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Welcome to the Interreg V-A Latvia–Lithuania Programme 2014–2020!
Bringing neighbours closer
Welcome to the Interreg V-A Latvia–Lithuania Programme 2014–2020!
Home ProjectsLLI-448 Development of Forest trail In Latvia and Lithuania and expanding the Baltic Coastal Hiking route in Lithuania (Hiking project)
LLI-448 Development of Forest trail In Latvia and Lithuania and expanding the Baltic Coastal Hiking route in Lithuania (Hiking project)
01.06.2020 - 31.08.2022
Project ERDF Financing: 669 888,76 EUR
Project call: 3rd call
Nature is one of the key resources for tourism development in Latvia and Lithuania – both countries are rich with nature sites. Hiking tourism is a good opportunity to bring people to nature, to show and explain nature heritage values.
The overall objective of the project is to increase number of visitors to the Program area through developing and promoting two joint cross-border nature long distance hiking trails crossing the Program area. Project partners expect at least 5% increase in overnight stays in rural areas within a year after the hiking trails are developed and launched with marketing and promotional support.
The Forest Trail in Latvia and Lithuania, and The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route in Lithuania will be developed and promoted. Both will link with the existing long distance hiking trails filling the gap in long distance hiking trail network. The Forest Trail will cross LT and LV for approximately 930 km (351 km in LV, 671km in LT) taking hikers to the most beautiful forest and landscape areas. The Forest Trail will be linked with the Forest Trail Riga -Tallinn being currently developed under the Central Baltic program project ‘Long distance cross border hiking trail ‘The Forest Trail”. The same trail title will be used for recognition as both trails will be linked. The same trail marking system will be used. Both trails will fill the gap in the E11 route of the European long distance hiking trail network by ERA – European Ramblers’ Association. The total length of the Forest Trail in all three Baltic states would be approximately 2000 km.
The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route will start from Latvian-Lithuanian border and it will go for approximately 174 km in Lithuania. The route will expand the present Coastal Hiking Route Tallinn – Riga – Nida village (in LV) that has been developed under Estonia-Latvia programme project ‘Coastal Hiking Route along the Baltic Sea Coastline in Latvia and Estonia’. The trail ends on Latvia – Lithuania border, and Lithuania is the only gap missing for the European long distance route E9 now. With Lithuania added, the Baltic Coastal Route will cover all three Baltic states and will be approximately 1374 km long. As with the Forest Trail, the same title and the same marking system will be used for recognition.
Benefits will be gained by local businesses along both trails – accommodation, food, transport service providers, local shops and others receiving more visitors in the area. Local communities will participate in trail development. Travel industry will receive an opportunity to develop tour packages based on hiking facilities and local services. General interest tourists will benefit as the forest and coastal areas will be accessible more safely and comfortably on marked trails and information online via website and various mobile applications. Hikers and ramblers will benefit from new long distance hiking destination in the Baltics. Image of Programme area as a hiking and nature tourism destination will improve.
The project takes a cross boarder approach to fulfil the ambition to create good quality long distance hiking trails and integrate them into existing trail network. Involvement of local residents along the trail route is the key principle to ensure local acceptance, sense of ownership and sustainability.
A long distance hiking trail will be implemented for the first time in Lithuania. The certification Leading Quality Trail – Best of Europe will be applied for the first time in the Baltic countries. Services specialising to cater for the needs of hiking tourists will be marked with a “Hikers’ Friendly” sign.
Hiking project partners held last meeting on 30-31 of August in Birštonas, Lithuania. Project partners discussed about activities implemented during last 3 months of the project and talked about maintenance of the project’s results after the end of the project. Also, project partners hiked a stretch of Forest trail in Birštonas and Prienai.
Forest trail in Kaunas region marked with arrows, plates and posters
Forest trail in Kaunas region became more visible with the help of installed arrows, plates and posters. These marking items were installed in municipalities of Birštonas, Kaunas district, Prienai district and Raseiniai district.
New informational journals were made for Baltic Trails hiking tours regarding itineraries in Lithuania and Latvia. Publication contains information about the characteristics of trails, descriptions, maps, etc.
New and attractive leaflets of Baltic Trails hiking routes were made. The brochure provides the general map and hiking routes across the Baltic states. The contact and general information, links to the main websites, project description is also presented.
The map marks and describes 10 long–distance hiking routes in the Baltic states. Each of the routes is divided into sections, so you can also do a shorter, pre–selected part of the route, depending on time. The following information provides description regarding nature, infrastructure, services, hiking equipment required and Hiker Friendly label.
On 20 – 23 of April 2022 study visit to Latvia, Kurzeme region was organized for the Lithuanian partners and stakeholders (representatives of municipalities, tourism information centers, regional parks, service providers).
Participants shared experiences about marking and development of long-distance walking routes, challenges involved, the specifics of the activities along the route, the needs of hikers and the added value that walking trails create for communities.
Participants of the visit also had the opportunity to participate in the Forest Trail hike from Kandava to Sabile together with Latvian hikers.
Forest trail and Baltic coastal route presented in tourism fair ADVENTUR in Vilnius
On 28-30 of January tourism fair ADVENTUR took place in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Forest trail and Baltic coastal route, that are being developed within the project LLI-448 “Development of Forest trail In Latvia and Lithuania and expanding the Baltic Coastal Hiking route in Lithuania”.
Project partners are very glad that both long distance routes were very popular among the visitors of the fair, most of whom promised to include the trails into their holiday plans.
Tour guides of Forest trail in Latvia and Lithuania printed
Tour guides of Forest trail in Lithuania and Latvia prepared and printed. It is an extensive guide presenting Forest trail routes in Lithuania and Latvia (from Latvian-Lithuanian border to Riga) with the detailed description of each day.
