Tours

Here you can find 17 hiking tours for one and multiple days (up to 11 days) in Latvia and Estonia, which is part of the Baltic Forest Hiking long distance path (in Latvia – Mežtaka, in Estonia – Metsa matkarada) (E11) – the most interesting, scenic forest areas of both countries, which are renowned for their natural and cultural objects. Several tours include national parks, nature parks, and biosphere reserves, as well as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Every tour includes a schematic tour map, provides information about the mileage to be covered within a day, level of difficulty, most outstanding sightseeing objects, as well as practical information about the road surface, getting to the starting point and returning from the finish back to the city.

The tours are provided for both individual travellers and small tourist groups. It is recommended to book transport (rent a car or use public transportation), accommodation and meals in advance, as well as arrange personal and luggage transfer if necessary.

The tours may be shortened or extended depending on the wishes of travellers. These hiking tours, or some of them, may also be included in the traditional tourism routes and city excursions to diversify the offer.

Name Description PDF

Riga surroundings: Vangaži – Rāmkalni (LV)

Rīga – Vangaži – Rāmkalni – Rīga

Duration: 1 day

15 km (5-7 h)

The Forest Trail leads through smaller paths, arching around Vangaži Lutheran Church and the Werewolf Pine. On its way to the Hunting Palace, it passes the garden created by opera singer Anna Ludiņa and then follows the Hunting trail. The first side ravines with the pronounced relief of the ancient valley of the River Gauja can be seen here. One of them is located by Inčukalns Velnala (Devil’s Cave),

surrounded by small river channels of the old Gauja. From there, the Forest Trail continues through meadows and crosses the Murjāņi–Valmiera motorway, where the recreation park “Rāmkalni” is located. In this park, there is a café, shop and active leisure centre with a sledge track.

On this route you will mainly see pine forests of various ages, as well as the botanical plantation with 80 tree and 120 shrub species. By the end of the section, the landscape features sandstone outcrops – Devonian sedimentary rocks and habitats protected in Latvia.

 

In the heart of Gauja National Park: Sigulda – Līgatne (LV)

Sigulda – Līgatne

Duration: 1 day

24 km (8-10 h)

After passing through Sigulda, the Forest Trail follows the River Vējupīte to Paradīzes Hill, where a steep staircase leads down into the ancient valley of the River Gauja and the ravine of the River Vējupīte. It continues to wind down smaller paths through meadows, crossing small rivers whose banks reveal sandstone outcrops. The last six kilometres of this section follow a smaller path down the Līgatne Nature Trails. You can see local wildlife animals and birds on this 5.5 km long trail. Further on the Forest Trail moves up the hills of the ancient valley of the River Gauja, before descending back down into the deep ravine of the River Līgatne, where the village of the former Līgatne paper mill is located. You can explore this attractive small village, visit the Līgatne spoon factory, winery and Līgatne caves. There is also the Līgatne Net Park with 4-7 m high net labyrinths among the treetops.                                                              

This part of the Forest Trail and Gauja National Park is characterised by a gradual transition from diverse, deciduous forests (ash, grey alder, oak, birch, linden) to coniferous stands.

 

Cliffs in Gauja National Park: Cēsis – Valmiera (LV)

Cēsis – Caunītes – Valmiera

Duration: 2 days

43 km (13-16 h)

 

The Forest Trail follows small roads and trails through the woods. Along the route you will see the Ērģeļu Cliffs, where the observation terrace provides a great view of the impressive 700 m wide sandstone cliff and the beautiful natural landscape in the ancient River Gauja valley. One of the most beautiful places on the banks of the River Gauja is at “Caunītes” tourist lodging, where you will end the first day of the route. Further on the trail leads through pine forests and wetlands, across and around hills and slopes. One of the most beautiful views of the River Gauja opens from Sietiņiezis Rock, a 15 m high sandstone cliff where a circular 1.5 km trail has been constructed. Coming to Valmiera, you will reach the so-called “Dzelzītis” bridge (a narrow-gauge railway bridge) and continue walking along the River Gauja to Valmiera Centre. Sites of interest in Valmiera: St. Simon’s Church, ruins of the Livonian Castle and Valmiera Museum. There is also an adventure park “Sajūtu Parks” (“Park of Senses”), where you can walk on the barefoot trail, the tree-top trail and enjoy other activities.

