Interreg V-A — Estonia–Latvia

Longest Hiking Route in Baltic States Being Developed

02/02/2018

The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route is the longest hiking route in the Baltic States, with a total distance of more than 1,200 kilometres.  The route passes along sandy and rocky beaches, steep shores and cliffs, small and historical seashore towns, fishing villages and two dynamic capital cities - Rīga and Tallinn.  Alongside the route are more than 650 objects of natural, cultural and historical importance.  Travellers who prefer long distances are invited to hike the entire length of the route, while those who prefer shorter routes can choose any part of the route, choosing complete peace and isolation along the Kurzeme coastline or a stretch with cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops near the larger shoreline towns.


Sometimes it leads along a sandy beach, and sometimes it leads along a beach that is covered with rocks and tiny pebbles.  Sometimes it passes through seashore forests and fishing villages.  In cities, the route becomes all but unrecognisable, but when it enters Estonia, it becomes Rannika Matkarada and continues to weave its way through stands of juniper and seashore meadows.  As you hike from the Latvian-Lithuanian border all the way to Tallinn, you will be accompanied by the sea and seagulls, the Sun and the wind, and always a good sense that you will be welcomed everywhere.  Just make a wish, and the trail will lead you to the nearest accommodations where you can enjoy a hot meal and a safe place to stay.  Start the hike wherever you want, say goodbye to it whenever you want, and return to it when you are ready to take a hike! 

Work on the route inspection began in the summer of 2017, when tourism expert of Latvian Country Tourism association "Lauku Celotajs" Juris Smaļinskis spent 50 days along the route with other interested people and stakeholders of the territory.  He walked more than 1.5 million steps to cover the whole route from the Latvian-Lithuanian border all the way to Tallinn in Estonia.  Over the course of the route, he was joined by more than 500 hikers, the youngest one being two years old and the oldest one being 69 years old.  The most common question was "how much father do we have to go?", but at the end of inspection, the participants knew very clearly that there can never be too much sea.

After the route was inspected, extensive information including GPX files and photographs was collected and are being used to continue to develop the route.  To adapt it to travellers, work will continue to improve the infrastructure and to prepare information for tourists:

•    During the spring and summer of 2018, the route will be marked out, starting with the Latvian-Lithuanian border to Läänemaa in the north-eastern part of Estonia.  Identity signs with blue and white markings will be placed along the route with information stands, direction signs and informative posters;
•    On the basis of this, a free handbook will be written for tourism companies along the shorelines, offering information about the things that tourists need most often, as well as recommendations on how to provide the most appropriate services for these travellers;
•    People already have access to a shoreline event calendar for 2018.  Work is being done to write a guidebook in which the entire route will be divided up in one-day phases (~20 km), sightseeing and service objects will be included.  There will also be image brochure with photographs that will help travellers to get their first idea about the route and its diversity, also helping them to choose the most interesting or appropriate segment of the route.  In the autumn of 2018,  work on a tour operator manual will start, including the most tempting parts of the whole route together with services used by hikers.

For more info on Baltic Coastal Hiking route please see: www.coastalhiking.eu Facebook page.

 

The Baltic Coastal Hiking route will always welcome you!

The Baltic Coastal Hiking route  is being developed within the Estonia - Latvia Programme from European Regional Development Fund project “Hiking route along the Baltic Sea Coastline in Latvia and Estonia”. 

This  article reflects the views of the author. The managing authority of the programme is not liable for how this information may be used.

 


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