Treasures of the Baltic by Bike


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    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.

    Trip highlights

    • 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

    Itinerary

    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 7pm there will be a welcome meeting at the hotel with tour guide and group. Dinner is at your leisure.

    Day 2 Vilnius city tour, Trakai Island Castle, cycle then transfer to Kaunas (28km)
    After breakfast there will be a guided 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 head to Trakai in the afternoon, 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 start the first cycle ride through picturesque countryside on gentle hills, then transfer by coach to Kaunas. (100km/62mi coach travel). (B)

    Day 3 Transfer to Nemunas River Delta, cycle to Vente Horn (30km), transfer to Klaipeda
    This morning we transfer along the Nemunas River to the coast, passing by the 17th century castle of Panemune. In the afternoon we’ll have a picnic lunch then cycle to Vente Horn, famous for its bird life and the 19th century lighthouse which was used for more than 100 years. After a short bus transfer we arrive in Klaipeda, the main seaport of Lithuania. (B, L)

    Day 4 Cycle at the Curonian Spit, return to Klaipeda (58km)
    This morning we transfer by coach or ferry across the Curonian Lagoon to Nida, en 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 cycle back to Klaipeda on the Seaside Cycle Route, along the Curonian Spit. (B, D)

    Day 5 To Palanga by bike (32km), drive to Hill of Crosses then cross border to Riga
    We’ll take an early morning cycle 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 in 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. (B, D)

    Day 6 Morning Riga city tour, cycle to Jurmala Beach (30km), return to Riga
    After breakfast we’ll have a guided 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 (B).

    Day 7 Visit Bicycle Museum then cycle through the Gauja National Park to Sigulda (40km)
    In the morning, transfer to Saulkrasti, after visiting the Latvian bicycle museum you will start your bike ride to Sigulda the most popular resort in Latvia. Cycling through Gauja National Park we’ll enjoy spectacular views of the valley and Gutmana Cave and visit Turaida Castle and the oldest Latvian Church in Krimulda, built in 1205. Overnight in Sigulda with dinner at leisure. (B)

    Day 8 Ferry to Saaremaa island, explore Baltic Sea coast by bike (38km)
    This morning we transfer 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. Travel on picturesque roads along the Baltic Sea Coast to the village of Angla where the iconic windmills are located. Transfer to Mandjala or Kuressaare, check into the hotel for our 2 overnight stays at the seaside. Dinner at the hotel (included). (B, D)

    Day 9 Morning ride at Sorve Peninsula, afternoon visit to Kuressaare (56km)
    Enjoy a day ride across Saaremaa Island’s wild beauty at Sorve Peninsula, finish the day with a visit to Kuressaare, the capital of Saaremaa. This 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. Transfer back to the hotel. (B)

    Day 10 Ride to Kaali meteorite crater (40km or 30km), 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 it is the rarest nature wonder in Estonia. In the afternoon we arrive in Tallinn, check-in at the hotel and have a guided 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. (B, D)

    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. (B)

    Inclusions

    • 10 breakfasts, 1 picnic lunch and 4 dinners
    • 8 nights in 3 star hotels and 2 nights in 4 star hotels on a twin share basis with ensuite facilities
    • 24-speed bike rental with pannier and helmet (electric bike available – supplement applies)
    • Welcome meeting and welcome drink
    • Mineral water during cycle days and reusable water bottle
    • Tour guide – one tour guide for 2-19 people or two guides for groups sizes of 20-25 people
    • Internal transfers as described by air-conditioned coach/minibus
    • Luggage transfers and support vehicle
    • Boat trip across Curonian Lagoon
    • Ferry tickets to/from the Curonian Spit and to/from Saaremaa Island
    • Entrance to museums: Vente Ornithological station, Amber museum in Palanga, Turaida Castle, Bicycle Museum in Saulkrasti, Angla Windmill Park in Saaremaa
    • Information pack (one set per room booked)

    UTX-TBY

    Images courtesy of Utracks