In Latvia, the hiking trail mostly covers sandy beaches and seaside meadows. In Estonia, the trail runs along the seashore for around 100 km between Haapsalu and Tallinn, but as the coastline is irregular elsewhere and comprises numerous capes, reed beds and beach meadows, the remaining ca 500 km can be travelled by coastal roads and, at times, along the side of the motorway. In cities and settlements, the coastal hiking trail extends along the sidewalk.
The route is accessible in all seasons. The coastal area is more crowded during the summertime tourism season, so seaside accommodation should be booked beforehand. The temperature of the seawater may reach +18–20 °C during the summer, so swimming is an option as well. Autumn offers more colours to see when walking through the forest – the leaves are varicoloured, and there are mushrooms and berries in the woods. It is also the bird migration season, which may be rainy and stormy; some accommodations and eateries may be closed. During winter, it should be taken into account that most services may be unavailable. In the case of lasting snow and cold, why not complete some of the stages by skiing. Spring offers a chance to witness the nature awakening – fragrant lilacs, birds returning from warmer areas, gurgling streams and buds sprouting.
Dangerous natural disasters are not characteristic to the coast of the Baltic Sea, however, it should be taken into account that there may be a breeze nudging you forward while walking along the coast. There are no tides that restrict travelling along the seashore, but the coastline still varies and may be different upon each subsequent visit to the same place.
- bring cash (euro), as there may not always be an ATM nearby;
- a travel document is necessary for crossing the Estonian-Latvian border;
- comfortable and appropriate footwear and humidity- and wind-proof clothing are important; bring a small pharmacy kit, sun protection and insect repellent during the hot season;
- external battery may come in use for charging the phone, there may not be mobile reception in some places; most accommodations and eateries have WiFi;
- camping and fire-making is only allowed in designated public rest areas, it is prohibited on the beach;
- make sure that going to the forest has not been prohibited due to fire risk. Information on fire risk is available on the website www.lvgmc.lv for Latvia and on www.emhi.ee for Estonia. In the case of a fire, call 112;
- Baltic Sea waters are not home to any poisonous or dangerous plant or animal species, the only venomous snake species is the common viper who may be seen sunbathing on pathways. There may be ticks in areas away from the beach;
- the selection of accommodation may differ at different stages of the trail, be sure to book well beforehand, as coastal properties may be occupied during high season;
- the number of food providers may differ as well, depending on the coastal area. Some companies only function during the summer season, so it would be wise to call ahead;
- The free public rest areas located by the Ranniku hiking trail are equipped with shelter, tables, benches, bins, and oftentimes also have a campfire or barbeque site and a toilet;
- shops are located at larger settlements, however, there are no nearby stores at some stages of the hiking route;
- doctor’s offices and pharmacies are located in cities and larger settlements. Dial 112 in case of emergency!
- public transportation is available in most coastal areas (usually bus, less frequently train), but travel times must be determined beforehand via www.1188.lv/satiksme in Latvia and via www.peatus.ee, www.tpilet.ee in Estonia. City transportation is available in cities. Estonian islands are accessible by ferry: Kihnu, Vormsi (www.veeteed.com), Saaremaa, Hiiumaa (www.praamid.ee), Osmussaar;
- there are GPX files that can be downloaded on the www.coastalhiking.eu by each daily route map.