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Discover Gauja National Park and Sigulda in Latvia

Gauja National Park and Sigulda


The picturesque ancient valley of the Gauja River has been attracting tourists from all over the world for centuries. Here you can both enjoy the charm of the primaeval nature and return in the mysterious medieval times or experience various opportunities of active recreation all year round. Visit Līgatne – one of the “European Destinations of Excellence”! More than 500 cultural and historical monuments are located in the National Park – hill forts, stone castles, churches, manors, watermills and windmills, as well as other archaeological, architectural and artistic monuments. The main tourist destinations are Sigulda and Cēsis, but this is not all. A true nature lover should not miss the Līgatne nature trails, where one can see all sorts of wild animals and the nearby 333 sandstone caves; admirers of the military heritage will gain an unforgettable experience from a visit to the Līgatne secret underground bunker which was intended for use in case of a nuclear war, while those interested in the past will certainly enjoy a visit to the village of Līgatne paper factory and the sculptures made in an ancient dugout technique in Vienkoču Park.
Sigulda, one of the most beautiful cities in Latvia, is situated nearby in the Gauja Valley. It surprises everyone with breathtaking landscapes, adrenaline filled activities both in summer and winter and fabulous open-air musical events – excellent recreation for the whole family.
For more information visit the websites www.tourism.sigulda.lv

In the area of the Gauja National Park we also recommend a visit to the Great Straupe Castle.
The Great Straupe Castle was built during the 13th century, and is one of the few castles that’s still in use today. It was built by fon Rozen, one of the German barons whose family continued to govern the area for 700 years. On the other side of the river from the Great Straupe castle, he also built a smaller castle, in order to more effectively govern the territory. His governing was in fact so effective, that the little town of Straupe quickly became a bustling trade city and was then admitted to the Hanseatic league. The Rozens invited the best craftsmen and tradesmen into their properties, supported and trusted the local municipality with their decisions – all of which developed the area even further. Today, Straupe is a quaint village rich with history and beautiful nature. An ideal place to find peace and harmony in the surrounding. It’s no coincidence that many of the country’s most creative minds have chosen this area as their home to enjoy the relaxing, unhurried tranquility. The majority of Straupe is included in the Gauja national park, making it rich with forests, moors and bogs. The people of Straupe are hardworking farmers, craftsmen and woodworkers who take pride in the traditions of their skill, while combining it with modern solutions. Since renewing the Hanseatic League traditions in 2008, Straupe has become home to one of the few farmer’s markets outside large cities, keeping the Hanseatic League’s tradition of trade alive.
For more information, please visit the website www.pargaujasnovads.lv

Source: Latvian Tourism Development Agency

Here’s a sampling of major yearly recurring events in the region:

Sigulda Opera Music Festival

The Opera Music Festival gathers world-famous opera music stars, who perform on the open-air stage in the medieval castle ruins, offering a view over the scenic primeval valley of the
River Gauja. Sigulda Opera Music Festival is among the top classical music events in Latvia.
Period: August
For more info visit the official website www.tourism.sigulda.lv

Sigulda Festival Kremerata Baltica

Each summer, one of the best international orchestras of the world — “Kremerata Baltica” with its world famous conductor Gidons Krēmers — performs in Sigulda. The festival programme covers many contemporary and classic authors, and some musical surprises —
first-time performances of the masterpieces created by excellent authors.
Period: July
For more info visit the official website www.tourism.sigulda.lv

Sigulda Blues Festival

High level blues music can be enjoyed in an environment of cultural and historical significance — the open-air stage in the ruins of Sigulda Castle. The Blues Festival gathers the best Latvian blues musicians and foreign performers, for example, from the USA, Australia, Italy, United Kingdom, Austria and many more.
Period: July
For more info visit the official website www.tourism.sigulda.lv

Sigulda Mountain Marathon

The most challenging off-road race in Latvia with more than 2200 m altitude gain in 70 km race. 35 km and 15 km races are also available. Two of long distances are qualification races for Ultra Trail Du Mont Blanc. Choose your distance to challenge stamina and power of your body and mind.
Period: October
For more info visit the official website www.raid.lv