Tourists invited to follow round-Latvia hiking route

Visitors to Latvia are being invited to follow a new tourism route that shadows the state border.

"To celebrate the centennial of the state, a new tourism route spanning 1836 km has been established in Latvia and entitled Road 1836. It follows the Latvian border, encompassing the whole territory of Latvia along its land border and allowing anyone to walk, cycle, or drive by motorcycle or car around the perimeter of the country," a release about the new route states, adding that "1836 km of road infrastructure has been marked, [and] rest places and accommodation have been identified for hikers and drivers who will wish to travel on some part of this route."

The route does not always follow the state border closely, sometimes being several kilometers inside the border line. It passes through 43 different municipalities.  “Road 1836” was officially opened at the end of June, during which thousands of people each walked one kilometer of the route.

However, actually following the route presents a few challenges, particularly to foreign tourists.

LSM asked how the route was marked and was told by project manager Linda Miltiņa:

"There are signposts places on the route - at least one signpost in almost all of 43 municipalities lying along the border of Latvia. So as for now it is more of a symbolic marking."

It is planned to place 100 more signposts along the route this fall, Miltiņa added.

However, even with 150 or so in place, that still equates to one signpost roughly every 12 kilometers.

Information about the route can be found at the Road 1836 website, with the route specified on the 'Ceļotāja karte' page.

"For now the page is only in Latvian, but an English version will be developed in near future. But travelers can also ask for more information about the route and the closest sightseeing and other landmarks in all regional Tourism Information Centers," Miltiņa explained.

The good news is that the route does have an official permanent status - it has been developed in cooperation with 43 border municipalities of Latvia, so travelers following the paths should not risk getting into conflict with landowners as long as they stick to the official route. Latvia does not have a "right to roam" law like the Swedish allemansrätten or other Nordic equivalents.  

The website also offers various pieces of merchandise including a Road 1836 route "passport" for 5 euros, a leather bracelet for 12 euros and a T-shirt for 20 euros.

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