Lakes Islands Challenge
Places that you have otherwise reached by boat can be reached on foot in the winter season!
There are many great reasons to go on winter hikes – there are no crowds, no insects, the winter landscapes are quiet and calming, and the trails you’ve walked a million times after snowfall turns into winter wonderland. One of the most unusual and at the same time easiest routes for winter hiking are frozen lakes.
The lakes on the Alūksne side are rich in lake islands – take advantage of winter to go to the lake islands on foot! We recommend visiting the four legendaryislands of Alūksne Lake,as well as three islands in the picturesque Indzera Lake and the small island of the Latvian-Estonian border lake – Lake Ilgājs. The hike can be combined with one of the most common activities on frozen lakes – ice fishing.
The largest and richest in islands in the county is Lake Alūksne. You can start the hiking route from the boat pier in Ojāra Vācieša street (GPS:57.4263, 27.0534), go to “Tīkli island” or “Mazā island”, visit the biggest island of the lake– Castle island, Take the opportunity to disembark from a different side, for example, the place where the bridge once led to the castle (GPS: 57.4308, 27.0525), go under the Tempļakalna Street Pedestrian Bridge, where you can listen to music for 15 minutes every round hour and, of course, don’t miss to visit Cepurīte and Garā island, which are connected with a romantic story. If you are not ready to cross the lake again, you can end the hike in Melnums (GPS:57.4378, 27.0566)
If the story of Cepurīte Island has thrilled you, you can visit another lake in Alūksne county, which has Cepurīte Island. Go to one of the most beautiful lakes in the area- Lake Indzeris, which is decorated with 3 forested islands: Stradu, Liepa and Cepurītes islands, the islands, which are covered by natural, old and untouched forests, are the third oldest protected area in Latvia (since 1926). You can take a rest break on the peninsula of the lake (GPS: 57.3835, 26.9937), where the wooden building given to Rudolph Tranze’s bride once stood – the summer palace, which burned down in 1926, and now only its foundations and a basement with a brick vault are visible(GPS: 57.3859, 26.9980). Accessing the lake by car in winter can be a challenge, so we recommend this for the start of the hike and the place to leave the car – (GPS: 57.3709, 27.0135)
While continuing to discover the lake islands around Alūksne, we also visit the small island of Ilgāja, the largest lake in Pelļi Valley. The legend about the emergence of the island says that once the devil wanted to build a bridge over the Ilgāi lake, but while carrying a lap of stones, a rooster crowed and the stones fell out of the hands of the evil one, the lap of stone carried thus can still be seen in the lake.
If you want to supplement your winter hikes on frozen lakes with a night on a frozen lake island, then you should choose the Rest house “Otrā krastā”, which is located on an island in Buliņš Lake, which is located near Indzeris Lake.
Remember about safety on the ice! Each year the ice is slightly different, depending on snowfall and air temperature. Before the hike , contact the public water manager of Alūksne region, to inquire about current conditions.