Country Holidays
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In the dunes of Lapmežciems, one still can find interesting historical monuments of fishermen life – ‘sedums’ – former fishing boat piers, where fishermen built their net huts and kept inventory. From here they went to the sea and came back, and, while fishnets where drying on the poles, men were discussed things.

The ‘sedums’ of Lapmežciems is under the status of architectural heritage of local importance and is waiting for reconstruction. Today, there are three huts, well seen from the sea. If you look for the place coming by the main road, there is a landmark – a metal bull installed to advertise a local metal working company. The road passing it leads straight to the “sedums” and to the beach. In the nearby Ragaciems village, the local fishermen have reconstructed, with own labour and money, some old net huts in memory of their grandfathers. Reconstruction is still going on, and the already rebuilt net huts have been put in active use.

 Lapmežciems is also a promising bird watching site because here migrating birds are attracted by seaweed cast ashore.

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Lielais Liepu kalns ir Latgales augstienes Rāznavas pauguraines augstākā un Latvijā trešā augstākā virsotne (289,3 m v.j.l.). Lielpaugura relatīvais augstums ir 86 m! Skatu torņa platforma ir šobrīd augstākais Latvijas punkts (323 m.v.j.l.), kas sasniedzams ar paša kājām! Liepu kalna apkārtne ir labiekārtota.

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The Ķemeri National Park was established in 1997 and mostly involves wetlands – the shallow shores of the Bay of Rīga, an overgrown seaside lake, vast swamps, damp forests and fens, and flood-land meadows. The park is enormously important for protecting plants (25% of those recorded in Latvia’s Red Book are found in the park) and animals, particularly nesting and migrating birds. The Great Ķemeri Bog is one of the largest swamps in Latvia, and there are other swamps, as well – the Zaļais swamp and the Raganu swamp. The massive swamps are important, too, in the flow of sulphuric waters and medicinal mud. The once-famous Ķemeri Spa was based on the availability of these resources. Most of the cultural and historical objects in the Ķemeri National Park relate to the seashore as a place for leisure and recuperation. Educational nature trails, bicycle trails, hiking trails, bird-watching towers and other facilities are available. The visitors centre is at the recently renovated “Forest House” in Ķemeri.

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Koka skatu tornis atrodas blakus Kolkasraga priežu takai. No tā redzama ar priedītēm aizaugusi „stiga” – t.s. Šautuve, kuru padomju laikā izmantoja šaušanas apmācībām. No torņa skatu platformas labi saskatāma Kolkas bāka, kas atrodas 5 km attālumā no Kolkasraga.

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Latvia’s newest national park (2007) is in the “land of the blue lakes” – the region of Latgale. One of the goals of establishing a national park was to preserve the natural treasures of the region. Lake Rāzna, which is the second largest in Latvia, is there, as is Lake Ežezers, which has more island than any other lake in Latvia. There are other bodies of water, as well as typical landscapes of hillocks and a unique cultural environment. One of the most popular destinations in the park is Mākoņkalns Hill, which offers a lovely view of Lake Rāzna. Administrators of the newly established park are working on the tourist infrastructure – trails, routes, etc. Perhaps visitors would be advised to postpone their trip to the Rāzna National Park for awhile.

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Vikmesti dēvē arī par Foreļstrautu, jo tā ir nozīmīga foreļu un taimiņu nārsta vieta. Gaujas labā krasta pieteka ir izveidojusi dziļu gravu ar stāvām nogāzēm, kuras lejtecē izveidojušies nelieli – ap 4 m augsti smilšakmens atsegumi. Gravas labajā (rietumu pusē) paceļas ar mežu apaugušais Vikmestes pilskalns. Gar Vikmestes upi izveidota taka, kuras sākumdaļa atrodas pie Siguldas – Turaidas ceļa, bet beigu daļa – pie Raganas – Turaidas ceļa (ap 3 km).

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The Slītere National Park (established in 2000) is known, with good reason, as an open-air museum which shows the historical development of the Baltic Sea. Nowadays evidence of geological events is seen in the Blue Hills of Slītere, which stand 20 to 30 metres high above what was the shore of the Baltic lake of ice 10,000 years ago. The Stiebri hills were former 8,000 or 9,000 years ago, while the Littorina Sea formed Europe’s largest set of dune ramparts and damp hollows between those ramparts. This occurred between 4,000 and 7,000 years ago. The gentle climate of Northern Kurzeme is the reason why so many rare plants are found in the park – some 860 in all including Common Yew (Taxus baccata) and Baltic Ivy (Hedera helix var. baltica). Of certain value in the preservation of these treasures was the Soviet military machine, which has left behind army bases and other military objects in the area. The presence of the military meant that the area of what is now the Slītere National Park remained largely undisturbed for 50 years. The park includes one of the most popular tourist destinations in Latvia – the Cape of Kolka, which is visited by more than 50,000 travellers each year. During the spring migration of birds, more than 60,000 birds cross the cape each hour. Along the shore of the Baltic Sea is the so-called Livonian coast, which stretches from Kolka to Sīkrags and Ovīši. Fishing villages and other cultural objects established by the world’s smallest ethnic minority, the Livonians, can be found here. Tourists will enjoy interesting four nature trails, bicycling routes, viewing tower, etc. The visitors centre is located at the Slītere lighthouse. Administration of National park is organising environmental education events on regular basis open to everyone.

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Ved gar Kumadas, Dančupītes un Amatas krastiem. Marķētās takas sākums meklējams pie Ieriķu TIC (arī Cecīļu dabas takas apmeklētāju centrs). Iepazīstina ar mazskartām Gaujas senlejas straujupītēm un smilšakmens atsegumiem to krastos. Garums 1,3 km.

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Atrodas 3,7 km garās laipu takas vidusdaļā. No torņa paveras viena no Latvijas izcilākajām augstā purva ezeriņu un lāmu kompleksa ainava. Tornis ir populāra saullēktu un ziemeļblāzmas fotografēšanas vieta.

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The Gauja National Park, established in 1973, was Latvia’s first national park, and it has a wealth of tradition in environmental protection and tourism. Indeed, the GNP is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Latvia. The main “artery” of the park is the ancient Gauja River valley, which was left behind when Ice Age glaciers receded. The valley is 95 kilometres long, with many tributaries that are also in deep ravines with massive sandstone cliffs from the Devonian period. The deepest part of the river valley is at Sigulda, where it is 85 metres deep.

The territory has a great diversity of species – some 900 plant species in all. The Gauja is Latvia’s most popular river for water tourism, and many tourist accommodations are found along its shores. The Gauja National Park is one of the best-appointed protected territories in Latvia in terms of nature trails and tourism routes. Nature trails at Līgatne pass along paddocks of wild animals – the largest and most complete object of its kind in the Baltic States. The park also features cultural monuments of pan-Baltic importance – the Turaida Museum Reserve, the medieval old town of the city of Cēsis with its famous castle ruins and St John’s Church, the lake castle at Āraiši, etc. Visitors centres are found in Sigulda, along the Līgatne nature trails, and at the Zvārte rock. The administration of the GNP is building a new and modern visitors centre in Sigulda.