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Beaches in Riga and Jurmala
Jūrmala is the largest resort town in the Baltic States; it has a long history as a resort town. It is situated 25 kilometres from the capital, Riga, and 15 km Riga International Airport.
The territory has been adjusted for use by people with special needs. It is an excellent place for family recreation. Jūrmala health resorts and SPA centres offer an extensive range of beauty and health-care procedures.
Unique wooden architecture
Jūrmala is proud of its unique wooden architecture which since the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century has been a distinctive trait of its urban architecture. The architectural features of Classicism, Art Nouveau, National Romanticism and Functionalism harmoniously co-exist here.
414 buildings have been included in the List of Architectural Monuments, but there are more than 4000 historical buildings.
The city of Jūrmala also offers the opportunity to relax in one of the largest water parks in the countries of northern Europe "Līvu akvaparks", which offers more than 45 attractions for children and adults. The car permit for entrance into Jūrmala costs LVL 1.00.
Lately it has become common to include also the shore of the Bay of Riga on the right side of the Daugava into Jūrmala. Vast, sandy beaches are also found there, from the present estuary of the Daugava into the sea in Mangaļsala. The noteworthy sites of Mangaļsala are the Northern wharf, old military fortifications (Komētas Fort, the seashore canon forts), and further on Vecāķi a recreation site popular among tourists begins.
Vecāķi is an old fishermen’s village near the former estuary of the Daugava. Now it has developed into a popular resort with numerous wooden summer-houses, a well-equipped beach, cafés and well-developed restaurants. In the summer of 2008 Vecāķi beach acquired the Blue Flag, and it is proud of its green belt – pine forests and fresh air. It is interesting that starting in the 1920s a nudist beach was situated a few kilometres below Vecāķi main beach. Also, now “naturalists” enjoy the pleasures of the sea and the sun in the stretch from Vecāķi to Kalngale.
It is worth noting that a Maritime Nature Park has been set up from Mangaļsala to the Gauja estuary. This almost 20 km long stretch of the shore is rich in various nature sites. For example, the Vecāķi – Vecmīlgrāvis range of dunes, the dune amphitheatre of Garciems, Vilkači (Were-wolves) pine. It is interesting to know that as late as at the beginning of the 18th century after fall of trees, large drifting sand dunes appeared which buried many farms.
Now they have been forested and developed into impressive nature sites. For example, the Parabolic dune of Garciems with its highest point, Brēdes mountain (Improvement Summit) which is 27 metres above the sea level. The Maritime Nature Park is a Natura 2000 territory, it is popular among tourists as a site of recreation and walks both in winter and summer, it is also a popular site for berry and mushroom picking, and electric trains connect it with Riga. It is also possible to come by a car or a bike.