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Cycling from Cape Town to Hermanus: Chapman’s Peak, Gordon’s Bay, Kogelberg Nature Reserve Our first ride in South Africa, along the coast of Western Cape

Cycling around Cape Town is just amazing. Cape Town is a very spread-out city, expanding on a very wide area which includes a lot of pristine nature, from the Table Mountains National Park down to its southern tip, the Cape of Good Hope; from the sand dunes of False Bay to the cliffs of Gordons Bay, this is definitely a great area for a bike tour.

One of the things that we liked most about Cape Town is the fact that we never really perceived to be in a big city, being mostly composed of suburbs that look like small villages in the countryside and separated from each other by huge green spaces and a marvelous coast.

Cape Town was the starting point of our journey by bicycle in Africa, from here we will continue to Lesotho and Mozambique. Our itinerary started in Green Point, the northern part of the Cape, where the cableway to the Table Mountain is located. This can be also considered the city center.

Leaving the city along the coast we were expecting a boring and busy road but instead, we were really surprised and fascinated by the beauty and epic of the landscapes that we found in front of us: Chapman’s Peak, the beach of Noordhoek, the white dunes, penguins and Gordons Bay. Here is our story, itinerary, and what we liked most.

Interested only in Cape Town?

Things not to miss on a 4 or 5 days visit

Want to learn Kite Surfing in Cape Town? Here the story of our experience

Cycling Western Cape’s coast – Our itinerary and GPX track 

This is a 220 km ride with slightly more than 2000 meters of elevation gain. Some trained cyclists like to do it in one day, we did it in three, nice and relaxing. Overnighting in Simon’s Town, Somerset West, and Hermanus.

The route is scenic almost all the way, so why rushing?

Cycling Chapman’s Peak

From Green Point to Noordhoek, riding Chapman’s Peak

Starting from the city center in Green Point, the best way to get out of the city is to go up the steep hill leading to the cable car, certainly more difficult than other roads, especially with the summer heat, but always better to get stuck in city traffic.

The downhill from this “pass” is very scenic, overlooking the beautiful white sand beach at Camp’s Bay, where you’ll get after a shire downhill.

Camp’s bay water is as crystal clear as it is freezing, bath there if you dare. Here are several bars and ice cream parlors, street vendors trying to get crazy amounts of money from you, a protected seawater swimming pool (free to access), and several beautiful and relatively isolated coves.

From here the road goes up a bit, following the coast and then crossing a small pass into Hout Bay. There’s an “informal settlement” (slum) hanged on the flank of a mountain, shining tin reverberating in your eyes. Hout Bay also has a beautiful beach, encased between Chapman’s Peak and the Harbour Heights.

The best part of this overall great ride starts here, with the absolutely gorgeous Chapman’s Peak drive. This world-class road is not always rideable, it is indeed often closed for fallen rocks or strong winds. A sign indicates the state of the road before the climb, or you can check online here, where you can also check the forecasts and the direction of the wind.

This is a toll road, cars and mopeds need to pay to enjoy it, while for cyclists it is completely free. It’s narrow but not many cars around. The road follows the cliff and offers an escalation of memorable views, climaxing in the gigantic beach of Noordhoek, in whose waters the sharks roam free.

The huge beach of Noordhoek and its dunes

From Noordhoek there are three equally scenic options:

  • Staying on the west coast to Kommetjie and then crossing over the mountain into Simon’s Town
  • Getting straight into downtown Retreat through a beautiful but busy pass (M64 – Silver Mine)
  • Going through the marine hamlet of Fish Hoek, where you could easily see seals and even sea elephants occasionally, before getting into Muizenberg.

If you want to (literally) pay a visit to the Cape of Good Hope, you might want to choose the first option. Keep in mind that the entry fee to the Cape’s National Park is a steep 300 Rand (20€).

Once there, you’ll anyway go back to Fish Hoek and take to the road to Muizenberg (option 3).

Simon’s Town

Simon’s Town is a small coastal resort village, with a military naval base, a few restaurants and bars and not much more. From here various boat trips depart (whale watching, cruises around the cape), there is also a club where to rent kayaks and other kinds of boats to explore on your own.

The main attraction in Simon’s Town is certainly Boulder’s Beach, with its incredibly cute Penguin Colony. Those are here almost all year round, together with thousands of less-cute but equally admirable cormorants. We talked about boulders beach in this article, so check it if you want to know more.

The beach of Muizenberg

Muizenberg

Muizenberg is one of the most popular beaches in Cape Town for surfing and kitesurfing, it is a very nice area where to have a cheap beer or some fresh seafood also.

The lagoon of Marina da Game (part of the neighborhood) is a quiet place for a picnic style lunch break or to try your hand at SUP.

I attended a three-day Kitesurfing course in Muizenberg – if you’re interested here is the account of my experience.

Just out of Cape Town

Out of Cape Town

Going east from Muizenberg there starts a road which we didn’t expect at all. Hitting the Baden Powell Driveway is like being teleported in another planet, and a beautiful one. This is called False Bay.

The urbanised area immediately disappeared and we find ourselves riding amidst white sand dunes covered in fynbos (the incredibly diverse and flowery vegetation of Western Cape region).

We were still in the city but it definitely didn’t feel like it. The only downsides are the quite heavy presence of cars, and the sandblasts that can hit you if the wind is too strong. Luckily for us, we passed through there in a rare moment of calm.

At a certain point (check map), there’s a tranquil side road you can take for about 6km, still amidst the dunes. Here there’s also a free Braai (barbecue) spot with public toilets and drinkable water.

Back to the main road, you’ll pass alongside the biggest “informal settlement” in South Africa, Khayelitsha, a guy even stopped to warn us about the danger but we honestly think it’s absolutely ok during the daytime (obviously entering the slum and starting to take photographs is absolutely not recommended, and not just for security reasons).

On the other side, there are the most incredible sand dunes at Macassar beach, which we didn’t explore and then regretted a fair bit.

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Killarney National Park

An itinerary of the Ring of Kerry by bicycle
all you need to know to plan your Ring of Kerry cycle tour

The Ring of Kerry is one of the most visited areas of Ireland, its epic coastline and rough mountainous interiors make it also a prime cycling destination in the Irish island, and in the whole of Europe.

The Ring of Kerry is how people often call the Iveragh Peninsula, a peninsula on the western coast of Ireland and its part of the super-scenic Wild Atlantic way, an itinerary that follows the whole northern an eastern coast, the ultimate cycling trip.

The popularity of the ring of Kerry though is also its weakness, so many people on rented cars and caravans drive these roads all year round, but especially in summer. Add this to the fact that the roads are narrow, with no side lanes, and not really well maintained, and you’ll see why some Irish people we’ll think of you as a suicidal if you want to ride the ring on a summer weekend.

The Ring of Kerry has been made famous also by the charity cycle race which takes place every year in July. Over the past 36 years, they raised almost €16 million for 160 charity organizations through the annual support of participating cyclists and volunteers.

