Turaida Museum Reserve is located 50 km from Riga and is known for its beautiful surroundings and history. The name Turaida means “God’s garden” in the language of the ancient inhabitants, the Livonians. In 1996, the museum was named one of the European Museums of the Year. When viewed from a hot-air balloon or the opposite bank of the Gauja on an autumn evening, Turaida castle rises above the green foliage like an imposing ship built out of red brick. Visitors of Turaida Museum Reserve can familiarise themselves with the more striking elements of medieval castle-building while taking a walk along the castle ramparts.
The museum contains Dainas Hill a garden of sculptures dedicated to Latvian folklore. It was created to honour Krišjānis Barons, the most distinguished collector of folk songs. Turaida Church is one of the oldest wooden churches in Latvia, built in 1750. Archaeological research demonstrates that the site had contained at least two previous churches.
Several nature trails have been developed on the grounds of the Museum Reserve, they are between two hundred metres and one kilometre, long. While following them, one can view rare plants, explore water routes, and inspect sandstone outcrops, castle fortifications and towers from new and unusual angles.