Interreg V-A — Estonia–Latvia

Routes

This section summarizes the culinary routes in the regions of Latvia, where you can get acquainted with the culinary heritage and traditions we have learned from Livonian times, as well as visit other nearby places of interest.

The tourist routes are created by combining culinary experiences with attractive nature sites, even through various towns and villages. The routes offered can be used as a basis for planning customized tours for individual tastes and / or small tourist groups. Car and bus excursions also have some elements of hiking, biking and boating.

What is the independent travel?
Overview Tour details
N/A
7 days
Latvia

Active Gourmet Tour in Gauja National Park (cycling and canoeing)

If you enjoy an active lifestyle, this tour is the perfect way to enjoy the culinary heritage hidden in Gauja National Park. The cycling route starts from Strenči and first passes two local breweries at Brenguļi and Valmiermuiža with nice cafés and good beer. On the way to Valmiera you will also stop at Trikāta Village to taste locally made chocolate. From Valmiera, the route goes through a beautiful forest to Cēsis with its charming medieval Old Town. In Cēsis you will visit the local bakery and distillery to taste their production. Also, you will see what a herb and species garden looked like in medieval times. You’ll experience a canoeing trip from Cēsis to Līgatne, one of the nicest parts on the River Gauja with its sandstone banks, remote farmsteads and old-fashioned water-powered ferry. The historic centre of Līgatne Town is linked with the development of its paper mill. Here you can also visit local wine and handicraft producers in one of the artificial caves typical of the area. Cycling the hilly, winding roads of Sigulda, you’ll see Turaida and Sigulda medieval castles, Gūtmaņala Cave and other picturesque views. In Sigulda you will enjoy Latvian traditional meals in the restaurants ”Bucefāls”, ”Aparjods”, and will taste 80 kinds of jam in the Mauriņi guest house.

N/A
5 days
Latvia

Culinary Route "Flavours of Livonia" - Jacob's road

Duke Jacob of the Duchy of Kurzeme and Zemgale was on the throne from 1642 until 1862, and during that time the duchy rapidly expanded ship building operations, opened the first factories and improved agricultural output.  Jacob's ships plied the seas to export goods, to establish colonies in Tobago and Gambia, and to bring sugar, coffee and spices back to Europe.  This was the age when potatoes first appeared in Latvia, though it took a couple of centuries for them become beloved.
A great delicacy in Kurzeme is lamprey from the Usma River.  It is served in soups, baked or smoked.  During the season, there will be dishes of garfish, smelt or Baltic herring, while sprats, herring and salmon are available year-round.  Rye is used for rye bread, sourdough bread or carrot buns, and barley is used for various porridges.  Local ladies will be happy to teach you how to prepare local dishes.
During the Summer Solstice, a special cheese is almost universal, while on a daily basis, there are other tasty cheeses from cow and goat milk.  Local meat and fowl dishes are popular, sometimes potted in clay pots together with vegetables.  Side dishes include pumpkin, vegetables, root vegetables, mushrooms, beans or grits with sinfully tasty sauces. Taverns will offer wild game during the hunting season, including venison, beaver and rabbit.
Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy pie, honey cakes and poppy seed pastries that are still prepared according to a Medieval recipe.  For dessert, have some blackberry dumplings or a dessert made of rye bread, honey, lingonberries or cranberries, and sweet cream.  Slake your thirst with aromatic herbal teas with honey.  Enjoy homemade wine, tasty beer or a glass of something stronger.

Active season months1-12
N/A
2 days
Estonia

Tartu - Haanja - Setomaa

This tour combines culinary experiences with visiting popular tourist attractions in southern Estonia. You will visit Võru and Rõuge, enjoy the southern Estonian landscape in Haanja Nature Park from the top of Suur Munamägi, the highest hill in the Baltics, and will be sincerely welcomed in Setomaa, the land of Setos - an ethnic and linguistic minority carrying on their unique heritage traditions. Setomaa has been inhabited for about 8,400 years, which makes it one of the oldest human settlements in Estonia. On this tour, you will taste Estonian wines made from locally grown berries and fruit, visit a goat farm offering superb goat’s cheese, and will be served a hearty country meal in a rural homestead.

The itinerary starts and ends in Tartu, but it can be extended to/from Tallinn and Riga.

N/A
3 days
Latvia

Livonian Flavours in the Vidzeme Region

On this tour, you will see the most beautiful places and towns in the Vidzeme region and Gauja National Park such as Sigulda with the River Gauja valley, the medieval old town of Cēsis, and Valmiera. You will feast on the Miller’s Lunch, visiting a working windmill, explore a herb and vegetable garden by a medieval castle, taste hemp butter, and Valmiermuiža local brewery beer. You will taste the “green cheese”, a sparkling birch sap drink, and can buy delicacies made from locally grown garlic.

