Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Planning, Trip > Route Planning

Route Planning Where to go, when, what are the interesting places to see
Contact Overland Solutions for all your custom modifications and setup for overland travel.

Calendar Contest Voting is now CLOSED. Results to be posted shortly.


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 22 Sep 2003
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Shropshire, UK.
Posts: 142
Baltic states (& Russia?)

I'm planning a lap of the Baltic States next July/August time. I'll be starting from Sweden and heading over the top of the Gulf of Bothnia into Finland, then south west through the Baltic states into Poland, Germany, and back to the UK. I've got about a month set aside for the trip, and it'll probably be me solo on my Africa Twin.

So, the questions;

a) Is a detour into Russia and St. Petersberg worth the hassle?

b) What *is* the hassle in getting me and bike into/out of Russia? (Visa, carnets, delays, etc.)

c) Recommendations for places to go/see in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania? (I lean more towards stunning scenery than stuffy museums)

d) Availability/cost of hotels/b&b/campsites in the Baltics? (Planning on camping at the moment, unless b&b are that cheap)

e) Attitude of locals to comparitively rich tourist on a comparitively expensive bike? (Will I stoned by kids as in Algeria?)

f) Who publishes guide books for the Baltic states? Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, etc.?

g) Same question for maps? Michelin, I guess?

h) As per a) and b), is Kalliningrad worth a detour?

Okay, thanks in advance. If this thread has been done to death before, please post a link to it. If someone has done this trip before and got the all-informative website, please post a link to that. Cheers to all in advance.

Iain
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 22 Sep 2003
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Still homeless
Posts: 768
Greetings, Iain.

I'm from Estonia and can give you some information what to see, especially i know nature-places.

e-mail me about what type of riding you like: tent-camping style or prefer hotels, do you like offroad or onroad-riding etc what you're up to and looking forward to experience on this trip? Then i'll let you know what possibly suits for you.

Take a look into some pics from Islands i've ridden:

Hiiumaa island:
http://homepage.mac.com/nemos/PhotoAlbum18.html

Vormsi island:
http://homepage.mac.com/nemos/PhotoAlbum23.html

PS: And about Sant Petersburg - it's for sure worth a shot. Lot of culture and places to see. But be careful with the thieves and when going to see something - take a normal guy from the street and offer him a or small amount of money that he keeps his eye on your bike when you're gone (and certanly, pay him only when you're back not before...).

Regards, Margus (Estonia, Eastern-Europe)


Quote:
Originally posted by iswoolley:
I'm planning a lap of the Baltic States next July/August time. I'll be starting from Sweden and heading over the top of the Gulf of Bothnia into Finland, then south west through the Baltic states into Poland, Germany, and back to the UK. I've got about a month set aside for the trip, and it'll probably be me solo on my Africa Twin.

So, the questions;

a) Is a detour into Russia and St. Petersberg worth the hassle?

b) What *is* the hassle in getting me and bike into/out of Russia? (Visa, carnets, delays, etc.)

c) Recommendations for places to go/see in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania? (I lean more towards stunning scenery than stuffy museums)

d) Availability/cost of hotels/b&b/campsites in the Baltics? (Planning on camping at the moment, unless b&b are that cheap)

e) Attitude of locals to comparitively rich tourist on a comparitively expensive bike? (Will I stoned by kids as in Algeria?)

f) Who publishes guide books for the Baltic states? Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, etc.?

g) Same question for maps? Michelin, I guess?

h) As per a) and b), is Kalliningrad worth a detour?

Okay, thanks in advance. If this thread has been done to death before, please post a link to it. If someone has done this trip before and got the all-informative website, please post a link to that. Cheers to all in advance.

Iain
[This message has been edited by Margus (edited 22 September 2003).]
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 30 Sep 2003
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Russia
Posts: 4
Hello, Iain

I'm from Russia, so here my comments (in CAPITAL LETTERS)

a) Is a detour into Russia and St. Petersberg worth the hassle?

YES! THIS YEAR THERE WAS THE CELEBRATION OF THE 300 YEARS OF THE SAINT-PETERSBURG CITY, SO YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO SEE THE "NORTH VENICE" AND IT'S PALACES IN THEIR'S BEAUTY.

b) What *is* the hassle in getting me and bike into/out of Russia? (Visa, carnets, delays, etc.)

