Bike tour from Bialystok to Riga.
24.06.1997 - 04.07.1997.
(All names of the cities are written in the original spelling.)
24.06. Bialystok - Augustów
25.06. Augustów - Druskininkai
26.06. Druskininkai - Varena
27.06. Varena - Vilnius
30.06. Vilnius - Kaunas
01.07. Kaunas - Nida - Juodkrante
02.07. Juodkrante - Klaipeda - Palanga
03.07. Palanga - Liepaja
|24.06. Bialystok - Augustów
Departure by train in the direction of Elk to Ossowiec to avoid car traffic on the Bialystok - Augustów route. From Ossowiec continue on the country road in the direction of Dabrowa Bialostocka via Goniadz. After approx. 20 km turn left to Dolistowo Stare and continue through the Biebrzanski National Park (partly gravel road, but very quiet and beautiful landscape) to Bialobrzegi. Continue on the main road to Augustów.
|25.06. Augustów - Druskininkai
Departure in the direction of Sejny. The route leads almost constantly through the primeval forest of Augustów. Traffic is light. From Sejny continue to the border crossing in Ogrodniki. The landscape becomes somewhat hilly. Traffic increases before the border. Predominantly Lithuanian and Belarusian cars. At the border, the Polish border guard must be joking a bit, saying that the border crossing is for motor vehicles only, but he lets us cross. On the Lithuanian side - apart from the stamps in our passports - nobody wants anything from us. We continue on to Lazdijai. Shortly after the border there is even a cycle path that goes almost all the way to Lazdijai! From Lazdijai we continue towards Druskininkai. The landscape is quite hilly. The condition of the roads is good. Traffic is relatively light, mainly cars.
|26.06. Druskininkai - Varena
Departure from Druskininkai in the direction of Alytus. The road through the national park is in good condition. The landscape is slightly hilly. From time to time we have to put up with quite steep and long approaches. The traffic is light. After about 30 km we turn left towards Merkine. From the hill in Merkine we have a beautiful panoramic view of the river Memel. Return to the junction on the main road and continue in a north-easterly direction to Varena. The road condition is good. Traffic is light.
|27.06. Varena - Vilnius
Departure from Varena in the direction of Vilnius. The traffic increases from kilometre to kilometre. After about 30 km, near the village of Piriciupiai, we turn right off the main road. The road is narrow, but leads through the forest, is tarred and is hardly used. After about 11 km, we turn left to Balttoi Voke and continue towards Vilnius. An interesting road leading through some small villages, often crossing the river Voke. The entrance to the city is terrible. The traffic increases a lot and there are some steep and very long approaches. It would probably be much easier to enter the centre by train, getting on at Mereslenai or Valciunai, for example. For this purpose, however, you would have to leave the main road a bit.
|30.06. Vilnius - Kaunas
We covered this route by train. There are no problems taking bicycles on the train. You just have to buy the appropriate tickets. The coaches are spacious, so you don't have any problems finding room for your bicycles.
|01.07. Kaunas - Nida - Juodkrante
We covered the distance from Kaunas to Nida by hydrofoil. It is usually possible to take bicycles on board, but you have to buy appropriate luggage tickets beforehand. It is advisable to buy tickets the day before or a few days before, as the number of seats is limited. Tickets can be bought in the pedestrian zone in Kaunas. From Nida we drove north along the Curonian Spit to Juodkrante. The road is in good condition and traffic is light. Motor vehicles have limited access to the spit.
|02.07. Juodkrante - Klaipeda - Palanga
From Juodkrante we continue north along the spit. The crossing from the spit to the mainland is possible with two ferries. The older one (the northern one) is probably more suitable for cyclists. Firstly, it costs nothing in the direction of the mainland and secondly, it docks near the old town. Compared to Vilnius or Kaunas, Klaipeda seems much smaller and uglier. From Klaipeda we continue towards Palanga. Unfortunately, the drive on the main road is not very pleasant because of the heavy traffic. Unfortunately, we have not found an alternative connection due to the lack of an accurate map.
|03.07. Palanga - Liepaja
Exit from Palanga in a northerly direction to the border with Latvia. The road is in good condition. Traffic is light. Crossing the border by bicycle is problem-free. On the Latvian side, the road surface deteriorates (but is still tarred). The traffic decreases even more. The road leads mainly through the forest. In Liepaja, the road condition deteriorates (considerable potholes).
Liepaja - Riga
Because of the lack of time, we covered the distance by bus. Bicycle transport is problem-free and does not cost us much (approx. 0.75 Lat, i.e. approx. 1.5 USD).
We travelled to Bialystok by Biakomex bus. We were able to take the bikes with us without any problems, but at a rather high price (10 USD, half the normal price per bike). Perhaps we should have bargained a little. Nevertheless, we were happy to have come along at all. We always managed to get accommodation on the spot. We did not have a tent with us.