/ENG/ “Winter” a miracle around here these days.. Luckily first days in january had some snow and usual colorless weather! Soomaa (Swampland) national park have 5 seasons, so its a great destination all year round. Fifth season is during spring, when there are floods and better way is to use a canoe.. So if you are around here or planning to come, then put Swampland to your list!
/EST/ Kes pole veel talvel soomaale jõudnud siis nüüd võib-olla viimane aeg!? Meie soovitus on muidugi jagrattaga aga seal on mõnus ka jala matkates. Meie tiimi aasta algas metsas koos jalgrataste, koormakatte ja ahjuga!
So you have a day off in Estonia and you are bored? Well then here is one tip how to make fun out of cycling and Lahemaa national park. Take a train from TALLINN to KADRINA, hop on a bike and ride to Toolse fortress, then ride to Rakvere and take train back to Tallinn. Or you can just camp in Lahemaa national park and ride back to Tallinn.
Easy day trip:
Train: Tallinn to Kadrina / Rakvere to Tallinn (1 h ride)
Distance: 94 KM
Area: North-coast / Lahemaa national park Highlight: Toolse fortress Paved: 90% Bike: Road / Gravel Map: (click here for google maps)
The Order castle of Toolse is one of the more recent medieval castles on the northern coast of Estonia, it is also the castle located closest to the sea. The initial fortified manor house was probably erected by the order in the 14th century with the purpose of protecting the port, trade location and routes. During the Livonian war the castle passed on through many hands and finally ended up in the possession of Swedish troops. It was entirely destroyed in the Northern war in the beginning of the 18th century.
Great way to spend your holiday is to visit South-Estonia. Probably the most beautiful and scenic part of the country. If you live here or you are planning to visit Estonia in summer then its basically mandatory to go to south. Nature, people, peaceful villages, hills, rivers, deep forests, endless gravel roads, lakes and really cool camping places.
We have almost 300 RMK free camping places in Estonia, so you can easily make your own route and take some tips from ours!
It all depends how much time you have. Our team is helpful with all the questions you might have. Just contact us through social media or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is a short overview of our trip to south last summer. Maps, pictures and some route descriptions.
Train tables: Search Trains Tallinn-Tabivere / Tallinn-Tartu and for coming back: Viljandi-Tallinn (Elron is the only train line in Estonia).
So lets begin:
Get a bike!
Come to Estonia!
Start an adventure!
DAY 1 (Train: Tallinn-Tabivere and 20 km easy evening ride to camping place)
If you arrive to Tallinn and want to use your first day for riding then this option is good for you. First you can check all you equipment and bike, buy some stuff to the road and take a afternoon train to Tabivere. When you arrive there you will also have one shop nearby and about 8 different RMK camping places in 20 kilometer range. Then you can settle in, make a camp fire and make an early start in the morning. (From map check camping places near day 1)
DAY 2 ELISTVERE / TARTU / PANGODI RMK / 66 KM
If you follow our map then you’ll have plenty of time to hang out in Tartu. It’s an university town and one of the coolest town in South Estonia! There’s a beautiful old town with lots of cafes and bars around. Also nice wooden house district (Karlova) and bohemian vibes. After Tartu you’ll have about 20 km gravel road to Pangodi lake and the camping place.
COOP is a company which owns many small shops in villages and towns. They’re good because most of the shops are opened every day. On their website you can check the times tables, just enter the shop name to search bar.
Humana is the second hand clothes store chain around Estonia, if you want to look sexy in the woods then pass by.
DAY 3 PANGODI / OTEPÄÄ / KARULA NATIONAL PARK / 77 KM
During this day you can really feel the Estonian nature around you. Follow our map and you’ll see some really cool and private gravel roads near Otepää. If the weather is warm then prepare to map out all the lakes for swimming. Because even these small pumps that we call hills can be hard sometimes! You will end up in Karula national park which is the most quiet and private nature park in Estonia. There are no tourist groups and roads are really deep in the forest so you can enjoy real Estonian heritage, the wilderness!
And when it’s pouring rain, the only solution is to drink beer and make dices.
