The best snacks for hiking in the Baltics

Text by Valdis Čeičs and photos by Solveiga Kaļva, www.solveigakalvaphotography.com

Have you ever wondered what to take for your meal on a hike? If you are in the Baltics and you are having this question, then in this article you can find some ideas and explanations why certain products are the best.

The origins of the traditional food in the Baltics come from the medieval period. The nowadays territory of Latvia and Estonia were conquered by German Crusader Knights, and the local inhabitants, mostly peasants, were working hard under their rule. The locals ate oatmeal porridge which gave them strength for the exhausting farming work. Nowadays, a wide variety of different flake mixtures and instant porridges can be purchased in every shop. In order to prepare oatmeal porridge, you need to boil water and pour it on the oatmeal, wait for about 10 min and make it salty or sweet according to your taste unless it already has a specific flavour added by the producer. I prefer to make my porridge sweet by adding honey and raisins.

My recommendation for you is to try out the “Herkuless” instant porridges, read more here.

It is very nice to have a hot meal during a hike, but not always you have the time, energy or means for cooking. In these cases, the rye bread is “must have” in your backpack! The rye bread is a national symbol to the people in the Baltics, and it is treated with great respect. Rye bread has a thick crust which preserves the bread for a longer time. Many small bakeries sell their bread also in the supermarkets, they are a bit more expensive than the bread produced in big bakeries, but worth every single penny.

The best in Latvia is “Ķelmēni bread, which has even traveled to the Latvian solders in Afghanistan,  for more info read here in this article.

What to put on your rye bread? This is a good question, everyone has his own favourites but there are products that would make it more Baltic, like the Baltic sprats or herring. These are the most popular fishes from the Baltic Sea. Traditionally, smoked sprats in oil are sold in cans, but the herring is marinated and sold in plastic containers almost in every shop.

One of the most popular producers of the Sprats in Oil is “Brīvais Vilnis”, read more here.

The weather in the Baltics can be chilly even in the summer so it is good to have with you a warm drink in a thermos. In pagan times, when the traditions were connected with earth cycles and nature, the locals collected plants for different purposes, also for herbal teas. Nowadays, you can find herbal teas in every supermarket and bio-store, so you have a great opportunity to prepare a warm drink full of natural energy for your hike.

If you are confused by variety of herbal tea brands then I recommend you to look for the brand “Lauku Tēja”, read more here.

More about herbal traditions you can find out in our Latvian Herbal Traditions and Mandala Workshop.

Healthy snack for your hike is candied fruits. Very traditional berries in this region are cranberries, rowan berries, lingonberries and quince. These are locally grown fruits that in different mixes can be found in most of the supermarkets.

Nearby Riga is Rāmklani, which produces different sorts of canned fruits. Their production can be bought in local supermarkets and in their own store,  read more here.

Looking for an opportunity to go hiking? Check out our Hiking tours.

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What travelers say about us

Barry Toward
Barry Toward
2022-09-18
We have just spent 9 days travelling through the Baltic countries with Valdis as our guide. Although the itinerary and accommodation had been pre-arranged Valdis supported our trip brilliantly, bringing to life the individual countries with city walking tours, nature trails and visits to other sites. He is great fun, extremely knowledgable and became an integral part of our small group. His contribution to our holiday played a key part in making it a great and enjoyable experience (and he recommends good places to eat!)
Sam Paliwal
Sam Paliwal
2022-09-02
If you are looking to go to the Baltic's on an active vacation, make sure to check out Baltic Nature Travel as your travel advisor. We recently finished a 10-day self-driving tour of the Baltic's and wanted to have an active trip whilst not missing out on all the cultural highlights of the region. Valdis, the owner of Baltic Nature Travel was very responsive and organized a trip that included kayaking, long distance bicycle riding, hiking in different forests, cooking activities, cultural highlights, hot-air balloon riding, etc-- all in a matter of 10 days and customized the trip to our liking. We were very satisfied with his responsiveness to our needs and his ability to stay ahead and plan various activities appropriately. Just to give you one example of Valdis's ability to think ahead: in one of the hotels, they have very limited parking. On his own initiative, Valdis made a to call to the hotel and reserved a parking spot for us for the one night that we were going to stay at that hotel. It helped out a lot, as we had to leave very early in the morning. There are other numerous examples where he was available to answer questions and help us as necessary, both before and during the trip. He is an excellent guide, calm and collected and his team of guides around the region were quite knowledgeable and fluent. The accommodation for the trip were quite good and and they can be easily adjusted based on your budget. I highly recommend his touring company for your Baltic travel experience and would like to add that as a person he's very likable and easy-going.
Lajos Nagy
Lajos Nagy
2022-07-23
A perfect series of daily hiking tours and town walkarounds. I especially was amused by the jungle-like forests and friendly conversations along the way. Everything was perfectly planned and organized, I definitely recommend, worth thousand-times more than simply visiting cities in a rush.
Tom Demandt
Tom Demandt
2022-05-30
We had an excellent day hike with our guide Valdis. He was very friendly, very service minded and knowledgeable. The hike through Gauja National Park was really beautiful. Heartily recommend for anyone looking for an active day trip outside Riga.
Sergey Zhuravlev
Sergey Zhuravlev
2022-02-28
I enjoyed the hiking tour in the Beberbeķi-Skulte regions of Riga. The route was mainly through the forest, so this is a great opportunity to get away from the city bustle and daily routine and to spend a few hours in nature. The tour guide Valdis is very friendly and he has a lot to tell about the area. I am looking forward to the next tour and recommend joining it.
Sa Si
Sa Si
2022-02-15
I had a wonderful hiking tour trough Kemeri National Park with Baltic Nature Travel. Valdis is a very well informed and nice guide! I would totally recommend a tour with him!
aarpr
aarpr
2022-01-24
Really nice activities and tours by Valdis. Highly recommended. Definetely I will repeat soon.
Eimear Friel
Eimear Friel
2022-01-18
Thoroughly enjoyed my hike with Valdis and Solveiga. It was exactly what I hoped for. Perfect for someone looking to explore more of Latvia but nto sure where to go!
Fiona Koe
Fiona Koe
2022-01-18
Awesome hike, beautiful scenery. Valdis was very friendly and knowledgeable. Will recommend

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