During our visit to the Latvian capital of Riga last summer, we took the opportunity to see some more of Latvia. After some research, we decided to take the train to Sigulda, only an hour away from Riga.
Sigulda is a small town with around 17,000 inhabitants. It is located in the Vidzeme region in Latvia and 53 kilometres away from Riga. The town is overlooking the Gauja river valley and around the valley, there are multiple old castles and mansions. During our visit, we first walked along the small streets in the town before taking the cable car across the valley to a part of the area called Krimulda. Here we found the first of four castles during our small adventure.
The Krimulda Castle is nowadays only a ruin and has been so since the 17th century. It is a nice walk down through the forest from the castle into the valley from where it is possible to continue walking towards Turaida Castle, with its red brick towers visible from a far distance.
Only a few kilometres separate the Krimulda Castle from the Turaida Castle. Also, this castle is a ruin, but parts of it have been restored and it is possible to climb up in one of the towers to get a nice view over the valley. The entry to the part in which the castle lies only costs a few euros. The park is nice for a walk. while enjoying some old traditional buildings.
Castles of Sigulda
After Turaida it is possible to start walking back to Sigulda. We did so by walking back down to the valley and following the road next to the river. Once back in Sigulda you will soon see the Sigulda Medieval Castle, a castle build by the Livonian Brothers of the Sword in the 13th century. The castle was later incorporated into the Teutonic Order. Also this castle has a tower from where you will have a nice view over the valley and you will also be able to see the red towers of the Turaida Castle in the distance. Just next door to the Sigulda Medieval Castle is the Sigulda Castle. This building is more modern, dating back to the 19th century.
Ending the Day Trip: Back to Riga
After a long day of walking, we decided that it was time to take the train back to Riga. There is for sure a lot of walking up and down the hills. It’s quite a hike if one decides to walk the whole way between these castles. But it is sure worth it as you would miss a lot of nature if taking the car.