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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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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