 

Along the Northern Gauja forests: Valmiera – Strenči (LV)

Valmiera – “Jaunarāji” – Brenguļi – Strenči – Valmiera

Duration: 2 days

29 km

 

 

This part of the Forest Trail passes through the historical centre of Valmiera. In Valmiera you can visit St. Simon’s Church, the Ruins of the Livonian Order Castle and Valmiera Museum. We also suggest walking the barefoot trail in “Sajūtu Parks” (Park of Senses). After sightseeing in Valmiera, the Forest Trail goes through Atpūtas (Recreation) park, the beautiful pine forest and Baiļi winter ski centre. Further on you will walk along the River Abuls Trail, curving along the banks of the river until reaching the Brenguļi brewery built in an old Hydroelectric power plant. You can enjoy unfiltered and unpasteurised beer here. Further down you will enter unpopulated forest areas and the Northern Gauja protected landscape area.

The forests in Northern Gauja (“Ziemeļgauja”) are very diverse. There are old or natural boreal (northern) forests and marsh forests, oak forests, alluvial forests (formed on river sediments which periodically flood) and mixed oak, wych elm and ash forests along the river. The tour will end in Strenči Town.

 

The most beautiful sights of Northern Latvia: Ape – Korneti

Alūksne – Ape – Korneti – Alūksne

Duration: 2 days

22 km (8-10 h)

 

This tour will give you an impression of the eastern part of Latvia, which is less populated and also less popular among tourists. You will first arrive in Aluksne and explore the town, which is located at Alūksne highland, on the shore of Lake Alūksne. It is worth visiting Temple Hill – an old Latgalian castle mound and the place of the old town, Sun bridge, and the Castle manor park, Alūksne Lutheran Church and the Bible Museum. After staying there overnight you will go by bus to the start point of the hike in Ape. This Forest Trail section winds through a hilly farmland landscape, then enters a large dark forest, occasionally interrupted by the blue surfaces of lakes. After Peļļi, it crosses the Latvian/Estonian border and winds along the shores of the lakes Smilšājs, Sūneklis and Ilgājs for 2 km on the Estonian side, known as Paganamaa (translation: Devil's Land). There it descends and enters the Korneti-Peļļi subglacial depression, one of the most impressive ravines in Latvia. 

 

Along the ancient valley of the River Gauja through Gauja National Park: Rāmkalni – Valmiera

Rīga – Rāmkalni – Sigulda – Līgatne – Cēsis – Caunītes – Valmiera – Rīga

Duration: 6 days

112 km

 

This section of the Forest Trail leads through the entire Gauja National Park and gives an opportunity to see all the most beautiful places and sights of this national park of more than 100 km. Gauja National Park is the oldest and largest national park in Latvia. The ancient valley of the River Gauja is the deepest river valley in the Baltic states. The banks of the River Gauja reveal colourful sandstone outcrops, which are reflected in the water. The sights are most wonderful in springtime, when bird cherry trees are in full bloom, and in autumn, as the trees turn red and yellow. The ancient valley of the River Gauja has a distinctive terrain relief that can fluctuate by up to 80 m. Almost half of the park is covered by forest. Gauja National Park is known for the great diversity of specially protected forests, featuring herbaceous spruce forests, slope and ravine forests, as well as mixed broadleaf forests.