DAY 4 KARULA NATIONAL PARK to SOONTAGA NATURE RESERVE / 60 KM
If you have some extra time to spend then go to Karula and explore around! There are many maps about the trails everywhere. Otherwise you’ll have a nice day at Soontaga nature reserve. There are bits where you’ll have to use the main roads but the traffic there is really low so don’t worry about it. If you arrive there in august (during harvest time) then prepare to race the tractors! But enjoy it, real Estonian countryside is around you.
DAY 5 SOONTAGA RESERVE to VILJANDI TRAIN STATION / 72 KM
During this route you can mostly use a marked bicycle trail near the Lake Võrtsjärv. This trail is signed and helps you to not get lost! TRAIL MAP. If you ignore this map then you end up on paved road with some annoying trucks passing by. We started from Soontaga and first 10 km was amazing gravel trail to south tip of the lake. After that just follow the bike road signs to Mustla and then you’ll have two options to Viljandi (gravel and paved road). From Viljandi you can catch a train to Tallinn (around 2 hour ride).
If you spend time in Tallinn or near by then Prangi island is a perfect place for a day tour or a short getaway from the city.
Prangli, about 6 square kilometers small island in the Baltic sea, north-coast of Estonia. Prangli is the only island at the north-Estonia where people have constantly lived over 600 years. During winter barley 50 people but in summer it can be up to 200 people and of course many tourists visit the place.
In winter i would recommend to go there with mountain or if possible fat bike.. North wind can be pain in the ass sometimes but the feeling cut out from every day life is totally worth it!
Island have couple of guesthouses, where you can rent sauna and rooms, or you can wild camp everywhere! We were lazy and needed some sauna and beer so we stayed in one of the guesthouses in the main village. With one day you can make couple of loops around the island using different paths. Its also possible to visit a shop (its open for coupe of hours during the off season). Coast is really scenic and from the north-east coast you can also see Keri island with a lighthouse. One thing i love about islands here are the people, they are always really friendly and like to help you, telling great stories about the island and giving a good advice about places where to go.
Prangli has also natural gas, there is a place where you can use the gas for cooking food or boiling water! You can easily use lighter or matches to open fire there.
A plan was made on the go, which usually stands for no plans whatsoever. A head was to be cleared following a few events that occurred in autumn. So we add a bike to that equation and what do we get – a solo ride exploring the backroads and singletracks of the Northern Coast of Estonia.
I’ve called this “bikepacking” as I didn’t really stay overnight or fill any of those other bikepackish terms this time but what I did was – carry essentials, explore, ride without a map and have fun doing it.
The route follows a trail from Paldiski city, around Pakri peninsula and then on the coast towards Tallinn, gathering a whopping 75 km’s of muddy and rooty trails. Needless to say I was pretty out of it when I got home in the end but a mind was cleared.
1. Meie top-tube kott on hea nii matkajale, linnasõitjale kui ka sportlasele. Kotti mahuvad ideaalselt väiksed asjad nagu akupank, rahakott, võtmed, nutitelefon või kerge snäkk!
2. Kott on vetthülgav, see teeb lihtsaks just nutitelefoni ja tehnika kandmise. Materjal on PVC 600, mis ei lase vihmal, lumel ja niiskusel kotti pääseda. Lukk:YKK
3. Tänu velcro-krõpsu kinnitustele on kotti väga lihtne rattalt eemaldada ja kaasa võtta kui pead selle eemale parkima. Seda on lihtne kasutada kui väikse rahakotina, minnes poodi või tööle.Soovi korral võid vabalt kasutada ka pinalina!
4. Ühe lisana on kotile tehtud väike ava mille kaudu saab viia kotist välja USB kaabli. Selle abil saab sõidu ajal laadida esituld või nutitelefoni mis on asetatud lenksule.
5. Sa toetad Eesti jalgrattakultuuri ja ettevõtlust! Meie kotid on toodetud Eestis! See teeb need ainulaadseks, sest meie lähiriikides ei toodeta just palju bikepacking varustust ja inimesed on harjunud tellima odavaid tooteid aasiast. Hind on seal küll soodsam aga enamasti varustus mis on valmistatud ilma testimata jääb kvaliteedilt kõvasti alla. Meie oleme spetsialiseerunud bikepacking varustusele ja kõik tooted on läbinud kvaliteedikontrolli matkamise teel, nii talvel kui suvel!
