Route classification: Under development
The advantage of taking the ferry from Helsinki to St. Petersburg (as opposed to cycling around the coast into Russia) is that a 72 hour Russian visa is included when you buy your ticket. After a short period in St. Petersburg, I could return to either Helsinki or, preferably, to Tallinn in Estonia. The decision as to which may come down to the practicality of taking a bike with me on the boat from Helsinki to St. Petersburg. Logic would suggest that this wouldn’t be a problem but this is Russia…
“Not far from the Finnish border the first major city along EuroVelo 10 in Russia is beautiful Vyborg. Lying between the East Slavic/Russian and Finnish worlds, the city has changed hands several times down the centuries. It is then a 130 km cycle around the Gulf of Finland to magnificent St. Petersburg. Founded by Peter the Great in 1703, it is Russia’s cultural capital with art, ballet and opera all on offer. Continuing along the gulf, you reach Narva/Ivangorod and the border with Estonia. However, EuroVelo 10 returns to Russia further to the south when is passes through the exclave of Kaliningrad, which is much more than just a geographical curiosity.”ECF EuroVelo
Route classification: Developed (Lithuania) / Under development (Russia)
I suspect that, aside from ‘real Russia’ further north, my stay in Lithuania will be a short one. The route of the EuroVelo 10 is perhaps only 150km in length and cycling along the coast, the journey would be split almost exactly in two by the city of Klaipeda. But here it gets a little complicated, again. The next ‘country’ is the exclave of Russia that is Kaliningrad. Will my visit to St. Petersburg have boosted my enthusiasm for more Russia? I’ve not read of any scheme whereby you can pick up a 72-hour visa at the border as you can by buying a ticket for the boat from Helsinki. Cycling through Kaliningrad would, I assume, require visa formalities to be looked into before setting off from home. The cycle from the border with Lithuania to the border with Poland along the EuroVelo 10 is around 250km so it’s not the longest stretch of cycling. The dramatic spit that extends south from Klaipeda links the coasts of Lithuania and Russia would be an amazing experience… If Russia proves too difficult on an administrative level, there are several alternatives. 1. Cycle inland around the border with Kaliningrad through Lithuania and then Poland. 2. Catch a train from Klaipeda to Gdansk but that does appear, upon initial investigation, to be a little complicated. 3. A combination of 1 and 2, perhaps taking in the capital of Lithuania, Vilnius. 4. Take a ferry from Klaipeda to Kiel and thus ending the journey around the Baltic coast there and then. 5. Take a ferry from Klaipeda to Trelleborg in Sweden and then a second ferry from Trelleborg to Swinoujscie in Poland. This is very close to the German border and would mean, in effect, missing out almost all of the Polish coastline but still allow me to cycle along most of the German coast.
“Breath taking views of the colossal sand dunes on the Curonian Spit (on UNESCO‘s World Heritage List); relaxing blue flag beaches on the Baltic seashore, and more than 500 years of authentic culture and architecture is all within reach on EuroVelo 10! The route in Lithuania leads for more than 100 km along the sea from the Latvian border in the North to the Russian (Kaliningrad Region) border in the South, with the historic coastal town of Klaipeda in the middle. Due to good ferry connections with Germany and Sweden, many tourists tend to begin or end their bike ride in Klaipeda, which is a bustling, modern town offering many excellent leisure options.”ECF EuroVelo