The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route

Baltic Coastal Hiking final conference and official opening of the E9 in Baltics

The Baltic Coastal Hiking project has come to an end, to celebrate the success, to see where we stand in Europe and to share our experiences. You are welcome to join the final conference on September 13 and follow the common Coastal Hike (~14 km) on September 14, 2019.

Registration for the event

Conference programme and hiking info

Contact information:

Tõiv Jõul, Project Manager
NGO West-Estonia Tourism
toivj@hotmail.com
+372 5650 0727

Welcome to the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route!

Baltic Coastal Hiking (BCH) is a long distance hiking route, part of E9, along the coast of the Baltic Sea. The hiking route starts at the Lithuanian-Latvian border in the village of Nida in Latvia and finishes at the Port of Tallinn in Estonia. The Name of the route in Latvia is Jūrtaka, in Estonia Ranniku matkarada. 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.

The ~1200 km of the BCH route are divided into 8 sections: the Great Sea (Dižjūra – the west coast of Latvia on the Baltic sea), the Little Sea (Mazjūra – the west coast of the gulf of Riga), Jūrmala and Riga (the most popular resort city and the capital of Latvia), the Vidzeme coast (the east coast of the gulf of Riga), Pärnu town and fishing villages (the littoral of Pärnu Bay), Matsalu National Park and the West-Estonian islands (Matsalu Bay, Saaremaa, Muhu, Hiiumaa, Vormsi islands), Haapsalu and villages of coastal swedes (Haapsalu Bay and the Noarootsi peninsula, Osmussaar island) and cliffs and waterfalls in the northwest of Estonia (the littoral of the gulf of Finland).

Sections of the hiking route consists of 60 separate single-day hiking route stages. Each day is considered to be a separate, independent route about 12–25 km long. A detailed description of all the stages of the route can be found in the publications as well as on the Coastal Hiking website.

How do you go on the route?

– BCH can be started in any physically accessible place and go in one direction or the other, there are markers in both directions.
– depending on your interests and possibilities, some sections can be covered by bike or by public transport, not on foot, or you can make a deal with the owners of accommodation places to arrange personal and luggage transport.
page descriptions can be printed and GPX files downloaded on www.coastalhiking.eu.
– there are markings (white – blue – white) on trees, stones and other nature objects and BCH route stickers on road signs, electricity poles, bridge parapets in villages and cities, as well as reference road signs..
– in places where BCH goes along the beach and continues straight forward for a long distance, it is not marked.
– you will also see information stands placed along BCH.

The number of accommodations and catering places varies in the different sections of the sea coast. Shops, medical practices and pharmacies are available in the cities and the more populated areas. 

More than 70 free public rest areas have been created along the route. They have canopies, tables, benches, garbage bins, and in many of them campfire or grill sites and toilets. There are also rest areas in campsites and near accommodation places, but to use them you have to come to an agreement with the owners.  In Estonia  camping and campfires are allowed in specially prepared and designated places only. Camping is prohibited on the beach.

Single-day hiking route stages

The most multifaceted section of the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route in Estonia where you can feel the Northern nature. Here you can see boulders, sandy beaches, grassy coastal meadows and the so-called breccias: pieces of rocks that have resulted from an ancient meteorite explosion. Pakri Cliff is located here: it is the most spectacular coastal cliff wall in the Baltic States reaching a height of 24 m. The itinerary goes near the seacoast, occasionally taking forest and country roads. Manors, churches and lighthouses appear in the landscape, as well as Pakri windpark. You can visit the picturesque Keila-Joa waterfall and mysterious Pakri islands. A lot of military heritage sites have been preserved around Tallinn: coastline fortifications and coastal protection batteries. During the Soviet times, city of Paldiski was a closed town and a top secret military site with a specially built nuclear submarine reactor: a training centre for military specialists. The Baltic Coastal Hiking route ends in the centre of Tallinn, the Medieval Old Town which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 53. Nõva – Vihterpalu. 23 km. Along the gulf of Finland