Top-tube kotid on hetkel müügis soodushinnaga 30 EURI! Kotti on võimalik tellida: 56290860(Kristjan), email@example.com, kirjutades meile facebooki või instagrami!
From Tallinn it’s possible to take ferries to three islands: Naissaar, Prangli and Aegna. Our first stop was at Naissaar or in English: Island of Women!
Naissaar (Island of women) or Nargö in swedish is located 8.5 kilometers from Tallinn to northwest direction. This place is tough with a bike but worth to explore!
Size: 18,93 km² Lenght: 9 km Width: 5km Highest point: 27 m Lenght of coast: 22.98 km Population (winter): 3 (During summer touristic, up to 200 people on the island daily). Also in the summer there are around 10 people who live in their summer houses.
Naissaar is mostly belonged to Estonian and Swedish fishermen. During the Russian tsar era and later during the soviet union it was mostly used by military. Soviet union also established there a naval mines factory. During the time it was not allowed to civilians. Now its possible to move on the island through the railways, witch were used to move the mines around the island. In 18. century Russian tsar built there bastions and big cannons do defend the seaway to Tallinn. Since our independece 1991. island is a nature reserve.
Naissaar is comfortable with mountain or fat bikes, if you want to make a loop around the place then there are some sand, gravel roads, single tracks and you can also use partly the old railroad.
From the ship its possible to get free maps for both hiking trails. Camping is allowed on the island. Also you can find some special camping places with fire material and small roof over your head in case of rain.
Now on the island lives officially 3 people, in summer you can spot hundreds of tourists, mostly school groups and hikers. For cyclists its pretty technical to explore. Still they have 3 different trails and they are marked really well.
So next time you are in Tallinn, take a adventure to island of women! If you are lazy and not used to ride on the sand then its possible to make a really good hiking trip to there!
Camping In Estonia is allowed almost anywhere and everywhere under the term “everyman’s right”. The only places you are not allowed to pitch up are marked with forbidden signs or private land signs/fences.
Be sure to look out for signs with “ERAMAA” or “ERAVALDUS” which means private land in our language.
You can camp 24 hours unless the owner forbids it verbally.
You can camp outside residential buildings if you are out visible site and hearing range
It’s allowed to hike couple of meters next to the coast even if it’s a privately-owned land. So, it’s perfect place if you want to go wild an explore mystical forests and countryside!
2. NO HIGHWAYS
It’s true!! There are no highways in Estonia and you can cycle everywhere you want! Of course, there are some busier roads near Tallinn which are not very comfortable to ride or be navigating through.
If you are already out from the city the roads are mostly empty and scenic! From Tallinn there are 2 bigger roads which you can skip. Roads here are mostly narrow and curvy what makes riding cool and fun.
3. NO HILLS
Well we have one… and it goes by the name of “The big egg mountain” standing at an impressive it’s 317 meters high!
But otherwise Estonia is totally flat making cycling easy. Of course, that is until you come face to face with our best friend “wind”. If you are travelling on the north coast, you must consider that you will meet, and this can be stronger than a mountain climb to go against!
In summer it’s mostly warm breeze, but after the August/September it can be difficult.
However, if you do find yourself on a hiking trail in South-Estonia you can find some hills to climbs (but be warned if you have done some climbing before or been up a mountain somewhere else then you’ll find this a piece of cake!
Estonian countryside is scenic. There are hundreds of small beautiful villages and farms, Big lands for growth and deep forests around them. If you are like us, you will fall in love for sure!
Best time to travel is late summer, early autumn when everything is ready to pick, you don’t have to go far either… most forests you can get mushrooms or berries.
Near the seaside people will sell fish from their homes. Look out for signs with “värske kala” (fresh fish) or “kala” (fish),
We encourage you to buy some fresh fish sourced by the locals to really experience our culture 😊
Most of the small villages have shops and small restaurants or cafeteria style places with local food.
