Country Holidays

Green advice for hiking

How best to handle the route
What to bring along
Where to get advice
Safety while hiking

How Best to Handle the Route

  • The average speed of a walking person is 4-6 km/h.

    Before setting out on a longer trip, determine how fast you walk, and make sure that you know what shape you’re in.

  • Hikers must never wear brand new shoes – find those old boots.

    On the beach, go barefoot as much as you can – that’s healthy!

  • If you’re planning a longer trip and the direction is not important, keep the wind at your back.  You’ll save your strength and go much further.

  • Don’t sleep in during the summer.  Start your hike shortly after sunrise, when the air will be fresh and full of birdsong.  It will not be too hot, and the hike will be easier.  Rest during the day and continue the hike in the evening.

  • Don’t return along the same route – along a different one you’ll see and learn much more.

  • Walk single file along narrow trails or areas where there is no trail.  If you can, step into the footprint left by the person ahead of you so as to leave fewer footprints.

  • Don’t trample across meadows, fields of grain, etc.  Go along the edge of the field even if that means walking two times further.

What to bring along

  • The season isn’t important for hiking. Put on appropriate clothing and get out of the house! Latvia has “gray autumns” and “endless winters,” but even then hiking is better than many other everyday activities.

  • Don’t bring a heavy bag full of food and carbonated drinks. Shop at local stores and from farmers. A heavy backpack will make you grouchy, and you won’t get very far with it.

  • If you have heavy baggage, arrange with the owner of country accommodations or friends to drive over to where you have left the bag and bring it to your final destination.

  • Leave your tent, sleeping bag and warm pyjamas at home – just think how much they weigh. Find local accommodations instead!

  • If you’re going to be sleeping in a tent, please remember that in restricted environmental territories, there are strict rules as to where a tent can or cannot be set up. If you can’t find such a location, ask the owner of your accommodations for permission to pitch a tent in his field. Buy some of what he has to offer.

  • For a radial hike that will take half a day or a full day, definitely bring along a moisture-resistant jacket, a pair of dry socks, a map, a mobile phone, a small bottle of water, and enough food for one brief meal. A compass may be handy, as well. 

  • In a bigger group, divide up the things that you’re carrying, keeping each person’s abilities in mind.

  • Make a list of what you need to bring along on the hike and then check to see that you’ve got everything.  The list will make it easier for you to pack.

Where to get advice

  • Ask locals about anything that’s unclear to you before you set out.

  • If there are no available locals, ask shopkeepers, as they tend to be well-informed about the area in which they work.

  • If you’re interested in regional research or the history of a specific object, visit the village library. Librarians tend to be enthusiastic and well-informed.

  • Always say hi to people whom you encounter. The countryside is not a big city where people pass each other by without any conversation.

Safety while hiking

  • If you have to go along a road, stay on the side and walk toward oncoming traffic. If you are in a group, walk single file, not in a bunch.

  • Avoid territories which have big signs indicating that they’re privately owned. If you encounter such an owner, you will probably spoil your mood, and you will not prove that you are right.

  • Never turn your back on an angry dog. Cover yourself with your bag or some other larger object. Think about what you will do.

  • Although the law is probably on your side in most cases, don’t get into conflicts.  Know your rights, too.

  • You may walk freely in state and local government forests – look at the environment and gather mushrooms, berries and nuts.

  • In environmental territories, keep quiet. Forest animals (usually) don’t attack people in Latvia, but make sure you don’t, for instance, step on a snoozing moose.

  • A wild sow, when disturbed, will grunt angrily and charge you, but she will stop after a brief run.

  • If you see a wild or domesticated animal behaving oddly, avoid it at all costs.  A rabid animal is very dangerous to people and animals.  Make sure you tell the local government about what you saw.

  • During and after the hike, watch out for ticks. Hikers must never, ever assume that ticks won’t bite them. Think about getting a vaccine. This is not the case when we should think that pharmacists are trying to pull a fast one.

  • Before setting off, check the public transportation schedule and decide how you’ll get back from your destination.

  • Think about accommodations and reserve them in advance if at all possible.

  • Make sure that you stay safe.  Protect yourself and others!