Besides the Ballaghisheen pass, which we will discuss in detail further on, the whole Ring of Kerry is mostly flat, with only a few small uphills. that though doesn’t mean it is an easy ride, weather can be harsh even in summer and strong winds can make riding difficult.

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Estonia bike and camping – routes and advice

Cliffs of Kerry

Best season to cycle the Ring of Kerry

Ireland is famous for its unpredictable weather, even in summer temperatures can drop quickly from hot to quite chilly, a downpour can suddenly wash you out from a previously clear sky, and winds can be strong.

Summer is also the most touristic season, thus the main road around the peninsula will be often quite busy. If you want to cycle in Summer, consider getting up very early.

Winters can be very harsh but the roads will be empty, so if you like winter cycling you might consider it a suitable season.

Overall I would say the best season to cycle the Ring of Kerry is late spring/early summer, in the months of May and June, which are the driest and sunniest times of the year. Nights can still get pretty chilly so if you plan to camp gear-up accordingly.

The R568 Road

Roads in Kerry County

Roads in the county of Kerry, and in Ireland in general, are particularly narrow, especially along the coast. Moreover, the sides are often bumpy and constellated in potholes, so be really careful, The speed limits are also quite crazy in Ireland, often around 100km/h even on these narrow lanes.

We found local drivers pretty considerate though, compared to many other countries in Europe, most of them will wait for the good opportunity to pass you wide… tourists on rented cars and, as usual, coach drivers are the most dangerous.

Coastal roads are definitely the busiest, while some calm can be found in the interiors, which is also our favorite area to ride in the Ring of Kerry.

Racing with pros in the Ring of Kerry interiors

Cycling routes in the Ring of Kerry (the Iveragh Peninsula)

The county Kerry encompasses also the peninsula of Dingle in the north (which we’ll discuss in another blog post), the Ring of Beara in the south, and a wide area of countryside in the interiors. The first two are very interesting places where to ride your bicycle, while the interior can actually be a bit boring.

What is properly defined as the Ring of Kerry (Morchuaird Chiarrai in Irish) is a 179km route that goes around the Iveragh Peninsula with only two considerable hills, one near the hamlet of Caherdaniel, south of Waterville (180msl), and another one near the beautiful Killarney National Park (250msl).

These are really nothing for even an amateur road cyclist, overall a decently fit person can cycle the whole ring in a single day. If you’re visiting Ireland though, we would advise to take it easy and explore properly the beauty of this peninsula.

The classic circular route

Starting from the nice touristic town of Killarney and proceeding counterclockwise, the first section is a bit boring, along the N72 to Killorglin. Killorglin is a small colorful town crossed by a river, a perfect stop for stocking in groceries or having a beer in a local pub. There’s also a good accommodation choice here but no camping. Check here the prices of guesthouses in Killorglin.

From here you’ll follow the N70 to Glenbeigh, where indeed there’s a campsite. This section is boring with no special view and a lot of traffic in Summer.

After that, the road finally hits the coast (you can take a short detour on the R546) for a short time before climbing a small hill and arriving in Cahersiveen. Cahersiveen is another medium-sized town with all the facilities you might need, including a campsite near the water, it lacks the charm of Killorglin but has some nice views over the bay.

From here the N70 turns inland across a nice but absolutely not-spectacular countryside until Waterville, the next nice place along the way. Nice beach, restaurant, and supermarkets.

From Waterville the road climbs up a bit, giving you some of the best views along the coastal route. The next hamlets are Caherdaniel, Westcove, and Castlecove… the road stays not-exciting until the colorful town of Sneem (nice stream for a quick dip).

From Parknasilla, the road follows the coast very closely but you’ll actually never see the sea because of the many properties protected by tall trees and fences, we were very disappointed because the coastline is actually gorgeous here.

We absolutely advice getting off the N70 and on the R568 from Sneem (check the Suggested Route map). We took it from Blackwater Ridge, cycling a nice and shaded road that goes along the river.

The town of Sneem

The R568 brings you all the way to Molls Gap through a scenic and quiet road, very nice. There’s though an even better option, which is going around the mountains in the Black Valley. The road .here is unpaved with some steep stretches, but has some of the best landscapes in the Kerry.

From Molls Gap (the highest pass on this “traditional” route), the cycling becomes absolutely spectacular. The mountains and lakes around make you feel like you’re 3000 meters above the sea, while you’re actually only one-tenth of that. It reminded us of the rugged landscapes of Kyrgyzstan.

You can reach Molls Gap also by following the main road (as in the map above), which is called N71 from Kenmare, but the R568 is nicer and quieter.

You’re now cycling the Killarney National Park, and this is one of the greatest routes in Ireland, cycling at its best. The several lakes inside the park are all connected and make for a stunning kayaking day, if you have the time do it!

Near Killarney is the small but nice Torc Waterfall, and in town is the nice and relaxing Castle Park. Killarney also has a well-equipped campsite. Another very nice place to visit in the area is the Muckross Abbey, founded for the Observatine Franciscans about 1448 and now laying in well preserved and fascinating ruins.

A view from Caherdaniel

Our two cents about the “classic” Ring of Kerry route

Overall, following this itinerary is not the best choice for a cycling holiday in the Ring of Kerry, besides the Waterville-Caherdaniel section and the Killarney National Park, most of this circle is just traffic with very few scenic spots.

There are many alternatives which we’ll now go discussing, trying to compose what, in our humble opinion, is the best cycling route in the Ring of Kerry.

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Timetables, services and description of the Helsinki – Tallinn ferry
The Love Boat of the Baltic Sea, connecting these beautiful northern capitals

There are several ships nicknamed Love Boat, the most famous are those that connect Helsinki to Stockholm and Helsinki to Tallinn, the races are daily and operated by Viking Line, Eckerö Line, and Tallink Silja. On both lines, you can transport your car, bicycle or motorbike.

After having pedaled Finland from the cold wilderness of Lapland, we boarded the ferry for the route Helsinki-Tallinn (Estonia). There are two options when it comes to sailing this route: you can easily hop on and off in two hours, which is the actual travel time for the boat from Helsinki to Tallinn (and vice-versa). The second and cheaper (yes!) option is for you to sleep on the ship, overnighting moored at the port of Tallinn (or Helsinki) and leave calmly by noon the next day.

You may wonder why sleeping on the ship costs less than going down once you get there, the answer is simple: Booze! The ships, no matter which company’s, have several bars with live music, a disco, and numerous restaurants. Those who stay on the ship have fun and in the meantime spend money, paying very little for alcohol compared to the prices they would pay on the ground, especially in Finland.

In fact, many locals spend the weekend this way. The shipping company earns and the young Finns can get drunk at a reasonable price, also they don’t have to drive back home once drunk, sleeping instead in a comfortable cabin.

You can figure out the reason why this ship is nicknamed “love boat”, there are many love affairs born between one beer and another, but if you do not care to drink at the bar or buy liquor at the tax free shop you will still have saved the cost of the accommodation for one night, moreover the ship offers much more than any hostel, where there is usually no pool and sauna…

Keep an eye on the offers, especially during low season and out of weekends, the prices can drop vertiginously. There are various last minute offers and prices are very variable.