 

 

Soft adventure tour in Gauja National Park (LV) (cycling, canoeing, hiking)

Riga – Strenči – Valmiera – Cēsis – Līgatne – Sigulda – Riga

Duration: 2 days

Cycling 84 km (113 km), canoeing 17 km, hiking 30 km (40 km)

If you enjoy an active lifestyle, then this tour is the perfect way to enjoy the heritage hidden in Gauja National Park, from several different perspectives. Cycling starts at Strenči and passes two local breweries at Brenguļi and Valmiermuiža with nice cafés and good beer. You will hike through beautiful forests and along the Sietiņiezis sandstone cliff towards Cēsis with its charming medieval Old Town. Canoeing takes place from Cēsis to Līgatne, which is one of the nicest parts of the River Gauja with its sandstone banks, remote farmsteads and old fashioned water-powered ferry. Līgatne historic centre is connected with the development of its paper mill. Here you can also visit local wine and handicraft producers located in one of the artificial caves typical of the area. Walk the Līgatne Nature Trails to see local wild animals in a forest setting. At the end you will cycle from Līgatne to Sigulda, which is one of the most popular tourist sights in Latvia. You'll see the Turaida and Sigulda medieval castles, Gutman’s Cave and other picturesque views.

 

The highest point in the Baltic states: Haanja – Tsiistre (EE)

Võru – Haanja – Tsiistre – Võru

Duration: 1 day

12 km (4-6 h)

The Forest Trail leads down from the highest point of the Haanja Upland. The most important sight on this route is the Suur Munamägi Hill – 318 m above sea level. The highest point of the Baltics with its observation tower provides its visitors with a splendid 50 km range view of the Estonian nature. The 150 year-old western taiga spruce forests grow on the slopes of Suur-Munamägi. Further on the trail circles around the southern part of Lake Vaskna, and continues down small country roads surrounded by solitary homesteads and small clusters of farms. The route ends in a small village, Tsiistre, where the Linen Museum is located. The museum has a collection of folk linen. Flax is one of the oldest cultural plants in Estonia and a few decades ago, blue flax fields were a common sight in southern Estonia.

 

Along the banks of the River Jägala: Kaberneeme ‒ Jõelähtme (EE)

Tallinn – Kaberneeme ‒ Jõelähtme –  Tallinn

Duration: 1 day

21 km (6-8 h)

From Kaberneeme the route runs through a forest where you can see piles of stones carried here during the last ice-age. The trail soon climbs about 20 m up to the hiking trail, which runs on the old shore line of Lake Ancylus. The trail continues to the Linnamäe HES and a suspension bridge. Follow the trail over the ancient fortress hill of Linnamäe and continue on the right bank of the River Jägala, until reaching the Jägala waterfall. This is the highest natural waterfall in Estonia, more than 8 m high. The Suka bridge is about 500 metres up from the waterfall. After crossing the river, the trail passes through the Jägala waterfall park. Finally, the trail runs through the village of Koogi and arrives at Jõelähtme.

 

Along the banks of the River Piusa and discovering the Land of Setos: Vana-Vastseliina – Piusa (EE)

Võru – Vana-Vastseliina – Piusa – Võru

Duration: 2 days

23 km (7-9 h)

The first part of this section of the Forest Trail winds along the magnificent River Piusa valley, then, at Härmä Village, it turns towards Obinitsa, an important cultural centre of Setomaa, the Land of Setos. Here you can discover the traditions of the local Seto people, for example the fine handicraft of the Seto women. After Obinitsa, the Forest Trail leads through beautiful pine forests rich in heather, descends back into the depths of the River Piusa valley and ends at the Piusa caves. The Piusa sandstone caves are the result of hand-mining glass sand from 1922-1966. The biggest wintering colony of bats in Eastern Europe is located in the caves. When accompanied by the guide, you can visit the observation platform at the Museum cave.

 

Towards the popular Värska resort: Vana-Vastseliina – Värska

Võru – Vana-Vastseliina – Piusa – Värska

Duration: 3 days

48 km

This part of the Forest Trail gives an opportunity to see Setomaa or “the Land of Setos” which is inhabited by Setos – an ethnographic group with specific ancient traditions and a unique language dialect. Forest Trail hikers can visit the traditional Setos homestead and enjoy Setos cuisine. The forests of the region are especially charming in early autumn, when the ground is coloured lilac by the blooming heather. There is a good chance to pick wild mushrooms and berries. One of the most beautiful sections of this trail in Setomaa leads along the River Piusa, where the river is surrounded by sandstone outcrops. You will also visit the Piusa caves. The tour will end in Värska resort – with its sanatorium and SPA, which use the strengths of local nature: mineral water and lake mud. Värska mineral water is well known in Estonia and elsewhere.