YOU'LL NEED VISA AND TPL INSURANCE (CAN BUY IN ON THE BORDER CROSSING, I DON'T KNOW THE PRICE, BUT THINK IT'S NOT TOO BIG). CARNETS IS NOT NECESSARY.
IT'S BETTER FOR YOU TO CONTACT RUSSIAN EMBASSY IN LONDON TO CLEAR THE DETAILS WITH VISAS.

c) Recommendations for places to go/see in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania? (I lean more towards stunning scenery than stuffy museums)

IN LITHUANIA IT'S BETTER TO VISIT THE "KURISHE NERUNG" (IN GERMAN, I DON'T KNOW, HOW IT'S IN ENGLISH) IT'S A SAND STRIP, WHICH BEGINS ON THE RUSSIAN TERRITORY AND LASTS NEAR KLAIPEDA (LITHUANIA). IT'S NATIONAL PARK WITH BEAUTIFUL LANDSCAPES AND SAND DUNES. THERE ARE LOCATED THE ONLY DESERT IN THE EUROPE. BELIEVE ME, IT'S VERY WORTH TO SEE!

d) Availability/cost of hotels/b&b/campsites in the Baltics? (Planning on camping at the moment, unless b&b are that cheap)
I DON'T KNOW ABOUT CAMPINGS IN RUSSIA, BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT TOO SPREAD AS IN WEST EUROPE. BUT YOU CAN STAY IN HOTELS OR IN THE GUESTHOUSES (2-3 STARS).


e) Attitude of locals to comparitively rich tourist on a comparitively expensive bike? (Will I stoned by kids as in Algeria?)
THIS IS THE PROBLEM. THERE ARE NOT HASSLE KIDS AS IN AFRICA, BUT RICH BIKE CAN DRAW AN ATTRACTION OF THE ADULTS. THE BEST WAY IS TO USE THE PAYD PARKINGS.

h) As per a) and b), is Kalliningrad worth a detour?

YOU CAN CROSS THE NATIONAL PARK (SEE C)) AND ENTER KALININGRAD THERE. IF YOU JUST WANT TO SEE THE SIGHTSEENGS IT MAYBE NOT WORTH TO DO IT BECAUSE THE OLD KOENIGSBERG WAS WIPED OUT IN 1944 BY ENGLISH BOMBINGS.
SEE HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://www.riss-kaliningrad.com/


HOPE THIS HELP.

REGARDS, ERICK
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 3 Oct 2003
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Belgium
Posts: 473
Ian,

Just back from a trip that takes partly the same route as you planned. We rode up Norway, then North East into Sweden over the Baltics to Rovaniemi in Finland. From there we went South East towards the RussianbBorder in the shouth of Finland. We hoped to take the ferry to Talin and complete our tour through the Baltic States. Instead we had to cut short and take the ferry to Stockholm. But we don't regret that. We loved South Sweden!!!

Anyway, I met a guy who travelled a lot in the Baltic States. His advise concerning the bikes: park them on a garded parking spot and... ask a receit (spelling? anyway, a paper that proves that you left the bike behind). He was speaking out of experience...

For the rest he was very enthousiastic. Especially about the countryside.

Have fun. Mayby my next trip will take me to the Baltics.


Pieter.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 9 Feb 2004
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Posts: 7
Hi Iain!

I´m from Helsinki, Finland, and I can try to provide you with info and answers you have regarding Finland.

Please email me if you have any guestions!

Raine
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 9 Feb 2004
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Nottingham, UK
Posts: 151
Hi Iain

I've just returned from doing this route in the anti-clockwise direction, but took a detour to CZ and Slovakia. It took me 53 days to get from UK to Chamonix, France via this route (I missed Estonia and Kalingrad), I spent 3 weeks in Russia and it took me 2 weeks to get to Trakai, Lithuania (via CZ, Slovakia, etc) - so you should be OK to do most of what you want to do in a month and could probably have a few days in St P - but it might feel a bit of a rush to get everything in? Below are my answers to some of your questions...

a) Is a detour into Russia and St. Petersberg worth the hassle? - DEFINATELY - but do you have enough time to enjoy this city?

b) What *is* the hassle in getting me and bike into/out of Russia? (Visa, carnets, delays, etc.) Getting a visa was a real pain for me - we discussed this on another posting - see http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/ubb...ML/000120.html

d) Availability/cost of hotels/b&b/campsites in the Baltics? (Planning on camping at the moment, unless b&b are that cheap) - Camping is v cheap in Latvia, so are the B&Bs - should be no problem to do either. I found a few campsites on the web, but you will probably find some whilst on the road if you head for the nice places.

e) Attitude of locals to comparitively rich tourist on a comparitively expensive bike? (Will I stoned by kids as in Algeria?) - Locals very friendly - no problems.

g) Same question for maps? Michelin, I guess? - you can pick them up from garages as you go along - the Michelin spiral bound europe map is great and covers all these countries, but the scale is poor for the Baltics/Russia.