5. FORESTS AND LAKES
Roughly 50% of Estonia is forest, so finding one is not a problem! Pine forests are most common near the seaside however If you cycle more to south you can find trees like oak trees, spruce, birch, maple trees etc.
30% of forests are swamp forests and are only accessible when there is a wooden lane – we have many small beautiful lakes, but two biggest one are LakePeipus and Lake Võrtsjärv.
Lake Peipus we share with Russia, but it’s possible to cycle from north to south and make a nice 3-4-day bike tour.
Lake Võrtsjärv it is easier, around the lake trip is 300 km / 186 miles. There are also a marking for road cycling.
This trip is perfect for wild camping and enjoying the nature. Good starting/ending point is city called Viljandi. You can catch the train from Tallinn to there (2,5-hour train ride).
6. EMPTY ROADS
Estonian population levels are low as there are only 1,300,000 people on 45 000 km2. The only busy roads are between TALLINN-PÄRNU and TALLINN-NARVA (Russian border).
You can find alternative routes between towns and villages easily. If you are not interested to cycle on paved road, then we have a lot of gravel roads too. Gravel roads are good in summer when its dry. Some of them are not serviced during the off-season and with heavy rain they can be uncomfortable with bikes.
7. BIKEPACKING TRAILS / HIKING ROUTES
In Estonia we mostly use a system RMK (State forest management centre) web page to navigate. They have the newest information about the routes and camping places.
Forest centre have made three main hiking trails through the country and they all are accessible with bikes:
Of course, it’s possible to make trips shorter and you don’t have to follow one trail. The biggest hiking centre is in Aegviidu village, what is also very good start/ending point for a bike trip.
Train from Tallinn to Aegviidu goes after every hour, journey time is about an hour and ticket is 2-3 EUR.
RMK signs. Photo: Kristjan Rohtla
8. FREE CAMPING HUTS AND FOREST HOUSES
Our state forest centre is built up from many small houses where to stay overnight for free. In those houses are the same rules as the wild camping. You can use the house for 24 hours or more if it’s empty. If new people are coming to the camp place you can arrange accommodation so that you will be there together. All these houses are listed at RMK homepage. Also, there are some houses you can book if you want to be sure they are empty. All houses are possible to book at the RMK system.
Estonia has lots of basic camping sites where you can put your tent and have some water an firewood – Some cool camping huts:
Estonia is well known for its primitive nature and swamps. It is not possible to get through bogs and swamps without special equipment. With a bike you can use wooden lanes and still enjoy these magical places!
Only thing if you have a bike is to be respectful for the other hikers and allow them priority if they head in your direction (jump off the bike to let them pass). Also, many wooden lanes have big gaps and tyres can get caught – so be careful!
Most popular bog is called Viru bog. It is amazing but very popular in the summer and can be busy! But we have many more beautiful swamps and bogs – so don’t worry.
10. COAST LINE
Estonia has a small section of “The iron curtain route” also called Eurovelo 13. It goes through our north coast, through two islands Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and continues down to Riga (Latvias capital).
Eurovelo road goes on paved smaller roads in the countryside of Estonia. It’s easy to follow eurovelo track because they are marked very well with signs. Coastal paths are really beautiful.You can easily put your tent up everywhere and enjoy a gorgeous sunsets in summer.
If you are coming around midsummer day (24. june) you can be lucky and camp out in the beach overnight as the sun does not go down! Coast nature is mostly sandy beaches or forests with pine trees.
So make your summer plans and #visitestonia !
If you have some questions about the trails or camping in here, feel free to ask! Write us to e-mail, facebook or instagram.
Augusti alguses leidis aset meie teine grupisõit. Seekord suutsime kokku kutsuda 18 inimest ja veel kaks kaamerameest kes jäädvustasid meie reisi. Ja kuna peale matka tuli veel üle elada Intsikurmu muusikafestival oli kaasas ka meie ustav 1989. aasta Volkswagen hüüdnimega Koletis. Ta pidas peaaegu terve reisi vastu kuni lõpuks 15 jalgratast kärus osutsid talle liiga raskeks ja ta veeres otse hooldusesse. Aga siiski tubli abimees!
