Via Hanseatica is an international tourist route between Riga, Tartu and St. Petersburg and it is inspired by historic Hansa trade corridor.
On 15 June, 2001, the county governors of Valga, Tartu, Jõgeva and Ida-Viru signed a cooperation agreement that led to drawing up the development strategy of Via Hanseatica, creating a relevant tourism product, spatial planning of the develepment zone and kick-starting the international cooperation.
From 2004 until 2007, Via Hansetica was developed as part of the Interreg VHB Zone international project "Development of Baltic Tourist Network in Via Hanseatica Development Zone" and from 2009 until 2011, various activities were implemented via the Interreg IVB Via Hanseatica follow-up project. The lead partner of the projects was the Foundation South-Estonian Tourism, numerous development organisations and tourism businesses participated as partners.
In 2012, Russian partners joined Via Hanseatica: from 2012 until 2014, activities were carried out via the Estonia-Latvia-Russia cross-border cooperation programme and Via Hanseatica officially became the tourism network that connects the three countries. As a result, Via Hanseatica website and a travel planner were created as well as a book called "Unforgettable Adventures on the Via Hanseatica" that is available for free download as an e-book to this day. By the year 2014, several cooperation projects and activities had led to the development of a route on the 580-kilometre Riga–St. Petersburg section that highlights the culture and history of the three countries, introducing their distinctive features as well as common elements such as architecture, food culture and much more to have an exciting vacation. The cities on the route are St. Petersburg, Ivangorod, Narva, Tartu, Valga, Valka, Valmiera and Sigulda.
From 2017 until 2020, activities that concentrate on food heritage and culture will be carried out through the Estonaian-Latvian cross-border cooperation programme Interreg. The food route "Taste Hanseatica", which includes the counties of Jõgeva, Tartu and Valga in Estonia as well as Valka, Valmiera and Sigulda in Latvia, was created. There are altogether 80 food producers and providers on the route. Some of the areas and businesses of the route overlap with the ones on the culinary route "Flavours of Livonia".
In April 2019, Via Hanseatica Plus, a two-year-long major project that is financed by the Estonia-Russia programme, was launched. In addition to developing the current route, the project concentrates on offering added value to it, expanding the route towards Rakvere and Viljandi in Estonia as well as towards Vyborg and Pskov in Russia. Numerous interesting historic regions will be included in the route. Cooperation will be strengthened with businesses at local as well as international level.