Best Day Trips from Riga
Best Day trips from Riga
Riga, the finest metropolis in the Baltics and the much frequented capital of Latvia, is a rich Cornucopia of German, Swedish and Soviet Cultures. Riga’s exciting life is a treasure in itself, with the impeccable architecture beautifully blending the timeless tradition with cutting edge technology. Gothic Spires, delicious delicacies, breath-taking cobblestone streets and river views add to the rich and fun-loving culture. Like the northern states, Riga is a quite and conserved city, well at least on the outside it is! But take a sneak peek inside, and you will know it is a brewing chemistry of flamboyant modern art centres, hip bars and exquisite experimental restaurants. Beginning right on the outskirts of the city, picturesque blueberry forests and sea dunes are prefect places for people seeking solitude in pristine environments. So once you are done unwinding the streets of this cute little city, widen your horizons and look what’s around. And for that, we bring you a much-researched list on the best day trips from Riga:
Nestled in the Gauja National Park, our sweet little Cēsis can compete and win the title of the most charming town in Latvia. Feel a sense of euro-familiarity as you stroll across the cobbled streets, witness a Gothic Church, gawk at an imposing castle and take a few clicks of an ornamental lake. Explore the Cēsis Castle with a candle powered lantern in your hand; don’t forget to climb up the tower for panoramic vistas of the castle lake and the blue onion domes of the Russian Orthodox Church. Located 88 km away from Riga, you can get to Cēsis via a one and a half hour car ride. Trains and buses take about 2 hours to get you there, with buses leaving for Riga at hourly intervals.
The mandatory choice for every traveller to Riga, Jurmala is both closest to Riga and the easiest to reach. This excellent beach resort town of Latvia has been a hotspot for tourists ever since the heyday of the Russian empire. What’s interesting about this place is that Jurmala is not just one town, but a 33 km stretch of silky sands backed by a long string of little seaside villages that are now a continuous sprawl of holiday homes. Simply laze by the waters or admire the chocolate box homes as you try some bicycling. The town’s pedestrian promenade lined with shops and cafes connects the two most frequented areas of Majori and Dzintari. In winters, the frozen sand lets you try some cross-country skiing too! Jurmala is just a 30 minute train ride away from Riga. You can even travel by car that would take more or less the same time, depending upon the traffic.
Sigulda, the main gateway of the Gauja National Park, is an expansive forest cuddling in the serene Gauja River. If you are seeking some naked bungy-jump from a cable car, or wish to hurtle down an Olypmic Bobsled Track at a sickening speed, then Sigulda is your calling! Especially for winter sports enthusiasts, Sigulda offers abundant skiing, bobsleighing and snowboarding options. However, besides these extremely insane sports, you can try some cycling, canoeing and walking as well. Coming to history buffs, there are a number of medieval castle ruins and museums. Rija to Sigulda is a 1h 15min train ride. Hourly buses leave Riga and get you to Sigulda in barely an hour’s time.
4. Rundale Palace
Latvia may not be high up the charts for ancient-Europe enthusiasts. But surprisingly, there are some secret treasure troves here as well, like the 138 room Rundale Palace, a baroque spire eulogized as the ‘Versailles of the Baltic’. Gorgeous, colourful gardens circumscribe this majestic palace, offering an excellent location for the affluent weddings. Take up a guided tour to know the history of the Dukes of Courland. You can get to Rundale Palace via Bauska in a 1h 30min bus ride. If thinking to self-drive, you can reach there in lesser time.
After facing the heinous wrath of WWII, Jelgava managed to stand back in its feet! Begin your day trip with the Holy Trinity Church, a 15 minute walk from the station that lets you gawk at the panoramic views of the city from its Observation Deck. For historians, the city is an absolute bliss! To dig in deeper, visit the Academia Petrina, a pretty-in-pink structure that houses the city’s heart wrenching history in the Jelgava History and Art Museum. Trains to Jelgava take less than an hour’s time to get you there. You can even self-drive and reach early.
6. Kemeri National Park
The vast expanse of Kemeri National Park encompasses forests, wetlands and lakes that house a wide plethora of mammals and birds. The best way to experience this habitat is The Great Kemeri Bog Boardwalk, comprising of raised wooden trails that loop around the peat mesh. Don’t miss out the bird’s eye view of the unusual landscape from the wooden tower at boardwalk’s halfway point. Kemeri NP is an hour ride by train from Riga. Or you can drive down the 45 km distance in 45 minutes.