In the Baltic States the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route is the first long-distance hiking route. The hiking route is part of E9 and starts at the Lithuanian-Latvian border in the village of Nida in Latvia and finishes at the Port of Tallinn in Estonia. The total length of the route is 1200 km, of which 580 km are in Latvia, and 620 km in Estonia; the route can be made in both directions and Tallinn can also be a starting point.
Baltic Coastal Hiking consists of 60 separate single-day hiking route stages (30 days in Latvia and 30 in Estonia). Each day is considered to be a separate, independent route. By combining days, it is possible to complete routes of several days. Baltic Coastal Hiking can be started in any physically accessible place and go in one direction or the other, there are markers in both directions. The guide (possible free download here in 5 different languages: https://coastalhiking.eu/en/c/publications) marks the recommended start and finish point of each day. Depending on your interests and possibilities, some sections can be covered by public transport, not on foot, or you can make a deal with the owners of accommodation places to arrange personal and luggage transport. To help you get your bearings in nature, there are markings (white – blue – white) on trees, stones and other nature objects and Baltic Coastal Hiking route stickers on road signs, electricity poles, bridge parapets in villages and cities, as well as reference road signs. In places where Baltic Coastal Hiking goes along the beach and continues straight forward for a long distance, it is not marked. Along the shore of the Great Sea (the Kurzeme coast of the Baltic Sea) and the Little Sea (the Kurzeme coast of the Gulf of Riga), large wooden signs are placed in the dunes near populated areas, providing information about the specific populated area, as well as indicating the distance to the closest village in both directions. You will also see information stands placed along Baltic Coastal Hiking.
Specifics of the route
In Latvia, Baltic Coastal Hiking mainly goes along sandy beaches, in some places, rocky beaches, and for short stretches, through coastal meadows. Sandy dune habitats are characteristic to the Latvian coast. There are well-trodden trails and small roads in the seaside forests. In cities and populated areas, Baltic Coastal Hiking goes along pedestrian pavements.
Baltic Coastal Hiking in 4 seasons
You can go Baltic Coastal Hiking in all 4 seasons. Summer is the tourist season in Latvia and Estonia, when more people come to the sea coast in comparison to other times of the year. As a result, accommodation near the sea can be fully booked some time in advance, and near the biggest cities you may have to wait longer to receive the meal you ordered. In the summer, you can swim, walk through the water barefoot and also wade across the streams and brooks located along the route. Summer can also have longer periods of rain and lower air temperatures (around +13 °C), so it is certainly recommended to check the weather forecast in advance. In autumn, you can see more colours when going through the woods: leaves are changing colour and you can find mushrooms, berries and nuts. Birds migrate south. During storms, amber is washed ashore. In this period, some of the accommodation and catering places may be closed. The itinerary can also be completed in winter, but you must keep in mind that most of the services are not available at this time of year. In the case of lasting snow and cold, several sections, for example, the sea coast of Vidzeme, can be covered using skis. When starting the hike in spring, the awakening of nature can be observed: the colour green starts to prevail, lilac blossoms spread their scent along the sea coast, and the birds return home. The streams and brooks that you can wade through easily in summer can have a high-water level in spring, so you will have to look for the closest bridge. The number of accommodation and catering places offered is still limited.
It is recommended that you take some cash (EUR) with you on the trip, as in some places credit cards are not accepted and ATMs are not available. When crossing a country border or when you are near a border, you have to carry identity documents that are valid for travel. When going through stony and rocky sections, you should wear closed footwear, while in places with an overgrown coast, water-resistant footwear will come in handy. Water and wind resistant clothing will also prove useful. A medical kit is advisable. You will need a power bank for your phone as there are several long sections where it is not possible to charge electrical devices. In some places, mobile network coverage may be unavailable. Most accommodation and catering facilities offer Wi-Fi. Cliffs and bluffs consist of unconsolidated sedimentary rocks and landslides and landfalls may occur near them. In times of strong winds, it is not safe to approach places where the bluffs are washed by waves; they should be bypassed.
Lauku Ceļotājs (Latvian rural tourism association)
T: +371 67617600