Country Holidays

Bird and animal watching

Spring Bird watching tour along the Baltic coast  

Latvia (10 days, ~720 km)

Since the fall of the Iron Curtain, Latvia has become a member of the EU, but its history and environment are still very different than those in “accustomed” and “old” Europe.  There are places such as the Ķemeri National Park, the Slītere National Park, the Lake Engurs Nature Park, the Pape Nature Park and others which are of European and global importance in terms of environmental values, as indicated by Natura 2000 territories and the Ramsar Convention.
Untouched and natural territories, particularly along Latvia’s shoreline, which was a closed border area during Soviet times, are fantastic islands of biological diversity.  Species of plants and animals which are uncommon and endangered in Europe can be found here quite often.  Our 10-day bird watching tour offers information about 15 such territories.
Latvia is along one of the world’s three most important bird migration paths, and during migration seasons, huge flocks of birds can be seen.  The birds often rest in these territories, which is not all that delightful for local residents.  Thousands of swans and geese eat their grain.  Latvia’s flat terrain and a climate in which precipitation exceeds evaporation (there are few such territories in the world, and climate change means that they will be even fewer in number) mean that particularly along the seashore, there are wetlands that are appropriate for water birds – shallow lagoons and high swamps.  Many territories that were of great importance have been destroyed, because since the mid-19th century, landowners have sought more farmland.  It is possible that the low swamp at Užava was once the most important gathering place for thousands and thousands of cranes before it was destroyed.  Extraction of peat moss has led to the full or partial destruction of a great many high swamps.  Still, all of the seaside lakes and several important swamps have been protected since the 1950s.  All of these territories and most of the other major wetlands which have preserved their biological value at the turn of the centuries have been included in the Natura 2000 network of territories which Latvia joined when it joined the European Union.

Print version of the tour
Sliteres NP
Vilnis Skuja
Sliteres NP
Helmuts Hofmanis

1st day/ Arrival in Rīga
A tour of the Latvian capital of Rīga and its Old Town, which is on the UNESCO list of global cultural heritage.

Overnight in Monika Centrum Hotel in Riga.


2nd day/ Rīga - Jelgava - Svēte - Jelgava–Slampe–Dunduru Wiese- Smārde– Jaunmokas (~160km)
Breakfast. Sites and attractions en route:
By car: Rīga-Jelgava-Svēte (~60 km)
- The Svēte flood-lands: a major site for migrating geese, ducks and different plovers
By car: Svēte - Jelgava (~10 km)
-Jelgava, the castle’s island (reserve)
-Lunch in Jelgava 
By car: Jelgava –Slampe–Dunduru Wiese (~60 km)
-The Dunduri meadows are an important part of the forested area of the Ķemeri Heath along the curvy shores of the little Slampe River.  There is a bird watching tower, as well as the so-called Throat of Melnragi – wetlands flooded by beavers at the northern end of the meadows.
By car: Smārde–Jaunmokas (~30 km)
-The Jaunmokas Castle Park

Overnight in the Hotel Jaunmoku Pils in Jaunmokas.

By car (alternative): Smārde–Valgums (~10 km)

-The Cena Heath is one of the largest swamps in Latvia, though most of it has been dug up.  The tour will visit the preserved but substantially transformed part of the swamp along a 4.5 km footpath.  There is a bird watching tower.

Overnight in leisure facility Valguma Pasaule in Valgums.
Sliteres NP
Helmuts Hofmanis

3rd day/ Jaunmokas-Ķemeri-Sloka-Odiņi-Lapmežciems– Jaunmokas (~100km) 
Breakfast. 
By car: Jaunmokas –Ķemeri (~30 km)
-A wetland pathway near a forest hut and the damp forests which surround it.  The short pathway takes one through the black alder wetlands of the Vēršupīte River, as well as the wetlands between the forest hut and Lake Sloka (without going as far as the lake).
-A visit to the information centre
-Lunch at Ķemeri
By car: Ķemeri–Sloka–Odiņi (~20 km)
-The Odiņi fen and meadows
By car: Odiņi-Lapmežciems (~30 km)
-Kaņieris – a Ramsar location with a shallow and overgrown seashore lagoon lake and a bird watching tower

-Alternative: The Starpiņupe River Valley 

By car: Lapmežciems-Jaunmokas (~20 km)

Overnight at Hotel Jaunmoku Pils in Jaunmokas.


4th day/ Jaunmokas–Bērzciems-Engure See-Bērzciems- Mērsrags- Ģipka- Kolka- Košrags (~195 km)
Breakfast. Sites and attractions en route:

By car: Jaunmokas-Bērzciems (~60 km)

-An overgrown seashore with reefs is one of the most appropriate places to watch wading and water birds

By car: Bērzciems-Engure See(~5 km)

-Lake Engure, a paddock of semi-wild cattle and horses, and a bird watching tower (the Lake Engure Nature Park)

By car: Engure See-Bērzciems(~5 km)

-Lunch in Bērzciems

By car: Bērzciems-Mērsrags (~15 km)

-The Mērsrags seashore meadows and Pekrags.  A complex of lagoon-type biotopes, including meadows, areas of reeds, a rocky seashore, shoals and a bird watching tower

By car: Mērsrags-Ģipka (~60 km)

