On this journey you will visit the best Vidzeme has to offer: the historic towns of Sigulda and Cesis with their castles, 19th century wooden architecture around an old paper mill village and exploring the forests of Gauja National Park.
Your two-day tour will start with a visit to Sigulda with its beautiful Turaida castle and surrounded by a breath taking scenery. Today you will also learn more about the life of the paper mill workers in the town of Ligatne where time stood still. End the day with a beautiful walk in Gauja National Park and a well-deserved local wine and cider bar hidden in a cave and only known by locals! Tonight you will sleep in a comfortable hotel and able to taste some delicious local cuisine, accompanied by a nice Latvian beer.
On your second day we will drive to Cesis, in the heart of the Gauja National Park. Cesis, written Cēsis in Latvian, is the perfect spot to get to know more about Latvia's history, but also explore its unique natural wonders. This cute little town will easily conquer your heart and you will be fascinated by the interesting and well-preserved buildings like the Saint John's Church and the Old Medieval Castle of Cesis. We will then enter the national park of Gaugja, Latvia's most exquisite national park. While other travel agencies mostly focus on historic buildings or extreme sports, we'd like to introduce you to these wonderful forests with spectacular fauna and flora. There's a good chance you might spot some interesting wildlife, such as deer or foxes and don't forget about the many wonderful birds residing in this park.
Hidden in the hilly forests of the Gauja National Park is Sigulda, a popular town for Latvians to go to hike, kayak and escape the busy life or Riga. Sigulda is the gate to the Gauja National Park and is situated in the Gauja River valley, known for its steep cliffs and banks. The region of Sigulda is one of Latvia's most beautiful areas as the town is surrounded by deep woods which are excellent for hiking, while the Gauja river is perfect for water activities such as kayaking. The region is home to a number of interesting landmarks such as caves and cliffs and there is an abundance of nature and wildlife. Turaida
The Turaida Castle is a remarkable place and is located in the middle of the enchanting forests of Gauja National Park. Because of its beautiful location in the surrounding green hills, a trip to this red-brick castle will reward you with a magical atmosphere where you'll feel like you're back in the Middle Ages. The name Turaida means 'God's garden' in ancient Livonian and the museum complex was listed as one of the best European museums in 1996. When walking the trails through the castle complex, you'll be able to look at the large collection of many interesting, rare plants and enjoy the view of the sandstone outccrops and castle fortifications. Ligatne Paper Mill Village
Ligatne is a small village just outside of Sigulda and was built around the paper mill during the eighteenth century. During your guided walk you'll get an exclusive insight in the every day life of the paper mill's workers' lives. We will visit several buildings of interest such as the hospital, school and the picturesque wooden row houses giving Ligatne its unique style it's known for. The tour will bring us down to the cellar caves, which were dug in the sandstone cliffs by in the end of the eighteenth century. Gauja National Park
Established in 1973 Gauja National Park is the oldest of all Latvian national parks and with more than 91.000 hectares it's also the largest national park in Latvia. It's famous for its biodiversity and great variety of natural scenery. It is home to many wild animals such as lynx, foxes and deer and has many interesting landforms such as sandstone and dolomite cliffs. You can easily spot rare birds such as woodpeckers, eagle-owls and kingfishers. We picked out a beautiful nature trail, which was established by the Latvian government to give visitors the chance to get to know the many plant and animal species Latvia has to offer. Make sure you have appropriate footwear on this hike! Exclusive wine and cider tasting in dug out cellars!
To stay in the spirit of Litgane's eighteenth century atmosphere, we're bringing you to an exclusive underground wine bar, where you will have the chance to relax and taste a few local specialities by candle light. Can you think of anything more romantice to end the day? Cesis
Cesis is a small Livonian town near the Gauja River in the Vidzeme region. It has a charming historic center with cobbled streets and a wonderful old medieval castle. This ancient town is surrounded by the Gauja National Park and the presence of the pine trees gives Cesis a magic atmosphere. From Cesis it's easy to enter the woods and the fantastic scenery of the region. On this tour you will explore the Old Town of Cesis, see the Saint John's Church, the Christ Transfiguration Orthodox Church and Cesis' Old Castle, followed by a hiking tour in Gauja National Park.
Cesis Castle was built around the year 1214 and was home to the Knights of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. it was famous for being the strongest fortress in Livonia. It housed an archive, library and scriptorium. During the siege by the army of Ivan the Terrible in 1577 it served as a refuge for the region's inhabitants. Unable to defeat the army, more than 300 people commited suicide by blowing themselves up with gun powder. The castle stayed inhabited until the seventeenth century and eventually became abandoned and was left in bad shape. In the 19th century the castle was restored and it is now one of the highlights of cultural tourism in Latvia. Saint John's Church
The St. John's Church was built at the beginning of the 13th century during the christianization of Latvia. As the residence of the Livonian Holy Order was home to Cesis, it became a powerful city from the 13th until the 16th century. This neo-gothic church with its 65 m high bell--tower is one of the largest religious buildings in Latvia and is a popular tourist stop. Gutman's Cave
Gutman's Cave is the largest cave in the Baltics and also one of the oldest touristic places in Latvia. The cave is 19 m deep, 12 m wide and 10 m high. The cave was formed through the interaction of the Gauja river and an underground spring forming the cave through the process of erosion. There are many inscriptions in the cave dating back to the 17th century. Tour includes:
- Professional, enthusiastic local guide - Pick-up and drop-off from/to hotel - Entrance tickets for all attractions - Transportation - Accommodation - Guided visit to St. John's Church, Cesis Castle Complex, Turaida Castle Complex, Ligatne Paper Mill and Gutman's Cave- Nature hikes in Gauja National Park