Sigulda - Attractions, nature, extreme relaxation, all of this you will find here in abundance! An amazing small town (population - less than 11,000 thousand people), in which more than 1,000,000 guests come annually. Someone, having examined the main sights, leaves in a few hours, and someone stays for a few days, because for the boring and comfortable pastime all conditions are created here, and the prices for services will leave a good impression after Riga.
Regardless of the length of stay in Sigulde, contact the “Tourist Information Center” Ausekļa iela 6 (in the building of the railway station), where they will help you plan the walking route according to your wishes, provide a detailed map and talk about restaurants, cafes and hotels of the city.
Thanks to the unique natural beauties, the first tourists came here from the mid-19th century: to wander around the surroundings surrounded by silence and enjoying the scenery. From now on Sigulda the nickname "Livonia Switzerland" was established, and the laid railway line connecting Riga with Valka gave a new impetus to the development of tourism in these places. Some guests were so fond of coming here that they began to actively buy land and build summer houses. Especially bright colors give visitors a "golden" autumn.
Authentic souvenir from Sigulda are walking canes. This accessory made it easy to walk along the steep banks of the Gauja and protected forests to the pioneers of local tourism. They are sold in different quality and sizes. Individual specimens are comparable to works of art.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there are 3 rental bicycles: Senču iela 1, Raiņa iela 1, Pils iela, 4b. Cost - 10 € per day.
For those who decide to stay in Sigulde For a while, they operate: an aerdium - a vertical wind tunnel that allows you to enjoy all the charm of free flight. Price: from 30 € (Silciems - 5 km from the city, a bus runs), billiards and bowling (Vidus iela 1), golf course (Kalnzaķi, Krimuldas pagasts), amusement park "Tarzan": shooting range, bungee, skeleton, climbing obstacles and much more. (Peldu iela, 1), billiards (Pils iela, 8), extreme obstacle park "Mežakaķis " (Senču iela 1) 6 routes for people with different degrees of training and different ages, a total of 82 objects.
All food service points are located within the city limits, so when going for a walk around the neighborhood, keep in mind that you will be able to have a bite only at Krimulda Manor and at Turaida Nature Reserve.
Food in Sigulda: gourmet restaurant "Kropotkins " (Pils iela, 6) - the central institution of the city with an excellent menu, a pizzeria "Zaļumnieku piestātne " (Pils iela, 9), pizzeria "La Pizza Veloce " (Raiņa iela, 2), cafe "Namma" (next to the railway station and at the turn off the A2 highway), bistro "Kaķu Māja " (Pils iela, 8), pastry shop "Eklērs " (Pils iela, 1).
How to get from Riga to Sigulda
By car: 45-50 minutes on the A2 highway (Vidzeme highway) - 52.7 km. Coordinates for navigation - 57 ° 09′14 ″ s. w. 24 ° 51′16 ″ c. d.
By electric train: from 8 trains per day (depending on the season). On the road - 1 hour 15 minutes. One-way fare € 2.35.
By bus: from the bus station (Pragas St. 1), there are about 15 flights to Sigulda daily, the journey time is 1 hour. The cost of one trip is 2.15 €.
Livonian Order Castle (Pils iela, 18 working hours: from 09: 00-20: 00 in the summer, in the winter from 10: 00-17: 00. Price: 1.42 € ): one of the most significant structures erected by the “swordsmen” in Latvia, who decided to build this fortification in response to the Turaida castle on the other side of the Gauja belonging to the Riga Bishop (the eternal rival of the knights). He changed shape more than once: overgrown with towers, bastions, barracks, warehouses, but was destroyed during the Northern War and was forgotten. Today you can observe the gateway tower and the only surviving wing of the building with impressive window openings, comfortable stairs lead to the newly rebuilt north tower (now restored) and there is also an elevator. It offers a beautiful view.