Day 54. Vihterpalu – Padise. 25 km. A seven centuries old church and monastery

Day 55. Padise – Paldiski. 18 km. The former closed and top secret town

Day 56. Paldiski – Kersalu. 16 km. Cliffs, a lighthouse and military heritage

Day 57. Kersalu – Laulasmaa. 12 km. Beaches, swimming areas and a resort 

Day 58. Laulasmaa – Vääna-Jõesuu. 19 km. The most beautiful waterfall in Estonia 

Day 59. Vääna – Jõesuu – Tabasalu. 20 km. The fabled Suurupi peninsula 

Day 60. Tabasalu – Tallinna sadam. 25 km. Tallinn – a UNESCO world heritage site 

For a short stretch, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route follows a former broad-gauge railway line, in other places it continues on country roads, while in populated areas and in Haapsalu it takes pedestrian sidewalks and coastal promenades where you will find rest areas and nice little pubs. Haapsalu has a broad offer of SPA hotels that are often located in historic resort buildings. In Haapsalu Old Town, you can visit the Haapsalu Bishop’s Castle, in which the popular White Lady Festival takes place each year in August. Next, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route leads you through the Noarootsi Peninsula which used to lay at the bottom of the sea, but with the earth’s crust rising after the last glacial period it became dry land. Here you can see ancient Swedish hamlets with a different cultural environment and landscape, as well as shallow lakes that have been separated from the sea.

Päev 47. Tuuru – Rohuküla. 19,5 km. Värav Lääne-Eesti saartele Hiiumaale ja Vormsile

Päev 48. Rohuküla – Haapsalu – Uuemõisa. 22 km. Armastatud Eesti kuurortlinn Haapsalu

Päev 49. Uuemõisa – Elbiku. 36 km. Matk ümber Haapsalu lahe

Päev 50. Österby – Riguldi. 23 km. Noarootsi – rannarootslaste poolsaar

Päev 51. Riguldi – Dirhami. 13 km. Meteoriidijälgedega rannaäär

Päev 52. Dirhami – Nõva. 16 km. Põhjamaiselt karge loodus ja laulvad liivad

The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route leads you through Matsalu National Park, which is the largest wetland in Northern Europe. It includes the shallow Matsalu Bay, the lower reaches of the Kasari River, littoral reeds, the overflowing floodplains of the Kasari, coastal pastures, forest meadows and around 50 sea islands. Matsalu National Park has nature trails and 7 birdwatching towers. The territory is crossed by the migration routes for birds travelling from the White Sea to the Baltic Sea. Here you can see deer, elk, foxes and other animals. The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route takes gravelled country roads and goes through Lihula town. By taking a ferry from the port of Virtsu or Rohuküla, you can get to the islands of the West Estonian archipelago: Saaremaa, Vormsi and Hiiumaa.

Päev 42. Virtsu – Kuke. 14 km. Läbi orhideeväljade ja kadakasalude

Päev 43. Kuke – Meelva. 19 km. Vaadeldes Balti jääpaisjärve saari

Päev 44. Meelva – Penijõe. 22 km. Henriku Liivimaa kroonika jälgedes

Päev 45. Penijõe – Laiküla. 22 km. Ümber Põhja-Euroopa suurima märgala

Päev 46. Haeska – Puise. 23 km. Linnu- ja loodusvaatlus Matsalu rahvuspargis

In many places, reeds, floodplains with pastures and wetlands stretch across the Estonian seacoast, which is why the itinerary often leads you along forest and country roads. In the second half of summer, coastal forests are rich with mushrooms and berries. Small fishing villages are located one after another throughout the seashore of Pärnu Bay. Near Pärnu, where the Pärnu River flows into the bay, the sea is shallow and it bathes a sandy beach. Pärnu is a popular resort city with many cafés, live music, SPAs, hotels and a beautiful Old Town. After Pärnu, you will reach Valgeranna, which is a well-known rest and swimming area with beautiful coastal forests and dunes. Further there are floodplains, so the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route goes along small country roads. From Munalaid Harbor, you can be take a small ship to Kihnu Island whose cultural heritage has been given UNESCO status. Here, locals wear national costumes and one of the favourite transport means for the women of the island is a motorcycle with a side-car.

