Riga City Tour
If you have a walking tour of Old Riga you will slowly enjoy the beauty of this ancient Hanseatic city strolling through its cobble-stone picturesque streets of the Old Town. You will see amajestic Dome Cathedral, the steep tower of St.Peter Church, the old Guild Houses, the Swedish Gate, the architectural ensemble Three Brothers, St.Jacob's Church, the Parliament House, Old Riga Castle, view many other nicely restored buildings, now housing cosy restaurants, cafes, bars and souvenir shops.
If you add the coach driving part to your city tour you will see the central boulevards of Riga, the City Canal parks, the Bastion Hill, the Powder Tower, the Latvian National Theatre, the Fine Arts Museum, the Art Nouveau buildings of the beginning of the century, the Freedom Monument, University of Latvia, the Opera House, the Daugava River with its bridges and Passenger Terminal.
The Open-Air Museum
The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum is one of the show- pieces of Latvia's cultural heritage, founded in 1924. Situated 10 km from Riga centre in a pine forest on the banks of Jugla Lake, the museum consists of some 90 traditional rural buildings: farmhouses, windmills, fishermen huts and churches that have been assembled here from the four provinces of Latvia: Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale, Zemgale. During summer weekends folk dance concerts are held in the museum premises.
The Baltic Sea spa-resort Jurmala is located on the Gulf of Riga, at a distance of 20 km,west from Riga. Historically J?rmala has always been a very popular sea resort in the Baltics due to its natural features: mild climate, golden sandy beaches, conifer forests stretching along the coastline, as well as curative peat mud and spa mineral water widely used as balneological treatment for spa guests in the many health centres of the resort. You will see charming wooden summer cottages, decorated with fascinating carvings dating back to the 1900-s and successfully harmonising with the more recently built cottages and spa health centres. Have a stroll along the flat sea coast, enjoy a walk along the central pedestrian street where you will find cafes and souvenir shops and feel the typical J?rmala atmosphere.
One of the most picturesque towns in Latvia - Sigulda, often called the Latvian Switzerland, is located about 50 km from Riga in the Gauja River valley. Sigulda is situated in the Gauja National Park and is known as the most popular tourist and leisure destination as well as a famous winter sports resort in Latvia because of its bob-sleigh track and the down-hill skiing routes.
Experience a genuine whiff of the Middle Ages, a time of romantic legends, castles and heroic figures, visiting the ruins of the 13th cent. Crusader Castle, and the 19th cent. Kropotkin's Palace in the outskirts of Sigulda. By coach you will travel down into the river valley, enjoy the landscape and the walk to the sandstone grottoes on the ancient river bank. A short drive along the steep road up the hill will take you to the 13th cent. Turaida Castle. A chance to view ‘ the garden of Gods' from the 30 m high fortification tower. Visit the local History Museum. Relaxing walk in the adjoining sculpture park, dedicated to Latvian folklore. The tour involves considerable walking, so comfortable shoes are recommended.
Enjoy a splendid full-day outing into Zemgale, the "bread basket" of Latvia. Drive through the town of Bauska (66 km south of Riga) and visit the ruins of Bauska Castle (15-18th cent.). The highlight of the tour is Rundale Palace (18th cent.), the most beautiful baroque palace in Latvia. The palace is an outstanding example of the early work of Italian-Russian architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli who also designed the famous Winter Palace in St.Petersburg. The professionally renovated palace interiors are decorated with authentic 18th cent. furniture, paintings and china. The most impressive are the Golden Hall, the White Hall, the bedroom of the Duke of Courland Johan Ernst Biron. The palace boasts a beautiful French-style park. Enjoy lunch in the palace restaurant.
Riga Jewish Heritage Tour
The Jewish heritage occupies a very important role in the history of Riga. During this 3,5 hour tour you will get acquainted with the most important sites,such as the place of the burnt Big Choral Synagogue which was built in 1868 and used to be the biggest and most beautiful synagogue in Riga. It was famous for its singers, cantors and the choir. On July 4th, 1941 the Synagogue was burnt down together with 300 people inside. On July 4th, 1988 the memorial - a big grey memorial stone with carved inscription "Magen David" - was inaugurated here. You will also visit the Jewish Hospital "Bikur Holim" built in 1924. People of different nationalities were and still are treated in this hospital. Before the Second World War the hospital was headed by doctor Isaac Joffe who became famous for his research and publication of original sources of the history of the Jews in Latvia. He died in Riga Ghetto in 1941. The tour will continue to the Old Jewish Cemetery. The Cemetery was opened in 1725. The burials took place there till 1941 when the cemetery was included in the territory of the ghetto and numerous Jewish people were buried there in a big common grave. After the war the cemetery was destroyed. Now it is a memorial park. The tour will continue to the outskirts of Riga to visit the memorial place in Rumbula where about 30 thousand Jewish people from Europe were killed.In late 60-ies a tombstone was put on the mass grave of the victims of Nazi terror. After the visit of Rumbula Memorial you will return to Old Town where you will visit the only functioning Synagogue in Riga, built in 1905.