Sigulda, Riga - Stein Travel
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Just 33 miles (56km) from the capital, Sigulda - a picturesque little town located in the primordial Gauja river valley - is well worth the trip for tourists to Riga. Dubbed the 'Switzerland of Vidzeme' due to the steep cliffs and caves that line the sides of the river gorge, Sigulda makes a wonderful base from which to explore Latvia's considerable natural bounty. Notable tourist attractions of the area include the Medieval and Turaida Castles, with the former staging an annual open-air Opera Festival in the summer. Gauja National Park is within touching distance of Sigulda, offering great activities such as walking trails and bungee-jumping in summer; and luge, bobsledding and skiing in the winter. The town of Sigulda itself is particularly worth visiting in spring, when cherry blossoms bloom; and in autumn, where the very town seems to take on the blood-orange hue of the leaves falling from its myriad trees. Be sure to visit the Gutmanis Cave, the largest in the Baltic region, and the setting of the Latvian folk-tale of the Rose of Turaida.

Information & Facts


Latvian is the official language, but English, Lithuanian, Russian and German are also spoken.


The official currency is the Lat (LVL), which is divided into 100 santims. Most hotels and restaurants in Riga accept credit cards, and most major banks cash travellers cheques, but outside of the capital credit cards are not widely accepted and credit card fraud can be a problem at smaller institutions. Foreign currency can be exchanged at any bank, at money change kiosks and at some hotels. Note that a 4% fee will be charged to exchange US dollars that are torn or marked in any way. Most banks are closed on Saturdays and Sundays. ATMs are available in the larger cities.

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