Latvia can be compared to the four cardinal directions – it is just that diverse. Kurzeme, Latgale, Vidzeme and Zemgale – each with their own charm and character, formed by the habits of the people, the differences of nature and even the weather. The complete feeling of Latvia can only be grasped by experiencing its different tastes, smells, various terrains, and, above all, getting to know the people who create all this colour.
We are pleased that you have decided to go to Zemgale, which has long been called the "granary" of Latvia because of its fertile soils and rich harvests. Zemgale’s architecture is just as rich - castles and manors that have preserved their original shape until today will surprise everyone. Rundale Palace, Mežotne Palace, Jaunpils Castle, Kukšu Manor, Brukna Manor - we can't put them all on the route, but who said that only summer is suitable for traveling around Latvia? Unlisted places are scheduled for your golden fall!
Sixt car rental in cooperation with the Latvian Investment and Development Agency Tourism Department has developed 2-day routes that have been visited, tested and appreciated by locally and globally renowned people. Lelde Ceriņa travelled through Latgale with Aivis Ceriņš and friends. We offer only proven values!
Before we go, we will introduce you to some of the rules of the trip.In Latvia, the maximum permitted speed in a deserted place is 90 km/h, in a populated area - 50 km/h, everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt, but you already know this! We believe that you have the sparkle of a youthful and relentless discoverer inside you and that you can inspire and demonstrate this wonderful adventurousness to others!
Share your pictures, feelings, views and experiences by adding the hashtag #ApceļojuLatviju for your Latvian, and #EnjoyLatvia - for your foreign friends. Be creative and invent the hashtags yourself!
If you do not have your own car, or at the last minute you need a bigger one, it is always possible to rent it. Rent your Sixt car from our website, Sixt App (IOS or Android) or call +371 67207121 and get your car delivered to your preferred location at the best time for you!
Enough of rules, we are ready to go! Onwards to Latgale!
You do not need to listen to songs and sing along, but we will be glad if you take pictures and share them with your friends on social networks before going on your trip to Latgale. Remember to use the hashtags #ApceļojuLatviju #EnjoyLatvia
If you don’t party too hard on Friday, you will leave Riga on Saturday morning a bit after 9:00, and by 10:00 you will be able to reach your first destination and arrive at the place where many animals will be delighted by your visit - Mini Zoo “Dobuļi”.
Dzimtmisa, Iecava municipality
Internet: www.minizoo.lv; phone: +371 29177846
Mini Zoo “Dobuļi”http://www.minizoo.lv/news is located in Dzimtmisa, Iecava municipality and boasts a diverse wildlife, pet and also bird company. We invite you to check out which of the exotic animals in this minizoo is the most whimsical, and which even has secret plans to take over the zoo. Just like in George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Perhaps it is an alliance of kangaroos, Japanese macaques and iguanas. But maybe the zoo is ruled by alpacas, goats and sheep. Supervisors of “Dobuļu” zoo will tell you funny stories about these and other exotic animals and birds.
Did you know that Bauska Castle consists of two parts? Its oldest part, the Livonian Order Castle, was built in the middle of the 15th century, but unfortunately, only ruins remain today. The newest part of the castle is the former residence of the Duke of Courland Ketler and was built at the end of 16th century.
The castle is located in the city of Bauska, in a picturesque landscape between the river Musa and river Mēmele, not far from where the Lielupe River is formed when they merge.
In the courtyard of the Bauska Castle take a photo and post it to your social networks. Smile to Latvia! But we don't want to keep you here for longer. To find out more about the riches of Latvian cultural, you have to reach the next destination at 12:15 - the most outstanding baroque and rococo architectural monument in Latvia - Rundale Palace.
Pilsrundale, Rundale parish, Rundale municipality
GPS: 56.414819 24.026048
Internet: rundale.nethttps://rundale.net/en/; phone: +371 26499151
Rundale Palacehttps://rundale.net/en/ is one of the most outstanding baroque and rococo architecture and art monuments in Latvia. Built as the Summer Residence of the Duke of Courland Ernst Johann Biron, favourite of the Russian Empress Anna Joanovna, between 1736 and 1768. Its architect was Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli from Italy.
Enjoy a peaceful and relaxing walk accompanied by an insightful excursion in the palace. The palace has two floors and a total of 138 rooms, most of which have been restored to their original glory. A representation of rooms are open to visitors in the eastern wing of the palace - the Golden Hall, the White Hall and the Great Gallery. The Duke’s state apartments are located in the Palace’s central building - State rooms and Private quarters, but in the western wing - fully renovated Duchess apartments.
The ancient music festival, classical music concerts and the Garden Festival take place in the palace. Walk through the French Garden and the Rose Garden, the Green Theatre, ornamental parterre and listen to the melodies of the fountains!
Here you can enjoy a royal meal in the palace restaurant, which has a magnificent view of the palace grounds or dine in the café on the ground floor.
If you will be going according to schedule, then shortly before 16:30 you will have the opportunity to get to know the wonderful kingdom of contemporary Latvian crafts. Remember to book your visit in advance!
