This is my first post to this site so please be gentle!
Me and my wife are planning a trip around the Baltic Sea this summer. We can only spare 3 weeks to do it, so have had to leave out St Petersburg (we went there last year so that's ok). We've done quite a lot of research and have come up with a route, which you can see here:
Baltic Bash - Google Maps
The green markers are places we'll stay for one night, and the red markers for 2 nights. We're getting a ferry to and from Esbjerg in Denmark from the UK. We've visited Copenhagen before, so will only be there for 1 night this time.
Basically, what we're looking for is any advice on the route itself. Are we going to be travelling on good motorcycling roads, or are there better choices we could make? Are there any places we're missing that we really shouldn't? We're hoping to pass through Kaliningrad in one day - a Russian agency we spoke to recently said it would be possible, and we can do it on a transit visa. Does anyone know if this is correct?
Bearing in mind our time limits, we can't stray too far from the coast and don't want to be stuck on motorways if we can help it.
We'd really appreciate any advice anyone can give.
Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have superb roads. Kaliningrad and Poland are good - generally comparable with much of UK.
Consider taking the inland route between Tallin and Riga - the road between Tartu and Riga is my all time favourite surfaced road. Big, hauntingly lonely, Hansel & Gretel type countryside with isolated farmsteads set in large clearings in the dark forest. The undulating, curving roads are a joy in themselves, without the scenery!
The Coronian Spit between Klaipeda and Kaliningrad is interesting - after the short ferry crossing the Latvian side of this protected national park is far better managed than the Russian section.
Kaliningrad is not representative of Russia but provides a variation to its neighbours. You will need Russian Visas in advance and non-EU insurance (bought near the border). Border crossings are the fastest I know for Russia.
It is easy to look at the city and cross Kaliningrad region and enter Poland in less than a day.
However Gdansk would be really pushing it in a day from Klaipeda if you want to stop on the Spit and see Kaliningrad city.
Looks like a great plan, and I'm sorry I can't help you with any suggestions or advice! I'm planning on a similar trip in June this year, except we will be going all the way up around the Gulf of Bothnia to the Sweden/Finland border, then back down to Russia into St Petersburg. The plan is to stay relatively coastal on the way up and back. Does anyone know what the weather will be like that time of year that far north, we don't have a whole lot of extreme cold gear (we're doing a European summer ride after all!) and if it is too cold be will prob cut across just like Dorian is planning.
So any route suggestions, same as Dorian we will be avoiding motorways, for that route up to the Sweden/Finland border and back down? What temperatures can we expect? We will be carrying 5 degree Celsius sleeping bags and 3 season tents if that's any idea.
Dorian, did you go into Saint Petersburg from the Finland border by chance? Is that do-able in one day?
Thanks in advance!
A few weeks ago I drove Helsinki to Peter in a standard car, in well under a day on fresh and compacted snow (they don't treat roads) and temperatures down to -20C.
That included shopping stops for fish and other foods to take back to RUS.
Before reaching Riga, see if you can visit the long beach of pure white silica sands that runs from Kolka down to Riga. Youca npark up, walk a couple of hundred yards to the beach, pitch and have a stretch of lovely coast all to your self.
In Estonia, it is also worth trying to visit the Estonian islands: each has its own unique traits and treasures. Lake Peipsi is very beautiful too.
If you like camping, look for the various RMK (Forestry Authority) nature reserves and the basic, but equipped campsites they manage where you will find a firepit and chopped wood, outhouse and space to pitch in lovely locale.
Pack mozzy repellent (preferrably with tick repellent)!
If you can get tick-born encephalitis vaccine, too. A good precation. Failing that, just don't walk through grass bare-legged and check yourself for the little b*stards!
+1 for Tony's route - I much prefer Tartu to Tallin.
Also when in Latvia, Sigulda is well worth a visit.
Around the Baltic Also!
Looks like there may be a few of us with the same idea! :biggrin3: My friend and I are leaving Frankfurt on June 24th and making this lap. We will meet another friend on Gotland Island and there will be three of us on the rest of the lap. Based on reading the blogs and a couple of books (one being Storm) this is the route we came up with. Comments are welcome! :cool4:
I will hopefully be updating the blog here as we travel!
Thanks for the travel tips for Pol, Lith, Lat and Est! I knew there was something I still had to do before I set off in 10 days to ride Dusseldorf to Tallinn. That's it: Work out my route! Will be en-route 10th to 18th April.
Hopefully there'll still be a bit of frost over night to keep the flying nasties away.
Denmark and Sweden is OK.
Ferry from Sweden to Åland is OK.
If you have time take little boats from Åland trough Finish archipelago between islands it will take time to do it but it's worth of it.
I Estonia and Latvia you can also use smaller roads they are more scenery and interesting than main highway..
A little way east of Gdansk, the coastal 501 road runs parallel just north of your route, the E77.
Don't know if you're interested in such things, but at Sztutowo on the 501 there's a large memorial site and museum to the Stutthof WWII concentration camp. I found the visit very worthwhile, but then I was on a 5-week motorbike tour around Poland visiting lots of them.
Also, along that road there are lots of deserted sandy beaches (almost no facitilities when I was there about 13 years ago).
The two kept me in that area for a couple of days. But Stutthof could be a half day trip from Gdansk, along the beaches, for a thought-provoking visit.
The island of Rugen is a great place to visit, worth a few days if you have the time. Don't know what the access roads are like now. About 6 years ago lots of new ones were being built, and the summer traffic was awful, even on a bike.
Probably better now, but expect lots of summer traffic.
Lubeck is definitely worth at least an overnight stop.
North of Lubeck, after Eutin, if you go north-east from Plon towards Lutjenburg and on to the extensive Baltic beaches around Schonberg and Schonbergerstrand (Holstein, not the Schonberg east of Lubeck), you could easily lose a few days in that whole area. You may be the only foreigners around, it still seems to be a largely undiscovered area although RyanAir are doing their best with the expansion of Lubeck airport. Maybe spend some time there before the Brits discover it all and come piling over!
Plenty of ferienwohnung guest rooms all over the place.
I suspect your time constaints won't allow all this, nevertheless a break for tea at one of the lakeside cafes around Plon would be nice. (Get off the main road to find them, if you see the tops of the tall sails of the yachts through the trees, head towards them).
Plus all the summer music festivals in the area between Plon and the Baltic beaches, many free events, you could spend most of your 3 weeks there!
Have a great trip.
Thank for all of the suggestions - they're exactly what we were looking for.
We've decided to do the inland route from Tallin to Riga as it sounds like a great route for riding. We've also worked out that with ferry timings we'll have a day longer than we expected for the trip, so will have a night in Kaliningrad to split the ride from Klaipeda to Gdansk and have the chance to sample some more Russian vodka!
Keep the suggestions coming - they're all much appreciated.
Some friends and I did a Baltics ride last fall. We have a ride report on our website which gives web addresses for the places we stayed (if they had a website) and photos. Also some good places to stop along the way. If you think this might help go to: http://motorradworldtourers.com/
On the home page find 2010 Ride Index and click on it. At the top of the page which pops up you will find Baltics Ride parts 1 and 2. Part 1 will probably be of more interest. Hope this offers some help.
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