Day 1: Arrival in Riga and get settled at your hotel.
The afternoon tour of the Old Town of Riga encompasses the most significant sights of Riga; the Dome Cathedral, the Church of St. Peter, the old Guild Houses, the Swedish Gate, the architectural ensemble Three Brothers, St. Jacob’s Church, the Parliament House, and Old Riga Castle. The tour will then continue along the central boulevards of Riga, passing by City Canal parks, the Powder Tower, the Latvian National Theatre, the Art Nouveau buildings of the beginning of the 20th century, the Freedom Monument, University of Latvia, and the Opera House.
Day 2: A morning tour to the outdoor Ethnographic Museum founded in 1924. It is one of the show-pieces of Latvia’s cultural heritage. Situated 10 km from Riga, centred in a pine forest on the banks of Jugla Lake, the museum consists of some 90 traditional rural buildings: farmhouses, windmills, fishermen’s huts and churches that have been assembled here from the four provinces of Latvia: Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale, Zemgale.
Afternoon at one’s leisure back in Riga
Day 3: Today the tour heads south, to Zemgale lands. After a visit to Bauska Castle built by the Livonian order in the 15th century, a short drive takes us to Rundale Palace, the extravagant Baroque summer residence built by the Duke of Curland, a project by Italian architect F.B.Rastrelli. The professionally renovated palace interiors are decorated with authentic 18th century furniture, paintings and china. The most impressive are the Golden Hall, the White Hall, and the bedroom of the Duke of Courland, Johan Ernst Biron. 10 km from Rundale stands another palace, Mezotne Palace built in the Classical style for Princess Charlotte von Lieven, governess of the children of Russian Tsar Paul I. The English-style landscape-park is considered to be the best kept park of its kind in Latvia. Your overnight stay is in the hotel housed in the Palace.
Day 4: Today the tour makes its way to the west of Latvia, to Ventspils, located on the Baltic seacoast, the biggest sea port and one of the oldest towns in the country. En route sightseeing stops at Jelgava Palace built in the 18th century as the residence of Duke E.J. Biron of Kurzeme now a home to the Latvia University of Agriculture. Another stop is in Kuldiga, an ancient town which in the 17th century was the capital of the Duchy of Kurzeme. A tour of the town shows many Renaissance, Baroque and Gothic-style buildings, some picturesque gardens, the original 17th century wooden town hall, the Town Museum built on the Livonian castle ruins, and an extremely wide waterfall, Kuldigas. Overnight, we stay in Ventspils.
Day 5: A morning tour of Ventspils shows the old Town with the newly restored Ventspils Castle, 19th century Lutheran Church and outdoor Fishing Museum that shows the life style of Latvian fishermen. Afterwards we drive to Tukums, ancient Liv settlement, also known as the Gate to Kurzeme. A short tour shows the Old Town’s cobbled lanes, old houses with ornamented doors, Durbes Pils, a manor house originally built in the 17th century, and red brick Neo-Gothic, Art Nouveau style Jaunmoku Pils built at the turn of the 20th century as a hunting palace for G. Armisted, Mayor of Riga City. We have a late evening arrival and overnight at Jurmala, Latvia’s prime resort and summer capital.
Day 6: The morning tour of Jurmala features charming wooden summer cottages, decorated with carvings dating back to the 1900’s and complements the more recently built cottages and spa health centres. There will be time to stroll along the flat sea coast as well as walk along the central pedestrian Jomas Street full of cafes and souvenir shops. Afterwards we drive to Sigulda located in the Gauja National Park. A tour of the National Park includes a visit to the 13th century Turaida Castle, Gutmanis cave, the largest in Latvia and steeped in legends and tales, and other notable landmarks. We stay overnight in Sigulda or Cesis.
Day 7: Our day begins with a tour of Cesis including a stroll through narrow streets passing by the 13th century Order of Knight’s Castle, the 13th century Church of St. John. We will visit the local History Museum displayed in the New Palace and a walk in the Palace Park. In the afternoon we drive to Riga past Neo-Gothic Birini Manor, a house dating to the 19th century and boasting an original Neo-Renaissance style decorative interior finish, great stairs, an English style park as well as old legends. We stay overnight in Riga.
Day 8: After a leisurely morning in Riga, we transfer you to the airport.