Sigulda is a Latvian town that welcomes its fair share of tourists. In fact, the town and its surrounding area comprise the most visited tourist area in all of Latvia. Among other things, visitors come to admire the town’s public monuments and parks, which have been the focus of conservation efforts since Latvia restored its independence in 1991. Two monuments of interest in Sigulda are the Sigulda Medieval Castle and Sigulda Castle. The Medieval Castle was originally completed in the early 13th century and was later rebuilt into a type of convent. Today, its reconstructed ruins provide an excellent link to the past. They also serve as the backdrop for Latvia’s traditional Opera Festival, which is supported by the town council and is held annually in the summer. The newer Sigulda Castle dates back to 1878, and besides being a gorgeous structure, it is home to the Sigulda Region Council and boasts an art gallery and lovely gardens.
Part of Sigulda’s allure lies in its location approximately 33 miles east of Riga in the Gauja River valley. The Guaja River in general is known for its beauty, and the corresponding valley is quite picturesque. One of the most ideal places to go if you wish to take in the scenic beauty of the area is Guaja National Park. This protected area runs from northeast of Sigulda to southwest of Cesis, and its administration is based in Sigulda proper. Other points of interest in the Sigulda area include the Gutmanis Cave and Turaida Castle. The Gutmanis Cave is approximately halfway between Sigulda Castle and Turaida Castle and is the largest cave in the Baltics. Turaida Castle is a recently reconstructed medieval castle that functions in part as a museum. From the viewing place in the main tower of Turaida Castle, visitors can look out over the Turaida Museum Reserve and the scenic Guaja River valley.
There are many reasons to include Sigulda on your Latvia vacation itinerary. In addition to what has already been mentioned, the town and its surrounding area offer up various other attractions and activity options. There’s Krimulda Castle, for example, which dates back to the 14th century and now lies in ruins. Sigulda visitors can also interest themselves in the local Aerodium company, which owns and operates a vertical wind tunnel, or check to see what’s going on at the Sigulda bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track. Other things to keep in mind when planning a Sigulda visit are the May festival that coincides with the blossoming of the cherry trees, the changing colors of the trees in autumn, and the area skiing and bungee jumping opportunities. With all this and more to offer, it’s little wonder that Sigulda ranks so high among Latvia’s most popular tourist destinations.