ESTONIA, LATVIA - Active Gourmet Tour in Latvia and Estonia
Duration: 9 days/12 days
For whom: independent travellers
Transportation: bicycle, canoe boat
Total length: ~ 446 km cycling, ~ 7 km canoeing
Itinerary: Rīga - Gauja National Park - Otepaa - River Ahja - Tartu - Lahemaa National Park - Tallinn
Rīga - Sigulda - Turaida - Sigulda - Līgatne
Ride with train: Rīga-Sigulda (1 h)
Ride with bike: Sigulda - Turaida - Sigulda - Līgatne (~ 33 km, 60 % asphalt, 40% gravel road)
Turaida museum reserve, ruins of a Livonian Order castle
There is an observation tower and a sculpture garden on the banks of the River Gauja. Also, do some sightseeing in Sigulda.
Lunch in the Pub “Bucefāls”
It is a log building with traditional style interior design. On the menu: lamb from the owner’s farm, smoked chicken.
Līgatne Winery and Spoon Factory
This family-run winery makes 20 sorts of sweet, semi-sweet and dry wines from berries, fruit, plants and even flowers foraged in Gauja National Park. They also produce jam and gather herbs to produce herbal teas. The Spoon Factory demonstrates how they make spoons and other practical household items from wood.
Līgatne Nature Park
Walking trails and wild animals in open air enclosures.
The Secret Soviet Bunker
The secret Soviet bunker in Līgatne is located in the territory of the "Līgatne" Rehabilitation Centre at a depth of nine metres underground. It was built in the 80s to create a safe place where the state's elite could live in the case of a nuclear war threat. Now a popular tourist attraction, guided tours available.
Evening Meal at “Vilhelmīnes dzirnavas” Pub
This local pub is located in the historic Līgatne paper mill building by a pond. Traditional Latvian dishes are on the menu such as Vidzeme stroganoff, grilled Kolka herring, Amata river trout.
Overnight Stay in the Guest House “Vilhelmīne”.
The guest house is located in Līgatne by the river and close to the Līgatne nature trails. Family rooms are available.
Līgatne - Āraiši - Cēsis
Ride with bike: Līgatne – Āraiši - Cēsis (35-45 km; 60% asphalt, 40% gravel road)
Āraišu Castle on the Lake
The only tribal residence in Europe that was fortified in the 9th-10th centuries. Its historic reconstruction serves as a museum.
Āraišu Vējdzirnavas Windmill
Excursion and Miller’s Lunch in an authentic environment. Āraišu Vējdzirnavas Windmill is one of the few Dutch-type windmills in Latvia that is still in working order. You can also try your hand at grain milling. The Miller’s Lunch is made from locally grown ingredients. It consists of barley porridge with meat sauce, dessert with berry jelly, and herbal tea or sour milk.
Cēsu medieval castle with a historical reconstruction of a 16th century herb and vegetable garden. It contains only vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants that were found in Livonia 500 years ago, such as onions, garlic, dill and thyme. Both in the Middle Ages and in the palace garden, medicinal plants such as marigold and wormwood were also grown. During the summer season, a knowledgeable medieval gardener will tell you about the plants that are found in the garden and their uses, as well as their positive and negative impacts.
“Cēsu maize” Bakery
Excursion and bread tasting. They bake bread from organic grain using a natural dough starter. The grain is milled in the stone mill.
Gift Shop “Pie Karlīnes”
The shop is named after the hotel's former owner, Karlīne. It is possible to buy gifts, handicraft items, souvenirs, as well as delicious homemade products, homemade wines and spirits here. Produce tasting presentations on prior arrangement.
Evening Meal in the Restaurant “Jāņoga”
The restaurant offers meals made from local farmers’ produce and extensive vegetarian menu.
Overnight in Cēsis http://turisms.cesis.lv/en/where-to-stay/
Cēsis - Valmiera
Ride with bike: Cēsis – Valmiera (~ 50 km, 24% asphalt, 76% gravel and forest road)
Cēsis - Valmiera
The route leads through forests and meadows in the ancient valley of the River Gauja with landscapes of sandstone cliffs and caves. As there are no lunch possibilities in this route, we recommend to take lunch boxes.
Evening meal in Valmiermuiža Brewery
Visitors can enjoy local foods at the brewery pub. After the meal visitors will learn about the traditions of beer brewing, as well as observe how “live” beer is made using natural ingredients. The tour ends with beer tasting.
Overnight Stay in the Hotel “Wolmar” in Valmiera
Located in the centre of Valmiera, the hotel features a city theme - each room has its own address and the corridors bear street names. The hotel restaurant offers a culinary journey based on natural local foods.
Valmiera - Lugaži - Valka - Valga
Ride with train: Valmiera – Lugaži (43 km, ca 50 minutes)
Ride with bike: Lugaži – Valka (Latvia) – Valga (Estonia) (~ 7 km)
Cycling through twin-towns Valka and Valga.
Lunch in the Hotel Metsis Restaurant in Valga
On the restaurant menu you will find game and fish dishes, mostly made from local ingredients. The restaurant Hunter's Hall with its cosy atmosphere is worth a visit.
Ride with train: Valga – Tartu to Puka (ca 50 minutes)
A family run company producing innovative and delicious hemp and buckwheat products like hemp seeds, hemp oil, organic buckwheat flour, buckwheat pillows.
Ride with bike: Puka – Otepää (15 km, 100% gravel road)
The route leads through the uplands of Otepää with wonderful nature landscapes.