N/A
5 days
Latvia

Culinary Route "Flavours of Livonia" - Baltic's road

The "Baltic Way" route is in honour of a unique demonstration on August 23, 1989, when residents of the three Baltic States joined hands in a chain of participants that stretched along a nearly 600 km distance to link the three capital cities of Vilnius, Rīga and Tallinn.  In historical terms, this route was used from the 14th or 15th century or even earlier than that.

Grain-based foods in this region have a long history.  Tasty and yeasty rye bread is common, and in Vidzeme, try it with some hemp butter.  Barley is used to bake buns and for porridges.  Wheat is used to bake water pretzels with caraway seeds.  Visit farms and restored windmills to track the route of grain.

A special cheese is part of Summer Solstice celebrations, and on a daily basis you can enjoy other tasty cheeses made of cow and goat milk.  Various river and lake fishes are popular, as are local meat and fowl dishes and wild game with tasty sauces.  A roast or a pot of soup cooked on a live campfire will have a lovely aroma, and it will be served with vegetables, greens, beans, peas and mushrooms.  Wild plants such as sorrel, dandelion or young nettle leaves are added to soups and salads.

Treat yourself with fresh honey, bacon pies, sheet cakes, pastries, rye bread desserts, honey cakes and gingerbread.  You will find simple and traditional dishes, romantic meals in castles and estates, as well as a special knighthood repast with spices typical in the age of the Livonian Order.  Slake your thirst with herbal teas, birch juice, berry beverages, tasty beer or wine or a glass of something stronger.

Active season months1-12
N/A
3 days
Estonia

Pärnu - Kihnu - Viljandi

This three-day tour offers a variety of culinary experiences. A bus tour is combined with cycling on Kihnu Island to visit local farms and production facilities making unique foods from local ingredients. You will taste cider, fish, herbal teas, beer, dairy products, and pastries. You will visit traditional Estonian and Russian households to enjoy real home-made meals and experience local culinary heritage.

N/A
12 days
Estonia, Latvia

Tasty Adventures in Latvia and Estonia

The duration of the route is up to 12 days with self-drive transportation. The total distance is about 1 500 km.

 

N/A
5 days
Latvia

Culinary Route "Flavours of Livonia" - Liv's road

Historians say that Liv tribes began to settle the territory that is now Latvia in the 10th century.  They lived in Northern Kurzeme, at the mouths of the Daugava and Gauja Rivers, and from Ģipka to Oviši, where seaside fishing villages of Liv origin can still be found.

Coastal residents have always eaten various sea, river and lake fish dishes, including smoked sole, Baltic herring, cod, bream or eelpout, baked lampreys, salted sprats, Baltic herring and common herring.  Fresh and lightly salted Baltic salmon is a delicacy.  Whole fish are baked on hot coals, including pike perch, trout, carp, catfish and European perch.  Guests can participate in catching and smoking fish and tastings with bits of everything is available on degustations.

Rye can be tasted in rye bread and sourdough bread, carrot buns and even pancakes and gingerbread.  Barley buns are common in Vidzeme, as are tasty meat and fowl dishes.  There will always be a pig's snout with peas or an oven-roasted piglet on New Year's Eve.  Taverns serve wild game with lingonberries, mushrooms and other wild tastes.  Side dishes include autumn vegetables, pumpkin, beans or grits, as well as sinfully tasty sauces.

Enjoy traditional pies, sheet cakes, pretzels, apple cakes and honey bakes during celebrations or every day.  You will enjoy desserts made of rye breadcrumbs, cranberries, lingonberries and sweet cream.  Popular in Kurzeme are blackberry dumplings, and during summers, there are lots of desserts with fresh berries.  Boost your health with aromatic herbal teas and honey, or enjoy some homemade wine or beer.

Active season months1-12
N/A
5 days
Latvia

Culinary Route "Flavours of Livonia" - Light's road

Ancient trading routes provided not just goods, but also knowledge and culture. The Light’s rout relates to the Reverent Ernst Gluck, who was a writer, the first translator of the Bible into Latvian, and a founder of Latvian children's schools, the Hernhutian movement of brothers, Kārlis Skalbe, the Kaudzīte brothers, Jānis Poruks, Antons Austriņš and their spiritual heritage.

People in Vidzeme bake rye, wheat, barley, spelt and grit bread with various seeds, caraway seeds, nuts, dried fruit and hemp seeds. Hemp is used to produce traditional butter, oil and dumplings made with grey peas. It is also added to candies and even chocolate. Barley flour in the past was used only for celebrations, but today people will teach you how to use it to bake water pretzels with salt and caraway seeds. Visit farms and restored windmills to track the route of grain.

