ExpeditionPlus! Tallinn, Estonia to Istanbul, Turkey

  • Length 42 days
  • From USD$10750
  • Style/Level 1.0
  • Countries Bulgaria
    Estonia
    Hungary
    Latvia
    Lithuania
    Poland
    Romania
    Slovakia
    Turkey
  • Begin/End Tallinn, Estonia / Istanbul, Turkey

This is a continental-scale bicycle tour unlike any you’ve done before! We’ll travel by bicycle through historic regions of eastern and central Europe and through several of Europe’s most exotic cities. Highlights will be include the Baltic States and their capitals (Tallinn, Riga, Vilnius), Warsaw, the Transylvanian Alps, the Carpathian Mountains and Istanbul.

Join us for the trip of a lifetime and pedal through Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, on your way to Turkey.


***Read more about the ExpeditionPlus! concept to see if this type of tour is for you.

We require that all participants complete the Expedition Acknowledgement form which emphasizes the daily protocols on an ExpeditionPlus! ride. ***

Highlights

    • Tallinn, Estonia
    • ,
    • Riga, Latvia
    • ,
    • Warsaw, Poland
    • ,
    • Crossing the Danube River
    • ,
    • Sighisoara, Romania
    • ,
    • Istanbul, Turkey
    • ,
    • Transylvanian Mountains
    • ,
    • Baltic Sea to Black Sea

Includes

  • 42 days, 41 nights accommodation

  • all breakfasts, 75% packed lunches, 70& dinners (drinks not included)

  • luggage transfers / van support

  • 2 ExperiencePlus! tour leaders and a local guide for each country

  • All tour inclusions

Keep in mind

We work hard to maintain consistency across all of our tours, but some trips have unique differences. Here are some things to keep in mind about this tour.

The excitement and challenge of crossing a continent! Experiencing cultural similarities and tremendous differences sometimes within the same day’s ride.


Date Price Private room fee Note

Download Itinerary

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  • Total distance Estimated 3744 km (2311 miles).
  • Average daily distance Estimated average per riding day 110 km (68 miles)
  • Tour style
  • Tour level 1.0

Highlights: Welcome to 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.

Meals : Dinner

Highlights: Haapsalu – “Venice of the Baltics”

Our ride south from Tallinn takes us along the coast to the lively town of Haapsalu, well-known for its invitingly warm sea, and curative mud. If you are into music you are in luck because there is an internationally renowned jazz music festival tonight. Estimated Distance: 77 km (48 miles).

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Highlights: Bicycling to the beach at Parnu

After a leisurely start we bicycle along 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. Estimated Distance: 70 km (43 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Gulf of Riga – Latvia

We pedal south along the Gulf of Riga, a great glacial depression left over from the continental glacier to Ozolaine today. Estimated Distance: 145 km (90 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Bicycle to Riga

We wind through glacial hillocks and ponds to Riga, the capital of Latvia and another important Hansa town. Estimated Distance: 93 km (58 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Rest day in Riga

Take 36 hours in Riga today. Riga is a world treasure on the UNESCO World Heritage list. We begin our layover with an orientation walk to familiarize ourselves with this important town. One of the main centers of the Hanseatic League in the 13th century Riga burned more than once over the centuries and now sports the finest collection of art nouveau architecture in Europe. Distance: No ride today.

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Cycling through Rural Latvia into Lithuania

We bicycle through rural Latvia today where you’ll see the landscape change with much richer farmlands. We begin to see more dairy cattle, single milk cows, and small fish ponds for raising carp. We sleep near Birzai. Distance: 103 km (64 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Wetlands and parks

We continue amid glaciated terrain to the edge of the Lithuanian wetlands and a series of regional parks. Anyksciai is home to one of the largest glacial erratics in the Baltics. Distance: 103 km (64 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Trakai

Our destination today is Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Vilnius is the third of the Baltic capitals and some consider it the most interesting. It is less overrun by cruise ship tourists and still retains a local “village” character, though it is quite sophisticated. Estimated Distance: 127 km (79 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Orientation walk of Vilnius

We’ll take a guide orientation walk of Vilnius this morning so you can see the highlights that you might want to go explore later on your own. Vilnius was the capital of the Grand Duch of Lithuania from 1200 until the late 1700s. Distance: No ride today.

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Ride in Rural Lithuania

We pedal southwest today through a continuing series of national and regional parks and wetlands to the town of Alytus. The hotel Vaidila is located in the center of town, Rotuses Square, and next to Kurortas Park, a delightful and peaceful place to enjoy nature. Distance: 108 km (67 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Biebrzański National Park

Like the Baltic Republics, Poland is full of lakes and wetlands left from the great Continental Glacier. The area we pedal today continues to be a great area of regional and national parks. We are in Augustow tonight, a center for river kayaking in Poland. Distance: 106 km (66 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Biebrza National Park

You pedal south today, flanking the Biebrza River which acts as the boundary for Poland’s largest national park, Biebrza National Park. The park stretches along the Biebrza River and is the focal point of the largest marshland in Central Europe, yet more evidence of the North European Plain’s Continental Glacier. You’ll reach Lomza tonight, with some interesting cathedrals and churches to visit stretching back to the early Renaissance. Distance: 141 km (87 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Kurpie Forest

