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Cycling through the Baltics

Karte_tartu

In and around Tartu

Angel's Bridge in Tartu, entrance to the university. Tartu ist considered the intellectual center of Estonia. The University of Tartu is the oldest and biggest university of Estonia. The university campus and the city center can be visited in half a day by foot. Alternatively, Tartu can be explored by bike as Tartu has a well developed network of cycling lanes.

Cycling lanes from all corners of the region meet on the promenade along the river Emajõgi that flows through Tartu. Many of the cycling paths end as they leave Tartu, leaving cyclists with the choice between small dirt roads or the major national roads. Town hall of Tartu. It is allowed to ride a bike along the national roads, however it can't be recommended: heavy traffic, including lorries transporting timber and coaches, make cycling frustrating and dangerous. In addition, the international buses connecting St. Petersburg and Riga stop in Tartu. The bus network in the Baltic countries is dense and it is the recommended mean of transport for international journeys as there are no direct train connections between the different countries.

The dirt roads usually have hard lanes without anyone lose rocks that can easily be cycled on by bike. There is very little traffic. Dirt road near Tartu. When a car does come by, the huge cloud of dust that follows can be bothersome. It is best to stop for a couple of minutes before going on with a clear view.

Compared to the coast, the area around Tartu is rather hilly. Climbs of up to 100 m can be expected on rides around Tartu. Beautiful views over the forests and grasslands recompensate the effort. One of the many lakes, many of which have beaches, might serve as a destination for a ride.

A fun activity to do while in Estonia is to try one of the many traditional Estonian swing sets. Estonian swing in Viljandi, Estland. Several people use the swing together, some swings can accomodate over a dozen adults at the same time. To gain traction, people on one side of the swing crouch down, whereas the people on the opposite side stand up and lean back. Public swings, that can be found in the parcs of many towns, are equipped with mechanisms preventing full rotations. Swing building has a long tradition in Estonia. Documents indicate that similar swings have been build since the time of the Crusades.

The Baltic countries
Riga's beaches
The Coronian split


Farm near Tartu.

Bog land near Tartu.

Fountain in Tartu.

Rain gutter in Tartu.

Cathedral in Tartu.

Cathedral in Tartu.
 
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In and around Tartu
The beaches of Riga
The Coronian Spit

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