While Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia share the same Baltic coastline, the contrasting unique characters of these three countries will become evident as you follow this incredibly scenic cycling route from Vilnius to Tallinn. From the three capitals – Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn – to the many small villages that have changed little over time, this guided cycling experience along low traffic roads and dedicated cycle paths will showcase the diverse cultures, World Heritage sites and mainly flat landscapes that make travelling in this region so different to anywhere else in Europe. Discover the island castle at Trakai, enter the previously off-limits Curonian Spit, a wild pre-historic sand dune peninsula, and marvel at the pilgrimage sight of thousands of crosses of every size and design imaginable at the Hill of Crosses in northern Lithuania. Crossing into Latvia, dip your toes in the Baltic Sea at the white sandy beaches of Jurmula and on the island of Saaremaa, visit Latvia’s oldest Church and pay homage at a bicycle museum before heading into Estonia. We’ll stop at Saaremaa, famous for its Bishop’s Castle, before reaching the Estonian capital of Tallinn, where the trip concludes.
- Cycling on the beautiful Estonian island of Saaremaa
- Discovering the small towns and villages en route
- Exploring the historic centres of Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn
- The coastal scenery of the Baltic coast and the wildness of the national parks
- Soaking up the hospitality of comfortable hotels
Day 1: Arrive Vilnius (Lithuania)
On arrival in Vilnius, make your way to the joining hotel (we can assist with an arrival transfer from the airport if required – please ask for our rates). There will be a city tour tomorrow morning however, depending when you arrive, we recommend taking a walk through the old town. At 7:30 pm there will be a welcome meeting at the hotel with your tour guide and group. Dinner is at your leisure.
Day 2: Vilnius city tour, cycle to Trakai Island Castle, transfer to Kaunas (33km/21mi)
After breakfast there will be a guided walking tour of Vilnius Old Town. Set on the Vilnia river and with its historic centre awash with beautiful buildings and cobblestoned streets, Vilnius has a wonderful ambience. It has been known as the ‘Jerusalem of Lithuania’ or the ‘Jerusalem of the north’ and was declared the European Capital of Culture in 2009. After taking time to explore the centre, we transfer by bus to just outside the city to begin our first cycle to Trakai, the former capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. After an optional visit to the 14th century Trakai Island Castle, built on a small island in Lake Galve, we transfer by coach to Kaunas. (100km/62mi coach travel).
Day 3: Transfer to Nemunas River Delta, cycle to Vente Horn (35km/22mi), transfer to Klaipeda
This morning we bike ride along the Nemunas River cycle trail. En route stop in Zapyškis famous for its unusual small 14thC Gothic church. Finish the ride with a bus transfer to the Baltic coast and picnic lunch in the middle way (included). We continue by bus to Klaipeda, the main seaport of Lithuania. (220km/137mi coach travel – total transfer time approximately 5 hrs 30 mins)
Day 4: Cycle along the Curonian Spit, return to Klaipeda (58km/36mi)
This morning we cycle to Nida following the Seaside Cycle Route enjoying a beautiful view of the Curonian Spit sand dunes which separate the Baltic Sea from the Curonian Lagoon. The area is known for its amber and fine sand beaches. We sightsee around Nida, one of the most beautiful resorts in Lithuania, and in the afternoon we’ll transfer by bus or boat back to Klaipeda. (50km/31mi coach or boat travel)
Day 5: To Palanga by bike (32km/20mi), drive to Hill of Crosses then cross border to Riga
We’ll have an early morning ride to Palanga through the Seaside Regional Park, a former Soviet military training area. On arrival in Palanga, Lithuania’s largest seaside resort, we visit the Botanical Garden and the Amber Museum in the Palace of Count Tyszkiewicz, which has over 25000 pieces of amber and 15000 insects on display. In the afternoon, we transfer across the border to Riga, the capital of Latvia, stopping along the way at the Hill of Crosses, an unforgettable sight of thousands of crosses on two small hills. A group dinner is included this evening. (coach travel 290km/180mi – total transfer time approximately 4 hrs 20 mins)
Day 6: Morning Riga city tour, cycle to Jurmala Beach (30km/18.5mi), return to Riga
After breakfast we’ll have a guided walking tour of Riga old town, a medieval Hanseatic town famous for its Art Nouveau buildings. In the afternoon you can enjoy free time in Riga, or cycle to Jurmala, the largest resort in the Baltic States and well known for its long, white, sand beaches, mineral waters and mud with healing properties, returning to the hotel by coach. Evening at leisure (coach 20km/12.5mi).
Day 7: Visit Bicycle Museum then cycle through the Gauja National Park to Sigulda (45km/28mi)
In the morning we transfer to Saulkrasti. After visiting the Latvian bicycle museum we start cycling to Sigulda, the most popular resort in Latvia. Continuing by bike through Gauja National Park, we’ll enjoy spectacular views of the valley and Gutmana Cave and Turaida Castle. Enroute visit the oldest Latvian Church in Krimulda, built in 1205, then arrive in Sigulda where we stay tonight. Dinner is at leisure. (50km/31mi coach travel)
Day 8: Ferry to Saaremaa island, explore Baltic Sea coast by bike (38km/24mi)
This morning we transfer by ferry to the largest Estonian island of Saaremaa, which has preserved all that is best about old Estonia. With little traffic and flat roads Saaremaa provides the perfect rural setting for cycling. We travel on picturesque roads along the Baltic Sea Coast to the village of Angla where iconic windmills are located. We transfer to Mandjala or Kuressaare and check into our hotel, where we stay for 2 nights at the seaside. Dinner at the hotel tonight (included). (330km/205mi coach travel, 6km/3.5mi ferry – total coach transfer time approximately 5 hours)
Day 9: Morning ride at Sorve Peninsula, afternoon visit to Kuressaare (56km/34mi)
Today we enjoy a ride across Saaremaa Island’s wild beauty at Sorve Peninsula, finishing with a visit to Kuressaare, the capital of Saaremaa. Kuressaare is home to one of the finest preserved medieval Episcopal Castles in the Baltics, dating from 13 Century. Free time to explore the town and the Bishops castle before transferring back to the hotel. Dinner at leisure tonight. (50km/31mi coach travel)
Day 10: Ride to Kaali meteorite crater (37km/23mi or 28km/18mi), transfer to Tallinn
We start the morning with a ride to the Kaali meteorite crater which is listed on the world’s giant craters list and is the rarest nature wonder in Estonia. In the afternoon we arrive in Tallinn, check-in at the hotel and have a guided walking tour of Tallinn’s old town. The city grew in importance as a strategic port between Russia and Scandinavia, and has evolved into a vibrant cultural city with a delightful walled historic centre. There is an eclectic mix of medieval and modern, Soviet and classic Estonian, grand church spires and crumbling wooden houses. A farewell dinner is included tonight. (210km/130mi coach travel – total coach transfer time approximately 4 hours)
Day 11: Trip concludes
The trip concludes after breakfast. A transfer to the airport or additional accommodation can be arranged – please ask for our rates. We can assist with booking extra nights here on request.
Images courtesy of Utracks