Päev 31. Ikla – Kabli. 16 km. Ajaloolise supluspiirkonna radadel

Päev 32. Kabli – Häädemeeste. 11 km. Linnud, luited ja metsad

Päev 33. Häädemeeste – Uulu. 26 km. Läbi metsade ja rabade

Päev 34. Uulu – Pärnu. 21 km. Märgaladest mööda Pärnusse

Päev 35. Pärnu – Liu. 22 km. Kaunimad vaated Pärnu lahele

Päev 36. Liu – Munalaid. 21 km. Lahesopid, saared ja linnud

Päev 37. Munalaid – Tõstamaa. 16 km. Karjamaad, metsad ja rannaniidud

Päev 38. Tõstamaa – Matsi. 25 km. Eesti maaelu idüll

Päev 39. Matsi – Varbla. 15 km. Rannad ja metsad

Päev 40. Varbla – Pivarootsi. 21 km. Rannaalade mõisad

Päev 41. Pivarootsi – Virtsu. 16 km. Eesti saarte värav

In terms of landscapes and views, the most multifaceted section of the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route in Latvia, which includes both sandy and rocky beach, coastal meadows, reeds, dunes, sandstone outcrops, forests, capes and small coves, fishing villages, pubs, estuaries of small rivers. The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route winds through Carnikava, Saulkrasti, Zvejniekciems, Salacgrīva and Ainaži. It traverses small streams that you can wade across in the summer.
In this section of the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route you will find the estuaries of the Gauja River and the Salaca River which can be bypassed via bridges. Carnikava and Salacgrīva are famous for lampreys, which are cooked according to special recipes used by the local fishermen. In Dunte, you can visit the museum of the famous teller of tall tales, Baron Munchausen. Randu Meadows is a notable migratory and nesting site for birds. Shortly before reaching Estonia, the itinerary takes forest trails to pass around the coast overgrown in grass and reeds.

Päev 25. Vecāķi – Carnikava. 14 km. Kahe jõe – Daugava ja Gauja (Koiva) – suudmealade vahel

Päev 26. Carnikava – Saulkrasti. 20 km. Romantiliste päikeseloojangutega rada

Päev 27. Saulkrasti – Lauči. 13 km. Vidzeme kiviste randade värav

Päev 28. Lauči – Tūja. 15 km. Kadunud purjelaevade ajastu

Päev 29. Tūja – Svētciems. 24 km. Vidzeme kivine rand

Päev 30. Svētciems – Ainaži. 26 km. Silmude kuningriik

This section of the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route goes through the resort city Jūrmala and the capital of Latvia, Riga. In Jūrmala, sandy beach stretches along the coast, but hikers may go through the centre of Jūrmala and see Jomas iela. This city is liked by summer holidaymakers and has a lot of SPA hotels, cafés and live music on summer evenings. Jūrmala is characterized by unusual wooden architecture in the historic seasonal dwelling area and also by mansions
and villas built in the modern era. The coastal dune forests are permeated with a dense web of trails suitable for walking and stick-walking. Jūrmala and the forests of the Pierīga region on the outskirts of the capital are separated by the Lielupe River. To get from Priedaine to Riga, go through
the Kleisti forest roads and trails and take the suburban streets to reach the Daugava River which you will have to cross to get to the very heart of Riga: the Town Hall Square. You can walk through Riga on foot and get to know different neighbourhoods located in the city or you can use public transport, namely train or bus.

Päev 21. Ragaciems – Dubulti. 22 km. Jūrmala – ajalooline kuurortlinn

Päev 22. Dubulti – Lielupe – Bulduri. 15 km. Läti populaarseimad supelrannad

Päev 23. Bulduri – Riia kesklinn. 23 km. Läbi metsade Riiga

Päev 24. Riia kesklinn – Vecāķi. 24 km. Riia vanalinn – UNESCO maailmapärandi hulka arvatud paik

The Little Wave Sea is the name given to the Western coast of the Gulf of Riga by the natives of Kurzeme. The Little Wave Sea section starts at Cape Kolka, in the Slītere National Park which is crossed by the migration routes for birds travelling from the White Sea to the Baltic Sea. The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route leads you along the seacoast of the Gulf of Riga up to Jūrmala. The itinerary contains a lot of sandy beaches, in some places, coastal meadows, short sections of rocky seashore notched by small coves near Kaltene where swans spend the summer. On the coast, present-day fishing villages and small yacht ports are located one after another. Here, industrial fishing is carried out and fish processing plants operate in some places. Freshly smoked fish can be bought in the markets and shops of the coastal villages and from the local fishermen.