Sigulda Palace (Pils iela, 18) - is located next to the ruins of the Livonian castle, both objects are wonderful complement and harmonize with each other - the grandeur of the palace, built from old boulders and stones and the ruined castle. Prince Kropotkin, who decided to justify his residence there, did not stint on this magnificence. During the period of the first republic, the building was transferred to the Latvian Union of Journalists, and was reconstructed, and after the Great Patriotic War a sanatorium was located here. Currently - a local Duma.
Lutheran Church (Baznīcas iela, 2): the current church, architecture is characteristic of all medieval buildings of that time. The bell tower appeared much later - in the 30s of the last century, remarkably complements the entire architectural ensemble.
Krimulda: is a suburb of Sigulda (the right bank of the Gauja), you can get there by cable car, by car (via Turaida) or by walking.
Krimulda Mansion (Mednieku iela 3): a characteristic building with a master's house, a park and auxiliary facilities for the Latvian landowners of its time.
Krimulda Manor: beautiful estate, including 21 buildings with a beautiful park on an area of 54 hectares.
Krimulda Church: The majestic Gothic architecture speaks of its venerable age, and this fact is one of the very first churches in Latvia. The size and interior decoration will not leave you indifferent. The labyrinth in the form of a mosaic on the floor is curious - “The Way to God”, characteristic for the decoration of churches of the 13-14th century, symbolizing the road to the Holy City.
The ruins of Krimulda castle: The name of the attraction itself speaks for itself. Destroyed, almost to the foundation, in 1609.
Turaida Museum Reserve (Turaidas iela, 10 Opening hours: from 10:00 to 18:00 in the summer, in the winter from 10:00 to 17:00. Price: 5 €): Translated from the now non-existent Livonian language, Turaida means God's garden. By visiting this place at any time of the year, you will be convinced that for the amazing beauty of the landscapes spread over 42 hectares of land, the language does not turn out differently. The riverbed, surrounded by picturesque steep banks of the river among the virgin forest, allows you to abandon the everyday hustle and bustle and make the reserve one of the most popular in Latvia. There are several objects on the territory of the complex that deserve attention:
Turaida Castle: The medieval castle of Riga Bishop Albert, restored with great love, is known for the year the construction began - 1214. It consists of fortress walls, a gate and a watchtower, on which the best observation deck in the district was organized.
Estate: 21 buildings of the estate (18-19 century), which spread out on the territory near the castle after its fire: a stable (organized walks in the surroundings), a working forge (souvenirs made by local craftsmen - roses, nails, horseshoes), a horse carriage with an exhibition of carriages, a pond.
Folk Song Park: founded in 1985, in honor of the collector of Latvian folk songs Krishjanis Barons. Several festivals of folk music are held throughout the year.
Gutman Cave: according to legend, the hermit settled here, but there are still no facts. The facts are as follows: it is the most voluminous cave in Latvia, graffiti is of particular interest, some of which are protected by the state because of its antiquity.
The current church: the building was built in 1750.
Walking trails: several walking trails of various lengths and difficulty levels have been organized.
Active holidays in Sigulda
Thanks to the hilly terrain, Sigulda is the only ski resort in Latvia with several marked trails, 2 of them start in the city, as well as with the first cable car and bobsleigh track in the Baltic countries:
Kakishkalns (Senču iela, 1) - drop 80 m. Length - 320 m. "Children's" - drop 10 m. length - 100 m. Ski rental, ski lift, school. Opening hours: Monday - Friday from 14:00 - 22:00, weekends from 09:00 to 22:00.
Track "City" (Peldu iela 1) - drop - 90m. length - 350m. Ski rental, ski lift. Opening hours: Monday - Friday from 12:00 - 22:00, weekends from 09:00 to 22:00.
Cableway (Poruka iela, 14) - length - 1025 m. Height - up to 42 meters. Opening hours: from 10:00 to 19:40 (once every 30 minutes in each direction) Price: working days - 4 €. Weekends - 5 € (children - 2 € / 3 €). At the top point you can make a bungee jump from the trailer, having pre-ordered the service via the Internet. Opening hours: Thursday - from 18.30. Price: Thursday - 30 €, Friday-Sunday - 40 €.
