palace.
  2. Other option is if you are visiting Riga and Vilnius in your trip. Then you can have transfer with sightseeing stops in Hill of Crosses and Rundāle Palace. Both directions – Vilnius-Riga or Riga Vilnius. Here you can find our offer for  transfer. Price starting from 70 EUR/PAX
  3. Also you can have private day tours from Riga or Vilnius. Here you can find tour from Riga. Prices starting from 60 EUR/PAX

Winter in Baltics: 5 Reasons Why You Should Visit Baltic’s in Winter!

Many will argue that the Baltics (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) are great travel locations in summer, and they would not be wrong. What they might not know, is that the Baltics are as great for holidays in the winters too, especially for the beautiful scenery.

For one, the Baltics make use of what they have to create that amazing winter holiday experience. On the other hand, these are one collection of countries that come together to make your experience a totally unique one.

Here are some of the top things through which you get to enjoy winter in the Baltics… and reasons why you should consider going at all three countries.

Skiing

Cross skiing in Latvia

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia are all great locations for skiing. In the fact the outdoors always provides a great skiing experience.

You would think so too if you saw how well the snowy forests formed out delicately challenging paths for different levels of skiing experiences. Frozen lakes also bring all the fun and adrenaline rush into your skiing.

All of these resorts offer services that cater to different skill levels of skiers, so you are always covered.

The longest road in Europe

 

Ice road winter EstoniaOne thing you get to experience when you travel to Estonia in the winter is the chance to drive through the longest road in Europe. This would not have been an interesting endeavor but for the fact that the entire road would be covered in ice. Imagine having to drive all through all that mass of ice throughout multiple islands which would not have been connected otherwise.

 

 

You get to see three countries

One thing we love most about taking a trip to the Baltics is the close proximity of the countries one to another. It is always a 3-in-1 experience, such that you don’t get anywhere else.

It’s even bettered in the fact that all of these countries share a similar climate, so you get to enjoy the same activities over all the regions. You could even split out your activities in such away that they can be spread over all of these regions.

 

 

Speaking of activities…

HORSE SLEDGE AND TRADITIONAL LATVIAN SAUNAThere are a ton of them. There is no shortage of fun when you are enjoying winter in the Baltics. You get to enjoy everything from the bobsleigh in Sigulda, ice fishing, skiing, winter bag walk and horse sledge in snowy forests. 

That is in addition to being treated to the ultimate husky dog sledding experience (Latvia, Lithiuania and Estonia), and having a snowmobile or ATV’s safari experience to remember.

 

 

 

It is a better cost alternative

One thing you should look at when planning a winter trip is the cost of setup. If you consider everything you get from a visit to the Baltic countries to other similar regions of the world, you would quickly see that it is a cost-effective holiday idea for you. 

Scandinavian countries are the only ones that closely compare to what Baltics will offer you, but they come at a higher price margin. Couple that with the fact that distances are usually within fast reach in the Baltics, and you have a winner.

 

Wrap Up

Spend your next winter holiday here in Baltic’s – Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania!

The Baltics are waiting to give you a warm welcome!

For Solo travellers. Find others and travel cheaper!

Great if you are planning to visit Baltic’s – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia! If you are a Solo traveller and want to join some tour, please write down in comment:
1.        What tour you are interested in,
2.        Preferable date,
3.        Language

..find other interested travellers, and travel cheaper! Meet other people from different countries. Also here you can  get some travel tips for Baltics!

Spring 2018. Amata trail.

 

One of our team passion is hiking. For all 4 seasons here in Latvia – winter, spring, summer and autumn it’s beautiful experience where you will be charmed by the untouched nature. In early spring, you will see boaters chasing extreme sensations on the rapid waters of the Amata River. Spring is also a great time for watching the fascinating bird life. Whereas in summer, the wonderfully bright green scenery offers a large diversity of plants to examine and admire! In autumn, the trail is exceptionally picturesque, clad in shades of bright red and gold. It is also the time for watching the captivating spawning of fish.