See suvi planeerisime matka läbi Lõuna-Eesti, alustasime Viljandist ja suundusime läbi Rõuge Haanjasse sealt edasi Setomaale Obinitsasse ja lõpuks läbi Meenikunno raba jõudsime Põlvasse. Kogu matk kestis viis päeva ja sõitsime kokku umbes 270 km.
Kuna temperatuur oli stabiilselt üle 30 C siis otsustasime ööbida kodumajutstes ja motellides, sest õhtuti pidi olema õlle kõrvale saun ja kindlasti pesemisvõimalused. Lisaks aitasid meid kõik järved ja jõed tee peal kuhu sai ennast sisse kasta.
Meie lugu on kajastatud kaa septembrikuu Ma olen Jalgrattur ajakirjas! Loe täispikka artiklit sealt!
Vilajndist alustasime esmaspäeva hommikul kui linn oli veel unine äsja lõppenud Folgist.
Esimesel päeval sõitsime Viljandi-Mustla-Tõrva-Greete Motell (Greete motell oli ka meie lemmik ööbimiskoht!
Teisel päeval sõitsime Greete Motellist Sangaste lossi, Antslasse ja lõpetasime päeva Rõuge kõrval Kanarbiku turismitalus
Kolmandal päeval sõitsime läbi Haanja ja Vastseliina Obinitsasse
Neljandal päeval läksime läbi Piusa koobaste Meenikunno rabasse ja ööbimisme veidi enne Põlvat,Saarjärve puhkekülas
Viimasel päeval teigme puhkepäeva ja Saarjärvelt Põlvasse jäi veel 10 viimast kilomeetrit mis muidugi tänu Lõuna-Eesti küngastele ei olnud just kõige kergemad. Intsikurmule jõudes polnud enam aega pildistada ja nautisime kaks päeva muusikat ja mõnusat seltskonda!
Aitäh kõigile kes aitasid sellele matkale kaasa!
Foto- ja videotiim : Martin Kosseson ja Rasmus Kosseson (www.kuva.ee)
Sõitjad: Kristjan Teener, Egert Ermel, Martin Jung, Enar Längolf, Ats Viira, Mesike Männik, Johanna Maria Tõugu, Oskar Veelmaa, Mari-Liis Seer, August Varustin, Mik Mäe, Grete Jakobson, Marie Johanson, Rita Mesi, Markku Mägi.
Korraldajad: Pats ja Immo (Bikepacking Estonia)
Ja muidugi Intsikurmu muusikafestival!! Aitäh, see oli kindlasti selle suve parim festar!
Reisist valmis ka lühike video. Enamasti pidime kuulama terve reisi Scootrit kuna mäed olid rasked ja veri pidi kiirelt ringi käima aga viimasel õhtul kergelt vintis peaga tuli välja siiski meie lemmiklaul mis ka on taustaks meie videol:
Our first 100 top-tube bags are ready! We are the first company in Estonia who designs and makes bikepacking equipment. We spent months to find the right sewing company who would satisfy our needs and demands. Since quality is our top priority, testing different prototypes in order to find the best ones took most of the developing process.
Our new top-tube bag is perfect for all kinds of different bikes. Take it off-road or cruise around the city! It has enough space for small items like wallets, battery banks, smartphones, snacks etc. All our bags are made from PVC 600 fabric – it is waterproof and also keeps the bag in good shape. The stitches are strong and they are designed to be waterproof. Our zippers are YKK (waterproof). There’s a small slit on the front side of the bag for USB cables and wires for lights or GPS devices. This is small enough to keep water from getting in. The bag has two velcro fastenings to fit different frames. The front velcro has a higher and lower position to adjust to the stem and it is sewn to the bag. Our top-tube bag has a lining on the bottom to keep fragile things safe.
Our bags are designed and made in Estonia!
You can order bags on our website. If you live in Estonia or nearby countries it is possible to order them from City Bike e-shop. It’s possible to order bags in two different color schemes: camo and black!