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Fascinating features and sights worth visiting can be found in all corners of Latvia, but for lovers of nature a visit to the national parks of Latvia will turn into valuable experience and unforgettable recreation. They are freely accessible to anyone. Unspoilt, interesting nature, fascinating landscapes, valuable cultural historical sites, all types of tourism, acquisition of valuable knowledge and experience in nature protection – this is not all that is offered by the national parks of Latvia.
Latvia has 4 national parks: Gauja National Park (established in 1973), Ķemeri National Park (1997), Slītere National Park (1999) and Rāzna National Park (2007).
Gauja National Park
GaujaNational Park has the largest number of visitors; it is the second oldest national park in the territory of the former U.S.S.R. after Lahemaa National Park in Estonia, established in 1971. Gauja National Park is located in the most picturesque stretch of the Gauja River valley, from Valmiera to Murjāņi.
This 95.3 km long, scenic stretch of the Gauja River stands out with its vast diversity of nature and the presence of cultural historical monuments – more than 500 monuments of culture and history are located in the park – castle mounds, masonry churches, manor houses, water and wind mills, as well as other archaeological, architectural and art monuments.
Ķemeri National Park
The extraordinary world of marshes and littoral lowlands can be explored by visiting Ķemeri National Park near Riga. It stands out with its vast biological diversity, unique Great Ķemeri Mooreland, various ecosystems, and sources of mineral and healing waters. It is also popular among bird-watchers.
Slītere National Park
SlītereNational Park was established in 1999 on the basis of the existing Slītere Reserve – it is a unique “museum” of the history of the Baltic Sea with old Liiv fishermen’s villages, the Baltic seashore, untouched by civilisation, and the extraordinary Kolka Cape.
Rāzna National Park
Rāzna National Park is the most recently established – in 2007. It was set up to safeguard the natural treasures of Rāzna Lake and the surrounding territories, as well as the cultural landscape typical of Latgale in a vast territory of Latgale. Rāzna Lake is the second largest lake in Latvia and because of its sandy beaches is called the sea of Latgale, and the Ežezers Lake, also included in the park, is one of the most scenically remarkable lakes in Latvia – it has 26 islands.
To make visits to these parks more fascinating and educational, it is recommended to contact the information centres of the parks prior to the visit to get the most complete information about the sites and recreation in a specific national park.