Best kayaking destinations in the Baltics

Text by Valdis Čeičs

Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia offer a rich variety of water bodies like the Baltic Sea, rivers and lakes which you can enjoy kayaking solo, with friends or family. In this article, I share my favorite kayaking destinations and a few tips at the end.

The Gauja River in Latvia– explore the sandstone caves

The Gauja River flows through the Gauja National Park which has beautiful castle ruins, sandstone outcrops and cliffs along the river banks. Many of the sandstone outcrops have caves that are big enough for you to crawl in and explore them from inside. If you are lucky enough, you might even spot a bat.

If you are looking for an easy, but beautiful one-day kayaking tour, I recommend to start from Ligatne and finish in Sigulda, total paddling distance is approximately  25km.

Read more on the Gauja National Park Kayaking Tour page!

Aukštaitija National Park – chain lakes

More then 100 lakes scattered in Aukštaitijas National Park. Many of these lakes are interconnected by rivulets that make the dicovering of the area on a kayak very adventures. Paddle to remote traditional villages, grassy islets, swim in crystal clear waters. and enjoy the tranquility of the lush woods.

Read more on the Aukštaitija Kayaking Trip tour page!

The Trakai Lakes in Lithuania –around the island castle

One-fifth of the Trakai Historical National Park is occupied by lakes. The most valuable monument of the park is the Trakai Island Castle. It is located on an island in GalveLake, the biggest of the Trakai Lakes. You can paddle around this romantic ancient castle and enjoy the magnificent view. In the medieval times, this castle was one of the largest in Lithuania and served as a residence for a number of Lithuanian rulers.

Insider tip – go kayaking after 18:00 to see a beautiful sunset over the castle!

Read more on the Trakai Sunset Kayaking Tour page!

The Nemunas River Delta in Lithuania – wide and curvy

The Nemunas River, also known as the Neman River, is a wide and very flat river with a curvy flow. The Nemunas River Delta is unique with its swamp and the village Minga built on it. This village is called the “Venice of Lithuania”. As many migratory birds rest there, the Nemunas River Delta is a popular bird-watching destination, especially during the flood season when meadows are full of rare waterbird species.

If you are looking for an easy one-day kayaking tour, I recommend to start from Rusnevia Minga and finish in Vente, total paddling distance is approximately 25km.

Read more on the Nemunas River Delta Kayaking Tour page!

The Curonian Lagoon in Lithuania – see one of Europe’s biggest moving sand dunes

The Curonian Spit is a 98 km long narrow strip of a land split between Russia and Lithuania, it is one of Europe’s largest drifting dunes, on average, the height is 35 m. Paddling on the wide Curonian Lagoon you can see the charming fishermen’s villages and have the best view of the dune.

If you are looking for an easy one-day kayaking tour, I recommend to start from Pervalkaand finish in Nida, total paddling distance is approximately 16 km.

Read more on the Curonian Spit Kayak Tour page!

The Soomaa National Park in Estonia – the fifth season

“The fifth season” is annual flooding in the Soomaa National Park, when the water level in the biggest Estonian swamp is so high that you can kayak through the forest, past old farmhouses, and over the fields.

The kayaking period starts at the end of March and lasts until the beginning of April.

Read more on the Wilderness Day Trip in Soomaa National Park!

The Baltic Sea Coast – Bay of Riga, Finnish Bay and the Estonian islands

Kayaking on the sea is harder than on the rivers and lakes. The waves are your friends and enemy at the same time. The Bay of Riga includes the Estonian islands, also known as the Western Estonian archipelago. The kayaking trip usually goes between the Estonian islands or along the shore on the Bay of Riga or Finish Bay.

Tips

  • The most popular time for kayaking is June, July, and August when the rivers are calm.
  • Springtime is more suitable for experienced kayakers as the ice and snow melts and turns relaxing paddling into white water rafting.
  • Don’t forget to enjoy swimming too! All the Baltic water bodies are freshwater, even the Baltic Sea gets its water mostly from rivers. Keep in mind that on average, water temperature in summer is between 14 to 20
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K G
2024-03-11
I joined Valdis for Gauja national park tour and experience breathtaking views, beautiful cave, Plus the experience to see the inside of luge and skeleton track. It’s an unforgettable experience to see something outside the Riga! Highly recommended!!!
Carmen Daams
Carmen Daams
2023-09-22
I took the Kuldiga trip with Valdis. The experience was amazing. The entire day was great. He is a great guide, and knows a lot of interesting information. He would definitely make your whole experience even better. Kuldiga is such a captivating city, very unique with a very special style and soul. If you are visiting Latvia, don't hesitate to take this trip, it is a "must".
Stanley Wallerstein
Stanley Wallerstein
2023-08-29
Great Tour and great guide. Baltic Nature Travel is excellent.
Maria M Andrade
Maria M Andrade
2023-08-28
Valdis organized an absolutely wonderful 10 day trip to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania trip for my sister, a friend, and myself. He arranged all details including our private chofer and tour guide up the last detail. He went far and beyond when he knew I had an accident in Estonia. We met him Latvia and he make us feel welcome. He recommended the most amazing restaurants for us and he took care of my doctor needs where he was the interpreter. In every country we had the best guys one can possibly ask for. All hotels were walking distance from city centre. Thank you Valdis we will always remembered this trip!!!!
Sarah Daniels
Sarah Daniels
2023-08-21
Thank you, Valdis, for helping my family have a wonderful two week trip to the Baltics! Your advice and recommendations were very helpful, and our tour guides in 4 different cities were each outstanding! I highly recommend a vacation in the beautiful and fascinating Baltics, and I highly recommend using Valdis to help you plan it.
Rita Derencius
Rita Derencius
2023-08-09
Tours and tour guides, Tomas and Mindaugas, exceeded my expectations. We were able to curate our tour of Lithuania. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and adapted the tour based on our input. Valdis was responsive and easy to work with. Extremely happy we chose to have private tour guides. Best trip ever!
Deniz Demirors
Deniz Demirors
2023-08-08
Valdis did amazing job to organize us a 15 day, 14 night self drive adventure trip to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Thanks to his valuable advise before and immaculate documentation with names of the locations, guides etc we had a magical experience. We hiked, biked, walked, beached and off course drive all over in all 3 beautiful countries. We felt very safe. Everyone we met were very friendly. The car was delivered to our first hotel in Tallinn and picked up from last hotel in Vilnius. They were professional and kind people. We encountered few minor issues but Valdis resolved very promptly so our program was not impacted. We met him in Riga as he was our guide. Thanks to Valdis & his team of guides we had an unforgettable time and experience. Valdis is very gently, kind, hears his clients wishes and makes adjustments in his existing programs. Job well done Valdis. Thank you very much.
Catherine Herway
Catherine Herway
2023-06-24
These are the only places on earth where eastern and western architecture can now meet in harmony. The architecture tells a social history translated into excellent English on this tour! The hotels were clean, comfortable, and safe. The food was outstanding as well, I only wish I had more time!
Artur Iwański
Artur Iwański
2023-05-03
A very good and interesting guide. Customized trips - which is very useful. If you want to get to know Latvia (which is worth it!) there is no one better. Highly recommended.

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