We love beer and sauna and swimming, we had a lot of fun, we paid 17€ in total for the crossing and a basic cabin for two, our bikes traveled for free. We must say, however, that once we got off we had to find a hostel in Tallinn to rest and get rid of the hangover 🙂

Check Also

Book or check the tariffs for Helsinki-Tallin ferries

Itineraries and advice for a bike trip in Estonia

Everything you need to know about cycling in Finland

Viking Line
Viking – Line Routes

Travel with Viking XPRS, spend the day in Tallinn and then come back the same evening. The journey with Viking Line lasts only two and a half hours and there are 3 or 4 daily trips.

Viking Line operates daily connections from Helsinki to Tallinn, there are 4 different options available:

  • One-day cruise with stop in Tallinn
  • Helsinki-Tallinn-Helsinki night cruise, with overnight stay on board. No landing in Tallinn.
  • Overnight cruise with one day in Tallinn, with overnight on board and one day in Tallinn, departure from Helsinki in the afternoon and return the evening of the day after
  • Day-cruise with a day in Helsinki, departure from Tallinn in the morning and back in the evening (Tallinn-Helsinki-Tallinn)

Tax-Free shop on the Tallinn – Helsinki boat

Viking Line also offers other national and international connections:
  • Turku (Finland) – Aland Islands (Finland)
  • Aland Islands (Finland) – Stockholm (Sweden)
  • Helsinki (Finland) – Aland Islands (Finland)
  • Helsinki – Tallin
Services on board – Viking Line
  • WiFi, download the Viking Line app before embarking
  • Shows and live music, about 200 artists perform on Viking ships every year
  • Disco Club
  • Slot Machine
  • Tax-Free Shops (booze, clothes, gadgets, toys, etc.)
  • Spa
  • Sauna
  • Heated Pool
The Viking Line cabins

You can book any type of cabin, naturally more luxurious will be your choice and the greater the cost. If once you get on board you want to change cabin and get a higher level you can request an upgrade, subject to availability, at check in.

Check here to book or learn more about Viking Lines cruises and services
Here a map of the cheapest hostels in Tallin

Silja Traghetti
Map of Silja routes

Silja Ferries is the second company offering the Helsinki-to-Tallinn connection, up to seven trips a day. Also in this case there are different solutions, from the simple 2 hours of crossing to round-trip cruises for a total journey of 22 hours. We took this ship from Helsinki to Tallinn and we enjoyed it.

Both the Viking Line and Silja can transport cars and caravans, while bikes usually go for free. It is also possible to book lunch or dinner at one of the many restaurants on the ships.

The boat we took, Silja Europa, had a heated swimming pool with adjoining sauna which could be accessed until midnight by paying a separate ticket for 8€ if you do not have the swimming-attire you can rent at a cost of 2€.

One of Silja ships at the port of Helsinki

Other services available on the Tallinn – Helsinki ferry operated by Silja are:
  • Bars and clubs with live entertainment, music and dance
  • Indoor heated pool
  • Sauna
  • Beauty salon
  • Hairdresser
  • Tax-Free shopping
  • Kids playground
  • Conference room
  • Billiards

Cabins

We slept in the cheapest cabin available, it was on the lower floor of the ship, so no sea view. A cabin with two bunk beds but it was all available to us, it was spotless, with private bathroom and tv, towels and blankets are included.

Of course, all types of cabs are offered, from the 75-square-meter luxury suite to the simplest cabins, there are also cabins for people with allergies, the materials used are all anti-allergenic.

Silja Line also offers other national and international connections:
  • Turku (Finland) – Aland Islands (Finland)
  • Aland Islands (Finland) – Stockholm (Sweden)
  • Tallinn (Estonia) – Aland Islands (Finland)
  • Riga (Latvia) – Stockholm (Sweden)
  • Helsinki – Tallinn
Here a map of the best hotels in downtown Helsinki

Eckerö Line

Eckerö Line is a Finnish company that travels the Tallinn – Helsinki route 3 times a day. Also in this case it is possible to book the outward and return journey with the spare day to visit one of the two capitals. We do not have much information on this line since the website is only in Finnish or Swedish. If you have traveled this route with this company and you have more information please contribute in the comments.

One of the many bars on board where live music is played

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Check Also

Book or check the tariffs for Helsinki-Tallin ferries

Itineraries and advice for a bike trip in Estonia

Everything you need to know about cycling in Finland

The post Ferry Helsinki – Tallinn: companies, options, prices, services appeared first on Cycloscope: bicycle touring planet Earth.

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A weekend in Tallinn
things to do and interesting attractions to visit in 2 or 3 days in the Estonian capital From the Hanseatic League to Soviet times

Tallinn is not just a historical city, it is a mix of ancient, modern and what remains of the Soviet occupation. A unique city worth spending at least 2 or 3 days, Tallinn is a real gem of northern Europe, probably the most beautiful and interesting city in the Baltic Sea.

The Old Town of Tallinn, the Estonian capital, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, its beauty is impressive and is so well preserved that you really feel like you are going back to the days of Hanseatic League.

Among the things not to be missed there are surely the Seaplane Harbor, the Telliskivi Creative City, and Linnahall and many more, here is a list of things to see in Tallinn in 2 or 3 days.

Before we start digging here is some piece of advice:

During the summer, free local tours of the city are organized by the local students for a couple of hours (but it is good to leave a tip), you can get info from the tourist office. There are many organized tours of the city and its surroundings, you can check the offers here.

Tallinn is a relatively small city, to explore it at its best a great option is to rent a bike, it is possible to have advantageous offers here: Tallinn Bike Rentals

Seeing Tallinn in a weekend

Visiting the Estonian capital in a weekend is definitely doable, the city has many attractions but it’s small enough to be explored in such a short time, maybe even including a short day-trip to a nearby point of interest.

There are low-cost flights to Tallinn from many European cities, check out the best deals here.

Tallinn in 2 days itinerary

Two days pass by fast, it’s best to focus on the main attractions if it’s your first time in Tallinn.

  • Day 1: Tallinn Historical City Center and its attractions (see below) – Telliskivi Creative City in the evening
  • Day 2: Seaplane Harbour Museum, pass by Linhall – Alexandr Nevsky Cathedral
Tallinn in 3 days itinerary

Three days are optimal for visiting Tallinn and its surroundings. Focus on the main attractions for the first two days

  • Day 1: Tallinn Historical City Center and its attractions (see below) – Telliskivi Creative City in the evening
  • Day 2: Seaplane Harbour Museum or Komu Art Museum – pass by Linhall – Alexandr Nevsky Cathedral
  • Day 3: A guided tour to a more off-the-beaten-path attraction such as Kiek in de Kok or a day trip to a nearby sight (see the bottom of the article)
Things to see in Tallinn in 2 or 3 days
1. Seaplane Harbour Tallinn

This fantastic Maritime Museum is located not far from the center of Tallinn and was built in a renovated old hangar. The building is truly amazing, inside there is a permanent exhibition on the naval history of Estonia and a real submarine, the Lembit, in which you can enter and get a very realistic idea of what life was like inside.

