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Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
We start the trip in Vilnius, our base for two nights. Vilnius is known for its old town of beautiful Baroque architecture, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. It has a strong historical Jewish influence and Napoleon named it 'the Jerusalem of the North' as he was passing through in 1812. In the year 2009, Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture, together with the Austrian city of Linz.
The Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7.00pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner.
If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Vilnius Airport (VNO), which is a twenty-thirty minute drive from the hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
Amberton Vilnius Hotel (or similar)
This morning we drive 28 kilometres / 17.3 miles from Vilnius to Trakai Historical National Park. Outside the capital we find a peaceful land of forests, lakes, rivers and farmsteads. Our first stop is to see the impressive setting and fortifications of Trakai island castle. Trakai was an important seat of power in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania during the 14th and 15th centuries, ruling an empire that stretched all the way down to the Black Sea. For those interested there is the option to go inside the castle. After our visit we continue to Senieji Trakai, or Old Trakai, to prepare our bikes for the first ride and check that everybody is happy and comfortable. We cycle back through town and the Trakai peninsula, where there are many cafés and restaurants to choose from for a lunch break. Our ride continues away from Trakai and around the shores of the lake, along a mixture of asphalted back roads with light traffic and dedicated cycle paths to Uzutrakis Manor House.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 13 kilometres / 8 miles.
This morning we see more of Lithuania's countryside with a four to five hour drive towards the Baltic Sea to Kintai village where we have lunch before getting our bikes ready. After lunch we cycle for about 10 km on the flat and beside the Curonian Lagoon, along a quiet paved road to Vente Cape. Vente Cape is a small peninsula on the eastern side of Curonian Lagoon. More than 50,000 visitors come each year in order to get acquainted with one of the most important spots for bird migration in the region. We make a visit to Ventes Ragas and 19th century lighthouse and the Ornithological Station where the migration patterns of many bird species are tracked and recorded. Huge nets are used to catch the birds they tag. We then cycle back the same 10 km / 6.2 miles route to Kintai village. From here we join a forest bike track and continue along this bumpy gravel track through the fishing villages of Priekule, Surmai to Dreverna where the group ride finishes and we rejoin our vehicle for the transfer to Klaipeda. Klaipeda is the third biggest city in Lithuania, an important port and Lithuania's chief gateway to the Baltic Sea. It has a long history from a tribal fishing village and later arrival of German Crusaders who seized this land and built their castle here in 1252, later known as Memel.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 39 kilometres / 24.1 miles.
Amberton Klaipeda (or similar)
Today we take a short ride by bus to the harbour and take the five minute ferry ride to Curonian Spit National Park (UNESCO World Heritage Site) then drive for about one hour to Nida. We stop en route briefly at the Hill of Witches in Juodkrante to see a colony of grey herons and cormorants. Nida is a charming fishing village with a number of well-preserved old wooden fisherman's houses. A peaceful and relaxing atmosphere pervades throughout the Curonian Spit. We get on our bikes in Nida to explore the village, visiting a giant sundial and the highest dune for views over the surrounding landscape. We continue by bike along the spit through forests on paved bike paths mostly on the flat. We will cycle alongside giant sand dunes, hundred year-old pine forests and white sand beaches; learning about its unique culture and architecture and you may like to try some of the typical local smoked fish. We leave the bikes for a short walk up the Dead Dunes beyond Pervalka where a panoramic view of both the Baltic Sea and the Curonian Lagoon opens up. After relaxing in Juodkrante you have the choice to take the bus to our hotel or cycle the remaining 12 km / 7.5 milesfrom Juodkrante to Smiltyne then take the ferry back to Klaipeda harbour, ending with a final 2 to 4 km / 1.24 to 2.48 miles to the hotel.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 36 kilometres / 22.3 miles, with a further optional 22 km / 13.6 miles available.
After a short drive from our hotel in Klaipeda we cycle along the coastline on a dedicated and paved cycle route through the Giruliai Forest to the popular summer resort of Palanga. Along the way we visit the Seaside Regional Park including the Dutchmen's cap - a 24-metre / 79 feet -high cliff - the fishing village of Karkle, Plaze Lake and the former lifeguard station in Nemirseta. Before lunch we explore Palanga Botanical Park and the biggest Amber Museum in the Baltics. Palanga's population swells enormously in the summer months as it is the premier beach destination in Lithuania and boasts a beautiful sweeping beach. From Palanga after lunch we continue cycling a further 15 km / 9.3 miles on cycle paths and finish in Sventoji town before we drive to Riga - a journey of four to five hours. Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia and the Baltic States. It boasts superb architecture spanning over six centuries and has an impressive collection of beautifully decorated Art Nouveau buildings.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 37 kilometres / 23 miles.
Rixwell Konventa Seta Hotel (or similar)
After breakfast we drive to Jurmala - one of the largest resort towns in the Baltics with 32 km / 19.8 miles of white sandy beach fringed by pine forests old wooden summer cottages and more recently built villas. Jurmala's reputation as a spa destination began in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as many sanatoriums were built to take advantage of the sea breeze, pine aroma, mineral springs and beach. We explore the town by bike for around 12 km / 7.4 miles, followed by some free time for ice cream, coffee, a cycle on the beach on hard packed sand or even a swim. We return to Riga by bus or there is the option to cycle the 25 km / 15.5 miles back to the city. The rest of the day is left free to discover beautiful Riga.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 12 kilometres / 7.4 miles, with a further optional 25 km / 15.5 miles available.