 

Through the onion villages of Lake Peipsi: Varnja – Alatskivi (EE)

Tartu – Varnja – Alatskivi – Tartu

Duration: 2 days

19 km (6-8 h)

A scenic and tradition-rich stretch of the Forest Trail symbolised by the onion. Onions were brought to the region by Old Believers in the 17th century. Ladies and gentlemen selling home-made onion strings on the roadside have become somewhat of a business card of the villages. The villages on the twenty-four kilometre stretch of road between Varnja and Kallaste are connected by the tourist route called Onion Road. The landscape is decorated by colourful wooden houses, small fish shops and a restaurant where you can enjoy tea made in the samovar, true to the traditions of Old Believers. You can visit the Kostja’s onion farm, where the host welcomes the guests and shows them onion cultivation. It is also worth visiting the Chicory Museum in Kolkja to get acquainted with the history of chicory cultivation in row villages near Lake Peipus. At the end of the trail you will reach Alatskivi, where the famous Alatskivi Castle is located.

 

Impressive dunes of Lake Peipsi: Lohusuu – Remniku (EE)

Tartu – Lohusuu – Kuru – Remniku – Tartu

Duration: 3 days

32 km

 

The first half of this section leads through magnificent coniferous forests, especially in the Järvevälja landscape reserve, where the trail is surrounded by beautiful dunes in the north and a raised bog in the south. It is well worth visiting the kiosk at Rannapungerja to buy smoked fish – the Lake Peipus vendace (rääbis) and some local farm produce. In the second part, the Forest Trail winds along the coast of the beautiful Lake Peipus. During the summer, when the water level in the lake is lower, beautiful, sandy beaches with wide shallows appear. Past Alajõe, the highest dunes of Lake Peipus (up to 20 m) rise on the landscape, providing a distant view of Lake Peipus, one of the largest lakes in Europe.

 

Challenges in the Kurtna and Ontika landscape reserves: Vasavere – Toila – Saka (EE)

Toila – Vasavere – Toila – Saka

Duration: 3 days

46 km

This is the most challenging Forest Trail section, especially on the second day. Here, on the coast of the Gulf of Finland, rises the North-Estonian Klint – a steep, rocky and forest-covered cliff that stretches non-continuously to Tallinn and further to the islands of West-Estonia. The Forest Trail runs on top of the cliff and occasionally descends into valleys. It crosses the deep and vast Pühajõgi valley in Toila-Oru park and comes to Toila, a popular coastal resort. One of the most unusual sections of the Forest Trail in Northern Estonia, which leads along the foot of the impressive North-Estonian Klint in good weather, then climbs to the top of the klint in the villages of Valaste and Saka, revealing breathtaking views of the Gulf of Finland.

 

Through Lahemaa National Park: Eisma – Kasispea (EE)

Tallinn – Eisma – Oandu – Käsmu – Kasispea – Viinistu – Tallinn

Duration: 5 days

52 km

On this tour you will enjoy the diversity  of nature in Lahemaa National Park – the oldest national park in the Baltic states. Lahemaa – means “the land of bays” in Estonian. It is characterised by many bays, peninsulas, forests and villages rich in cultural heritage. The Forest Trail will go along the bays and peninsulas of Lahemaa National Park, introducing the hikers to its most significant natural and cultural heritage. The forests are rich with blueberries and mushrooms in autumn, and the air is very clean.

You will start the tour from Tallinn, going by bus to Lahemaa National Park, where you stay overnight in one of the beautiful manors. On the next day you will hike till Oandu. En route you will see Altja – a scenic traditional fishing village, where a traditional Estonian tavern is located and you can enjoy traditional meals. In Oandu there is the visitor centre of the Estonian State Forest Management (RMK), where hikers can learn more about forest habitat types and forest management traditions. Then you will reach Käsmu Peninsula with its wooded dunes and moss-covered rock fields, giving the feeling of being in a fairy tale. 