You’ll pedal through rural Poland today as well as the Puszcza Biala or the “White Wilderness.” Mostly made up of low trees like pine trees, the forest extends over a large part of northern Poland and, along with the Puszcza Zielona or “Green Wilderness” makes up what is called the Kurpie Forest. The name comes from one of Poland’s many ethnic groups, the Kurpie, who, between the 17th and 20th centuries, formed a very strong cultural identity and whose folk traditions still play an important role in their descendants’ lives. Arrive in Pultusk along the Narew River and, with its lovely gondolas, sometimes called the “Little Polish Venice”. Pultusk has a curiously large town square, the result of two squares combined in the 14th and 15th centuries. Distance: 118 km (73 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Warsaw

You’ll pedal due south along the Narew River. The Narew is a tributary of the Bug River. Together they flow into the Vistula, Poland’s principal river. Distance: 113 km (70 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Rest Day – Enjoy Warsaw

This morning we’ll have a short orientation walk of Warsaw and then you are free to go off on your own and enjoy all of the sightseeing opportunities this city has to offer. Warsaw is on the UNESCO World Heritage list as well. Here is their description: “During the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944, more than 85% of Warsaw’s historic center was destroyed by Nazi troops. After the war, a five-year reconstruction campaign by its citizens resulted in today’s meticulous restoration of the Old Town, with its churches, palaces and market-place. It is an outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th to the 20th century.” Distance: Rest Day

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Kazimierz Dolny

Follow the Vistula River most of the way to Kazimierz Dolny, this historic village is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Distance: 152 km (94 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Wojciechów, Lublin

Travel due east today through countryside and the small town of Wojciechów, famous for its blacksmith museum, the only one in Poland which not only shows how blacksmiths worked including old tools, but also collects artistic objects produced by Polish, Hungarian and Belarusian blacksmiths. A short ride continues to the historic town of Lublin with its well-preserved city center. Distance: 50 km (31 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: UNESCO World Heritage site Zamosc

We’ll head straight on the Zamosc today so we can spend as much time as possible in this unique town. On the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1992, Zamosc is a perfectly designed 16th century Italian Renaissance town. We’ll have time for an orientation walk early this evening. Estimated Distance: 103 km (64 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Small farm towns

We ride across the remaining part of the North European Plain today and finish in Polish Galicia, near the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains. Lancut is famous for its 17th century Italianate castle which metamorphosed over the centuries. It survives now with a neo-baroque façade. Distance: 156 km (97 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Foothills of the Capathians

Our ride today takes us through the foothills of the Carpathians to the town of Iwonicz Zdroj, one of the oldest Polish health resort and spa towns. Distance: 104 km (64 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Slovakia

As we climb up to the 500 meter summit of our pass (the lowest pass in the Carpathians) we enter “wooden church” country. We’ll be in Slovak “Ruthenia”, part of the borderlands of Hungary, Slovakia, Poland and the Ukraine. The Ruthenians enjoy a distinct culture and once built elaborate wooden churches. We’ll pass several on our ride today. Humenne has a skansen (from the Swedish word referring to an outdoor museum) with several wooden houses and a wooden church. Distance: 139 km (86 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Hungary

We’ve crossed Slovakia at its narrowest point and will enter Hungary today. Sarospatak is a part of the Landscape of the Tokaj World Heritage wine region recognized by UNESCO. Sarospatak is renowned throughout Hungary for its Calvinist college and Renaissance castle, one of the finest in Hungary. The Tokaj hills define the northern limits of the Pannonian Plain. This plain has formed the heartland of Hungary from the time the ancestors of the present population galloped out of the Asian steppe lands. The Pannonian plain is a rich agricultural region formed from wind-born sediments which blew south as the great continental glacier melted, leaving fine dust to blow. Called “loess,” similar deposits, sometimes tens of feet thick also cover parts of France. Distance: 102 km (63 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Rest day

Rest day today. Take time to visit this quaint town and rest-up in preparation for the mountains that wait. Distance: No ride today.

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Wine Country

Our ride today takes us through the vineyard landscapes of the Tokaj region, through the town of Tokaj and then east across the Tisza River into one of the least traveled parts of Hungary. We are in the small town of Nyjrbator this evening. Distance: 98 km (60 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Romania

Today we have a long ride as we cross the border into Romania! We?ll say goodbye to the Pannonian plain and enter the wooded hills north of Transylvania. Estimated Distance: 137 km (85 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Heart of Transylvania

Today we?re deep in the heart of Transylvania. We?ll start with a climb into the forested Meze? Highlands. Our route then passes through picturesque villages ending in the once flourishing Armenian town of Gherla (once known as Armenopolis). This evening we?ll admire its great cathedral and charming stone houses. Distance: 130 km (81 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Heritage town of Targu Mures