Sweden and Finland might seem expensive, but you can save loads of cash by wild camping and there's plenty of space to do this - much better than paying for campsites! Beer is very cheap in Russia, Baltics, Poland etc. I wonder if might find the 'culture shock' a bit odd going from Finland into Russia (I found Russia quite scarey at first). If you do plan to go to St Peter - why not stay at the Sleep Cheap hostel - 3 lovely young ladies run this very nice hostel (I fell in love with Gooleeya from Uzbekistan, but that's another story) - see http://www.sleepcheap.spb.ru - it was only 19 euros a night there, but prices might have gone up since then. No decent parking there though.

I hope this helps. Good luck, it's a great route. Let me know if you want to know anything else.


------------------
Fuzzy Duck
(I'm quackers about bikes)
__________________
Fuzzy Duck
(I\'m quackers about bikes)
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 9 Feb 2004
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Shropshire, UK.
Posts: 142
Thanks for the info Fuzzy. Just to clear up one lingering question about the visa... is the following correct,

* Get an invitation from a hostel/hotel in Russia

* Get visa from Russian embassy

* Enter Russia, buy insurance

* Within 3 days go to hostel/hotel and get visa stamped

* Tour around for duration of visa

* Leave Russia

I presume the border guards check the visa on the way out of Russia to make sure you've followed the procedure. Is this correct?

Iain
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 9 Feb 2004
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Berlin
Posts: 58
Hi Iswoolley
everything mentioned above about the baltics I would say the same. We toured it in 2000.
I strongely recommand as well heading for the Neringa Spit. And having a look at the Hill of Crosses near Siauliai.

Russia: the funny thing is, it depends on the embassy / consulate you are applying your visa for. Which will be the first step.
For example: asking for a transit visa for Kaliningrad Region at the embassy in Berlin! No way to get it as a german.
Reason: you need a valid visa for the country you are going to.
But as a german you don´t need a visa for either Lithuania, Sweden or Poland.
BUT you can get that visa at the consulate in Bonn.
Getting a visa for Russia I recommand to use a visa service agency. Avoid the hassels at the "juggernaught" Russian Embassy probably anywhere

For example:
www.vostok.de (in Berlin, getting an invitation as well)
www.russia-visa.com (USA)

"Enter Russia, buy insurance"
What sort of insurance? I had to produce an international traveling insurance for myself to apply for a visa.

But a third party liability concerning Russia is totally unknown to me.
I spent 6 weeks on a bike in Russia in 2003.

Goetz
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 10 Feb 2004
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Moscow Russia
Posts: 19

Greetings from Russia!
From 01.01.2004 in territory of the country the law on obligatory insurance operates. "OSAGO"
Cost for a motorcycle 50 euros one year (a month no more than 10 euros).
To visit Petersburg it is necessary, it is one of the most beautiful cities of the world. I always stop in http://www.hotel-olgino.spb.ru/.
At the end of August can get on motor-festival " Werewolf " - a fine party http://www.werewolf.ru/. I there necessarily shall.
Teach{Learn} some phrases in Russian.
The attitude{relation} to motorcyclists and foreigners - benevolent.

Sorry for my English, I use machine translation

------------------
_ ____________________ _
+ 7 910 456 40 20 Dmitry
__________________
_ ____________________ _
+ 7 910 456 40 20 Dmitry
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 10 Feb 2004
Contributing Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Guildford, UK
Posts: 269
Iain, you lazy sod, why didn't you just post a question asking someone to organise your trip for you!?! Don't rely on the Force, use the search facility!

Matt (suffering a deja vu moment)
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 10 Feb 2004
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Shropshire, UK.
Posts: 142
Now there's a thought, I should have done that shouldn't I?