Päev 16. Kolka – Ģipka. 24 km. Mööda „suletud randa“

Päev 17. Ģipka – Kaltene. 20 km. Kuramaa kivine rand

Päev 18. Kaltene – Mērsrags. 24 km. Mitmekülgne rannajoon

Päev 19. Mērsrags – Engure. 22 km. Engure looduspargis

Päev 20. Engure – Ragaciems. 25 km. Kalurikülad ja suitsukala

The Baltic Sea littoral on the West coast of Kurzeme is called the Great Wave Sea. From the start of the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route, marked by the border post on the Latvian Lithuanian border up to Cape Kolka, the seacoast is mainly sandy. While the Great Wave Sea section is the least populated coastal area in Latvia, at the same time, the third biggest city in Latvia, Liepāja, is also located there. Bluffs rise before your eyes on the seacoast between Pāvilosta and Sārnate. The villages are quiet and sparsely populated, with the majority of their inhabitants only living there in the summer. In Slītere National Park, the Baltic Coastal Hiking Route leads you along country and forest roads through historic Liv fishing villages. In Mazirbe and Kolka, the local fishermen still put out to the sea and sell homemade smokedfish. The Great Wave Sea section ends at Cape Kolka which separates the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga.

Päev 1. Nida – Pape. 12 km. Läti kõige kivisem rand

Päev 2. Pape – Bernāti. 25 km. Läti läänepoolseim tipp

Päev 3. Bernāti – Liepāja – Karosta. 23 km. Linn, kus sünnib tuul

Päev 4. Karosta – Ziemupe. 22 km. Karosta – Läänemere äärne militaarpärand

Päev 5. Ziemupe – Pāvilosta. 21 km. Laulvad liivad ja merevaik

Päev 6. Pāvilosta – Jūrkalne. 20 km. Läänemere uhkeimad liivaklindid

Päev 7. Jūrkalne – Sārnate. 14 km. Paik, kust inimesed asusid paatides teele üle Läänemere

Päev 8. Sārnate – Užava. 15 km. Läti ranniku kauneimad vaated

Päev 9. Užava – Ventspils. 20 km. Nopi rannast oma merevaigukogu!

Päev 10. Ventspils – Staldzene. 15 km. Läbi Ventspilsi linna

Päev 11. Staldzene – Oviši. 17 km. Lõppeesmärk – Ovišragsi neem

Päev 12. Oviši – Miķeļtornis. 18 km. Oviši ja Miķeļbāka tuletornide vahel

Päev 13. Miķeļtornis – Sīkrags. 19 km. Sihtpunkt – Slītere rahvuspark

Päev 14. Sīkrags – Saunags. 16 km. Liivlaste rannas

Päev 15. Saunags – Kolka. 13 km. Kolka neem – Euroopa süda

Project “Hiking Route along the Baltic Sea Coastline in Latvia and Estonia”

The Baltic Coastal Hiking tourist route along the coastline of the Baltic Sea stretches from the south-west boarder of Latvia to Tallinn in Estonia. The total length of the route is 1200 km, and it is the longest hiking route in the Baltic States.

Project goal is to develop a hiking tourism route along the Baltic sea coastline in Estonia and Latvia. The route will stretch along the Southwest coastline in Latvia, starting from the border with Lithuania and through Latvia (~532 km) to Laane county region in Estonia (382 km) and further to the capital of Estonia – Tallinn in total ca 1100 km. The hiking route will be a sustainable tourism product that highlights cultural and natural heritage along the coastline, is friendly to nature, cultural environment and local economy. 

Contacts: 
Tõiv Jõul, project coorinator, ph +372 5650 0727, toivj(at)hotmail.com
Annika Mändla, marketing specialist
ph +372 5818 8221, annika(at)visithaapsalu.com

One of the highest added values of the project is a tourism product that is developed jointly and covers territories in two countries. The project contributes to the implementation of the EUSBSR policy area „Tourism – Reinforcing cohesiveness of the macro-region through tourism“ and the achievement of the EUSBSR objective „Connect the region“.

Project has been awarded the label of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018.

Project partners: Lead partner Country Tourism Associations of Latvia – Lauku Ceļotājs. From Estonia NGO Estonian Rural Tourism (MTÜ Eesti Maaturism), NGO West Estonia Tourism (MTÜ Lääne-Eestii Turism) and from Latvia 3 coastal municipalities Carnikava, Saulkrasti and Salacgrīva Municipalities, Kurzeme Planning Region and Vidzeme Tourism Association

Total budget: 1 089 737.80€, ERDF contribution: 926 777.13€.
Project duration: 01.02.2017 – 31.01.2020

This website reflects the views of the author. The managing authority of the programme is not liable for how this information may be used.