Dinner in the Restaurant “Ugandi Resto”
Attractive interior and tasty food. Their menu includes Karilatsi trout, Liivimaa beef, house beer, grape wine, birch sap wine and house cider.
Overnight in Cantervilla Castle, 7 km from Otepää.
Otepää - Põlva
Ride with bike: Otepää – Põlva (~ 53 km, 100% asphalt).
The route leads through Otepää Nature Park.
Eve Demitševa Sepa talu (Eve Demitševa Sepa Goat Farm)
The farm makes goat’s cheese and other goat’s milk products.
Lunch in Kopli taluköök (Kopli Farm Kitchen)
This is a private restaurant where guests can enjoy delicious meals from fresh, seasonal and local food in a quiet pastoral atmosphere. Their speciality is home-made ice-cream.
En Route: Touring Põlva Town
Evening Meal and Overnight Stay in Hotel Pesa in Põlva
The hotel offers a variety of holiday activities: boating down the River Ahja or River Võhandu. Hiking in winter, trike rides, kick sled, adventure tourism. The hotel restaurant offers meals from local ingredients including fruits, berries and mushrooms picked in the nearby forests.
Koorvere - Tartu
Canoeing: 7 km, ca 2.5 hours
Ride with bike: Koorvere – Tartu (~ 40 km, 100% asphalt)
Canoeing Trip on the River Ahja from Kiidjärve to Koorvere
On this canoeing trip you will see beautiful sandstone cliffs, wild nature, birds and animals. For groups, a picnic lunch can be arranged with soup made on an open fire. For individuals we recommend to take lunch boxes.
Cycling: Koorvere – Tartu
Andre Farm (Andre Cheese Farm)
This farm manufactures and sells globally renowned cheeses. Cows from happy farms give premium quality, delicious milk. Farm visitors can visit and see the cows, as well as watch the milking process. You can buy organic cheese and other organic local produce from small producers at the small farm store.
Estonian Agricultural Museum
The museum is located near Tartu in Ülenurme manor estate, and takes pride in its unique collection of agricultural machinery and a comprehensive exhibition of agriculture and rural life in Estonia through the centuries. In the Museum there is a bakery, which houses a huge baking oven. At the bakery, visitors can learn the art of baking sourdough rye bread and also churn butter.
Dinner in the Restaurant “Umb Roht” in Tartu
The chefs of this cosy restaurant find inspiration in the local flora and fauna, bringing out forgotten flavours in any season. Their special offers include game and birch sap jelly.
Overnight Stay in a Hotel in Tartu.
A Day in Tartu
Sightseeing in Tartu
Tartu is Estonia’s second city. Sightseeing in the Old Town, Classicism style buildings. Tartu University – the oldest in the Baltic states, and the observatory.
Farmers’ Market Lõunakeskus
Locally grown Estonian produce and products made from local ingredients both for everyday life and festive occasions. A wide range of products coming mainly from farms in southern Estonia.
Lunch in Maitseelamuse Koda (The House of Delicious Tastes)
It is a place in the centre of Tartu where one can enjoy light fish&chips style meals made from the fish from Lake Peipus. The small shop combines Peipus' area dining experiences with modern cuisine, using only the best local products.
Beer Museum “A. Le Coq”
At the brewery museum of A. Le Coq, Estonia's oldest and largest beverage producer, visitors get acquainted with the history of beer brewing and beer culture, modern beer production as well as taste the beer. You can buy beer and snacks to go with it, as well as souvenirs.
Overnight Stay in Tartu.
Tartu - Tallinn
Ride with train: Tartu - Tallinn
Sightseeing in Tallinn.
Overnight Stay in Tallinn.
OPTIONAL TOUR EXTENSION
Tartu - Tamsalu - Lasila - Rakvere
Ride with train: Tartu – Tamsalu (130 km)
Ride with bike: Tamsalu – Lasila – Rakvere (~ 28 km, 100% asphalt)
Rakvere - Livonian Order Castle Ruins and Old Town Rakvere.
Overnight stay in a Guest House in Rakvere.
Rakvere - Vihula/Altja
Ride with bike: Rakvere – Vihula / Altja (~ 30-40 km, 100% asphalt).
Lahemaa National Park, Käsmu Peninsula.
A day in the national park: Altja Village in Lahemaa National Park was first recorded in writing in 1465. It is a typical seaside village with houses along one street. Traditional farmsteads of Uustalu and Toomarahva from the late 19th century are open to visitors. Renovated fishnet sheds are located on Cape Altja. The village has a swing and a tavern (Altja Kõrts) providing national food.
Overnight stay in Altja Village or in Vihula Manor.
Vihula/Altja - Võsu - Vihasoo - Viinistu
Ride with bike: Vihula/Altja – Võsu – Vihasoo - Viinistu (~ 50-40 km, 95% asphalt)
Lahemaa National Park
Highlights: coastal landscapes of the Baltic Sea, huge boulders at the seaside, various nature trails, authentic fishermen’s villages and beautiful manor houses in Sagadi and Palmse are typical of the park.
Overnight stay in Viinistu.
Viinistu - Kahala - Kiiu - Jägala Joa - Maardu - Tallin
Ride with bike: Viinistu – Kahala – Kiiu – Jägala Joa – Maardu - Tallinn (~ 70 km, 85% asphalt, 14% gravel road)
Overnight stay in a Hotel in Tallinn.
Sightseeing in Tallinn.