Luge and bobsleigh track (Šveices iela, 13) - Opening hours: daily from 09:00 to 20:00. Price: Examination - 0.60 € adults, 0.30 € - children. The descent on the summer "bean" - 10 €, on the "frog" - 20 €, on the winter "bean" - 50 €. It operates year round, is another attraction of the city. Luge in Sigulda began to develop from the end of the 19th century. Great enthusiast and lover, Prince Golitsyn founded the first track - open, 900 meters long and with one turn. Here they began to make the first "fireballs" following the example of analogues brought from abroad. In 1986, the best engineers designed and rebuilt this unique building, not inferior to the best world analogues. From the upper platform, a stunning view of the bend of the Gauja River and all the turns of the route opens. Opening hours: daily from 09:00 to 20:00.
The first stone in the foundation of the Turaida castle was laid in the XIII century. Previously, he served as the residence of the bishop. And it was built up to the XVI century. Over the entire construction period, the defense system of this fortification was improved, and new buildings were built inside the courtyard. But unfortunately, as firearms appeared in the world, the need for this defensive structure disappeared. In 1776, after a strong fire, the castle turned into ruins. Fortunately, in the XX century. interest in Turaida Castle showed itself again. A gradual recovery has begun, which continues at the moment.
Sigulda Castle was founded in the 13th century. Order of the Swordsmen, but soon transferred to the possession of the Livonian Order. The castle was built to control the Gauja river routes and as a defensive structure that protected from the bishop of Turaida castle, located on the opposite bank of them. Soon a church was built here.
Starting from the 16th century, the ownership of the castle began to pass from one owner to another, from order to order, and so on, until in 1878 it fell into the possession of the princes Kropotkin, who erected the New Castle here. Only separate fragments of the castle complex have survived to our times: a tower above the gate, fragments of walls with window openings in the Gothic style. Now in this place the famous opera festivals are annually held, gathering a huge number of guests from around the world.
You can also admire the castles of the city of Sigulda, its rivers, valleys, nature from a height of 40 m, a ride along the cable car. We opened this road in 1969. Its length is about 1025 m. But extreme sports fans, on summer weekends, can test their courage by jumping down from the trailer on an elastic band.
The largest and oldest cave in the Baltic states and Latvia. The cave was formed due to the underground flows of the Gouda River. On its walls you can find a variety of inscriptions of tourists visiting it. The oldest of them dates from the 17th century.
One of the most unusual parks in Sigula is the Reeds Park. A cane is a symbol of a city with a 200-year history. The secrets of making this folk souvenir used to be passed down from generation to generation, within the family. Why a cane? It was believed that this is the most necessary thing for walking through the lands of Gouda. Every self-respecting resident should have a cane with him. The park itself, dedicated to this amazing souvenir, was opened in 2007.
Another interesting square was also opened in 2007. It is called the "Keys" square. At this point are three large keys made of iron. They are Turaida, Sigulda and Krimulda. The park was opened in honor of the 800th anniversary of the city. Inside you can find other metal things: bridges, arches, keys. It is especially beautiful here in the spring when the planting of flowers in the flower beds begins.
Gauja National Park
The very first and oldest park in the country. It was discovered in 1973 in order to preserve the breathtaking nature, rock formations, historical and cultural monuments. The whole area is divided into zones. One of them is especially protected, its visit is strictly prohibited. In the Sigulsky Park of Gauja there are a huge number of objects of culture and history: ancient castles, caves, churches, estates, mills. Only about 500 objects.
It was founded in the 13th century. But only in 1930 completed the construction of its tower. It offers a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Until 1990, the church was the only one in the entire district. She combined a wide variety of denominations of Sigula.
Turaida Lutheran Church
The church was erected in the middle of the 18th century, in the old cemetery, in the same place where the three previous buildings had previously stood. Behind the altar hangs the painting "Calvary." In 1964, the church was transferred to the city museum. And now you can freely admire in it, preserved from the XVIII century. the interior.
