Dobele is located 70 km from Riga. Several reasons make stopping at this small Zemgale town worthwhile. Firstly, the romantic Livonian Order castle ruins, which you can roam in the company of an elegant maid of honour. Secondly, Dobele is home to Europe’s largest lilac garden with over 130 lilac varieties – words cannot describe the fragrance in the air in late May! During other times of the year, visitors are welcome to taste and fill their own baskets with sweet cherries and raspberries, or to sample and purchase apples and pears. Thirdly, you can drop in at the Dobele Crafts House, where visitors can take part in creative workshops and find out about ancient Latvian crafts – weaving, wattling, knitting and many more.
14 km along unpaved roads towards Auce lies the Pokaiņi Forest. Its mysterious stone rivers, mounds and ramparts have been made famous by legends mentioning ancient holy sites and inexplicable occurrences. Explore the walking trail with informative signposts, but a guide will give you the full story. 30 km further towards Tukums, you’ll reach Jaunpils Castle. This Livonian Order fortress offers it guests medieval-themed excursions, eerie ghost stories and a unique culinary experience, with cuisine based on medieval recipes.
You will need a car to travel the full route, but Dobele can also be reached by minibus or bus (www.autoosta.lv).