"Urštēni", Svitene parish, Rundale municipality.
GPS: 56.4053840, 23.9608290
Internet: www.laimagrigone.com; phone: +371 28338711
The renowned ceramic workshop http://www.laimagrigone.com/Laima Ceramics hosted by Laima Grigone, who is a hard-working hostess here, creates contemporary crockery and exquisite design objects. No, these will not be replicas of Latvian ornaments and signs on brown clay formations. Everything happens differently here - Laima is modern and applies the ancient pottery traditions to create the most interesting dish shapes putting her heart into each of them.
Here you have the opportunity to get acquainted with the materials and glazes used, as well as to watch the demonstration at the potter's wheel. If you want to discover an artist in you, you have the opportunity to apply for creative workshops and use your skills to create your own unique product.
After looking and feeling the different shapes, and most probably also trying to make something yourself, you have to go to a place that will definitely bring back childhood memories and remind you of a little kid ready to explore the world.
Next go to Tērvete - a place that will make you remember the beautiful Anna Brigadere fairy tale “Sprīdītis” and think about what is important in life or, more precisely, which place is your favourite.
Café "Sprīdīši", Tervete parish, Tervete municipality
Internet: www.spridisi.lv; phone: +371 29640062
Tērvete cafe with a significant name - Sprīdīši is located in the cellar of the writer Anna Brigadere’s museum, on the banks of the River Tērvete. Let’s leave the parties organised by “Sprīdīši” together with the good witches of Tērvete forest and riding in a horse carriage for another time.
Here you will find a selection of food and drink for all taste buds. Pork ribs in honey sauce, pancakes with jam or maybe try the special dish "Bear Paw"? During the summer, you can relax in the sun-filled yard and on the outdoor terrace, while listening to the rippling of the Tērvete river, but in the winter, you can enjoy the landscapes surrounded by snow and warm yourself with a delicious cup of tea in the cellar.
Remember this promised to be an aristocratic journey? As promised - a fabulous closing for first evening - the Berķene manor you will find in "Ziedkalne" in Vilce parish, Jelgava municipality.
Ziedkalne, Vilce parish, Jelgava municipality
Internet: www.berkenesmuiza.lv phone: + 371 29252565
And here you are - Berķene Manor - one of the oldest small manors in Zemgale. Its renovated historic manor complex is the hidden pearl of this region, located in a picturesque and very special place. The locals say that those who listen more attentively - at night can hear the sound of the hustle and bustle of forest elves traveling along a magical road and listen to the nature - get closer to the truth. But do not seek the truth for too long, because you have to rest, and the truth has a habit of appearing when you least expect it.
Tonight you will have the opportunity to enjoy a hot tub, excursion and stories about the history of the manor. Walking, nordic walking, soccer, volleyball or basketball - you will not have time to get bored.
The rural residence in Berkene is not only a modern, comfortable, ecological and safe place to stay, but also an orderly, harmonious environment that respects the privacy of every resident.
"Tērvetes sils", Tērvete Municipality.
GPS: 56.487623, 23.373337
Website: www.mammadaba.lv/tervetes-dabas-parks; phone: +371 29188740
Tērvete has been talked about ever since the 9th century. In the 13th century, there were fierce battles between Semigallians and the Livonian Order army in Tērvete. Tērvete Castle Mound and the reconstructed Tērvete Wooden Castle reminds us that there was once a great Semigallian cultural centre, which was then one of the most impressive centres in the Balt-populated lands.
The Latvijas valsts meži Nature Park in Tērvete has now been open for more than 50 years and has become one of the most popular tourism sites in Latvia. The company Latvijas valsts meži has been managing the nature park since 2000. In the park, one can explore the work of the famous Latvian writer Anna Brigadere, the picturesque scenery of the ancient valley of the River Tērvete, and the unique Old Pine Park where the trees are almost 300 years old, with the oldest ones being 40 metres high.
But first, we recommend to visit the Tropical House located next to the car park. Here, one can see the graceful, mystical and colourful butterflies from different tropical forests around the world: the exotic-coloured butterflies from Asia, the king swallowtails from South America, unique butterflies from Africa and many others.
The Nature Park in Tērvete combines the presence of powerful nature and the mysterious and magical fairy tale world. Therefore, after visiting the Butterfly House, you are welcomed to take a walk through the Nature Park. In the Fairy Tale Forest, one can not only look at the wooden sculptures of characters from fairy tales and Anna Brigadere’s plays like Sprīdītis, but also meet real life fairy tale characters. Along the Meža māte Trail, which winds around the Fairy Tale Forest, one can find colourful panels and sculptures which inform you about nature’s processes.
To see the mightiness of the surrounding forest, one can climb one of the greatest wooden observation towers in Latvia rising above the tops of pine trees. The lower platform of the Tērvete Observation Tower is at the height of 18 metres, whereas the higher platform is at the height of 25 metres and allows for a wonderful view over the fairy tale land and the majestic trees, which are almost 300 years old.