The museum also contains a full-size replica of a British seaplane, as well as a host of other related historical accessories, unique to the region. Outside the museum are anchored a series of ships which you can visit, including the Suur Töll, the largest steam-powered icebreaker in the world, you can also visit the bottom of the ship to understand how it worked.

For us it was one of the nicest things seen on our bike trip in Europe so we highly recommend going there, take into account that you will need 2 or 3 hours for the visit, even if the tickets are sold up to 30 minutes before closing.

Address: Vesilennuki tee 6, Tallinn

Hours: from October to April from 10.00 to 18.00 – from May to September from 10.00 to 19.00

Ticket: € 15 for adults and € 8 for 9-18 years and for students, € 2 for the audio guide

2. Telliskivi Creative City

It is the largest creative center in Estonia and is about 15 minutes walk from the historic center. It consists of 10 buildings housing more than 200 companies and organizations, has a relaxed and bohemian atmosphere. Each individual company is free to design its own space as it sees fit.

It is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of the local cultural life and hang out in places far from the masses of tourist buses that roam the narrow streets of the center. Telliskivi is located near the railway station and has given a new face to the ugly abandoned Soviet factories that surround the area.

Some of the street art here is really interesting, we especially liked the older paintings… much more interesting to us than the more “hipster” new style.  

If you do not want to walk or cycle you can reach this district with trams number 1 and 2 from the center, the bus stop is called Telliskivi. Telliskivi is an ideal place to spend the evening hours after a long day at the museum.

Address: Telliskivi 60A, Tallinn

Free entry

Hours: open 24 hours a day

Street art in Telliskivi Creative City

3. Linnahall

Linnahall is an imposing Soviet relic, built to house the Moscow Summer Olympics in 1980. The Linnahall of Estonia, now stands as an imposing concrete ghastly monster. Inside, an impressive 5,000-seat amphitheater was commissioned by the Soviet Union to show the world its grandeur.

The building was built in a very short time and, no longer serving anything after the Olympics, it was left to deteriorate. Going up the outside steps you will have a nice view of the sea and the old city. Only the external part can be accessed.

Locals hang out here for skating, playing music and other activities. A nice place to stop by for a quick visit.

Address: Kalasadama 4, Tallinn

Hours: 24 hours a day

Linnahall vista da lontano

4. Kiek in de Kök

It is a medieval tower from which you can access a series of underground tunnels. Built in the second half of the fifteenth century it was then expanded in the eighteenth century with these tunnels that served to give shelter to men and ammunition.

It came out handy during the First World War and saved many people during the World War II bombings. Later, during the Cold War, the tunnels were equipped with what was needed to resist a possible nuclear attack.

Since 2005 it is a museum that can be visited by appointment only.

Address: Komandandi Tee 2, Tallin

Opening Times: from January to April from 10 to 17, on Thursdays until 20 – from May to September every day from 9 to 18

Ticket: 6 € adults – € 4 children – € 12 family ticket

To book the visit, find the contacts here.

5. Hunted house of Tallinn

This old Tallinn house is famous because of a legend, apparently the Devil’s wedding was celebrated here. The owner, in fact, died after renting a room to a mysterious couple and the last thing he said was that he had seen the Devil marrying a young woman.

An off the beaten path place to visit if you like ghost stories and mysteries. A good place where to spend an unsettling night.

Address: Rataskaevu 16, Tallinn

Fees and how to visit: you can see it from the outside or decide to spend the night there, here prices and availabilities.

6. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral 

The Orthodox Cathedral of Tallinn dates back to the late nineteenth century, during the Soviet occupation was declared a non-religious building and left to its fate. Since 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, this beautiful church has been carefully restored. Inside there are 3 altars and the whole structure is beautifully decorated.

Address: Lossi plats 10, 10130 Tallinn

Free entry

Hours: Saturday from 8.00 to 19.00 – from Sunday to Friday from 8.00 to 18.00

La Cattedrale Ortodossa di Tallinn

7. Toompea Castle

Tallinn’s Toompea Castle is also home to the Estonian Parliament, located in the historic city. First built in wood between the tenth and eleventh centuries, it underwent several modifications and restorations that gave it its present appearance. For 800 years it has been the center of power, even when Estonia was dominated by foreign forces. You can visit it with free guided tours.

Address: Lossi Plats 1a, Tallinn

Timetable: inquire at the entrance for tours organized in different languages

Ticket: free admission

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Source: Pixabay

As we have talked about at length elsewhere on the site,  Asia is home to a host of exotic and exciting locations that are ideal for exploring either as part of a bike tour or simply on your own. However, while there is a seemingly endless choice of incredible landscapes to experience across the continent, what if you want something that combines cycling with all of the styles of a city break?

The unmistakable glitz and casino glamour of Macau could help in that respect and, in this article, we are going to give you some key tips on how you can prepare for a trip to the region.

Top entertainment and casinos

Located on the southern coast of the beautiful country of China, the autonomous region of Macau was a Portuguese colony for a number of years but, in recent times, it has developed into a truly incredible tourist destination. With its array of world-class entertainment and casinos, the region has undoubtedly earned its reputation as the Las Vegas of Asia. In 2017 alone, it achieved visitor arrival figures of almost 33 million and it generates massive revenues from tourism every year.

With this in mind, a key way to prepare for a visit to Macau is to ensure you’re ready to tackle a host of casino games. Online casino sites may be able to help with this, as many sites offer a number of traditional classics and slot games too. In terms of the latter, Wild Orient from Microgaming could well be a great option due to its Asian-inspired themes.

While you may not fancy spending too much cash online ahead of your Macau trip, bear in mind that a number of games are often available with one caveat – you don’t have to pay for them. Free titles can be found on a host of sites, so you have no excuses but to test your abilities.

Source: Pixabay

Excitement and adventure

However, while heading to Macau might mean brushing up on your casino skills, you should also not forget to pack your cycling shorts too. The region has really embraced bikes in the past few years with the tourism board outlining how both Taipa Island and Coloane Island have become great choices for those looking to enjoy a bicycle tour while they are in the area.

Taipa, in particular, has really taken to two-wheel travel, with bicycle rentals available close to Pak Tai Temple, one of the area’s most striking buildings, which has a history stretching back around 160 years.

Furthermore, the island is also home to a 4.8km waterfront track, which is ideal for enjoying by bike. Best of all, if you’re traveling with extended family, the range of facilities on the route including playgrounds and picnic areas mean it is suitable for all ages. As such, another important way to prepare is to ensure you have everything you need for big and little people to get on two wheels.

Plenty to enjoy

While it may have made its name with casinos and entertainment, Macau has developed beyond that into an all-around tourist destination that has embraced cycling. If you’re looking to combine a bit of night-time glamour with daytime cycling, this could well be the place for you.