Rocks of the Devil's Cave
The total height of the rock wall in the Gauja riverbed is about 15 meters. At a height of eight meters, a cave was once formed. The rocks themselves stretch for 2 km. along the coast, and the cliffs of "Devil's Cave" at 250 m. This natural miracle was formed more than 10 thousand years ago, but the formation of the rocky cave ended 5 thousand years ago. All this happened thanks to an underground source, which, unfortunately, has long been withered. The depth of the cave is 35 m. According to legend, the devil himself was hiding here from the cries of a rooster. And then he climbed into the whirlpool of the river, and now draws in any inattentive traveler there.
A visit to an ostrich farm should appeal to everyone, from small to large. The only ostrich farm in Latvia is located in the Gauja National Park. In this place you will not only have an interesting excursion and talk about these unusual birds, but you can also take part in tasting dishes from an ostrich, eat an omelet from eggs, stock up on ostrich leather souvenirs, buy cosmetics from this bird's oil. There are also cafes and local produce shops on site.
Bridge over the Gauja River
The opening of the bridge for the inhabitants of the town of Sigulda, at one time, was a real event, crowned with a great holiday. For a long time, the road to the city lay through the ferry. The ferry transported people, carts and cars. The design of the bridge began in the 1920s. It was built by three engineers, and they finished it in 1937. Unfortunately, the first version of the bridge was destroyed in early 1941, when the Russian army was retreating. Until 1950, local residents again had to use the water crossing. Fortunately, this unique, in its structure, bridge over Gauja was restored.
Art lovers will love the unusual place chosen by the organizers for their art exhibition. The territory of the railway station, in the former water tower, now houses a modern gallery. It hosts not only exhibitions, but also various art events.
“Dine” are Latvian folk songs. And on Dine Hill, in the garden, sculptures with the themes of Latvian folklore are collected.It will be interesting to wander between them and think about love, people, nature, relationships expressed through the work of Indulis Ranka.
Another of the many castles of Sigulda, or rather its ruins. The exact date of the founding of the castle is not in the documents - presumably this is the XIII century. It was first mentioned in 1312. During historical events, the castle constantly changed hands. They were owned by order troops, the head of Poland, and the Swedes. And so, in the XVII century. he was burned. But still, part of the wall and gothic windows, fashionable at that time, reached us.
How to get to Sigulda from Riga
The easiest way to get to Sigulda is by suburban train, the journey time is only 1 hour 10 minutes. A ticket costs around 3 euros, you can buy it at the ticket office of the station, and when buying on the train itself, the ticket will cost 50 cents more.
In the train on both sides, I had free wifi.
Also from Riga to Sigulda can be reached by bus. The bus station is located next to the train station. Travel time will be a little longer.
At the railway station in the tourist office of Riga or Sigulda, get a free Sigulda card.
Sightseeing in Sigulda
This city is small, but very picturesque. It abounds with public gardens with colorful flowerbeds, buildings of cozy restaurants with creatively decorated facades and courtyards. Following the map, go through the mime of the bell monument to the square of keys and then to the building of the Sigulda Evangelical Lutheran Church. Here, on the way to Sigulda Castle, there is a very picturesque sculptural group “Knight's Parade”.
Leaving the territory of Sigulda Castle, we move to the Reed Park. This is a small but very pretty public garden decorated with sculptures of canes, which are a symbol of the city of Sigulda. Once upon a time in this hilly area, canes were hospitably offered to travelers to make their journey easier. Now bright canes of all sizes are still sold in all souvenir shops of the town, but they are more decorative than practical.
Gaia National Park
Gaia National Park is the main reason why you should go to Sigulda. It is spread over a vast territory on both banks of the Gaia River.
It is beautiful there at any time of the year, but especially in the golden autumn. By the way, in Latvia it begins a little later than in Moscow, a milder climate affects due to its proximity to the sea.
