This is also a section of another long-distance hiking route traversing the Baltic states. The Forest Trail or Mežtaka starts in Old Riga, at the Town Hall Square and leads through the city’s verdant forests – Biķernieku and Šmerlis, passing the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum until reaching Baltezers. The hike is 19-km-long and takes approximately 6 to 8 hours.
From the sea to the city centre
Jūrmala and its golden sandy beaches are actually so close you can go there on foot. As a matter of fact, there’s a specially made itinerary that links the resort town to the capital. Jump on the train (Rīga – Tukums 2; Rīga-Sloka) and take off at Bulduri station, the 23-kilometre-long route will take you along the sea, across Lielupe River, into the forests of the city’s borders and the less discovered parts of Pārdaugava until finishing in the historical heart of Riga. The trail is a passage of the long Coastal trail Jūrtaka snaking through the Baltic states that’s a part of the European long-distance hiking route E11.
The walking route in Mangalsala
The well-marked wooden pathway zigzags through the coastal nature park Piejūra until reaching the sea. Once at the beach, you can end your salubrious walk with some exercises at the open-air fitness equipment or walk to the Mangaļsala pier that has a lovely lighthouse. Here you can also marvel the shipwreck of the Lady Cotlin ship that is part of the seascape for more than 60 years. The nature park also includes an impressive military heritage that stems from 19th century Russian empire as well as Soviet times. Go to Mangaļsala with Bus No. 24 – get off at the final stop.
Camino de Santiago
The Camino de Santiago, or the Way of St. James, is one of the most popular pilgrimage routes in the world, done on foot or by bike. The length of the route in Latvia is about 562 km. It starts in Valka and leads to Riga. Further, the road splits into two directions: through Jaunmārupe to Žagare or through Salaspils to Skaistkalne. The path continues through Lithuania, Poland, Germany, France and leads to the destination - the Cathedral of St. James in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela. The path is only marked in the direction of Spain with a yellow arrow or a shell symbol. In Riga, the path starts from Vecāķi, continues through Vecmilgravis, enters the capital through the picturesque Mežaparks and leads to the Cathedral of St. James in Old Town, where the symbol of the Way of St James - a shell - is embedded in the cobble stone pavement.
Audio tour - Viesturdārzs at 300
Riga is rich in green and spacious parks, which also have a long and fascinating history. In honor of the 300th anniversary of the oldest park in Riga, an audio guide called Three Centuries in the History of Viesturdārzs has been made, available in 4 languages. Additional audio guides in Latvian are available there to go on a digital tour of the 200-year-old history of Vērmane Garden and the pearl of landscape architecture - Arkādija Park.
All audio guides can be downloaded here: https://izi.travel