Duration (door to door):
Welcome to Latvia's Switzerland! Sigulda will offers you the majestic landscapes of the Gauja valley, Latvia's biggest national park. Reddish devon sandstone forms steep rocks and caves on both banks of the river. The medieval castles overlooking the Gauja river will offer you the best overview of Latvia's unique gorgeous wilderness.
Sigulda tour includes the visit of Turaida castle and its magnificient garden (visit - 1 and 1/2 hour), Gutmanala sandstone grotto (visit 30 min), Sigulda Castle (ruins close to the center of Sigulda - about 20 min) and Cable car ride - fun birdeye view over the Gauja valley.
Territory is rich with water. The most important water course is Gauja, the second biggest and the longest (452 km), as well as the most beautiful and cunning
Sigulda became a city in 1928, although its history is much, much older. The Finno - Ugric tribe of the Livs arrived in the Gauja valley in the 11th century. Legends and documents tell us about a number of fortified wooden castles, including the Satesele, Turaida and Kubesele castles. The Livs used these to fight back against German Crusaders .We know of seven Liv castle mounds and a number of burial grounds in and around Sigulda.
During the Livonian War (1558 - 1583), Sigulda was sacked twice by the Russians. The last master of the Livonian Order, Gotthard Kettler, swore featly to the Polish - Lithuanian Empire in 1561, thus seeking protection from Ivan the Terrible. Vidzeme became a part of Poland, and Sigulda became a provincial capital. The town was sacked once again during The Polish - Swedish War (1600 - 1629). The castle lost its importance as a military fortress and instead became the central building of a baronial estate.
Sigulda began to flourish in the late 19th century when the Riga - Pliskau road and the Riga - Valka railroad were installed. The dynasty of the Kropotkins developed Sigulda into a recreational area that was popular throughout the Russians Empire. Convenient links to Riga led to herds of tourists. People could hike the so called "Alpine trails" inspect castle ruins and caves, take rides in horse - drawn wagons, and ride down the Kristin family`s bobsled track.