This morning we drive for about six hours to Lahemaa National Park, Estonia's first and largest national park. The park is an interesting mix of coastal bluffs, dense forest, 7000 year old bogs, 18th century manor houses, fishing villages and numerous lakes and rivers. The rocky coastline is strewn with erratic boulders, some very large, that were carried here by glaciers thousands of years ago. Most of the cycle routes are on well paved roads that have little traffic. Once we arrive we check into our hotel then head out on our bikes on a circular route to explore the park.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 41 kilometres / 25.4 miles.
Palmse Distillery Guesthouse (or similar)
This morning we continue to explore the vast natural beauty of Lahemaa National Park by bike. Established in 1971, it was the first national park in Estonia and two-thirds of the land is covered by forest. There are four large peninsulas in Lahemaa and one of them constitutes the northernmost point of continental Estonia. The park is home to moose, boars, brown bears, lynxes, foxes, beavers, the Ural Owl and Black Woodpecker. We plan to cycle another circular route before rejoining our bus. When we have finished in the park after a short lunch in a local cafe we drive for about one and a half hours to Tallinn. Todays cycle route is planned first thing in the morning so we can check into our hotel in Tallinn in time to enjoy a free afternoon in this wonderful city.
Kreutzwald Tallinn (or similar)
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Tallinn.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Tallinn at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day, luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like an airport transfer today, you'll need to depart from Tallinn Airport (TLL), which is a twenty minute drive away.
Total distance : 262 kilometres
Summer days in Estonia are warm though changeable with the occasional thunderstorm. Temperatures are commonly around 20-25°C, but can reach 30°C or more especially in July. At night temperatures are cooler. Winters can be harsh with very low temperatures, especially in January. Sometimes it drops as low -30°C, but more commonly it'll be around -5°C. Snowfall usually starts in November and lasting through to March. Being a maritime climate it can rain at any time of the year and it can be foggy in the autumn.
2 Pin Round
Summers in Latvia are generally hot and sunny and less humid than in Central Europe, with temperatures commonly around 18-22°C, but can reach 30°C. Summer is normally the rainiest time of year on a count of the afternoon thunderstorms that occur on some days. It can be windy on the coast at any time of year. Temperatures begin to drop in autumn and September can quite cold with temperatures between 8-15°C. Winters are normally below freezing with the first snows starting in November and lasting to the end of February. Temperatures regularly reach as low as -5°C, but can go down as far as -35°C.
Summer days in Lithuania are warm though changeable. Temperatures on the coast are usually around 19°C and between 22-23°C further inland, but they can reach over 30°C. At night temperatures are cooler. Winters are cold, with temperatures regularly below freezing, so be prepared for snowy and icy conditions. Temperatures regularly reach as low as -5°C, but can go down as far as -35°C. Snowfall usually starts in November and lasting through to March. Being a maritime climate it can rain at any time of the year.
Trakai Island Castle - 14 Euros
When cycling: quick drying cycle tops, padded cycle shorts, lightweight wind and water proof jacket and warmer breathable layers where local conditions require. General: Pack essentially for hot or mild weather depending on the time of the year plus some warmer clothes for colder nights. Ladies should take a headscarf for entering churches. You may want to pack a swimsuit and towel, depending on the time of year, as there will be some opportunities to swim.
If you are not bringing cycle shoes then try to bring stiff-soled shoes as these are better for cycling - transmitting your energy into the pedals more efficiently. This becomes more relevant and recommended the more demanding the grade and distances to cover. SPD cycle shoes are not well suited to tours that combine sightseeing with cycling. Comfortable shoes, trainers, sandals or flip flops are useful when not on the bike.
We recommend you bring a daypack and one main piece of luggage (total allowance: 44lb/20kg) which will be transported between hotels while you cycle. Check the bike details section to see if a pannier or handlebar bag is provided on the bike. Remember that you'll have to carry your own luggage so don't overload yourself.
On all Explore cycle holidays we strongly recommend you bring along and wear your cycle helmet. In case of an accident resulting in personal injury, certain insurance policies are invalidated in cases where a helmet was not being worn. Cycle glasses to protect against dust, pollen and the sun, padded cycle gloves and a water bottle or water delivery system (e.g. camelback or platypus) are also useful. You may choose to bring your own gel seat cover for added comfort. Bring an eye mask for sleeping during white nights. Other items to consider bringing are a sunhat and sun cream, torch, earplugs and insect repellent. Please carry some or all of your cycling equipment e.g. helmet as part of your hand luggage.
Bus, Bicycle, Boat
Comfortable - Our mid-range accommodation offers a good level of service often with other amenities such as a restaurant, bar, garden or swimming pool. Generally rooms will be comfortable with en-suite facilities.
We strongly recommend that you check your government's travel advisory for up-to-date information and advice about your destination: safety and security, entry requirements, health, local laws and customs. For UK citizens, check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advice.
Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Lithuania: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Latvia: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens. Estonia: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus and hepatitis A. Tick-borne encephalitis is recommended by some medical sources if travelling in certain areas of Eastern Europe, at specific times of the year. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
Nothing compulsory, but we recommend protection against tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis A, polio and diphtheria. Consult your travel clinic for further advice. tick-borne encephalitis is recommended by some medical sources if travelling in certain areas of Eastern Europe, at specific times of the year. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.