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This walking trip visits the three Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Discover their cultural heritage and explore their national parks. Walk along the Curonian Spit, search for ruins of medieval fortresses hidden in forests and walk across bogs.
Explore Tour Leader
7 nights comfortable hotel
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Tallinn, Estonian capital city. Situated on the coast, in the Gulf of Finland off the Baltic Sea, Tallinn is also a major port. Its 'Old Town' is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the city was a European Capital of Culture in 2011.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Tallinn at any time. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive at Tallinn Airport (TLL) which is around 20 minutes' drive from the hotel. Should you miss the meeting, your leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
The city is easy to explore on foot, if your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to discover the medieval architecture strolling through the cobbled streets to the busy town square which is dominated by the 14th century Gothic Town Hall.
Park Inn Central 4 (or similar)
This morning we take a brief walking tour of Tallinn's 'Old Town', the colourful houses of the crooked streets reflect the German, Scandinavian and Russian periods of Tallinn's history. We'll walk through the quarter where merchants once traded and take in the historical and architectural highlights.
We travel east to Estonia's largest and oldest national park, Lahemaa National Park. As well as its rich nature the park also celebrates Estonia's cultural heritage, encompassing ancient fishing villages and 17th and 18th century manor houses. Today we walk the 'Beaver Trail', discovering the diversity of the plant and animal life of the park and looking for beaver dams and dens along the Altja River Valley. If we are lucky we will see also see the beavers themselves amongst the trees or in the water. This walk ends in the 400 year-old fishing village of Altja. Later, after an optional lunch, we learn to bog walk in special bog shoes. Traditionally used by local villagers, these specially adapted clip on 'shoes' allow us to hike through this fascinating ecosystem. We stay overnight in the national park in a beautiful converted distillery set within landscaped gardens.
Today's four kilometre walk along the Beaver Trail is expected to take around two hours, gently undulating and forested. The afternoon six kilometre bog walk is expected to take around three hours.
Sagadi Hotel (or similar)
Today we cross the border into Latvia, and drive to Cesis in Gauja National Park (approx. 3.5 hours). This is Latvia's biggest park and is known as 'Latvian Switzerland' due to its rolling landscapes. The park includes the valleys of the Gauja River and its tributaries, and also over 500 historical features including hill forts, stone castles, churches, watermills and windmills. Cesis itself is a medieval town, over 800 years old, and its 13th century castle was the main stronghold of the Livonian knights who ruled most of Latvia and Estonia during medieval times. In the afternoon we make a walk in the park along a forested nature trail to Gauja River and Gauja Rocks, a famous local site.
Today's five kilometre walk is expected to take around two hours. The terrain is slightly hilly and forested.
Kollona Cesis (or similar)
This morning we drive to Sigulda to walk a nature trail through the forests and river valleys of Gauja National Park. Walking past the ruins of Livonian medieval fortresses and a neo-gothic castle, the walk ends at the 13th century Turaida Castle. As part of the route we take a cable car and enjoy views down over the forest. In the afternoon we drive to Riga, the Latvian capital, where we have a short orientation tour of the city. Lying at the mouth of the Daugava River on the Gulf of Riga, Riga 'Old Town' is also a UNESCO Heritage Site, particularly noted for its Art Nouveau and 19th century wooden architecture. We will take in the Freedom Monument, Gunpowder Tower, Saint Jacob's Church and the city's cathedral.
Today's eight kilometre walk is expected to take around three-and-a-half hours. The terrain is undulating and forested.
Rixwell Konventa Seta Hotel (or similar)
We drive west to Kemeri National Park, founded in 1977 to preserve the local wetlands, coastal lakes and dunes. Here we walk on a raised boardwalk above the wetlands discovering the distinctive mosses, bog pine trees, and small pools and lakes. We then return to the seaside and spa resort of Jurmala for an optional lunch. Jurmala is known for its curative mineral waters and therapeutic mud, and its interesting multi-style architecture. After lunch we continue south and cross the border into Lithuania. We continue southwest to Klaipeda (approximately six hours) and take a ferry to Nida on the Curonian Spit, our base for the next two nights.
Today's four kilometre walk is expected to take around one-and-a-half hours.The terrain is flat - a raised boardwalk over wetlands.
Jurate Hotel (or similar)
The Curonian Spit National Park is a 98 km long sand dune spit that separates the Curonian Lagoon from the Baltic Sea. Chains of sand dunes up to 60m high, breaking waves, pine forests and old Curonian houses make up this UNESCO Heritage Site. Today we walk through the different landscapes of the spit: coastal, pine forests and sand dunes in and around Nida.
Today's 11 kilometre walk is expected to take around three-and-a-half hours.. The terrain is mainly flat and sandy, some areas are forested.
Today we make a long journey (approximately six hours) southeast to Trakai the formal capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Located on a peninsula in Lake Galve, Trakai is now famous for its 15th century castle which sits outside the town on a small island. We take a scenic walk around the town and lake, and visit the castle. We then make the short journey to Vilnius, and take an oreientation tour of the city. The 'Old Town' of Vilnius is also a UNESCO Heritage Site, we'll visit the ancient university founded by the Jesuits - a centre of the Counter Reformation and a source of Lithuanian culture. We'll also see the cathedral and Church of the Dawn. In the newer part of Vilnius lies the main shopping street with the opera house, parliament building and a number of cafes.
