Hiking enthusiasts and fans of the outdoors are invited to take part in hikes in Western Estonia's Pärnu and Lääne Counties in September in order to test out the longest hiking route in the Baltics, which runs along the Baltic Sea coast in Estonia and Latvia.
Over the course of the test hikes, sections of the route averaging 20 kilometers in length will be walked each day; the fist hike began at the former border checkpoint in Ikla on the Estonian-Latvian border at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
Participants are invited to choose a suitable hike for themselves online.
As part of the inspection of the route, GPX files will be created and various markings and signs on the track examined, project manager Anneli Haabu said. Participation is free and no prior registration is required.
The objective of the heritage tourism project is to develop a hiking toursim route along the Baltic Sea coastline that will stretch from the village of Nida on the Latvia-Lithuanian border to Northern Estonia, including the islands of Western Etsonia as a side attraction.
Approximately 1,000 kilometers in length, the route will make up part of the European long distance hiking network's E9 European long distance path, also known as the European Coastal Path.
The hiking route will be a nature-friendly product of sustainable tourism highlighting cultural and natural heritage along the coastline, the cultural environment and the local economy. It will also diversify the use of natural and cultural heritage in coastal areas, opening coastal nature sites and villages to a new segment of tourists — hiking tourists.
The route is being laid out as part of the cross-border project Hiking Route Along the Baltic Sea Coastline in Latvia — Estonia, financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Interreg Estonia-Latvia (EstLat) program.
Editor: Aili Vahtla