This spring we hiked Amata trail. Trail is located only on the right bank of the river Amata. Sandstone and dolomite outcrops, landscapes, diverse flora. Ainavu cliff- 46 m, the highest in Latvia. Marking- red rhombs on tree trunks, route isn’t maintained. Gauja river and it is full of rapids, the word “amada” in the lībiešu language means rapid. The trail is a wonderful place for walking and immersing yourself in the nature.  Trail Amata is located in the Gauja National Park.

 

You can choose one of the routs:

1) Amatciems – Melturi 2 h;
2) Melturi – Kārļi 3 h;
3) Kārļi – Zvārtes cliff 4 h;
4) Zvārtes cliff – Veclauču bridge 1–2 h. (this suitable for family with children)

Coordinates:

Amatciems  25.30342, 57.22543

Veclauču bridge –  25.13721, 57.26149

Zvārtes cliff 25.14279, 57.24601

Photo from – Amata.lv

 

 

 

WINTER IN BALTIC’S (LATVIA)

The winter in Latvia usually lasts from mid-December to the beginning of March. Air temperature can fluctuate from +5 degrees Celsius all the way down to -30 degrees.

A weekend in Riga, the capital of Latvia, is the perfect winter destination. There are plenty of things to do in Riga during a winter weekend. Read our blog to find out what to do in Riga,Latvia.

 

WINTER ACTIVITIES

Luge and Bobsleigh Track in Sigulda – zip down the only bobsleigh track in the Baltics at speeds of up to 80 km/h. In winter, rides are done by “vučko” or the so-called soft bob. The total length of the bobsleigh and luge Track is 1200 m, it features 16 curves, and allows for a maximum speed of 125 km/h. The track is suited for bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton competitions and training sessions. Both international and local competitions are held here every season.

Cross-country skiing -When staying in Riga, cross-country skiing is easily accessible. One does not have to venture far from the capital  – a groomed cross-country track is available across the river in Victory Park. Sigulda is also close to the Latvian capital for long distances in pristine natural surroundings. Cross-country skiing is special in Jurmala where one can enjoy wonderful landscape of frozen waters in cold winters.

Downhill ski slopes:

  • Zagarkalns – one of the most popular ski resorts in Latvia, located in Cesis by the Gauja River
  • Ozolkalns – is proud of the longest downhill ski track in Latvia
  • Milzkalns – one of the most popular places of wintertime activities in Latvia, located in Engure district

Ice fishing – enjoy the ice fishing on the frozen lake and rivers and try to catch you own fish.

Husky dog sledding – hop on a sled and let a pack of Huskies power you along through a Latvian forest,  generally the best months for husky dog sledding are January to March!

RESTAURANTS

You can treat yourself to lovely meals – Riga is perfect destination for food lovers. Thanks to a creative and enthusiastic generation of chefs, there are now numerous world-class restaurants in Latvia serving exquisite local and international cuisine.

Restaurant 3 – Taste of nature “Restaurant 3” offers to the guests menus, which display modern culinary tendencies in the world. Restaurant’s menu is made by using forest goods, natural, bio and seasonal products. They offer guests to enjoy the taste of nature and forest at the very heart of Old Riga.

 MUUSU – is a story of values developed through years of experience. We hail and pursue beauty and comfort; every detail counts. The Nordic interior – distinct lines, exposed brick, flax fabric and wood  accents in combination with metal provides an exquisite background for all that is essential – fine food and emotions. The strength of MUUSU is its chef, Kaspars Jansons. We do not hesitate to claim that he is one of the best chefs in the city. The ascetic table settings and dishes, made by Rauna Kiln, is very much like a canvas to paint on. Time-tested, stable culinary values are at the base of our menu. These are the classics of contemporary Europe, leaving space for new interpretation and seasonal accents, with respect for everything fresh and of local origin.

Ferma – At restaurant “Ferma” you can try local products – wild venison, Baltic salmon, shrimp grown in Latvia, dry aged beef from Latvia, as well as Latvia’s Culinary Heritage. Restaurant “Ferma” is a long-awaited project by chef Maris Astics. Restaurant is in the Quiet Centre of Riga which gives a chance to enjoy a meal with a view of the Viesturs Garden park.