-This is a small area of wetlands located where a lagoon from the ancient Litorine Sea once was

By car: Ģipka-Kolka- Košrags(~50 km)


Overnight at GH Pītagi in Košrags.
Sliteres NP
Helmuts Hofmanis

5th day/ Košrags-Kolka-Pūrciems-Dundaga-Slītere–Mazirbe -Košrags (~74 km)
Breakfast. Sites and attractions en route:

By car: Košrags-Kolka (~14 km)

- Kolkasrags is one of the best places for bird watching when it comes to the diversity of species during the spring migration – nearly all of the species that are present in Latvia can be found here at the right time.
-Here you will find a whole environmental complex – the Kolkasrags pine trail, with forested dunes and pine trees deep in the sand
-The Pēterzers nature trail (3.5 km), which offers a set of dunes with high swamps and a swamp lake that are unique at the European level

By car: Kolka- Pūrciems–Dundaga (~40 km)

-The wetlands of Ģipka
- Lunch in Dundaga

By car: Dundaga- Slītere-Mazirbe-Košrags (~20 km)

-The visitor centre of the Slītere National Park at the Slītere lighthouse
- The former coastline of the Baltic Ice see - the "bue hills"

Overnight at GH Pītagi in Košrags.


6th day/ Mazirbe-Oviši-Ventspils-Užava-Labrags (~140km)
Breakfast. Sites and attractions en route:

By car: Mazirbe-Oviši (~40 km)

-The Irbene radar station,  the coastline of Ovīši
-a sandy seashore
-the coastline of Ovīši

By car: Oviši-Ventspils (~30 km)

-lunch in Ventspils

By car: Ventspils-Užava (~40 km)

-The Užava Estuary, with a restricted area to protect a biotope which includes the gray dunes that are very uncommon in Europe
-The meadows and polders of the lower reaches of the Užava River

By car: Užava-Labrags (~30 km)

-The steep shores of the little Muižupīte River

Overnight at GH Liedags in Labrags.


7th day/ Labrags-Liepāja-Nīca-Grobiņa-Durbe (~130km)
Breakfast. Sites and attractions en route:

By car: Labrags-Liepāja (~80 km)

-the cap Labrags

By car: Liepāja-Nīca-Grobiņa-Durbe (~50 km)

-The Liepāja port
-Lake Liepāja
-Lake Liepāja
-Visit of Nīca
-The Old Durbe School

Overnight at GH Atvari in Durbe.



8th day/ Durbe-Līguti-Vītiņi-Skrunda-Saldus (~175km)
Breakfast.Sites and attractions en route:

By car: Durbe-Līguti (~5 km)

-The Līguti Estate park

By car: Līguti-Vītiņi (~30 km)

-The Vītiņi Meadows on the eastern shore of Lake Liepāja are the largest area of damp meadows in Latvia.  The last nesting place for the dunlin.  Wild cattle and horses can be seen here

By car: Vītiņi-Skrunda (~100 km)

-The fish ponds of Skrunda
-Lunch in Skrunda

By car: Skrunda-Saldus (~40 km)


Overnight at GH Zvejnieki in surroundings of Saldus.
Sliteres NP
Helmuts Hofmanis

Slīteres NP
Vilnis Skuja
9th day/ Saldus-Sātiņi-Saldus-Kokmuiža-Tērvete-Pilsrundāle (~140km)
Breakfast. Sites and attractions en route:
-The Kalnsēta Park

By car: Saldus-Sātiņi (~20 km)

-The Sātiņi fish ponds are an important place for water birds to feed and relax during the autumn migration (Northern swans, wading birds).  The territory can be viewed from different locations.

By car: Saldus-Kokmuiža (~30 km)

-Lunch in Saldus
-Zvārde – former military base

By car: Kokmuiža-Tērvete (~30 km)

-The Tērvete Park
-The river valley
-The Pines of Tērvete, the tallest pine trees in all of Latvia

By car: Tērvete-Pilsrundāle (~60 km)


Overnight at GH Baltā Māja in Pilsrundāle or at castle Mežotnes Pils in Mežotne.
Sliteres NP
Helmuts Hofmanis

Rundāle
10th day/Pilsrundāle -Bauska - Rīga (~85 km)
Breakfast. Sites and attractions en route:
-The Rundāle Palace park and the palace itself

By car: Pilsrundāle-Bauska-Rīga (~85 km)

-The Cena heath, Getliņi 

Departure.

Package price per person: 1120.00 EUR*
*Minimum number of persons - 8.
*A price of the tour can change in case the planned guest houses/hotels are fully booked and we have to choose other accommodation sites.
*Prices may change due to changes in national tax legislation or other independent reasons.

  • by 10 persons: 965.00 EUR per person
  • by 12 persons: 925.00 EUR pers person
Services included in the package price:
  • 9 overnights with breakfast in hotels or guest houses (double or TWIN room with WC/shower)
  • English speaking guide from the 1st arrival till the 10th departure day (10 days)
  • Couch Bus (incl. fuel) from the 1st arrival till the 10th departure day (10 days)
Extra costs not included in the package price:
  • Lunch-Set
  • Dinner
  • Tickets and entrances to the attractions and sites

Information & booking - tel: +371 67617600, e-mail: lauku@celotajs.lv