However with the Baltic States joining the EU this year, and the Russian visa system not thoroughly documented anywhere, the Force seemed the way to go!

I still can't work out if you're free to go wherever you want after you've had your visa stamped. In which case I can get it stamped in St.P and then head off into the country for a look around. But my gut tells me the authorities want to keep a tight track on where and when you're going. Anyone care to comment on this?

Iain

ps Norway video is now as complete as I can be bothered to get it. Not bad for a first unplanned attempt if you ask me. I'll post you a VCD (should work in your DVD player) when I return the negs.

[This message has been edited by iswoolley (edited 10 February 2004).]
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 10 Feb 2004
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Berlin
Posts: 58
my own russian experience summer 2003:
once you´ve entered the country feel free to go anywhere. You had to register at least in the first hotel (either OVIR) within the first three days.
The enforcement late summer 2003 says you gotta register all the time.
Actually I don´t believe it to be that tough. I´ll be heading back to Russia in may 04. I´ll register first but not all the time. I don´t think they will not let me out.

Goetz

------------------
ïóòü = öåëü
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 11 Feb 2004
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Moscow Russia
Posts: 19
Hi Goetz!

I think, it is not necessary to complicate a situation with registration. If you not the bearded arab with a bag of a plastic explosive or the illegal worker are not present an occasion for anxiety.

__________________
_ ____________________ _
+ 7 910 456 40 20 Dmitry
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 11 Feb 2004
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Nottingham, UK
Posts: 151
Blimey 10 euros for bike insurance for a month - I was definately ripped off as I paid 50!!!!

Iain your summary a few posts above was exactly what I did.

Interestingly I couldn't be found on the Russian computer system when I tried to leave (into Finland) - as the queue was gradually growing, the guard just scratched his head, did a ad-hoc squiggle on one of the many bits of important paper and said goodbye - TOO EASY!

So all the trouble I went to get the right paperwork squiggles was a waste of time!

anyway when I got into Russia I registered at a hotel then buggered off into the countryside - wild camping all the time - got stopped by the GAI once - no probs - just checked the vehicle registration and driving licence and said goodbye - I was amazed as I was told bribes are expected if not compulsory! These GAI guys seem to be outside every town - with guns etc - I just slowed down each time to see if they wanted to stop me and nodded in thanks when they waved me on. They were OK with me wherever I went.

By the way Goetz - do you mean you got into Russia without ANY kind of motorcycle insurance????

Deamon - tell us more about this cheap OSAGO insurance...?

------------------
Fuzzy Duck
(I'm quackers about bikes)
__________________
Fuzzy Duck
(I\'m quackers about bikes)
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 11 Feb 2004
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Moscow Russia
Posts: 19
The official reference to the law, including page of calculation http://www.rg.ru/oficial/doc/postan_rf/263-03.shtm

It is difficult for understanding the nonprofessional
I shall try to communicate with the insurance agent and I shall explain more and more clear language
__________________
_ ____________________ _
+ 7 910 456 40 20 Dmitry
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


 
 



HU DVD Spring Special!

Buy the Achievable Dream Collectors Set and get Road Heroes Part 1 FREE!

Achievable Dream - The Whole Enchilada!

Cooped up indoors in crap weather? Binge watch over 20 hours of inspiring, informative and entertaining stories and tips from 150 travellers! Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to order them both and use Coupon Code 'BoxSet+' on your order when you checkout.


What others say about HU...

"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the DVD series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring! The new look of the website is very impressive, updated and catchy. Thank you so very much!" Jennifer, Canada

"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia

"We just finished a 7 month 22,000+ mile scouting trip from Alaska to the bottom of Chile and I can't tell you how many times we referred to your site for help. From how to adjust your valves, to where to stay in the back country of Peru. Horizons Unlimited was a key player in our success. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world are in debt to your services." Alaska Riders


contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

NEW! HU 2014 Adventure Travel T-shirts! are now available in several colors! Be the first kid on your block to have them! New lower prices on synths!

HU 2014 T-shirts now in!

Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!


What turns you on to motorcycle travel?


Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!




New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80 G/S motorcycle.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events (22 this year!); we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, the HUBB or to receive the e-zine. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.



Books & DVDs

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.


Motorcycle Express for shipping and insurance!

Motorcycle Express

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!






All times are GMT +1. The time now is 21:24.