Mateuzs Zatonskij, POLAND: "I had a great stay in Riga and met some really interesting people. Thanks to the school I have improved a lot in a very short period. Missing Riga! I definitely hope to be able to visit Latvia and Riga again!".
Latvia’s seaside beaches are enjoyable year-round. Jurmala is only 30 minutes away by train or minibus. Walk along the beach on the fine white sand; enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the cafes, or buy some Amber jewellery at one of the small shops.
Visit the “Switzerland of Latvia” with its picturesque scenery, a favourite place for recreation among both locals and foreigners. It is located only 53 km from Riga, making it an easy day trip. Balloon riding and bungee jumping in the summer, ski and bobsleigh tracks in winter, charming scenery in autumn - each season here has its own charm. Sigulda is one of the most popular and most visited places for tourists in Latvia. This is due to its lovely environment where the incredible ancient Gauja River valley can be seen. The city is included in the Gauja National Park, which is a unique natural complex created by geological process – there is nothing else like it in the Baltics. The area is a combination of steep slopes, ravines, streams, sandstone and dolomite cliffs and caves. There are 221 cultural memorials in the Park’s territory, as well as the highest concentration of castle mounds in Latvia found in such a small area. You can visit the Sigulda Castle and castle ruins. In its day, the castle belonged to the family of Grand Duchess Kropotkina, but later served as a Writers' Castle and as a cardiology sanatorium. On a clear day, you can see the surrounding landscape from the tower. Not far from the Castle, you can see the Sigulda castle ruins, which have been preserved from the time when, in 1207, the first plots of land were mutually divided between the Bishop of Riga and the German Brothers of the Sword (Zobenbrāļu ordenis). You can also visit the legendary Gūtmaņa cave, which is at the foot of the steep Rata Hill and is, by volume, the largest cave in the Baltics. A Pщpular place to visit is the Turaida Castle and its park complex, including the "Dainu Hill” and "Song Garden” favoured by the Latvian people.
The Rundale Palace, a marvelous architectural and historical monument, was designed by and built under the supervision of the outstanding Italian architect Rastrelli, who designed the Winter Palace and some manors in St.Petersburg. The Rundale Palace has 138 premises surrounded by a lovely Baroque park. In the French-style garden, you will see the ornamental parquet, three pools with a fountain, the green theatre and Dutch and Blue Bosquet.
Moreover, visiting the neighbouring countries during weekends would be a brilliant suggestion. There are many possibilities for exciting weekends or days out.
Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, is called the pearl of medieval Europe. It is about 5 hours away from Riga by bus. The city is famous for its Old Town, which was entered into the List of International Heritage of UNESCO in 1997. Islands Saaremaa and Muhu in Estonia have been famous for their curative mud since the ancient times.
There are a lot of places to see and to relax at in Lithuania even for the most captious gourmand. Go to Vilnius and take a look at the roof of Old Town from the surrounding hills - it is a marvelous sight that becomes forever engraved in the hearts of tourists. Visit Palanga resort that stretches as a picturesque strip along the sea.
The Trakai insular castle, the only fortress built on water throughout the whole Eastern Europe, is also worth visiting.
Within easy reach of Riga is also St. Petersburg, a city of haunting magnificence. The city centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has also been known as a city of gorgeous palaces.
The cost of the trips to the places of interest is not included in the price of the course, however, EC Durbe would be pleased to offer their help in arranging any of those.