Tour guides printed in 4 languages: Latvian, Lithuanian, English and German (1000 copy each ). Also, online version in Russian version will be prepared and will be available for download from the website www.baltictrails.eu.
The Pan-Baltic hiking online conference on November 9, 2021 celebrated the success of the Baltic Trails (baltictrails.eu) connecting Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with the European network of hiking paths as part of the routes E9 (Baltic Coastal Hiking) and E11 (Baltic Forest trail).
The conference brought together stakeholders sharing experiences in planning, implementation, management and maintenance of long distance cross-border hiking trails. The keynote speeches presented experiences from the Baltics, Sweden and Norway. Presentations followed by Baltic panel discussions highlighting challenges and solutions in practical aspects such as local acceptance and support, benefits and sustainability of long distance hiking trails.
Kuldiga municipality installed 7 resting places in the territory of Laidi, Turlava, Snēpele, Pelči, Rumba and Renda parishes as well as Kuldīga city by giving a chance to see beautiful landscapes in rural territories as well as a “green” nature trail in urban environment, which is around 160 km long.
Small scale investments were needed to provide basic infrastructure – resting areas – for hikers to have a rest, lunch or just enjoy the surroundings while resting form the hike.
On 2-6 of September study visit to Estonia was organized within project “Development of Forest trail In Latvia and Lithuania and expanding the Baltic Coastal Hiking route in Lithuania”, Hiking project, LLI-448.
Representatives of project partners from various regions and institutions of Lithuania and Latvia took part in the visit. During 5 days of the visit, 43 participants participated in the meetings and events of the visit.
The purpose of the visit was to get acquainted with the Forest and Coastal hiking trails in Latvia and Estonia and their adaptation to the needs of tourists.
Marking of the hiking trails started in Latvia and Lithuania
Marking of Forest trail (Miško takas, Mežtaka) started in Latvia and Lithuania and marking of Coastal hiking trail (Jūrų takas, Jurtaka) started in Lithuania.
During summer months trails will be marked by painting signs on trees and other nature objects and by placing stickers in towns. Approximately 351 km Forest trail will be marked in Latvia and 747 km in Lithuania. Coastal hiking trail in Lithuania will be 216 kilometers.
Markings will be done according to the marking guidelines of Forest trail and Coastal hiking trail.
Project management group and Steering group meeting took place
On 20-21 of April Hiking project had meetings of Management and Steering groups, during which partners discussed about activities already implemented and those that have to be planned in the future. Because of pandemic situation meetings were held via ZOOM
Two long distance hiking trails – Forest trail and Baltic Coastal hiking route – were developed in Latvia (from Riga to Lithuanian border) and Lithuania. Distance of Forest trail (LT.: Miško takas) in Lithuania – 747 km or 36-38 days, distance of Forest trail (LV.: Mežtaka) in southern part of Latvia – 341 km or 16-18 days. Distance of Baltic Coastal Hiking Route (LT.: Jūrų takas, LV.: Jūrtaka) in Lithuania – 216 km or 10-12 days.
Forest trail and Baltic Coastal hiking route were signposted and marked for hikers to make it easier to orient on their way. Three types of signposting were used – stickers for towns and villages, coloring on trees for forest areas and plates/arrows for towns. Also, outdoor posters were installed both in Latvia and Lithuania. Sign-in boxes were installed in Forest trail in Latvia in order to receive feedback from hikers about the route.
Resting area in Žemaitija National park (Lithuania) and 7 resting areas in Kuldīga District (Latvia) were built for the needs of hikers.
272 service providers received “Hiker Friendly” certificate in Latvia and Lithuania.
Six different printed materials in different languages were produced: tour guides “Forest trail”and “Baltic coastal hiking route”, overview image maps “Forest trail” and “Baltic coastal hiking route”, package tours “Forest Trail” and “Baltic coastal hiking route” and Baltic hiking trails image map. They are also available online as pdf on the websites of the routes and shared also with project partners and regional and local tourism information centers: https://baltictrails.eu/en/forest/publications; https://baltictrails.eu/en/coastal/publications
Website https://baltictrails.eu/en with sub-categories for Forest trail and Baltic Coastal hiking route was updated with the information about newly created routes in Lithuania and Latvia, Hiker friendly criteria, publications and other information.
Promotional campaign was carried out in both countries, in order to introduce long distance hiking trails to hikers: this included campaign online (articles, banners, etc.), publications in international hiking magazines, promotional campaign in public transport in Vilnius, Kaunas and Klaipėda, video promotion via Youtube, 3 media trips to Dzūkija, Kaunas and Klaipėda regions in Lithuania and Kuržeme region in Latvia.
Forest trail and Baltic Coastal hiking route were presented in international tourism fairs: Ķīpsala Travel Fair in Riga (Latvia) on 09-11 September 2021, Adventur in Vilnius (Lithuania) on 28-30 January 2022, MTT Wroclaw (Poland) on 4-6 March 2022.
Various hiking events were organized with the aim to promote newly created trails: Spring season opening hike in Tukums (Latvia) on 23 of April 2022 and Come together hikes in Latvia (30.04.2022, 01.05.2022, 07.05.2022, 08.05.2022, 13.05.2022, 15.05.2022, 27.05.2022, 28.05.2022, 04.06.2022, 05.06.2022, 11.06.2022, 12.06.2022, 12.08.2022, 13.08.2022, 20.08.2022, 28.08.2022), Hiking Festival in Latvia (Kuldiga) and Lithuania (Kaunas and Plateliai) on 20-22 of May 2022.