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A Walk in Town

It is nice to explore a country during a leisurely stroll, taking in the architecture and the parks, dropping into little shops and resting your feet and watching the city life in a café along the way. Riga and Latvia’s small towns are wonderfully suited for such tours.

Riga Old town and Daugava river.
  • Panorama of Riga
  • Photo: Ilgvars Putāns
Riga central train station and traffic.
  • Riga centre
  • Photo: Indriķis Stūrmanis
Panorama of Cesis town in Northern Latvia.
  • Cesis town
  • Photo: A. Daukuls
Kuldiga town from the sky and brick bridge over Venta river.
  • Kuldīga
Panorama of Liepaja town in winter.
  • Liepāja
Port and Promenade hotel in Liepaja town.
  • Liepāja
Ventspils central square in Western Latvia.
  • Ventspils
Livonian order castle and museum in Ventspils.
  • Ventspils castle

In Riga, you can begin your walk in Audēju Street, at the Jēkaba Barracks or in Grēcinieku Street – whichever route through Old Riga you choose, it will provide plenty of impressions. Make sure you do not miss the Dome Cathedral with the second largest organ in Latvia, and do take the lift up the steeple of St. Peter’s, which was once Latvia’s tallest building. Not very far from the old city, you will find the Quiet Centre with its famous Riga art nouveau.

Everything is within  easy reach in downtown Riga, yet fans of walking can head further out: to Mežaparks (Forest Park), for example, which is also where the Zoo is located. In Pārdaugava across the river, the Botanical Gardens of the University of Latvia can be found; there is another, larger botanical garden in Salaspils, a 30-minute train ride from Riga. Pārdaugava and its unique wooden architecture will provide a connoisseur of relaxed walks with special sensations. As you walk through the old streets of Āgenskalns, in Pārdaugava, you will get the overwhelming feeling that you have landed in another century.

Of the places in the vicinity of the capital, the resort city of Jūrmala lends itself well to walks. Walking along the sea all the way up to the mouth of the Lielupe is a pleasant experience: the air is fresh, and pine forests hug the sandy beaches. Ventspils is also wonderful for the same reason: you can walk along the beach or on the promenade next to the Venta, visit an open-air maritime museum, take a ride on the mini-train and continue on your tour through this very spic-and-span city. A healthy and scenic walk along the sea can be had on the comfortable trail set up on the White Dune of Saulkrasti. The Ragakāpa wildlife refuge at the mouth of the Lielupe in Jūrmala also features tourist trails on the wooded coastal dunes.

Liepāja, Kuldīga, Bauska, Cēsis and other towns as well offer an abundance of historical heritage and are suited to tourists who prefer to walk. Towns and cities do not just mean pavement, rocks and ancient walls. On the edge of Riga, in Mangaļsala, for example, nature lovers can stroll along the seaside and watch birds and seaward ships from the breakwater.

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