Bicycle new territory on this ride from St. Petersburg through Estonia and into Latvia. We pedal from Gatchina, a suburb of St. Petersburg forty kilometers to the south. We follow a portion of the European bicycle network, Eurovelo #1, along the Gulf of Finland and visit Laheema National Park. We'll spend a rest day in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia before heading south to Latvia where our routes vary between riding along the coast and into the interior. The tour ends in Riga, the capital of Latvia.
Day 1: Transfer from St. Petersburg to Gatchina
Highlights: Gatchina Palace, bike fittingIf you have arrived early to enjoy St. Petersburg before the start of the tour, we'll transfer together to Gatchina today, just 40 km to the south. If you are arriving at the airport today we will pick you up and transfer to Gatchina. We fit bicycles this afternoon and go out for a short test ride before gathering to meet our group and enjoy dinner together. Distance: short test ride.
Day 2: Gatchina to Ivangorod, Russia
Highlights: Bicycling rural RussiaOur ride today takes us across the glaciated North European Plain on a secondary road to Volosovo and beyond. We pedal by a number of summer communities of "dachas" surrounded by garden plots. Stop to explore and you may be invited in for tea! We'll shuttle over the busy M-11 highway for the last 45 km, and then enjoy dinner together in Ivangorod. Distance: 80 km (50 miles).
Day 3: Ivangorod, Russia to Saka, Estonia
Highlights: Bicycling into Estonia at Narva, then along the Baltic Sea CoastAfter crossing the historic border between Russia and Europe into Narva, Estonia, we follow the Narva River to its mouth on the Gulf of Finland, an extension of the Baltic Sea. We pass through the summer resort town of Narva-Jöesuu, with its wooden cottages, and the Soviet community of Sillamäe, a masterpiece of Stalinesque urban planning. Today we are also on the European bicycle route network, which begins at the border of Estonia and Russia. We'll begin cycling along Eurovelo route number one today as we head west to the spa town of Saka. Dinner is together tonight. Distance: 80 km (50 miles).
Day 4: Bicycle from Saka to Vihula
Highlights: Baltic Sea Coast, Lahemaa National ParkWe'll follow the Gulf of Finland along the Baltic coast fairly closely today, bicycling through pine and birch forests perched on the bluff overlooking the sea. Plan on picking up supplies for a picnic on the beach (and maybe even a swim?!) This coastline provides the northernmost habitat of the iconic mute swan, present in parks and castle moats throughout Europe. Our hotel this evening dates to the 16th century as a rural manor complex. We'll share a fine dinner together tonight. Distance: 80km (50 miles).
Day 5: Pedal from Vihula to Valkla Beach
Highlights: Lahemaa National Park; hotel on the beach of the Gulf of FinlandToday we bicycle through Lahemaa National Park, Estonia's oldest national park, which protects a series of peninsulas and beaches left by the great continental glacier 20,000 years ago. Those who want can stop to learn more about the forest we're biking through at the Sagadi forest museum, or perhaps you'd prefer the old vehicles museum at the park headquarters in Palmse, which has old bicycles as well! Our hotel is near the beach this evening. Dinner is together. Distance: 70 km (43 miles).
Day 6: Ride from Valkla beach to Tallinn
Highlights: Friendly Tallinn and the Tallinn TV TowerOur ride today takes us on bike paths along the shore, then into Tallinn and past the thousand-foot high Tallinn TV Tower. If it is a clear day you may want to stop and take the elevator to the top of the tower to enjoy vast views of Tallinn, the Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea Coast. Dinner in on your own tonight. Distance: 49 km (30 miles).
Day 7: Rest day in Tallinn
Highlights: Tallin, famous "Hanseatic league" town, now a UNESCO World Heritage SiteToday you'll have the chance to explore Tallinn, one of the most beautiful of the Baltic capitals. We'll begin with a brief orientation walk together; then you are on your own to relax and enjoy this wonderful 16th century city. The Hanseatic League was a consortium of trade guilds and Medieval cities that controlled trade through the Baltic region and as far south as Belgium and the Netherlands from the 13th to the 17th centuries. Enjoy strolling around Tallinn's old town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and find a great spot for dinner on your own tonight. No ride today.
Day 8: Tallinn to Luhtre Farm
Highlights: Quiet forest roads lead to a traditional Estonian FarmOur ride south from Tallinn takes us into the interior of Estonia, where we spend the night on a traditional farm. The home-cooked meal with homemade bread and local products will be a hightlight of the trip. Distance: 77 km (48 miles).
Day 9: Luhtre Farm to Parnu
Highlights: Bicycling to the Beach at ParnuAfter a leisurely start from our farm accommodations we bicycle back to the Baltic Sea today, this time on Estonia's west coast and the Gulf of Riga, named for the capital of Latvia. Our hotel is in Parnu, a fashionable seaside resort. Dinner is on your own. Distance: 70 km (43 miles).
Day 10: Parnu to Salacgriva
Highlights: Bicycling the pine forest into LatviaWe are back along the coast today--stop and explore the old-style captains' house-museums and the Kabli bird station before reaching Latvia! Or, stroll along the beach and see if you find any amber washed out of the natural deposits to the south. Dinner is on your own this evening. Distance: 78 km (48 miles).
Day 11: Salacgriva to Birini
Highlights: Bicycle past the lakes of the Limbaži district to Birini CastleBack in the interior of Latvia today, we pedal through pine forests and past lakes to the historic castle of Birini. Under Soviet occupation Birini castle was a sanatorium and vacation home for elite Soviet bureacrats. It was converted to an hotel in 1993. Dinner will be together tonight. Distance: 79 km (49 miles).
Day 12: Bicycle from Birini to Riga, Latvia
Highlights: Riga, the capital of LatviaOur ride today begins in rural, forested Latvia and ends in Riga, the sophisticated and historic capital of Latvia. Riga flourished from its founding by German traders and missionaries in the 12th century. Today the historic city center has been dedicated a UNESCO World Heritage site. We'll enjoy a farewell dinner together this evening. Distance: 65 km (40 miles).
Day 13: Tour ends in Riga
Highlights: Riga, LatviaOur tour ends after breakfast this morning, but Riga is well worth another couple of days if you have the time. Enjoy visiting the large Riga covered markets, the Doma cathedral (the largest in the Baltic States) and the moving "Occupation Museum of Latvia," which documents the occupation of Latvia by a variety of foreign armies since 1918. If you need a little down time you might want to relax in the nearby coastal resort town of Jurmala. Thanks for joining us!
HighlightsBicycling in Russia , the Baltic Sea, Two Baltic States: Tallinn, Estonia and Riga, Latvia, pedaling under the midnight sun, flat rides through forested lands
Includes12 nights/13 days; 12 breakfasts, and 8 dinners
CountriesEstonia, Latvia, Russia
Begin/EndSt. Petersburg, Russia/Riga, Latvia
Arrive/DepartSt. Petersburg, Russia/Riga, Latvia
Total Distance728 km (452 miles)
Daily Distance49 - 80 km (30 - 50 miles)
What to ExpectEasy cycling on fairly flat terrain; some headwinds possible along the Gulf of Finland
NotesA Russian visa is required and ExperiencePlus! will facilitate the application process. We will need your passport for approximately 6 weeks for processing.
Please call 1-800-685-4565 or e-mail us for the dates for this tour.
Click on the "pins" for details about each day's highlights.
City (on route)
City (not part of route, provided for reference)
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