Thursday, April 11, 2024

HIKING THE BALTIC TRAILS THROUGH FOREST & ALONG COASTLINE

When I first heard about the Baltic Trails I decided to pack my stuff and spend the summer exploring and hiking the paths myself.

My journey started in Sweden. I stepped on the train in Malmö, went over the 7.8 km long Öresund bridge and through the 4 km long tunnel under Öresund. I then took a flight from Copenhagen airport towards the Baltic states.

THE BALTIC TRAILS

There are two main trails running through the Baltics: The Baltic Forest Trail and the Baltic Coastal Trail.

The new Baltic Forest Trail is 2,141 km long and it passes through the forests of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. This trail is now part of the E11 (European long-distance path) which runs 4,700 km through the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia.

It’s a beautiful forest trail that starts from the Polish/Lithuanian border near the town of Lazdijai. The path then leads through Latvia and the capital city of Riga and finishes in Tallin, Estonia. Completing the entire route would take 102-114 days.

Then there is the Baltic Coastal Trail. This coastal hiking path is part of E9 (European long-distance path) known as the European Coastal Path.

The Baltic Coastal Trail stretches for 1,420 km along the Baltic Sea coast and takes about 70-72 days to finish. It starts at the Lithuanian-Russian border in the village of Nida in Lithuania, leads through Latvia, and finishes at the Port of Tallinn in Estonia.  

The trails are divided into 20 km long sections with accommodation and transport options along the way. This makes it easy to tackle portions of the trail if you don’t want to complete the entire thing.

THE BALTIC FOREST TRAIL

The Forest Trail is marked with white-yellow-white signs on trees, stones and other natural materials. In urban areas, the trail is marked with stickers.

There have been marking events where both locals and international visitors have walked along the trail with a bucket of paint and helped with the marking.

The marking events were held in order to involve locals and help them get to know the new trail. The organizer understood the importance of the local community embracing the new trail.

Along the Baltic Forest Trail, you will find the sign “Hiker-Friendly. ” These signs show locations and services that cover hikers’ needs.

This includes info about public transport, maps of the trials and Wi-Fi details. There is also information on where to fill up drinking water, charge electronic devices, clean and dry wet clothes and shower.