Slitere National Park riding holiday in Latvia - Far and Ride
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Slitere National Park, Latvia




Programme


• Based Programme

 

Reviews



I am just back from my trip to Latvia. I really had great time. The organisation was perfect: great attention to safety, wonderful horses, amazing ride paths in the forests and beaches, delicious food, great dedication. in few words I experienced the best horse rides of my life.

Federico ( August 2015)
 

Horses



Type of horses:

Primarily Latvian horses but some other breeds are also used.

Nature of horses:

Good endurance and stamina with natural suitability for long distance riding through countryside.

Height of horses:

14.3 - 16.2hh

Weight limit:

95kg / 210lbs

Tack type:

Mostly Trail saddles but English and Western are also used.

 

Weather



 

Ride Description

A centre based riding holiday situated near to the empty white beaches of the Baltic Sea. The accommodation lies just 800m away from the beach in Koshrags, an old Liiv fishing village within Slitere National Park. This is a great riding destination for wildlife enthusiasts, as the area is inhabited by owls, deer, wolves, racoons and beavers, which can be seen or heard during the day and night. Early in the morning, you might be lucky enough to watch the deer taking a swim. The village has a rich cultural history and a magical charm for guests whilst the seaside is a wonderful place for peaceful walks, especially in summer when you can enjoy the sunshine and swim in the sea.

This riding holiday is organised through our Latvian tour operator whose staff have more than 30 years experience in the field. They use their own horses and guides for all of their routes, transporting the horses to different Latvian destinations in order to offer different programmes (available on other pages of our site). Their riding holidays are designed to show you the beauty of the Baltic States, away from the tourist rush and stressful everyday lives. Any route can be altered or shortened to create your perfect trip or to accommodate the less experienced rider.

See Programmes.

 

Food & Accommodation

Accommodation is in a guest house situated 800m from the Baltic Sea in Koshrags. It features comfortable apartments with bathroom and shower (guests generally share double or triple rooms). There is also a shared hall/living room with fireplace.

In some cases, alternative accommodation near Koshrags may be used as well, but it will offer the same level of comfort.

In most cases, single supplement is available on request and at an added cost.

There are three meals served each day with some lunches taken as outdoor picnics during the rides. Each meal is usually 2 or 3 courses and there are often specially selected menus where guests can have a limited choice or 2 out of 3 courses. National dishes are usually included for some of the meals.

Vegetarians are regular guests here and can expect meals such as tasty salads, risotto with vegetables and parmesan or apple strudel with vanilla ice cream.

 

Activities

There is plenty to see and do beyond horse riding. The area is wonderful for walking and is one of the best places in Latvia for birdwatching with nearly all of the national species being represented in Slitere National Park.

Other places of interest are:

- Kolka lighthouse is a great place to visit and you can try your hand at fishing there.

- Laumas Nature Park offers lovely walking paths, a trampoline and a mini-golf course for some entertainment.

- Dundaga features a castle as well as Kubalu school/museum. It also has a great choice of restaurants and cafés.

- Slitere Lighthouse acts as the perfect viewing tower.

- Mikeltornis has the tallest lighthouse in the Baltic states. You can no longer climb it but it's a great sight.

- Ventspils International Radio Astronomy Centre features the Irbene radio telescope. This is a former Soviet Army espionage tool which is now used for scientific research. The scientists of the Ventspils University offer guided tours... on your way to the telescope, you will pass through a spooky and abandoned Soviet Army settlement.

Non-riders are welcome to join these rides, but no alternative activities will be offered during the week.

 

Further Details

Languages: English, Latvian.

Health requirements: General good health recommended.

Age limit: 18+

Tuition: Can be organised separately and at additional cost, if required.

Included: Transfer from Riga airport (or port, train or bus station), all inland transfers, accommodation, meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), guided riding as per itinerary and use of horses and equipment.

Not included: Flights or travel to Latvia, travel insurance, additional meals or snacks not mentioned, alcoholic drinks, entrance fees to museums (unless specifically mentioned as being included) and extra services not described.

 

Travel Information

Guests should travel to Riga for this destination. Transfers are included in the price from and to Riga airport, port, train or bus stations.

If travelling from the UK there are a range of airlines flying to Riga regularly. These include Wizz Air, Ryanair and Air Baltic.

This holiday is based approximately 175km from Riga.

Airport: Riga

 

Programme


Based Programme



A based riding holiday with riding on the empty beaches of the Baltic Sea and through surrounding countryside. Observe the wildlife, visit untouched forests and view Slitere Lighthouse. Guests can also swim with the horses in the sea and can explore special routes and secret hideouts previously used by the Soviet Army.

During the programme, you stay in the comfortable hotel and do not move accommodation. For two or more riders this route can be altered or shortened in accordance with your preferences. 

Day by Day Itinerary 

Day 1 - Arrival and introduction:

Transfer from airport and arrival in the district of Koshrags. You will have the chance to settle into the guesthouse before meeting the guides and receiving a safety briefing and some instruction about the weeks riding. Depending on your arrival time, there will be the chance to visit the stables and get acquainted with the horses too.

Day 2 - Fishing Villages (Koshrags - Vaide - Koshrags):

This is a lovely route for the active rider who is interested in seaside nature and to learn about the Liiv cultural heritage. The route covers about 25km and generally takes around 6 hours, including sightseeing in the villages. You head through the forest connecting several villages: Koshrags, Pitrags, Saunags and Vaide. It is still possible to notice the ancient features of the fishermen's lives.