Vincents Restaurant – since it opened in 1994, Vincents has become the prime destination for all those passionate about good food and fine wine. Vincents is located in one of the most picturesque parts of Riga, surrounded by Art Nouveau buildings. The modern interior forms the backdrop for chef Aleksandrs Nasikailovs’ inspired & constantly evolving cuisine. A gourmet’s grotto & celebrity haunt. The guest book at Vincents is a cornucopia of praise from President George W. Bush, brothers Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, Paco Rabane, Pierre Cardin, Mstislav Rostropovich, Montseratt Caballe, Maija Pliseckaya, Nikita Mihalkov, Jose Carreras, and Elton John – to name a few.

MUSEUMS

Discover the most interesting museums to visit when in Riga.

Latvian National Museum of Art -The collection of the largest art museum in Latvia comprises more than 52 thousand works by Baltic and Russian painters and sculptors.

Riga Art Nouveau Centre – Rīga is one of the few European cities where Art Nouveau architecture, art and design objects have survived in great numbers. It is even called “the metropolis of Art Nouveau”. There are 800 Art Nouveau buildings in Rīga, mostly located in the city’s centre – particularly on Alberta Street. Riga Art Nouveau Centre can also be found on this street, in the former apartment of the renowned Latvian architect Konstantīns Pēkšēns, who lived and worked here till 1907 and designed this beautiful building.

Riga Motor Museum -Visit Riga Motor Museum to see the largest and most diverse collection of antique motor vehicles in the Baltics and listen to exciting stories about them. The museum exhibition has been created as a story about unique motor vehicles, prominent persons and the most important historical events in the automotive world. Innumerable interactive elements have been installed throughout Riga Motor Museum, which will draw the attention of any child.

 Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum – One of the oldest and largest open-air museums in Europe is located on the banks of Lake Jugla, just a 30 minute drive from downtown Riga. This museum is unique when compared to similar museums around the world with the fact that it began to collect its exhibitions before the war, and thus many of its exhibition objects are in very good condition. 118 historical buildings from all four of Latvia’s provinces – Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale and Latgale, have been put on display at the museum. The buildings range in age, and most of them were originally constructed between the 17th century up all the way up until the 1930s.

Aldaris beer museum and brewery – Aldaris beer museum is the most up-to-date museum of beer in the Baltics and the very first one in Latvia. The museum offers its guests to discover the diversity and charm of beers brewed in Latvia and elsewhere, the secrets of brewing, and also to try hand at brewing. It also displays the collection of historic exhibits related to beer and relies on state-of-the art technologies to better introduce its visitors to the four basic elements of beer – water, hops, malt and yeast.

The Corner House – a project by the Occupation Museum, provides the opportunity for the wider public to gain insight into the former KGB, or ‘Cheka’, headquarters in Riga by preparing an exhibition on the institution’s operation in Latvia and a tour of the building. Visitors are able to view jail cells, dungeons, strolling areas, the lift for the interrogated and office workspace. It is a revelation for the young generation and foreign tourists as well as a memorial for those who suffered within these walls.

kim? Contemporary Art Centre was founded in 2009. The name of kim? is an abbreviation of an insistent question “what is art?” (“kas ir māksla?” in Latvian). The organization is offering a certain range of activities such as exhibitions, lectures, discussions and other events related to recent art, theory and social issues. kim? supports the development of emerging Latvian artists, theoreticians and curators and collaborations between art professionals and thinkers of other spheres aiming to provide a responsive context to their work and to make critical practices accessible to a wider audience.

Laima chocolate museum – is the biggest and most well-known producer of chocolate and sweets in the Baltic, where chocolate is made with cocoa beans without using semi-prepared products. The method was introduced in 1870 by factory founder Teodors Rigerts. The Laima chocolate museum welcomes, treats and inspires its visitors. Laima tells, shows and involves! The mastery LAIMA is known for since 1870 is full of love and affection, resulting in chocolate without equal in the world.  Life is full of secrets. One of them is how to make chocolate. In the Laima chocolate museum visitors will discover the secrets of making chocolate, find out how cocoa beans are used to make Laima’s chocolate and other delicacies and become true confectioners by making their own chocolate bar.