The post Casinos at Night, Cycling in the Day – How to Prepare For a Trip to Macau appeared first on Cycloscope: bicycle touring planet Earth.

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Source: L’Etape Thailand by Le Tour de France via Facebook 

Thailand is one of the most-visited countries in the world and, in 2018, the tropical country welcomed 38.28 million visitors. It attracts tourists due to the exotic climate, delicious food, and lovely people among other things.

But, in the past, it hadn’t been recognized as a classic spot for cycling. There are thousands of keen cyclists in the country, though, and the recent L’Etape Thailand has helped people realize that it is a prime spot for cycling.

Now, it seems as though more cyclists will be attracted to the country and there could be other major events in the future. Here we take a look at how cycling is growing in popularity, and where the best places to visit are.

Thailand Becoming a Popular Cycling Spot

L'ETAPE THAILAND BY LE TOUR DE FRANCE PHANG-NGA 2018 SAVE THE DATE 19-21 OCTOBER 2018 CLIP.2 - YouTube

Thailand is certainly gaining recognition as a prime spot for cycling events. For the first time ever in 2018, L’Etape by Tour de France was held in Southeast Asia, with the Land of Smiles chosen as the location for the event. This was considered a huge milestone for Thailand, which is working towards becoming a major sporting events hub of the world.

The Tour de France is possibly the most famous cycling event on the planet, and there is already hype surrounding this year’s event. Currently, Chris Froome is considered the favourite to win, and can be backed at 9/4.

The British cyclist is in good form and came third in last year’s event. Those odds present a tantalising opportunity to stake on the cyclist using a free bet, such as the bet £5 get £20 free offer from Ladbrokes listed by Oddschecker.

Being linked to the paramount cycling contest has certainly boosted the appeal of Thailand as a destination for cycling. The event took place on Phang-nga last October for three days. It started at Khao Lak and finished at Ta Kua Pa.

Where are the Best Places to Cycle?

WO2W - Ep 13 - Bike Touring in Northern Thailand - YouTube

While the L’Etape Thailand event was held along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the south of the country, the north of Thailand is arguably the better place for cycle tourism. This is where some of the most eye-catching scenery in the whole country can be found, but the landscape can also be quite gruelling. Here the cycling is challenging, but it is definitely worth the rewards.

For cyclists, Chiang Mai is a much better holiday option than the bustling capital of Bangkok. The quaint and friendly city is small and can be easily traversed by bicycle. It is also at the centre of a mountainous region with plenty of opportunities for bike rides into the wilderness.

One of the most backbreaking rides on offer here is the trip up the mountain of Mon Jam. The all-round trip back to the centre of the city would take around seven or eight hours, but the breath-taking scenery on offer makes it all worthwhile. Cyclists can take a break at a number of local coffee shops on the mountain road, all of which offer stunning views over endless sloping fields of vegetable plantations.

If you do find yourself in the capital for a few days, however, there are some hidden gems to be found if you know where to look. One of these is the huge, yet secretive, park known affectionately as Bangkok’s Green Lung.

Here, visitors are able to hire bikes for the day and cycle around the many small parks and ponds. There are beautiful flowers at every turn, and it really feels as though you have escaped the city. This is more of a relaxing experience for those who prefer not to go on extremely challenging rides.

Some other great spots for cyclists in Thailand include Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, which are both former capital cities of Thailand. As you may imagine, there are some interesting ruins and historical sites to visit at both of these places, and they welcome cyclists fondly. Thailand is swiftly emerging as one of the best places for a cycling holiday in Southeast Asia, and if you haven’t visited yet you should place it high up on your to-do list.

The post Where are the Best Spots for a Cycling Adventure in Thailand? appeared first on Cycloscope: bicycle touring planet Earth.

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Cape Town travel blog
The best activities to do in 3 or 4 days and some hidden secrets of the most beautiful city in Africa

Cape Town is not the usual city, the feeling is more that of a series of villages tied together by a folkloristic-looking train while torn apart by the spectacular peaks of the Table Mountains. Cape Town has been one of our favorite cities ever, with its innumerable attractions and things to do and see we ended up spending 10 days here. In this travel blog, we’ll try to give you a consistent list of the best places to visit in Cape Town in 3 or 4 days. 

Cape Town was our first step in Africa. We were immediately struck by it, it’s a big city, with a huge territorial extension, but completely immersed in stunning nature. What we could call the city center is Green Point, to the north, whit plenty of shopping streets, nightclubs, concerts and so on… but the best of Cape Town is not here, it is instead scattered around the rest of the wonderful peninsula, full of things to do and see.

Suffice it to say that we met an elephant seal molding its skin on the beach of Fish Hoek, a few meters from an ice cream bar. Wildlife is literally everywhere, it’s very easy to meet the seals, penguins and, for the bravest, to plunge into a cage and see the great white shark.

Cape Town is where our African bicycle trip started we flew here (together with our Stanforth Kibos) from Rome, with Ethiopian Airline.

Map of Cape Town Attractions

Cape Town, what to see in 3 or 4 days 1. Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

Hummingbird in Kirstenbosch

Located at the foot of the Table Mountain, one of the symbols of Cape Town, the Kirstenbosch botanical garden is a wonderful place where you can get a taste of the natural richness of this country.

It was founded in 1913 and contains plants and trees from all regions of South Africa; it is considered one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world, enough to be included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites. We have seen many around the world and we can say that this is certainly one of those that impressed us the most.

There are areas with majestic prehistoric cycads, a garden with medicinal plants (very interesting to read all the uses, some keeps dogs and even crocs away), the fragrance garden of endemic spices, and even a spectacular concert area where big shows are staged, mostly in summer.

The Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden covers an area of 530 hectares, including large biodiversity, many species of birds, mammals, and reptiles. There are 5 main routes inside the park, all marked with precision.

At the entrance, you will be given a map of the Botanical Garden. You can climb directly on the Table Mountain from the Kirstenbosch and reach the Skeleton Gorge, from where you will see a majestic view of Camp’s Bay.

Walking through the section of the Cycas you will really feel in Jurassic Park… try not to be saddened by the last specimen of an entire species, going extinct after millions of year on this Earth, just because of logging. Do not miss the national flower of South Africa, the King Protea, which can be found only in this part of the country.

How to get to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

If you have rented a car you will need to take the M3 from the city center towards Muizenberg and then simply follow the signs to Kirstenbosch, the parking lot of the botanical garden is free.

For those who want to reach the park by public transports, you can take advantage of the City Sightseeing Hop-On/Hop-Off Bus (the classic double-decker tourist bus) that makes several stops along its route, more information is on the official website www.citysightseeing.co.za.

Of course, it is possible to take part in organized tours but there is really no need, moving around the city is not very difficult, and if you are on foot, just use Uber, very efficient and cheap.

Opening times:

Summer (September – March) from 8 to 19

Winter (April – August) from 8 to 18

The Botanical Garden is open every day.

Entrance ticket:

The ticket to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden costs 70 Rand (about 4.5 euros).