 

Diversity of Peipsimaa: Varnja – Avinurme (EE)

Tartu – Varnja – Alatskivi – Rannamõisa – Mustvee – Avinurme – Tartu

Duration: 6 days

77 km

Onions, fish, villages that stretch out for several kilometres where the buildings are lined along the main street, ornate Old Believers' churches, small harbours with fishing boats and wooden houses, each painted in a different colour! Cafés, shops and a view of Lake Peipus, which looks more like a sea than a lake. This could be the description of this tour. This tour is a very interesting part of the Forest Trail, which will give you an opportunity to see and enjoy the Lake Peipsi region, the culture and lifestyle of local people as well as the nature.

 

Grand Forest Trail hiking tour in Latvia and Estonia: Riga – Tallinn, self-drive and hiking (LV/EE)

Rīga – Sigulda – Līgatne – Āraiši – Cēsis – Valmiera – Tartu – Kuremäe – Vasavere – Rakvere – Altja – Oandu – Käsmu – Kolga – Tallinn

Duration: 10 days

Hiking: ~68 km; driving: ~630 km

This grand hiking tour includes some of the best and most beautiful parts of the Forest Trail in Latvia and Estonia. Hikes in the forest trails and villages are combined with trips and excursions in cities, as well as other popular tourist sights in both countries. You will get a detailed impression about the forest diversity and most popular national parks in Latvia and Estonia. You will start the tour in Riga, where you will enjoy the beautiful Old Town included in the UNESCO and Art Nouveau District. Then you will drive to Sigulda and see the most scenic ancient valley of the River Gauja, visit Turaida Museum Reserve, hike in Gauja National Park till the historic Ligatne papermill village. Further on you will visit the famous Lake Āraiši Castle, hike on the Cirulisi nature trails and see the beautiful medieval town of Cesis. On the way to Estonia you will stop at the Sietiņiezis big sandstone cliff to have picturesque views of the River Gauja. Then you will stay in Estonia’s second biggest city – Tartu, and visit the recently opened Estonian National Museum. 

 

Walking forest nature trails in Latvia and Estonia

Rīga – Inčukalns – Sigulda – Līgatne – Kārļi – Cēsis – Valmiera – Valka / Valga – Cirgaļi – Alūksne – Veclaicene – Haanja – Värska – Tartu – Lake Peipsi – Kurtna – Toila – Valaste – Käsmu – Tallinn

Duration: 12 days

Hiking: ~85 km; driving: ~890 km

This is the longest of the Forest Trail tours, where you will hike on many beautiful forest nature trails in Latvia and Estonia. These nature trails are part of the Forest Trail and this tour is suitable for self-drive tourists, who wish to hike different sizes of trails and get an impression of the forest diversity in both countries. You have the possibility to see the northern coniferous forests with spruces and pines, broadleaf forests, wet floodplain forests and picturesque forests growing on slopes and ravines. You will also see the most interesting tourist sights in Latvia and Estonia, which are close to the Forest Trail. In Latvia you will visit Sigulda, the historic Ligatne papermill village, medieval Cesis, the River Amata valley, which is located in Gauja National Park. Then you will drive to the less populated eastern part of Latvia – the Northern Gauja protected landscape area, Aluksne Town and hike in the Korneti-Peļļi subglacial depression, one of the most impressive ravines in Latvia. You can climb to Drusku castle mound – the highest and steepest of all the castle mounds in Latvia, When entering Estonia, you will see the highest point of the Baltics – Suur Munamagi Hill, where the observation tower is built. Further on the tour will lead you to the River Piusa valley, Obinitsa, with the culture of Seto people. You will hike in the historic Varska resort town, which is very close to the Russian border. Then you will reach Tartu and Lake Peipsi, which is the 5th biggest lake in Europe.