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10+ weekend destinations in Gauja National Park
Latvia's largest national park has many beautiful hidden gems, and we have compiled some of the most popular tourist attractions of Gauja National Park, so that everyone can find the right destination for themselves.
Līgatne nature trails were created to acquaint everyone with the nature of Latvia – local flora and fauna. And the essence of Latvian nature is captured here – the pine forest, the River Gauja, wild boar. Within the recommended three hours, you can get to know the nature that Latvians often see from afar, only this time in a slightly closer and more exploratory way.
Sigulda is a great place to overcome obstacle tracks built on the tree tops and enjoy various types of other attractions. At the Adventure Park “Mežakaķis” you will find 6 tracks with various difficulty levels. 82 obstacles in total! Meanwhile at Tarzāns, the largest open-air adventure park in the Baltics, you can not only wander around treetops 20 metres above the ground, but also take a ride down a toboggan track.
Vējiņi underground lakes are the only underground lakes in Latvia, and they are fascinating due to their beauty and icy cold groundwater! We do not recommend visiting this rarity of Gauja National Park if you suffer from claustrophobia.
The 19-metre-high Zvārte Rock is one of the most popular and scenic sandstone outcrops in Latvia. And from there you can hike the Amata nature trail, which leads along the river bank. In the spring floods, when the River Amata attracts many boaters, Zvārte Rock is a great place to watch the passing boats.
The safari park “More” is located not far from Sigulda. There you have the chance to observe red deer, fallow deer, mouflons, and wild boars across 170 ha. If you get lucky, you’ll even have the chance to feed them.
The epicentre of the golden autumn – Turaida, when poetically translated from the ancient Livonian language, means "Garden of Gods", and looking at the valley of the River Gauja, it really seems fitting.
A mysteriously intriguing atmosphere reigns in the Secret Soviet Bunker located 9 metres below the rehabilitation centre "Līgatne". The staff of the rehabilitation centre did not know about the existence of the bunker for 30 years, hence it has remained as authentic as possible.
Just 10 kilometres from Cēsis is Ungurmuiža – the only wooden manor in Latvia that has survived to the present day. Here you can enjoy romantic walks and listen to al fresco summer concerts.
Bobsleigh and sleigh track "Sigulda" is one of the few bobsleigh tracks in the world that is open for anyone who is interested. 1420 metres, 16 curves, and a 200-metre-long braking distance – a track with these parameters is there for anyone to experience. During the winter you can use the “Vučko” bob; during the summer – the “Varde” bob.
In the Āraiši Archaeological Park near Cēsis, you will find a reconstructed wooden lake castle that was inhabited by ancient Latgalians more than 1 000 years ago. In the vicinity of Āraiši, we also recommend visiting the Āraiši mill, where you can try your hand at grinding grain.
With a history of more than 800 years, Cēsis is the best-preserved medieval city in the Baltics. You will be able to experience authentic medieval life in Cēsis medieval castle, by transforming into a medieval knight or lady, shooting with a bow, minting jewellery and participating in medieval feasts.
You can ride a zipline along the only available aerial cableway in the Baltics “Zērglis”, which can reach up to 60 km/hour, offering breathtaking views of the landscapes in Gauja Valley. You could also try bungee jumping out of a cable car 43 metres above the river.
Along the nature trails of Ieriķi Mill, you will be able to see seven waterfalls of different heights, which have formed on the narrow River Melderupe. Along its shores there is a comfortable footbridge, which will allow you to see everything while keeping your feet dry.
In Vienkoči Park, among the sculptures of animals and various fairy tale characters, you can take a look at historic models of the manors and various other buildings recreated using historical sources. Here you can also visit the first sandbag house in Latvia!