Discovery of Latvia in ten days

Trip description

You can skip two or three steps if you have less time.

Day 1: Visit of the old city of Riga

Day 2: New City and Art Nouveau

Day 3: Riga-Jurmala

Day 4: Jurmala-Tukums-Kolka

Day 5: Kolka-Ventspils

Day 6: Ventspils-Liepaja

Day 7: Liepaja-Jelgava-Bauska

Day 8: Bauska-Sigulda

Day 9: Sigulda-Cesis

Day 10: Cesis-Riga

Day 1 : Visit of the old city of Riga

Day1 : Visit of the old city of Riga ©Serge OLIVIER - Author's Image

Early in the morning, go to the halls of the covered market (the largest in Europe). These are old zeppelin hangars. Enter the old city through the "Camel Gate", which reminds us that the goods of Asian caravans arrived in Riga. Then go up to the bell tower of St. Peter's Church to admire the view of the city. Then, take rue Skarnu to reach the Place du Dôme, the centre of the old town, where the cathedral of the Dôme is located, home to one of the most beautiful organs in Europe. Stroll through the maze of streets that make up the historic centre of Riga and discover the many historic buildings of Old Riga.

Day 2 : New City and Art Nouveau

Day2 : New City and Art Nouveau ©Serge OLIVIER - Author's Image

Bordering the old town along Basteja Boulevard is the Opera House. Not far from there, in Brivibas Street, the city's main artery, stands the Freedom Monument. Continuing on to Brivibas, you will see Hotel Latvija, a 27-storey skyscraper located in Elizabetes Street. Riga is known to be the European city with the highest number of architectural masterpieces in the Art Nouveau style. A walk along Elizabetes Street (opposite the station), where part of these buildings are concentrated, is a must. At the end of the street, on Alberta Street, you can admire the city's most beautiful Art Nouveau buildings. We owe the whole street, except number 12, to Eisenstein, the father of the famous filmmaker. Return to the Latvija Hotel. On the 26th floor, the Sky Bar offers a panoramic view of the old town. Take the time to enjoy a cocktail while admiring the sunset...

Day 3 : Riga-Jurmala

Day3 : Riga-Jurmala ©Serge OLIVIER - Author's Image

Relaxation day in the seaside resort of Jurmala. Its long sandy beach lined with pine trees invites you to take a stroll. A walk that easily extends into the city's alleys, which are full of wooden houses with very varied architectural origins: Russian, Finnish, Swedish or German.

Day 4 : Jurmala-Tukums-Kolka

Day4 : Jurmala-Tukums-Kolka ©François JANNE DOTHEE

Head west to the Kurzeme region to reach the city of Tukums. Its museum dedicated to the Livonian Order and the inhabitants of Tukums opens its doors to you in the restored tower of its fortified castle. If you are fond of beautiful buildings, do not miss visiting the neo-Gothic castle Jaunmoku and its superb park. You will then head north to the coast and follow it to Kolka. On the way, it would be a shame not to stop at Engure Lake. Indeed, this lake is located in the heart of a nature reserve where you can follow the orchid path dedicated to 22 species of these rare plants for 3.5 km, contemplating from its observation towers the 122 species of birds that find refuge in the reserve. As you continue north, you will pass through a series of fishing villages. Stop on the beaches between Roja and Kolka: this is one of the best places to collect amber rejected by the Baltic Sea (look for translucent and bright amber flakes).

Day 5 : Kolka-Ventspils

Day5 : Kolka-Ventspils ©Agence de Promotion de Madère

Located at the tip of the country, Kolka offers a magnificent panorama of wild beaches and wooded dunes. Take advantage of your walk to observe the phenomenon of crossed waves. Going west, you will cross Sliteres Park, which is home to deer, reindeer, buzzards and a large number of bird species. Take a break in the village of Mazirbe and discover the people of Livonia, the first inhabitants of Latvia. Leaving the park, you will follow the coast to Ventspils and visit the fishing villages along the way.

Day 6 : Ventspils-Liepaja

Day6 : Ventspils-Liepaja ©CAMPING J??I

Ventspils, the rival of Riga, capital of the coast. Visit its old town and the castle of the Order of Livonia. Dine in the former "Upis" customs warehouse on the quayside of the old port. You can stroll through the streets of the old town or in the parks along the beach, it is quite rare that there is no concert or show. Extend your itinerary along the coast to Liepaja, the other major city on the west coast. This former forbidden city, which housed a Soviet naval base, is undergoing a complete renewal and its cultural life is no match for Riga's. If you are in an adventurous mood and like unusual situations, take part in the reality show at Karosta Prison. We suggest you live the life of a prisoner in the Soviet era, and know that this one is not pink... especially when you are a French spy!

Day 7 : Liepaja-Jelgava-Bauska

Day7 : Liepaja-Jelgava-Bauska ©Ieva Makare

20 minutes south of Liepaja by road, you can visit the Pape National Park, famous for its buffalo and wild horses. You will then take the A9 road to get inland. On the way, visit the city of Saldus and its green parks. Then turn off towards Jelgava where you can admire its Baroque castle and Orthodox church, both built on the orders of Catherine II according to the plans of the famous Italian architect Rastrelli.

Day 8 : Bauska-Sigulda

Day8 : Bauska-Sigulda ©Miks Mihails Ignats -

Bauska opens the doors of its 13th century castle, built by the Livonian Order to defend the nearby Lithuanian border. Continue your journey with a visit to the Rundale Palace, known as the "Latvian Versailles", an architectural monument in the Baroque and Rococo style unique in Latvia. If you are passionate about beautiful buildings, take advantage of your presence on the premises to visit the village of Mezotne, stroll through the English garden of its neoclassical palace, a completely renovated architectural jewel that now houses a hotel with majestic rooms and affordable prices. Head north to Sigulda, taking the A7 and A2 roads that will take you through the Zemgale region and its farmlands.

Day 9 : Sigulda-Cesis

Day9 : Sigulda-Cesis ©S.Nicolas - Iconotec

Sigulda is located in the most hilly part of the Vidzeme region. On the hillside, you will find the ruins of its castle and the amazing bobsleigh run that can be used in both winter and summer. Then discover La Gauja National Park. Its centre is located in Ligatne, with an animal park where the animals of the region live in semi-liberty and around which many cottages are located. Also visit the town of Ligatne, with its wooden houses and 18th century paper mill.

Day 10 : Cesis-Riga

Day10 : Cesis-Riga ©S.Nicolas - Iconotec

Rent bicycles and stroll through the medieval streets of Cesis, the former capital of Livonia. Discover its castle, built in 1209 by the Knights' Order of Sword and Teutonic Knights, as well as the park that surrounds it. Join the coast and the rocky beaches of Vidzeme du Nord via Limbazi, just to see its charming Orthodox church. Then go down to Riga along the coast and its pine forests.

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