16 – 26 of July
After the success of last year’s trip to Latvia, we’re coming back in July of 2020, this time dedicating most of our time to walking along various natural trails in the midst of Latvian woods, as well as discovering some of the Baltic sea coast.
July 16: Travel Day
We’re going to take a flight from Valencia to Riga, with a connection in Frankfurt. The main method of getting around the country will be microvan, therefore the participant limit is 9 people. After we get to the airport, we will drive to Tērvete, where our adventure begins.
July 17-18: Tērvete Natural park
LVM Nature Park in Tērvete is the best and friendliest place for those who know how to see the world through the eyes of a child, rejoicing at the interplay of nature and fairytales.
More than a hundred wooden sculptures and statues can be found in the park – Sprīdītis (Tom Thumb), giant Lutausis, the Forest King and his court, little Annele with her friends, dwarfs and “live” fairytale characters – crafted after the fairytale plays by the famous Latvian writer Anna Brigadere. You will also learn about the might of the ancient Semigallians, bringing back memories to modern generations when climbing up the three ancient castle mounds.
More info: mammadaba.lv
Accomodation – Sprīdīši Guest House
There’s a really nice and cozy guesthouse right next to the natural park, which also has a restaurant. This gives us the opportunity to relax for two days, without even needing to drive anywhere, except maybe for the town of Tērvete in the afternoon, which is located just 2km away.
July 19: The Forts of Liepaja
Crumbling away on the edge of the Latvian coast, a row of abandoned concrete bunkers have formed a lovely line of ruins that harken back to a fort built by Tzarist Russia.
When they were created, the ruins encircled the entire city of Liepaja. The Northern Forts were part of Liepaja’s central fortress and they were built between the 19th and 20th century to provide shelter to the naval base. A line of outer fortifications surrounded the whole city. However, in 1908, after less than ten years of construction, the whole fortress was considered a strategic misstep and it was abandoned. There were attempts to blow up parts of it, but destroying such robust fortifications is no easy feat, and the remains still stand today.
We will spend the evening in Liepaja, walking along its promenade and strolling through the city. We will also stay here overnight, to continue our trip Northward along the coast the following day.
July 20: Jurkalne’s Seashore
The Jurkalne Bluffs are one of the most picturesque parts of Latvia’s seashore, with a quiet beach untouched by civilisation and bluffs of up to 20 metres high. The bluffs belong to the landslide-landfall type.
We can also do a bit of hiking along the river Rīva, which makes it a great combination.
July 21: Coastal Hike to Kolkasrags
This day we’re going to make a bit longer hike, about 17km, which is quite easy though, as it goes along the coast and is completely flat. The hike finishes at Kolksrags, the cape that marks the north-western limit of the Gulf of Riga.
July 22: The Barefoot Trail
This day we’ll have a different experience – walking barefoot on trails, designed specifically for this type of activity. The walks are both emotionally rich and full of surprises. Different kinds of surfaces are aviable for the full spectre of sensations – for example: pebbles, boulders, millstones, moss, cones, beach sand, reeds, woodchip, rough pine-tree bark, white clay, wet peat in the shade of the trees, sun-warmed gravel, soft, rain soaked grass and a possibility to walk trough refreshing river water.
After 3000m walk, feet are pleasantly tingling and they are warm also in chilly day, and you can feel the energy raising in your body. You have forgotten about all your problems and stress has left your body, and mind is ready for fresh and new ideas.
Since recreation center offers much more than just a barefoot walk, we can spend the whole day there and rent a boat for a relaxed afternoon in a lake or go cycling along the forest trails. There is also accomodation available on the facilities.
More info: valgumapasaule.lv
July 23: Ķemeri National Park
Ķemeri National Park (ĶNP) was founded in 1997 with the aim to preserve nature, cultural history and resort values, encourage sustainable economic activity, tourism and environmental education. A fabulous walk along the boardwalk in the intact raised bog will lead us to the kingdom of mosses, bog pine-trees, small scenic lakes and scent of Marsh tea. By taking a careful look, you will be able to see insectivorous plant – sundew, and various birds – wood sandpiper, white wagtail and tree pipit.
More info: kemerunacionalaisparks.lv
July 24: Jurmala
Residents of Latvia usually do not see dunes as something special: we are used to seeing them on our coast, stretching along it almost for 500 km. Yet in many places across the world there are no dunes, therefore they are a unique ecosystem in Europe. For many species of plants and animals the dunes are the only suitable environment for life.
Ragakapa Nature Park is a specially protected territory of nature formed in order to preserve the dunes covered with an ancient pine forest and the biodiversity on the sea coast. Ragakapa dunes, reaching the height of 17 metres, are protected by the state since 1962. In order to introduce the visitors to the natural values of the territory, two nature trails have been established in the park. One of the trails leads through the pine forest, is approximately 2 km long, and is mostly formed of boardwalks. Information stands and benches are placed along the route, and in its steepest places – stairs. Near the Open-Air Museum by the stairs you can leave this trail and go to the second trail maintained by “Latvijas valsts mezi”.
More info: visitjurmala.lv
The Gulf of Riga encloses the whole of Jūrmala’s 24 km long Northern side. In the south, Jurmala is bounded for 30 km by the second largest navigable Latvian river Lielupe. In the most narrow point opposite Lielupe’s bend Banķis, between Majori and Dubulti, land is only 380 meters wide. Jūrmala’s western territories between Sloka and Ķemeri feature lakes, swamps and wetland forests, Jurmala’s curative resources are concentrated here. The rest of Jūrmala is known as a Climatic recreational resort. The city has natural forest areas around Dzintari, Vaivari and Valteri. Particular attention is paid to environmental protection.
In 2015 the Bulduri, Dzintari, Majori, Dubulti and Jaunķemeri seaside bathing areas received the International Blue Flag eco certificate, reflecting an environmentally and socially sound and sustainable management of public bathing grounds. In overall, Jūrmala has 12 official bathing areas, 11 of them are on the seashore and one – on the shore of Lielupe River.
July 25: Riga
The final day of the trip will be dedicated to the exploration of the capital: we’ll go for a walk around the historical center, visit some fine exemplars of Riga’s Art Noveau architecture, stroll along the bank of Latvia’s biggest river – Daugava and get to St. Peter’s church to enjoy the panoramic views of the city.
In the evening we will go to have dinner in Medieval restaurant Rozengrals – a unique place, which to this day keeps the atmosphere the city used to have centuries ago, with waiters dressed in traditional clothes and the largest room of the restaurant with a 4-meter high arches still preserving a fragment of the first defensive wall, built in 1201.
July 26: Travel Day
Sunday will be the day to say goodbye to Latvia and to take the flight back to Valencia.