Each year, many tourists travel to the capital city of Latvia, called Riga, to spend some days in the city. There is nothing wrong with that but there is a natural wonder nearby, which everyone should visit. I had the chance to stop by and admire the never seen landscape before. Here is my report on this special place.
SEE ALSO: How I Spend My Time in Riga, Latvia
The Kemeri National Park
The third largest national park in Latvia and probably one of the most beautiful ones, goes by name Kemeri National Park. Established in 1997, it is covering an area of 381.65 km2. The National Park is located west of Jurmala, in the northern part of Latvia. It is covered with forest (57%), lakes and mires. Among mires, The Great Kemeri Bog is probably one of the most photographed ones. Also present in the area are the natural mineral springs and muds, which are used for therapeutic procedures.
Hike the Kemeri National Park
Let me tell you how to access the natural wonder. At the Central Train Station in Riga, buy the train ticket to Kemeri (I went off at Jurmala to check the beach first, and then took the train to Kemeri, which was a great move). From Riga to Kemeri, it is about a 1-hour drive, from Jurmala, it is only a half an hour. Once arrived, check out the map of the hiking trails and as a tip, take a photo of it, unless you don't already have a map in your hands. With several trail options, there is something for everyone. If you are a bird lover, go for the Sloka trail (max. of 12 km). If you rented out a bike in Riga and took it with you to Kemeri (also an option!), take the velo route. The easiest and the most popular, however, is the Liela Kemeru tirela taka (3.5 km). It is also the one, which leads you to the Great Kemeri Bog. I went for the Liela route which at the end didn't leave me disappointed.
The path to the Liela trail in the Kemeri National Park can be a bit tricky if you haven't informed yourself in advance. Once arrived at the Kemeri train station, follow the signs. Be aware, from time to time, there won't be any signs and you will think you've lost the path. Now listen, first you have to cross the tracks, then walk along the road until you see a sign and the trail leading through a forest. Once you've done it, you will have to cross the highway. Then take the asphalted road and walk all the way to the entrance of the Kemeri National Park. It will take you more than a half an hour to reach the entrance. There is not an official entrance, just a map which indicates the beginning of the park. Now just continue the path. From here on the path is well marked.
What You Need to Know About Visiting the Kemeri National Park
Attention, when visiting the Kemeri National Park, I suggest you visit it in the morning. I went in the afternoon on a grey day in the fall time and faced the fears of getting stuck in the forest in the dark. There are no lights and the signs are confusing. You will have to walk along a road without pavements and the car drivers are not the slowest and the most reliable ones. To be frank, I was totally alone, it was already 3 pm (at 6 pm it gets dark), the path was much longer than I expected and I was scared as hell. Now imagine, I have already walked around Riga in the morning, I walked a lot along the Jurmala coast and through the city, and then from the Kemeri station to the Park, all the way back and from the central station in Riga to my hotel (another 20 minutes). Believe me, my feet were bleeding. My legs hurt. I walked like a grandma. The consequence - I couldn't do a lot of walking in the next two days in Riga. Lesson learned. So, don't do the mistake. IMPORTANT: Just do Jurmala and Kemeri National Park in one day and nothing else. Oh and if you're planning to do trips outside of Riga, book your stay near the Central Station. It will save you a lot of trouble, energy and time.
But hey, visiting the Kemeri National Park is well worthy! It is distinctive, spectacular and breathtaking! Look at the photos.
By choosing the Liela Kemeru trail, you will be awarded with a sightseeing tower from where you can soak up the view over the multiple mires.
Where to Stay
I would recommend to find a place to stay in Riga. My Hotel by choice was the A1 Hotel. I would highly recommend it.
To pep up your Riga trip, sacrifice one day of your city stay for a daytrip to the Kemeri National Park. It is not only something very unique, it is for free and it gives you an insight of the Latvian countryside. With that being said, I have to admit that this was my highlight of my Riga trip!
What's the most beautiful national park you have ever been to? Did you visit the Kemeri National Park too? Let us know in the comments