Jurmala, the largest resort city in the Baltic States, is located 25 kilometres west of Riga and sits on a 33 km stretch of beach covered in white-quartz sand. The potent cocktail of clean fresh air, a mild climate, curative mud and mineral water resulted in Jurmala’s long standing reputation as a spa destination. This tradition was rooted when Jurmala was discovered by German settlers in 16th century, taking pride in its curative mud and healing waters. The town was later popularized by the Russian army officers who came here to rest after the Napoleonic Wars and continued in Soviet times when 300,000 visitors a year from all over the former USSR would come to the sanatoriums to recuperate and restore their health. The Sanatoriums were medical facilities for long term health. It was believed that good nutrition and rest in the pine scented air would help to rebuild the immune system. The sanatorium at Kemeri at west end of the city was famous across Europe.
Impressive architecture forms another string in the town’s bow. Charmingly romantic wooden houses built in the Art Nouveau style decorate the streets and the town has an official list of 414 historical buildings under protection.
An attractive pine forest and woodland forms the boarder to Jurmala which has as much to offer to art and music lovers as it does architecture enthusiasts and spa-goers. The famous concert hall: Dzintari, art exhibitions, local and international events and performances make this destination a delight to visit.
Visitors can access Jurmala from Riga airport in 20-40 minutes by train, bus or rental car via the highway.
Riga, the capital of Latvia, is situated at the mouth of the Daugava River, on the shores of the Baltic Sea.
Originally founded in 1201, Riga is rich in history, culture and diverse entertainment. The city centre was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site as one of the world’s largest and best preserved assemblages of Art Nouveau buildings and wooden architecture. Vast spires, cobbled streets, historical squares and beautiful parks colour the city with a classic charm whilst the internationally acclaimed opera, collection of local theatres and myriad of music and nightclubs ensure the city buzzes with contemporary life.
Places of interest include:
- The central Old Town (with architecture spanning the genres of Gothic, Baroque, Classicism and Art Nouveau)
- The Central Market (Europe′s largest open-air market)
- The Latvian Ethnographic Open-air Museum
- Art Nouveau museum
- The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia
- Three Brothers (the oldest stone residential buildings in the city)
- Riga Castle
- Laima clock
- The KGB Victims’ Memorial