Today's four kilometre walk is expected to take around two hours. The terrain is flat and forested in some areas.
Amberton Vilnius Hotel (or similar)
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Vilnius.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Vilnius at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you need to depart from Vilnius International Airport (VNO) which is around 20 minutes' drive from the hotel.
Total distance : 42 kilometres
Summer days in Estonia are warm though changeable with the occasional thunderstorm. Temperatures are commonly around 20-25°C, but can reach 30°C or more especially in July. At night temperatures are cooler. Winters can be harsh with very low temperatures, especially in January. Sometimes it drops as low -30°C, but more commonly it'll be around -5°C. Snowfall usually starts in November and lasting through to March. Being a maritime climate it can rain at any time of the year and it can be foggy in the autumn.
2 Pin Round
Summers in Latvia are generally hot and sunny and less humid than in Central Europe, with temperatures commonly around 18-22°C, but can reach 30°C. Summer is normally the rainiest time of year on a count of the afternoon thunderstorms that occur on some days. It can be windy on the coast at any time of year. Temperatures begin to drop in autumn and September can quite cold with temperatures between 8-15°C. Winters are normally below freezing with the first snows starting in November and lasting to the end of February. Temperatures regularly reach as low as -5°C, but can go down as far as -35°C.
Summer days in Lithuania are warm though changeable. Temperatures on the coast are usually around 19°C and between 22-23°C further inland, but they can reach over 30°C. At night temperatures are cooler. Winters are cold, with temperatures regularly below freezing, so be prepared for snowy and icy conditions. Temperatures regularly reach as low as -5°C, but can go down as far as -35°C. Snowfall usually starts in November and lasting through to March. Being a maritime climate it can rain at any time of the year.
Bring light and comfortable clothing that can be layered according to the temperature. It can become cool, especially at night, so bring warmer layers. Tops made from wicking materials which keep you drier, a warmer fleece is recommended as a mid layer, and walking trousers are preferable to trousers of heavier material such as jeans. -Breathable wind and waterproof jacket (you may also wish to bring waterproof trousers) -T-shirts -Long sleeved tops -Sunhat -Long trousers -Shorts (if you prefer to walk in them) -Swimwear and towel -Midlayer Fleece/pullover -Socks (liner and thicker pair) -Insulated jacket
Well broken in and waterproof walking boots are recommended, and shoes, trainers or sandals for relaxing. We suggest that on international flights you either carry your walking boots in your hand luggage or wear them - should your luggage be lost or delayed, your own boots are the one thing that will be irreplaceable.
Bring one main piece of luggage and a 20-30 litre day sack is recommended. You will need to carry what you need for the day which may include a raincoat, jumper, camera, sun-cream, water and picnic lunch. On hot days you will carry fewer clothes but more drinking water. Remember that you'll have to carry your own luggage between your transport and hotels so don't overload yourself.
-Sunglasses -Sun cream -Small Torch (with spare batteries and bulb) -Camera -Walking poles (if you usually use them) -Personal toiletries -Personal first aid kit - On each walk a first aid kit is carried but you should have your own blister kit, supply of plasters, aspirin and other essentials. -Insect repellent -Small waterproof dry bag (for items such as your mobile phone) -Reusable water bottle (minimum 1 litre) - Get 15% discount on a Water-to-Go bottle www.explore.co.uk/about-us/responsible-travel/water-to-go-discount-with-explore -Lunch bag/Tupperware (for packed lunches) -Binoculars
Our mid-range accommodation throughout this trip offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities. Please note that the majority of hotels in the Baltics don't have air-conditioning. In Lahemaa National Park we stay in Park Hotel Palmse which is a beautiful former vodka distillery. The rooms are simply furnished with wooden floors and small en-suite bathrooms.
The majority of visitors to the Baltic states will be surprised by the quality, variety and value of food and drink on offer. The majority of food is locally sourced and part of the regions heritage is being able to forage for food and make local brews. Walking through the forests you will see locals passing the time picking mushrooms and gathering berries. There are a lot of traditional restaurants with influences from Germany and Russia serving locally produced dishes. There's a wide variety on the menu ranging from soups, casseroles, salads, meat and fish dishes. Beer is locally brewed and you can find light and dark beers, filtered or unfiltered all for a reasonable price.
Can you drink the water?
It is generally possible to drink the local tap water, therefore to reduce the need for single-use plastic bottles we recommend you bring a refillable water bottle with you. Your leader will advise you on refill points each day.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Lithuania: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Latvia: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Estonia: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office. Visa regulations in the Baltics are often subject to frequent change, and we advise you to check before you go.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus and hepatitis A. Tick-borne encephalitis is recommended by some medical sources if travelling in certain areas of Eastern Europe, at specific times of the year. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A, polio and diphtheria. Consult your travel clinic for further advice. tick-borne encephalitis is recommended by some medical sources if travelling in certain areas of Eastern Europe, at specific times of the year. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.