Accessibility:

The Botanical Garden is accessible to the disabled, download this map to check accessibility points and routes. For the blind, it is possible to take the Braille Trail.

2. Hike the Table Mountain National Park

The contour trail at Pipe Track

Table Mountain National Park covers an area of 221 Km², a huge wilderness area directly accessible from within the city. There are literally dozens of trails, some easy and short, some really challenging.

One of the most famous and symbolic destinations is the top of Lion’s Head, this route is famous for the landscape but also for its accessibility, it does not require much effort and is not very long. The entrance to the route is in Signal Hill Road, where the car can be parked.

If like us, you travel by bike it is always better to leave it in a safe place and reach the entrance of the footpaths in any other way, leaving bikes parked outdoors for a whole day is absolutely not recommended in Cape Town. Unfortunately, during our visit to Cape Town, the route was closed due to a fire that hit the mountain.

The hike we chose (suggested by locals) lasted about 7 hours. Entering from the north entrance of the Pipe Track, we followed it to the junction for the Kasteelport Hiking Trail that took us to the old Cable Way viewpoint. Then we went through the Valley of the Red Gods to the Valley of Isolation where we saw several King Protea in flower, the symbol of South Africa!  Being summer the flower season was almost over but in spring there must be a real show. Indeed this is the so-called fynbos region, one of the most diverse flower ecosystems in the world.

a view from the Kasteelport Hiking Trail

A short description of our hike

The first part of the route on Pipe Track (part of the longer Contour Trail) is rather flat, while the ascent to the top through Kasteelport is quite steep, although totally spectacular for its stunning views over unique landscapes.

Once at the top we got to the Old Cableway viewpoint, which we didn’t enjoy that much due to the blasting gusts of wind that made us feel unsteady.

The route then led us to the Echo Valley where a few metal ladders and lousy canopies made the track a bit scary for the faint-hearted. This area though is gorgeous, you are almost at the top here with views over the entire peninsula!

Our plan was to get then to the very top at the new cable-car station, unfortunately though the ropeway was closed because of the strong wind and we had to get down on foot. The route down to the lower cableway goes through the Plattleklip Gorge,  the path along this gorge is very steep and not really a pleasure when it’s windy.

You should always check online if the cable way is open or not and always consider the time needed to descent on foot. The cable way can close at any time when the wind rises.

An alternative would be to climb to the top of the Plattleklip Gorge and make the path backwards. It’s a good idea to take a look at the wind forecast, which in the summer can be very strong and spoil the hike, we have downloaded an app called Windy.

If you want to go hiking a few days, not far from the Old Cable Way there are a couple of free shelters, asking for the keys you can spend there at night, more information on this site. Camping inside the National Park is forbidden, also due to the danger of fires.

3. See the penguins at Boulders Beach

Penguinis sharing the beach with cormorans at Boulders

About 1 kilometer from the center of Simon’s Town, a tourist village in the south of the Cape Town peninsula, is a colony of African penguins, the only species of penguins living on the continent. Usually, in fact, penguins prefer islands to hatch eggs, in order to be more protected from predators.

The African penguins are found in the southern part of Namibia and in South Africa. They are a species at risk, in 1910 were 1.5 million and today, due to pollution, commercial fishing and irresponsible tourism, there are only 3000 specimens left in the colony of Boulders Beach. They are small, about 3 kilos for 60-70 centimeters in height.

The entrance ticket has just increased, it costs 152 Rand for tourists coming from other countries while there is a discounted price for South African citizens. It is the equivalent of 9.50€, which are used for the preservation of the place and the protection of penguins. If you do not want to queue at the ticket office you can buy the ticket online.

In the months of September and October, there are fewer penguins as they spend a lot of time at sea, the best season is summer, especially the month of January. We visited the colony in mid-February and there were lots of penguins.

There is another colony at Stony Point, the entrance should be cheaper and probably there are less tourist being away from the city.

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Where to get a full kitesurfing course in South Africa
everything you need to know

Kitesurfing (or Kiteboarding) is one of the most popular water-sport in South Africa, it is practiced and taught a bit everywhere along the 2,500km+ long coastline of the nation.

Cape Town though, and especially the suburb of Muizenberg, is a really ideal location for beginners to learn the sport, indeed there are several schools in the area that can provide you courses and individual lessons.

It’s been a dream of mine to try kitesurfing since the first time I got acquainted with it on some beach in western Sicily, so what better chance than getting into the freezing waters of Cape Town and give it a try?

And I know what some of you are thinking… sharks? we’ll get also into that later.

Check also

Cape Town travel guide, the best things to see and do (upcoming)

a beginners’ guide to adventure bike touring

Kite handling

Kitesurfing: the what and the why

Kitesurfing is thrilling sport mixing elements of snowboarding, windsurfing, sailing, paragliding and even more action disciplines, combining them into something that really has it all: speed, acrobatics, balance, jumps… and you can even try and tackle long distances rides (the record of a solo unsupported kiteboarding ride is a 2000km/24 days Brazilian coast journey by Louis Tapper).

Although several attempts in kite-propelled vehicles were made since the 19th century, Kitesurfing is literally brand new as a sport, being popularized only in the late ’90s. That means there’s still a lot of room for innovation.

one of my best moments

Kitesurfing in Cape Town: Muizenberg and other locations

Besides being an exceptionally good-looking city, Cape Town with its steady summer winds is one of the best locations in the world for surfing and kiteboarding.

Muizenberg is the favorite spot in within the city for beginners, given the shallow waters, long but not big waves, constant winds, and absence of obstacles. Muizenberg though is not the place where you’ll find the real PROs, who usually favor the more exciting conditions of Blouberg, or Witsand, or Strand.

The easiest spot of the whole South Africa for learning is though Langebaan, with its often totally flat water. Langebaan is some 160km north of Cape Town along the West Coast.

Best season to Kitesurf in South Africa

The best time of year to kitesurf in Cape Town is definitively austral summer, from November to April. Outside temperatures are high but not scorching hot (between 24 and 30 C), the water is a bit less freezing (about 20C in Muizenberg), precipitation is rare, skies are clear and, most important, the winds are steady and strong enough (35 knots).

Getting good kitesurfing weather off-season is instead pretty rare, unfortunately. So you’ll better plan a summer visit if that’s your main aim.

Inflating the kite

Surfstore Africa

I got in touch with Matthew from Surfstore Africa and booked my full 3-day course with him. I had great fun from day one. Matthew is a really young guy in his 20s, he started practicing kitesurfing in 2014 and is a certified instructor since 2017.

A three days course is ideal to learn the basics from scratch, Matt can bring even a not-half-decent student like me from absolute ignorance to feet-on-the-board even in such a short time. The course is structured like this:

  • day 1: Kite control on-shore and a bit of theory. Safety measures, kite set-up and launching, handling in the “power zone”
  • day 2: in the water. you’ll learn how to be dragged by the kite in different fashions (upwind, downwind, figure-of-8. No board yet
  • day 3: getting your feet on the board and try to control it

These kitesurfing lessons will give you the basics, don’t expect to be doing flying tricks on your third day of course. You’ll probably still need someone to watch out for you as you practice for a few more times (depending on your skills, of course).

