Hiking project

Project “Development of Forest trail in Latvia and Lithuania and expanding the Baltic Coastal Hiking route in Lithuania” (Hiking project), LLI-448

Total budget – 788 104.45 EUR

ERDF (Euopean Regional Development funds) – 669 888.76 EUR

Total co-financing – 118 215.69 EUR

Project duration – 24 months

Start date – 01.06.2020

End date – 31.05.2022

The common challenge:
The project addresses the challenge defined by the Programme – sustainable preservation, promotion and development of natural and cultural heritage objects, services and products. In this context the project partners have identified the following challenges in the Programme area:
1. Underused potential to increase numbers of hiking tourists.
2. Lack of large-scale, professionally designed and sustainable tourism products to attract visitors to rural areas.
3. Underused potential of nature heritage in tourism.
4. Underused potential of cooperation between stakeholders for development, maintenance and marketing of tourism products.
Nature is one of the key resources for tourism development in LV and LT, both countries have rich nature heritage. Hiking tourism is a good opportunity to bring people to nature, to show and explain nature heritage values.

The overall objective:
The project overall objective 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 through marketing and promotion activities.

The main project outputs and who will benefit from them:
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.

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The Forest Trail will cross LT and LV for ca 930 km (351km 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 No. 779 ‘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 ca 2000km.

The Baltic Coastal Hiking Route will start from LV/LT border and it will go for ca174 km in Lithuania. The route will expand the present Coastal Hiking Route Tallinn – Riga – Nida village (in LV) that has been developed under EST-LAT program project No. 22 ‘Coastal Hiking Route along the Baltic Sea Coastline in Latvia and Estonia’.  The trail ends on LAT/LIT border, and Lithuania is the only gap for the European long distance route E9 now. With Lithuania added, the Baltic Coastal Route will cover all three Baltic states and will be ca 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 stakeholders running their businesses along both trails – accommodation, food, transport service providers, local shops and others receiving more visitors in the area. Social environment in local areas will improve local networking and participation in trail development. Travel industry will receive an opportunity to develop tour packages based on hiking facilities and local services. General interest tourists will receive new products in new destinations as the forest and coastal environment will be made accessible safely and comfortably on marked trails and using the satellite services. Hikers and ramblers will receive new long distance hiking destination in the Baltics. Image of Programme area as a hiking and nature tourism destination will improve.

The approach:
The project takes a cross boarder approach to fulfil the ambition to create good quality long distance hiking trails and integrate them in existing trail network. Local stakeholder involvement along the trail route is the key principle to ensure local acceptance, sense of ownership and sustainability.

What is new/original about it: 
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. The project is strongly aimed at creating synergies with similar initiatives and integration in the BSR and European context.

Project partners

Partner organisation Contacts
Public body Kaunas regional development agency (LP) gaila@krda.lt
Countryside tourism association of Lithuania linas@atostogoskaime.lt
Directorate of Žemaitija National Park ruta.antanaviciute@zemaitijosnp.lt
Curonian spit national park administration lina.diksaite@nerija.lt
Latvian Country Tourism Association “Lauku Celotajs” asnate@celotajs.lv
Kurzeme planning region aiga.petkevica@kurzemesregions.lv
Kuldīga County Municipality aiga.vanaga@kuldiga.lv


The EU is not responsible for information that is provided here.

Last update: 30-11-2020