Today we wind through the foothills of the Transylvanian Alps en route to the important heritage town of T?rgu Mures. The city is home to the impressive Secession Palace of Culture, a picturesque central square (where we will stay) and a stunning 1900 Great Jewish Temple. Distance: 100 km (62 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Half day off to explore Sighisoara

Spend the half the day cycling through one of the most beautifully preserved, enchanting Medieval towns in all Transylvania. We’ll take an orientation walk together in Sighisoara this afternoon. The town holds a well-deserved place on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Distance: 85 km (53 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Rest day

Today is a chance to relax, catch up on laundry and dive deeper into some sites discussed during yesterday?s orientation walk. Don?t miss the churches and a climb up the clock tower to enjoy a breathtaking view of the city! Distance: Rest Day

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Climbing the Transylvanian Alps

Today we’ll climb through our next major mountain range, the Transylvanian Alps. We’ll ride over the Fagaras range today – some riders have considered it the most spectacular day of riding on the entire route to Istanbul. Our highest point measures in at 2034 meters (6673 ft.). The total climb today is just over 1600 meters (5250 feet). You’ll descend the last 7 km to our destination of Capra Hut. (Careful down those switchbacks!) Distance: 115 km (72 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Curtea de Arges Monastery

Follow the Arges River! We?ll ride downhill, around the large Vidraru Reservoir to our destination tonight. The name Curtea de Arge? means ?the Court down the Arge?? (the river). The town was once the capital of Wallachia, a region in the southern Carpathian Mountains. We?ll check out its legendary, twisted steeple monastery, just wait until you hear the story behind it! Distance: 80 km (49 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Olt River

Heading into the Danube plains, you’ll experience a shift in surroundings as you leave the Carpathians behind. We?ll end our day along the Heading into the Danube plains, you’ll experience a shift in surroundings as you leave the Carpathians behind. We?ll end our day along the Olt River surrounded by expansive countryside, in the town of Slatina. Today Slatina is famous as being the home to the biggest aluminum producing factories in Southeastern Europe. Distance: 115 km (72 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: The Danube River

Continue along the Olt River valley and the fields east of it until you reach the Danube River and the port town of Zimnicea. The southern most port of Romania, Zimnicea borders Bulgaria and is a critical merchant and port town for trade and border crossings, as well as home to Interagro, an important bio-agribusiness, complete with its own hotel where we will spend the night. We will ferry across the Danube we are going to use into Bulgaria. Distance: 152 km (95 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Crossing the Danube, one of Europe’s oldest cities

We cross the Danube by ferry into Bulgaria and pedal to Veliko Tarnovo, one of Bulgaria’s oldest cities and capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire in the 12th and 13th centuries, between the Byzantine domination and that of the Ottoman Turks. Near the town of Dryanovo you may want to stop and visit the historic, Dryanovo Monastery. Rebuilt several times over the centuries, the monastery is still occupied. Old Town Veliko Tarnovo is enchanting and together with the surrounding area, gathers some of the most important historic buildings and monasteries in Bulgaria. Distance: 84 km (52 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Long day in the mountains

We have another long day today as we head east and south towards Yambol. It is another long day so pace yourself as we go over the mountains towards Turkey! Estimated Distance: 143 km (89 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Turkey!

Edirne was the second capital of the Ottoman Empire, before Istanbul eclipsed it. Estimated Distance: 116 km (72 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Rest day

This is a rest day in Edirne. Enjoy the warmth and hospitality of the Turkish people as you get to know this fascinating city. We’ll take a group walk this morning to explore some of the architectural works of Sinan, the architect of Suleiman the Magnificent. Distance: No ride today.

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Turkish Thrace

We continue through Turkish Thrace, the ancient Greek region, toward Istanbul. We’ll be in Vize this evening. Distance: 117 km (73 miles)

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Last full day of riding

Our last full-day’s ride takes us to Büyükçekmece on the coast south of Istanbul. We overlook the Marmara Sea this evening. Estimated Distance: 132 km (82 miles).

Meals : Breakfast

Highlights: Istanbul!

We’ll have a short ride to our ferry this morning. We’ll be in the heart of Istanbul by early afternoon where we can take a short orientation walk together. We have a final dinner this evening to celebrate the completion of our great adventure. Distance: 10 km (6 miles).

Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

Highlights: Congratulations!

Our trip ends this morning but be sure to stick around to explore Istanbul another few days. Congratulations for all that you have accomplished.

Meals : Breakfast

Visit our Tour Level page to learn more about terrain levels and how we determine day and tour levels.



Pre-trip planning checklist



  • The entire trip was great!

    Rick and Kathy M., Pittsburgh, PA
  • You guys are the BEST!!!!

    Mary G.Sarasota, FL
  • [My favorite part?] The Journey: For me, this adventure was never about just the riding of the bike. It was about seeing the former Soviet Block countries at a pace that was slow enough to be able to observe the beauty of the land and the day-to-day life of the people and communities we were traveling through. The people: I can’t emphasize enough how important camaraderie is when attempting a journey such as this. The miles flew by while I was having long chats with my fellow travelers while peddling along through the countryside. Their humor and companionship kept me going on the tough days.

    Dan C.San Jose, CA