In the territory of the national park there is a ski resort. It was built, as the terrain here is very suitable for this. In winter, you can go skiing, snowboarding or tubing. There is also a bobsleigh track. For the rest of the year, you can ride on the cable car, toboggan track, jump in the trampoline center. In general, entertainment for adults and children is enough here.
Search for hotels in Sigulda:
Krimulda manor dates back to the 15th century. In 1849, a manor house was built here, owned by the Princes of Leaven. The building offers magnificent views of the Gaya Valley. In 1962, the estate was visited by Emperor Alexander II and was delighted with the beauty of the house and the surrounding area. By his arrival serpentine paths and a pedestrian bridge over the river were built.
In 1922, the estate was transferred to the Red Cross, and a children's tuberculosis sanatorium was opened in the building. Even now you can see his unusual terrace for sunbathing, the look of which personally made a very strong impression on me. This is a one-story building built in the form of a semicircle with many small rooms.
To this day there is a sanatorium in the building, now it is called the Krimulda Rehabilitation Center, here you can stay for treatment or just for the night.
Other historical buildings of the estate have also survived.
In one of them there is a cozy cafe with excellent cuisine and reasonable prices.
Turaida Museum Reserve
Turaida Castle, like the other two - Sigulda and Krimulda - was also built in the 13th century by the Livonian Order for defense purposes. In the 18th century, it was almost completely destroyed by fire. In the 19th century, an estate was built in its place. Now the Turaida Museum Reserve has been created here, which includes the Turaida Stone Castle, song park, church mountain and Turaida estate. Entrance to the museum-reserve costs 3 euros per person. In winter, it closes at 17 hours.
So my story came to an end about this place, amazing in beauty and quantity of sights - Sigulda. You can come here at any time of the year, and everyone here will find something to their liking - both adults and children.
The main architectural attraction of the city is Turaida Castle, located 4 km from Sigulda. Historic buildings, of which there are about 37, are located in the territory subject to the castle of the Middle Ages. According to the order of the bishop of Riga, Turaida castle was founded in 1214 year. The fortress had to go through numerous reconstructions. But, despite this, the fortress managed to preserve its appearance to this day, together with the legends associated with it and its name.
I was surprised at the main tower, the upper floor of which is represented by an observation deck, and the lower - by the museum exposition. To this day, various archaeological excavations are being carried out on the territory of the castle, the items found during which replenish the museum's collection.
It turned out to be a very beautiful archaeological building Old Sigulda Castlestarted to be built at the beginning XIII centuries. Over time, the castle turned into a powerful, from all sides protected fortress. But this did not stop the reusable serious destruction of the castle during the assaults when changing owners. The once great fortress came to us only with fragments of walls and several window openings resembling early Gothic.
German crusaders built New Sigulda Castlewhich I also liked. Since no one intended to restore the Old Castle, in the middle of the 19th century, the new owner of the castle, Olga Kropotkina, decided to build a new castle next to the old one, which by the end of the century was built and became the Kropotkin's residence. At the end of World War I, the castle was transferred to the possession of the Latvian Society of Journalists, and after World War II it was transformed into a sanatorium. Since the beginning of the 21st century, the castle building has been occupied by the Sigulda Administration.
Try to spend time visiting such architectural structures:
- Drabesh estate.
- Krimulda Castle.
- Suntazh Castle.
- The ruins of Autinsky castle.
Monuments of Sigulda
Among the small number of monuments of Sigulda I want to highlight the most interesting.
- Dine Hill - one of the most interesting memorable places of the city where ancient livs once stood. Previously, the hill was called Jelgava, but already in 1985 its name was changed. The reason was the opening of the park of folk songs with the presence of 15 sculptures created by I. Ranka in accordance with the themes of folk songs. This discovery was dedicated to the 150th anniversary of Krishjanis Baron, who was a Latvian writer, folklorist and public figure, collector of Dain - Latvian folk songs, from which the name of the hill came from.
