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 top 6 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!
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 NemunasRiver, 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, FinnishBay 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.
- 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