Latvia and Estonia Guided Cycle

Latvia and Estonia Guided Cycle

Trip Highlights

  • Discovering the varied landscapes, enchanting folklore and rich traditions of these proud Baltic nations
  • Enjoying a mix of cities, towns and natural landscapes by bike and bus with your guide
  • Discovering the natural beauty of Saaremaa Island, Lahemaa National Park and the Gauja River valley
  • Visiting the capital cities of Riga and Tallinn

Trip Summary

The northern Baltic countries of Latvia and Estonia may share a border and many geographical features, but culturally they are very different. Despite their proximity to Russia, both countries have a strong national pride in their traditions that is entrenched in their folklore, with some farmers still using a horse and carriage to ply their trade, and are fiercely protective of their respective national languages that are more similar to Finnish than the tongue of their former Russian landlords. Cycling through the constantly changing, mainly flat countryside of these proud nations will offer an authentic experience unlike anywhere else in Europe. Starting in the Latvian capital of Riga, set out along the Baltic coast through fishing villages and by ferry to explore the wild natural beauty of Saaremaa Island before reaching Kuressaare in Estonia, famous for its Bishop's Castle. Back on the mainland, your route will take in the capital, Tallinn, before continuing to one of the last unspoiled regions of the Baltic coast at Lahemaa National Park, Peipsi Lake on the Estonian/Russian border, as well as the 'Estonian Switzerland' at Otepää Lakeland, where there are some steep climbs. Crossing back into Latvia, cycle through the ancient valley of the Gauja River, stop to learn the legends of Gutmana Cave and explore the medieval Turaida Castle before returning to the former Hanseatic port of Riga.

Suitability

MODERATE – GRADE 3

The cycling is moderate (3) grade with daily cycles of around 20 to 55km/12.5 to 34mi, mainly on flat or gently undulating terrain with some steep ups and downs in Otepää lake region and Gauja National Park. The accent is on keeping a steady pace with time to stop and take photos (subject to weather conditions). You will need a reasonable level of cycling fitness to participate fully in this adventure. You need only carry your camera and water bottle. Your luggage is transported for you between hotels by the support vehicle. *For safety reasons, cycle helmets must be worn.

Itinerary

Arrive in Riga and make your own way to the hotel. At 7:00pm there will be a welcome meeting with your tour guide and group.

Meals:  Nil

In the morning we'll transfer to Saaremaa, the largest island of Estonia. With little traffic and flat roads Saaremaa provides the perfect rural setting for cycling. We'll travel on picturesque roads along the Baltic Sea coast to the village of Angla where the iconic windmills are located, then transfer to Mandjala and check into the hotel for our 2 overnight stays at the seaside. Dinner at the hotel is included tonight. Distance: cycle 35km/21.5mi, coach 340km/211mi, ferry 6km/4mi

Meals:  B,D

Today we'll discover Saaremaa Island’s wild beauty as we cycle at Sorve Peninsula, finishing at the Sorve lighthouse. Historically, the peninsula had considerable military significance, dominating the Irbe Strait and the Baltic Sea route to Riga. We'll transfer back to the hotel. Distance: cycle 55km/34mi, coach 40km/25mi

Meals:  B

We'll take a short morning ride to Kuressaare, the capital of Saaremaa and home to one of the finest preserved medieval Episcopal Castles in the Baltics, dating from the 13th century. There'll be some free time to explore the town and the Bishop’s castle before we transfer by coach to Tallinn. En route we'll stop at the Kaali meteorite crater which is listed on the world's giant craters list and is considered the rarest natural wonder in Estonia. In the afternoon we'll arrive in Tallinn, check-in at the hotel before our guided tour of Tallinn Old Town. Dinner is included tonight. Distance: cycle 10km/6mi, coach 216km/134mi, ferry 6km/4mi

Meals:  B,D

Free time this morining to explore Tallinn. After a short bus transfer we will cycle through National Park Lahemaa, one of the last unspoiled regions of the Baltic coast. With a rich and unique nature, we can observe the thick marshes, lakes and waterfalls of then park, home to moose, wild boar and over 220 bird species. We'll continue by bus to our hotel in Sagadi. Distance: cycle 52km/32.5mi, coach 90km/56mi

Meals:  B

In the morning we'll transfer to Mustvee, where we start a pleasant cycle tour along the Peipsi shore towards Varnja and passing several fishing villages. Peipsi is the 4th largest lake in Europe, divided in two by the Russian border. From Varnja we'll transfer to Tartu, a famous university town where Estonia gained its statehood. In the evening, we will walk around Tartu's Old Town and the university, which was founded in 1632. Overnight in Tartu. Distance: cycle 53km/33mi, coach 150km/93mi

Meals:  B

After a short bus transfer to Otepaa, a lovely place with many lakes, we will start cycling through the so-called 'Estonian Switzerland'. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings then finish the tour in Sangaste, famous for its 19th century romantic castle that was inspired by Windsor Palace. We'll transfer to Sigulda (Latvia) with a stop in Cesis. Sigulda is the most popular resort in Latvia, located in the Gauja River Valley. Check in and have dinner (included) at our hotel in Sigulda. Distance: cycle 30km/18.5mi, coach 235km/146mi

Meals:  B,D

Today we will cycle through Gauja National Park and enjoy the spectacular views of the Gauja River valleys and the Gutmana Cave, along with the ruins of 13th century Crusader castles in Sigulda and visit Turaida Castle. In the afternoon we will return by bus to Riga, where a guided tour of the charming Old Town awaits. After check-in at the hotel, we will explore this medieval Hanseatic town, famous for its Art Nouveau buildings. Distance: cycle 20km/12.5mi, coach 50km/31mi

Meals:  B

The trip concludes after breakfast in Riga.

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 8 breakfasts and 3 dinners (does not include drinks). The breakfast are provided at your overnight hotel. There will also be juice, coffee and tea available. Dinners will usually be 3 courses.
  • 8 nights accommodation in 3 star hotels on a twinshare basis with ensuite facilities
  • 24 speed bike rental with pannier and helmet (electric bike available - supplement applies)
  • Tour guide
  • Welcome briefing
  • Luggage transfers and support vehicle
  • Information pack (one set per room)
  • Internal transfers as described
  • Ferry to Saaremaa Island
  • Mineral water on cycling days
  • Entrance to museums: Angla Windmill Park in Saaremaa, Kasmu Maritime Museum in Lahemaa, Turaida Castle

What's Not Included

  • Travel to and from Riga
  • Lunches and dinners not noted as included, drinks
  • Tips for tour guide/driver
  • Travel insurance - mandatory
  • Items of a personal nature - eg. phone calls, laundry

AT A GLANCE

Duration:9 Days
Countries:Latvia and Estonia
Starting Point:Riga
Finishing Point:Riga
Activities:GUIDED CYCLING
Grade:moderate  Click for more information
Trip Code:LEG
Prices From:GBP£1210 Per Person
single supplement:GBP£300  Click for more information
Please do not book any flights or extra arrangements until such time that your booking is confirmed by Sherpa Expeditions by phone or email.