- Sculptural group "Parade of the Knights". The art plein air “Medieval metal carver”, held in 2010 on Pils Street, contributed to the creation of this group. The authors of the sculptures were six Latvian metal processing masters who managed to assemble 15 black knights on a small ground using various pieces of iron and stones instead of heads. Thanks to the signs next to each sculpture, you can get acquainted with their names.
- Grave of the Turaida Rose, located on the site of the former cemetery, near the Turaida castle. The time of the first burial falls on the XIII century, however, from the surviving graves you can see the grave of Rosa Turaida. According to the documents of the Vidzeme court court, there really lived a girl, Rosa Turaida, who kept her love for gardener Viktor Hale at the Silgud estate and constantly refused all the men who wooed her. When she refused the Pole Adam Yakubovsky, he lured Rosa to the Gutman cave and killed her there. That place became the grave of Rosa Turaida.
Places of worship
I found two beautiful churches in Sigulda that really impressed me.
- Sigulda Church. In 1225, the building of the Lutheran Church of St. Bertold was built on the initiative of the Ambassador of the Pope of Rome, who was sent to this area to settle frequent disputes between the Livonian Order and the Bishop of Rome. Unfortunately, during the Livonian War, the church was destroyed. The building of today's church was erected only in the XVII-XVIII centuries, and closer to 1930, a pointed tower-shaped bell tower was attached to the church, where the observation deck is now located. Under Soviet rule, the church of St. Bertold was the only active church in the district.
- Krimulda Church, built at the beginning of the XIII century, for a long time was the first church in Latvia and the first stone in the region. The local leader Kaupo, who converted to Christianity, was responsible for the construction. It was impressive that, despite many restructuring and restoration, the church has a good appearance, as evidenced by the well-preserved pastor's house, built at the end of the XIX century.
I am very glad that I managed to get to two incredible caves of the city.
- To familiarize yourself with Gutman Cave, you must enter the territory Turaida Parklocated between Sigulda and Turaida. This cave is considered the most famous and largest in the Baltic States, because it is almost 20 m long, 12 m wide, 10 m high and 170 square meters in area. m. According to numerous estimates, it began to form 10,000 years ago, when the ice age water pierced the rock, a dense, red sandstone, formed in the Devonian period. The cave got its name in honor of the healer Gutman, who treated patients with water from a cave stream.
- Above the cave of Gutman managed to visit Devil's Cavelocated on the 15-meter side of the mountain. Legend has it that it was here that the devil was waiting for nightfall. From the nearby Little Devil's Cave, a well-known spring of Wisdom flows in which the ancient Livs bathed their babies, suggesting that this contributes to the wisdom and health of children. A pedestrian suspension bridge offers a beautiful view of the Big Devil's Cave, which is prohibited to visit.
Where to relax in Sigulda in winter
The ski resort in Sigulda provides an incredibly exciting holiday in winter and is considered the most popular in Latvia. The resort is represented by two routes with a length of 350 m and 200 m. Both are equipped with snow cannons and three types of lifts. Any equipment can be rented. Also, children and beginner skiers can take advantage of the gentle slope and rope lifts or pay for the services of instructors.
Where to go with children in Sigulda
- Adventure Park "Tarzan" with a huge number of various attractions will not leave indifferent both children and adults.
- Adventure Park "Mesakakis" with a special track for children and exciting tests for adults.
- The aerial cableway in Sigulda provides an opportunity to see the beauty of the Gauja valley from a 42-meter-high car on a specially equipped trailer.
- Aerodium - a windy vertical tunnel with the ability to soar above the ground without parachutes and ropes.
- Adventure Park "Forest Cat" with obstacles, cables, nets, bridges of various designs, swings, beams, ropes and stairs, as well as rope flights, a volleyball court, an Alpine-style guest house and a sauna complex.
- Sigulda bobsleigh track 1420 m long with 16 bends and a 200-meter braking distance.
Sigulda is a beautiful city in Latvia, a visit to which impressed me with its preserved historical sites along with beautiful natural attractions and the best Latvian ski resort.