If anyway you want to be totally independent, my advice is to get one or two more lessons with Matthew or somewhere else. Also, keep in mind that each spot has its own peculiarities, some are safer than others; so, if you try on a different location, be sure to ask local kitesurfers for a bit of advice.

With Surfstore Africa each individual lesson lasts 2 hours, while the duration is extended to 3 hours if the course is done by two persons at the same time.

The price of a full course like the one described here is 4,800 Rand, while a single lesson comes at 1,600 Rand.

If you would like to get the feeling of kitesurfing before investing in a full course, Surfstore Africa also offers tandem rides also for 1,600 Rand. You can book directly from their website here.

Me and Matthew in front of the shop after the 3rd day

My experience learning to Kitesurf with Surfstore Africa

I had a great time learning kitesurfing with Matthew from Surfstore Africa, he is very patient and overall a super-nice guy, no show-offs, no brag.

On the first day we remained on the beach, no wetsuit involved. He first had me control a small training kite to understand the basics of steering and the concept of “power zone”. Then I was strapped to a 5-meter kite to learn about safety measures and how to control it without being unwillingly dragged away.

The second day I got all suited up and into the water. The first half of the lesson was kite-control in the water, dealing with waves crashing on me, relaunching the kite from the water. Second half was so much fun: body-dragging… in pills, using the kite to drag your body around in the water.

The third day we finally took the board with us. Matthew focused on making me master the body dragging exercises for the first hour, then I tried to stand on the board, which was all-but-easy, especially since the sea was a bit wavier than usual on that day. I managed to stand and ride for a few seconds… now I’m more than ever willing to practice and practice and practice!

The Shark Safety code in Cape Town

The infamous South African white sharks and the Shark Spotting System

Yes, everybody knows that… there are a lot of big white sharks in South Africa. Incidents are pretty rare though, since 1990 only 1 out of 4 shark attacks resulted in a serious injury, only 15% were fatal. This means 1.2 casualties per year in the whole of South Africa (source).

Cape Town enforces a thigh regime of shark-attack-prevention, with nets on the most commonly used beaches and dedicated shark-spotting towers upon the hills (what a job…).

A code of colored flags signals whether a shark has been spotted or if the visibility is too poor to be certain of the water’s safety. 

The post Kitesurfing Lessons in Cape Town, South Africa – where, why, and how much appeared first on Cycloscope: bicycle touring planet Earth.

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Ungru Manor

How to organize a bike and camping trip in Estonia: the most beautiful itineraries and the less known attractions, where to sleep, the costs, the climate. In short, everything you need to organize and leave!

Estonia is a country that in recent years is attracting more and more tourists, both for its nature and for the beautiful medieval cities, but also for what remains of the period of Soviet occupation. In this travel blog, we’ll describe itineraries and give some advice to travel Estonia on a budget, aiming to give our readers a useful travel guide both for those who travel by bike and for those who don’t.

We arrived by ferry from Helsinki, Finland, to Tallinn, the capital of Estonia and we cycled the Baltic coast of the north and then down south to enter into neighboring Latvia.

Estonia is a small flat country, an ideal first destination for bike touring beginners, for a family cycling holiday or just to spend a few days/weeks relaxing without the need for any particular physical training. In this article we will talk about our itinerary in Estonia, which you can travel by bike, hitchhiking, public transport or whatever you want, things to see in Estonia, in Tallinn and beyond and what are the costs and tips to travel Estonia on a budget.

You are interested in what to see in Tallinn, here our list of things not to be missed (upcoming)

Check Also

Cycling in Poland – all the best routes and things to know

Bike Touring Slovakia – the wonder of Carpathians

Finland by bike – everything you need to know

Climate in Estonia

Estonia is the coldest of the Baltic Republics (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania), the climate is continental Baltic, that is characterized by rather cold winters, with temperatures for the greater part of time below zero, and mild and rainy summers. The coastal part of the country enjoys slightly more pleasant temperatures than the inside but it is rainier.

Temperatures begin to become acceptable from mid-May, to reach summer with average temperatures around 20 degrees during the day and 10 during the night. Autumn is the wettest season and days get shorter quickly.

The sea is very cold, and in winter it is in many places frozen, in fact you can drive from the mainland to the island of Sareema, otherwise reachable by ship equipped with icebreakers. In summer, the temperature of the water is still cold, with a maximum of 17 degrees, but if you want to try a bath, bring a wetsuit or a lot of courage.

To make it even more difficult to swim, and to ride more of a gamble, is the infamous Baltic wind. The wind in Estonia is practically daily, constant, and often pretty strong. We have been traveling around Estonia for about two weeks and have never had a windless day, you’ll learn to watch the wind forecast here.

The sky over Tallinn in mid-September, when we arrived

Best time to ride in Estonia

The best time to visit Estonia, by bike or not, is definitely the summer, a rule valid for all the countries of the north. Not only for the temperatures decidedly more human but also for the hours of light available, ranging from only 6 hours of light in December to 19 hours in June.

You will have so much time available to visit the country without having to worry about looming obscurity and this is even more true for those of us who travel by bicycle.

We were in Estonia at the beginning of September and the temperatures had already started to be low, around zero, during the night, but still pleasant during the day, especially because of sunny days. But it was always very windy, which made it difficult to ride, despite the flat roads, and pitch the tent.

one of the many trails through the forest in Estonia

Roads in Estonia

Most of the main roads in Estonia are perfectly paved, traffic is never too heavy, except in the routes connecting the main cities, but there are always alternative routes.

Just as in Finland there are many unpaved roads in the forest, mostly well kept and perfectly rideable by bike. Those are useful to find a good place to put the tent and spend the night, but beware that some trails can get muddy after heavy rains.

Where to sleep in Estonia
Wild camping in Estonia

In Estonia free camping is not forbidden but even encouraged, it is allowed on government land (called Riigimets) even if some national parks may have restrictions; in this case, you will find signage at the entrance. There is a great culture of free camping and you shouldn’t have any problems with the locals.

There is a fairly extensive and constantly developing network of huts or shelters with a fireplace and firewood, usually equipped with compost toilets. To find out the location you need to go to the RMK site, click on “for hikers” and then on “where to go”, in this page you can select the area you are interested in and the type of shelter you are looking for (campsite, campfire, hut etc.).

Once you get the results you can see the GPS coordinates, any rules of the place, if there is a bathroom, if it is accessible to disabled people and other information, as well as a phone number to contact in case of need or to collect the keys of closed shelters. By clicking on “booking” you can book the shelters for a fee.

Campsites in Estonia

Equipped campsites in Estonia are quite common and very cheap, from about 4€ upwards for a tent and two persons. They usually are basic facilities but mostly feature everything you’ll need.