Most of the day will be spent in Slitere National Park - this is one of the oldest national parks in the Baltic States. The National Park is famous for its broadleaf forests which grow along the former coastline. It also has a unique complex of dunes and inter-dune bogs. The majority of the forest is situated on the 'Zilie Kalni' or 'Blue Hills' which are, geologically, one of the most recognizable features of the park. Thousands of years ago, these hills formed the ancient shore of the Baltic ice lake. 

This is a special territory for wild animals and due to its location and the habitats it provides, it is rich with typical Latvian fauna. 

Day 3 - Fishing Villages Route and swimming with horses in the Baltic Sea (Koshrags - Sikrags - Koshrags):

After breakfast, you will be collected from the guesthouse and taken to the stables. Today you will ride a route heading through the forest and white-sand beaches connecting the fishing villages of Koshrags, Mazirbe and Sikrags. After a picnic lunch on the shore, you will be able to enjoy swimming with the horses in the Baltic Sea. This is an unforgettable day full of seaside adventures and harmony with nature. Dinner and overnight back at the guesthouse.

Riding c. 25 km

Day 4 - Kolka Horn Route (Koshrags - Kolka - Koshrags):

Breakfast at your guesthouse and transfer to the stables. Today you will ride along some of the widest beaches in Europe. The first mention of today's destination, Kolka, is from the 14th century. The nearby Cape Kolka, the most popular tourist attraction in all the Northern Kurzeme, is the point where the Gulf of Riga meets the open sea. At this point, the sun both rises and sets over the sea in the summer months. Kolka lies about 20km north of Koshrags.

Following a picnic lunch n the beach, it's possible to take a trip in a fishing boat to go around the Kolka lighthouse which is located 6km from the coast. You can also have a go at fishing using either the nets or an ancient local technique for catching Plaice. The boatman will be happy to share some of the smoked fish they produce, which is a lovely end to end the boat ride. Dinner and overnight back at the guesthouse.

Riding: c.45 km

Day 5 - Route of the sea and River Irbe (Koshrags - River Irbe - Koshrags):

After breakfast, you will enjoy a day of beach riding with plenty of freedom. Begin by exploring the River Irbe estuary from horseback and will enjoy a picnic lunch at a special spot in the green pine forest further up the river. This spot is where the River Irbe meets the Baltic Sea, right on the border of the Ovisi Nature Reserve. Dinner and overnight at the guesthouse.

Riding: c.30 km

Day 6 - Essence of Diversity in Slitere National Park (Koshrags - Vaide - Nature Reserve Bazhu - beach along the Gulf of Riga - Kolka Village):

Today offers guests a taste of diversity as you ride and understand the essence of Slitere National Park. You will be able to feel the difference between the beaches situated along the protected Gulf of Riga and those in the path of the open Baltic Sea. Then again, the contrast when compared to the sheltered forest trails of the Bazhu Nature Reserve. The insights of Kolka Village are just another of the highlights from today. Picnic lunch on the beach with a sea view.

Dinner and overnight back at the guesthouse.

Riding: c.31 km

Day 7 - Lighthouse of Mikeltornis and Secrets of the Soviet Security System (Koshrags - Mikeltornis):

The day starts with a beach ride towards Ventspils. About 30km from Koshrags is Mikeltornis, home to the tallest lighthouse of the Baltic countries (at 62m high). Those brave enough to climb to the top of the lighthouse will witness spectacular views of the sea and forests.

The route will lead you along the historic tracks of a small steam-powered engine. Between 1920 - 1960 the engine and associated railway played an important role in the area, ferrying essential items up to the otherwise isolated fishing villages. It was also reformed for use during the First World War as a means of transporting cargo and military units.

Picnic lunch in the pine forest.

Today's tour will take you through a secure zone set up by the Soviet Army in order to keep people away from the surveillance and intelligence equipment that is hidden within. You will be able to witness how nature has taken over in these areas without too much human intervention. This particular security zone was created around a radio telescope complex which was used during the Cold War for the interception of American and NATO satellite communication. The radio telescope of Irbene is connected underground to a secret computational centre in a hidden village, where the transcription of the intercepted messages took place. There are air defence bunkers, tank sheds, rocket casings and other hidden military objects dotted all around this secretive territory. 

Dinner and overnight back at the guesthouse.

Riding: c.30 km

Day 8 - Departure Day:

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Riga airport or another point of your departure. 

NB. The programme is subject to change due to weather or unforeseen circumstances. 



Minimum group size: 4
Maximum group size: 10
Ability description: Strong novice and above. Riders should be capable at all paces but do not necessarily need to ride regularly or to be overly confident. Days can be altered to suit less experienced riders. These rides covers long distances so good fitness is recommended. Less experienced riders may find the long hours in the saddle quite tiring.
Type of ride: Based.
Total riding time: Six days of riding, up to 6 hours per day.
Departure dates: 2018: Dates available to suit for a minimum of 4 riders.

If you are travelling alone then please contact the office as we may have other riders also interested in your preferred dates.
 
Pricing: 2018:

£1283 per person.

Price includes 7 nights of accommodation (shared room), all meals, riding as per itinerary and Riga airport transfers. It also includes entrance fee to the former Soviet Army espionage tool (the radio telescope) and an evening in a traditional Latvian sauna.

Single rooms may be available at additional cost.