Taste traditional Summer Solstice cheese, as well as Green cheese and tasty goat cheese.  Pipe perch from Lake Burtnieks is a local delicacy, and you will also find trout, catfish and sturgeon, as well as crabs in season. Local meat and fowl dishes are popular, including dishes made with rabbit. Kitchens at aristocratic estates will offer wild game and pheasants with forest goodies and wild herbs. In Vidzeme you can meet the Garlic Queen, who prepares plant powders. Enjoy pies, sheet cakes, honey cakes, desserts of whipped cottage cheese, mountain ash, quince, apples, sweet cream and rye bread, as well as blackberry or apple dumplings. Slake your taste with herbal teas with honey, birch juice, berry lemonades or, if you're looking for something stronger, some tasty beer or wine.

Active season months1-12
N/A
12 days
Estonia, Latvia

Active Gourmet Tour in Latvia and Estonia

The duration of this route is  9 days with an option to extend it for 12 days. The target audience for this route - independent travellers with transportation like bicycle and canoe boat. The total length sums up to ~ 446 km cycling and ~ 7 km canoeing.

Itinerary: Rīga - Gauja National Park - Otepaa - River Ahja - Tartu - Lahemaa National Park - Tallinn.

N/A
8 days
Estonia, Latvia

Local Specialities and Beautiful Nature in Latvia and Estonia

The tour from Riga to Tallinn combines natural, cultural and culinary heritage and includes lovely landscapes and 15 nature trails which cross marshlands, meadows and forests along the shores of the Baltic Sea. The itinerary brings you directly to where local specialities are produced so that you can enjoy them freshly made and authentic. You will watch lamprey being prepared for you on a grill, and you will savour treats such as home-made ice-creams where they use eggs from happy hens of the farm, smoked meat from local farms, and many others. On this tour, you will become a true expert of the traditional and modern Latvian and Estonian cuisine.

As the farms producing foods are often located in beautiful nature areas, you will combine culinary and nature experiences on this tour. There are many nature trails equipped with viewing towers for birdwatching. Randu meadow near Ainaži contains one third of Latvia’s entire plant species. A boardwalk leads through reeds to a viewing platform with views over the meadow and the sea. Saaremaa Island has a great variety of natural attractions that are different from those on mainland Estonia. There are dolomite cliffs, juniper heaths, a meteorite lake and rocky sea shore. The tour passes rural farms and traditional villages typical of the coastal areas. Hiiumaa Island is a laid back place and retains a very Estonian atmosphere with an important bird reserve at Käina Bay, unusual Sääre Tirp, as well as several small islets off its south-eastern coast. Back on the mainland, Paldiski peninsula gives a glimpse of the recent history with its former Soviet military base.
 

N/A
5 days
Latvia

Culinary Route "Flavours of Livonia" - Freedom's road

This route passed along many places where events directly related to the emergence of the Latvian state and to the subsequent freedom battles occurred.  The historical route from Rīga to Liepāja via Dobele, Saldus, Skrunda, Durbe and Grobiņa was used as long ago as the 13th century.

People in the Kurzeme region of Latvia have always eat sea, river and lake fish, particularly smoked fish.  Potted smoked cod, served in a clay pot, is a particular delicacy, as are smelts, sea pike, sprats, herring and salmon, available all year long.  Ladies of the house bake tasty rye bread, sourdough bread and tasty carrot buns, and they also cook various porridges from barley.

Dairy products, Summer Solstice cheese and “white butter” has an important role. Fresh goat milk cheese is prepared with dills and garlic, and goat milk cheese is also tasty. Menus will include local domestic fowl and meat dishes, including roasts, ribs, sausages, as well as more exotic dishes such as pig’s tongue and bull testicles. Fancy taverns will offer pheasant and wild game with mushrooms, lingonberries, juniper berries and wild herbs.

In Kurzeme you will be greeted with delicious pies, sheet cakes, poppy seed pastries and honey cakes, biscuits with poppies and cranberries, dessert from rye bread, lingonberries or cranberries and sweet cream.Blackberry dumplings are popular. More unusual are marmalades made from wild plants such as mountain ash, cranberries and even fir needles. Slake your thirst with aromatic herbal teas with honey and enjoy a mug of beer or some homemade wine.

Active season months1-12
N/A
3 days
Latvia

Livonian Flavours in the Kurzeme region

This route invites you to visit the Kurzeme region and try the traditional dishes there. The tour starts from Riga and takes you to some beautiful nature areas for a walk that will serve as physical exercise to build up an appetite. You will feast on traditional smoked fish at Dieniņas Fishermen's Yard, take a masterclass in  baking “sklandrausis”, a traditional carrot pie, visit fishing villages in Slītere National Park, and savour refined meals in Ventspils city pubs. Nice attractions en route are the steep coast of the Baltic Sea in Jūrkalne and the medieval town of Kuldīga. In a 19th century watermill, which nowadays is an organic farm, the hostess will give you a masterclass in cooking regional dishes from fallow deer, trout, vegetables and fruit. The last stop on the return back to Riga is the Chocolate Museum at Pūre.

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