Some also have wooden bungalows as it happens in Scandinavia. For what is our experience, almost all campgrounds close at the end of September, some even earlier.

Hotels and Hostels in Estonia

Hotels and hostels in Estonia are a little more expensive than the other Baltic republics. The cheapest option is a bed in a hostel dormitory.

If, however, you do not want to share the room we have found the apartments very convenient. At least for those traveling by bike they are perfect, they cost more or less like a hotel room (but in many cases even less, being managed by individuals), are equipped with kitchen and washing machine and you can keep your bike at home.

Below are some budget accommodation in Tallinn

Couchsurfing and Warmshowers in Estonia

The Warmshowers community is not very large in Estonia, we did not have much luck but it never hurts trying. Couchsurfing has a large community but they are mostly in the cities.

For those who do not know what Warmshowers and Couchsurfing are, take a look here.

Costs of a cycling trip in Estonia

Estonia is a fairly cheap country by European standards, for us coming from Scandinavia it seemed very cheap. A night at the camping costs about 5 euros, one night in a hotel from 20 euros up (for a double room).

The food in the supermarkets is very varied and the prices are low, eating at the restaurant costs about 5 euros each (in a popular restaurant). Vegetables and cheeses are cheap especially if bought at the market.

8 most beautiful cycling routes in Estonia

Estonia is a country that is focusing a lot on cycling, although it is not a stunning country in terms of landscape, it still has many interesting things to see and a capillary network of cycling trails that will lead wherever you want through dedicated cycle paths, dirt-tracks crossing forests or roads shared with cars but without traffic.

  1. EuroVelo 10: the Baltic Sea cycle path

  2. Cycle 4: from Tallin to Valga

  3. Cycle 3: the road of forests and lakes Haapsalu –Rapla

  4. Värska – Pärnu

  5. Cycle path EE16

  6. Vägeva – Mäo

  7. Cycle path EE15 Viljandi – Elva

  8. Ciclovia EE13 Tallinn – Türi

1. EuroVelo 10: the Baltic Sea Cycle Path

You can download the GPX track here -> Cycle Route The coast and islands

The most famous cycle route in Estonia is the EuroVelo route 10. The EV 10 runs along the Baltic coast for almost 1000 kilometers and includes the islands of Muhu, Saaremaa and Hiiumaa and the Lahemaa National Park on the way to the Russian border and San Petersburg.

The bike path was completed almost twenty years ago and is signposted along the way, as well as things to see that require short detours, it is almost always on a dedicated path except in some parts, as for example on islands, where traffic is practically nil. We have cycled much of this route, starting from Tallinn, where we arrived by ferry from Helsinki, Finland.

The path is along the coast although you do not always have a sea view since in many sections the forest will separate you from the beaches. This helps to be a bit more sheltered from the constant winds.

This bike itinerary will take you around the peninsula of Paldiski, but we cut from the interiors. Paldiski is a living memorial of Soviet domination, old buildings and military structures have a rather depressing effect here.

Le rovine del castello Ungru Manor

What to see along the EuroVelo 10, the Baltic Sea cycle path

The northern coastal part, from Tallinn to Haapsalu

After passing Tallinn (below we will talk about Tallinn in detail), and heading west along the coast (a little far from the sea though, in Amari) you could visit a Soviet cemetery for pilots (GPS coordinates 59°15’00.6″N – 24°14’09.3″E ) and the submarine prison of Rummu, both very fascinating places, if you are interested in Soviet relics.

Some of the living quarters and facilities of Rummu are also a good place to camp, even if the atmosphere is a bit disturbing (here find the GPS coordinates and the history of this place). You will also encounter many signs indicating the presence of ancient churches and a lot of kolkhozes, the old Soviet collective farms, some abandoned in ruin and some still used nowadays. 

Soviet pilots cemetery in Amari, Estonia

Near the town of Haapsalu, you will see the ruins of the Ungru Manor along the road, with its sad and romantic history. Precisely because this is Estonia, nearby is also the Haapsalu Airfield, kilometers and kilometers of airstrips and hangars for military aircraft that is now used by locals for clandestine car races.

Haapsalu Airfield, Fast and Furious in Estonia

Haapsalu

Haapsalu is a very beautiful town that deserves to be visited, its characteristic wooden houses are perfectly preserved as well as its castle (Haapsalu Piiskopilinnus) which dates back to the eleventh century. Walking along the sea you can admire the reproductions of floating wooden sculptures. Some great pieces of Art Nouveau architecture can be found here.

Continuing along the path to Rohuküla, the port from which you can reach the islands, you will meet the early 19th century Art Nouveau railway station and an exhibit of old trains and locomotives.

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What Factors Can Invalidate Travel Insurance Cover?

Travel insurance should be an essential part of your travel and holiday plans. Events such as accidents, injury or illness, theft, loss of belongings or even delays, missed or canceled flights can cost you thousands. Travel insurance is what gives you a safety net so that you are not financially strapped in your time of need.

What many travelers don’t realize is that there are certain circumstances because of which your travel insurance can be invalidated. Actions that you take during your travels can actually void travel insurance.

Here are a few of the circumstances that can lead to your travel insurance being invalidated:

You don’t declare a pre-existing medical condition

If you are not completely honest about your health condition when you purchase your travel insurance, then a medical claim that you later submit can be invalidated. Additionally, if you travelling against the advice of a medical professional, then your medical claim will once again be invalidated.

Participating in dangerous activities such as extreme sports
Companies offer their customers coverage for more than 120 popular adventure activities as part of their standard coverage. However, if you decide to participate in activities that are considered hazardous as per the company’s insurance policy, you stand to have your travel insurance invalidated.

Alcohol and/or Drugs

Any loss or injury that is caused as a result of too much alcohol or doing drugs will not be covered by your travel insurance policy.

Lack of Proper Documentation

If your trip is delayed or you miss your flight because of the fact that you did not have the right documentation, then this will void travel insurance. Always ensure that you have all the documents you need for your trip well before you need to leave.

Going to Unsafe Places

If your government, the World Health Organization or the Foreign Commonwealth Office have issued a travel advisory against visiting a certain destination, then be aware that your travel insurance will not cover any claims arising from that trip. Such a journey will immediately invalidate your travel insurance.

Working

Travel insurance policies are of different kinds, and most of them are designed to offer coverage for holidays. This means that if you plan to travel for work, then you need to get the appropriate kind of travel insurance policy – a standard travel insurance policy will not cover work-related claims.

Reckless or Illegal Behavior

All claims that are a result of reckless, dishonest, illegal or fraudulent actions on your part will not be covered by your travel insurance. For example, if you visit restricted locations and get injured, then it would be because of reckless behavior and would not be covered by your insurance policy.

Travel insurance is meant to cover unexpected circumstances or spontaneous medical issues that you may find yourself in, not situations created due to your actions that could have been prevented. Do make sure that you read even the fine print of your insurance policy to know exactly what you’re covered for.

The post What Factors Can Invalidate Travel Insurance Cover? appeared first on Cycloscope: bicycle touring planet Earth.

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