Organized Excursions – One day
Saturday (August 10th) – Rundale Palace (40 EUR)
Sunday (August 11th) – Sigulda, Turaida castle (30 EUR)
Note: Prices are for 25 participants, it may decrease depending on the number of participants. The minimum number of participants for each organized excursion is 25, maximum 45.
Excursions will be canceled if the minimum is not reached by the June 25th.
If you want to participate in one or both of the excursions you must fill out the following registration form. If the minimum number of participants is met, everybody who has registered by the June 25th will receive their invoice in the first week of July. Anyone registering for excursion after that will receive their invoice within a week of their registration.
Registration will be open till July 29th, or till maximum number of participants is reached
The invoice will include a bank account to which the excursion price must be transferred. The excursion must be paid within a week of receiving the invoice to guarantee your spot in the excursion. Within a week of payment, you will receive a confirmation email of your transaction.
Visit to the elegant Rundale palace (August 10th)
Duration: ~ 6h
Bus ride one way: ~ 1h 15 min
Meeting point: TBD
The tour price includes air conditioned coach, professional guide services and entrance fee to the palace.
Scenic drive to the South of Latvia. On the way photo stop at Bauska castle 15.cnt.-18.cnt. Almost in the middle of nowhere there stands the magnificent Rundale palace built in the 18.cnt. by the same architect who built the Winter Palace ( Hermitage ) and many other palaces in Snt. Petersburg – F.Bartalameo Rastrelli. You can imagine yourself waltzing in the Ball room or indulge yourself in the fragrance of the Rose garden. This palace was the summer residence of the duke of Courland. You can admire original furniture , Flemish and Dutch paintings from the 18 .century and appreciate enormous work done by the renovators. Possibility for lunch on your own in the palace cafe or just some free time for wandering around or shopping for some souvenirs.
Medieval Turaida (August 11th)
Duration: ~ 6h
Bus ride one way: ~ 1h
Meeting point: TBD
The tour price includes air conditioned coach, professional guide services and entrance fee to the Turaida Castle museum, photo stop at the ruins of Sigulda Castle and visit to Gutman`s Cave (a grotto originated by a spring, carved in sandstone).
This will be the possibility to see more of the city of Riga – the artnouveau style part, on the way out to the Northern part of Latvia and to enjoy more typical Latvian countryside and forests.
During this tour you will see not only the rebuilt Turaida Castle, but also the ruins of Sigulda Castle and Sigulda New Castle. You can enjoy the sculptures devoted to Latvian folksongs in Dainu Park, as well as the old wooden Lutheran church. You will hear the story of the Rose of Turaida and visit the Gutman`s Cave where part of those events took place. Tour includes some walking up and down the stairs.
Some Suggestions for self-organized excursions:
Location: Next to University of Latvia
The Old Town is the oldest section of Riga as well as the center of the city. The Old Town has highly diverse architecture, and the majority of buildings have the status of a cultural monument. The city’s architecture represents various periods – Romanticism, Gothic, Baroque, Classicism, and Modernism. After the restoration of the independence of Latvia, many buildings in the Old Town were reconstructed or rebuilt to restore the historic look of the area. The most impressive buildings in the Old Town are the Riga Cathedral and St. Peter’s Church, offering a wonderful panoramic view on the city of Riga from a 72 meter observational tower. Other places to visit include The House of the Blackheads, Small Guild, Riga Dome Cathedral, St.John’s Church, Cat house and The Three Brothers.
Location: 20 km from Riga, regular trains and buses
Getting to Jurmala
Jurmala – the largest resort city in the Baltic States – is well-known for its natural treasures: the mild climate, sea, clean air, healing mud and mineral water. Originally a cluster of fishing villages, Jurmala has been a beloved seaside resort for over 200 years. The generations of folk coming to relax have left a unique architectural blend with everything from ornate timber cottages to giant Soviet concrete sanatoria, plus a few contemporary masterpieces.
Places to visit:
- Take a walk down Jomas street – Jomas street is one of the oldest and central streets of Jūrmala It is a pedestrian street, about 1.1 kilometres long. The name of the street in Latvian means parallel lines in the sand of dunes.
- Visit the house of Aspazija – Latvian poetess Aspazija spent her last 10 years in this house.House of Aspazija is the most unusual and the most beautiful museum in Jūrmala. It was the will of the poetess’ for this house to become a place to meet for writers, artists, photographers and other intellectuals from Riga, Jūrmala and Latvia.
- Be active at Dzintari forest park –The viewing tower in Dzintari Forest Park is the highest point of free access in the centre of Jurmala whereof a wonderful landscape of Jurmala can be observed.
- Take a walk on the beach trail – On the Dzintari and Majori beach you can find a lit wooden walking trail, that will take you on approximately one kilometre long walk along the coast of the Baltic sea. You can finish the walk with the photo by the Turtle of Jurmala – a huge metal turtle sculpture that is looking at the sea already for 22 years.
- Visit Jūrmala Open Air Museum – Jūrmala Open Air Museum is an attractive way to discover the daily life of fishermen at the turn of the 20th century. Here, you can climb on the decks of two authentic fishing boats, try your skills at the rope-making workshop, and visit authentic houses of fishermen.
Location: Riga, regular city buses
Getting to museum from city center
Just a half hour’s drive from Riga’s center, nestled in a pine forest, one of Europe’s oldest and largest outdoor museums can be found alongside the shore of Lake Jugla. Riga and all of Latvia’s regions, Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Zemgale, and Latgale, are represented here. The buildings have been set up to give visitors a sense of Latvia’s rural landscape. At the Open-Air Museum you can find farmsteads of Latvian farmers, craftsmen, and fishermen. They all contain permanent exhibitions – household and working tools, interior furnishings – which characterize the time period, the district, and the owner’s vocation.
Location: 5 min walk from University of Latvia
Riga Central Market is situated in the heart of Riga, a few hundred meters from Old Town on the banks of the River Daugava, next to Riga International Bus Terminal and Central Railway Station. It is not only one of the largest marketplaces in Eastern Europe in area, but also one of the most visited.
Architecturally-imposing food pavilions, built in the 1920s, are Riga Central Market’s calling card. Originally used as military airship hangars, they were later transformed into market venues. Riga Central Market is unique not only with its pavilions but also with its old warehouses or the so-called Spikeri (from German Spéicher), which have now been turned into a hip arts&entertainment quarter. In 1998, the vast territory of Riga Central Market was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list.
At Riga Central Market, you can buy Latvian-grown and homemade products, exotic fruit and spices, as well as manufactured merchandise. The market includes five pavilions each with its own category – vegetables, dairy, meat, fish and gastronomy products, as well as an outdoor area with stalls and stands, the Night Market and ‘Round the Clock Farmers’ Market.
Location: 45 km from Riga, trains every 2 hours
Getting to park: train from Riga to Kemeri station. From Kemeri rail station follow the signs and walk about 2km to the National Park.
Train Schedule (use stops Riga and Kemeri)
Kemeri National Park is special for its great biological diversity, the unique Kemeri Bog, mineral waters and therapeutic mud found here. The park stands out with its diverse world of wetlands. It is home to moss or raised bogs, fens, and transitional bogs. The Great Kemeri Bog is one of the largest of its kind in Latvia. The boardwalk takes visitors to the world of moss, small pine trees, deep pools, tiny dark lakes, and the smell of wild rosemary. Those who prefer shorter strolls can take the small boardwalk arc (~1.4 km), while those who choose the great arc (~3.4 km) will be rewarded with the opportunity to climb an observation platform that offers a magnificent view of the bog from above.
Other possible places to visit: