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Riga and surroundings
Just an hour’s drive from the capital grants you the wonderful opportunity to be able to visit some of the country’s most impressive architectural monuments. Follow historic footprints through romantic Latvian towns. Enjoy the amazing landscapes of Gauja National Park. Soak in the tranquillity and beauty of any of Latvia’s beaches in the Gulf of Riga - it’s all waiting for you.
Sigulda has unforgettable landscapes that include the picturesque banks of the old valley of the River Gauja. Due to its beautiful mountainous landscapes Sigulda is often referred to as Latvia's Switzerland.
The medieval castle ruins and the new castle, along with the legendary Gūtmanis Cave, Sigulda Walking Stick Park (Spieķu parks), and Key Square (Atslēgu Skvērs), all serve to symbolise the three historic centres - Sigulda, Krimulda and Turaida - and are some of the most interesting places that you can visit while you are there. The gardens of Turaida Castle are home to the Rose of Turaida grave which is connected to one of the best-known love legends in Latvia - the legend of the Rose of Turaida. The amazing view across the old valley of the River Gauja can best be enjoyed from the aerial tram that connects both banks of the River Gauja.
Cēsis is one of the oldest towns in Latvia. Visitors can feel the breath of the Middle Ages when they climb the tower at the Livonian Order’s Cēsis Castle, or learn the legends and stories about Riekstu Hill - which was inhabited by the Vends - or get to know the local architecture - the town’s buildings, the church and its parks - by strolling through the narrow streets of the old town.
Rundāle Palace is a highly significant monument of the baroque and rococo architecture styles. The palace was designed by the famous Italian architect of Russian origin, Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli. The impressive palace façade, the splendid interior, the amazingly spacious French Park, and the fantastic rose garden will fascinate all visitors.
Jelgava attracts visitors with its beautiful Jelgava Palace, which was designed by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli and which contains the burial vault of the duke of Courland. If you climb the tower of Holy Trinity Church, you will be able to take a look at exciting historical exhibitions and also see a panoramic view of Jelgava from the observation point on the ninth floor, as well as being able to enjoy a tasty meal at the restaurant that is located in the tower.
The Castles and Manor Houses of Kurzeme
Not far from Tukums is Jaunmoku Castle, which combines neo-Gothic shapes with elements of Art Nouveau. In Smārde Parish, which is also located near Tukums, visitors are welcomed by the sight of Šlokenbeka Manor House which features Classicism styling elements and is the only fortified manor house in Latvia that has been preserved into the modern age.
Whilst you are in Jūrmala, you will be able to soak in the atmosphere of the famous resort and take a stroll on one of the oldest streets in the city - Jomas Street. The golden sandy beaches, the serene blue waters of the Gulf of Riga, and the healing air and peacefulness of the pine forests all serve to attract anyone who feels the need to relax. What’s more, Dzintari Concert Hall is well-known, not only in Latvia, as it offers a very full and diverse programme of events.
If you want to enjoy a relaxing time on the coast, Saulkrasti is the place to be. Take the 3.6km walk along the forest trail which lies beside Saulkrasti beach, from the White Dune (Baltā kāpa) to the Sun Bridge (Saules tilts), and enjoy the unforgettable panorama of Pēterupe Valley. The interesting Bicycle Museum attracts visitors with its historic atmosphere and exciting collection of old bicycles.
One Day Excursions
There are several tourism agencies that offer one day excursions which will take you to any of the counties of Latvia and which will allow you to see how diverse and rich in contrast Latvia really is.
Should you travel from Riga, your desired destination can be reached not only by car, but also by public transport. There are regular buses to various towns and cities around Latvia from Riga International Bus Terminal. From Riga Railway Station you can take a train to the picturesque Sigulda, Cēsis, Jūrmala, Jelgava, Tukums, Saulkrasti, and other nearby towns.
There is a growing tendency for travellers to opt for a one day trip with bicycles, thereby allowing themselves a much better look at the landscape and their surroundings. In many places, riding a bicycle is easier thanks to specially envisaged cycling paths.