If you’re spending a couple of days in the Latvian capital and looking for the best things to do in Riga, be sure to plan a day trip to Jurmala!
Jurmala is a famous and very picturesque resort town located on the Gulf of Riga just 25 km from the capital city. It is renowned for its stunning sandy beaches, stretching for about 33 kilometers along the Baltic Sea coast.
Moreover, it offers relaxing spa experiences, opportunities for outdoor activities in the lush pine forests, and a vibrant cultural scene with art galleries and summer festivals.
However, what’s the most special part about Jurmala is the town’s unique charm which lies in its well-preserved wooden architecture from the 19th and early 20th centuries.
There are many awesome things to see and do on a day in Jurmala and in this blog post, I’m sharing the best ones you shouldn’t miss. And, of course, the most important thing: How to reach Jurmala!
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How to Get to Jurmala, Latvia
To reach Jurmala, you have several options to choose from.
Visit Jurmala by Train
Taking the train is one of the most convenient and cheapest ways to get to Jurmala from Riga. The train departs from Riga Central Station, and there are regular services throughout the day.
The journey usually takes around 30-40 minutes, and the train stations in Jurmala are conveniently located near the city center, especially if you get off at Majori Station.
I also took the train and found the journey to be quite relaxing and I loved watching the Latvian landscape pass by!
TIP: Use Omio to find the best connections from Riga to Jurmala.
Visit Jurmala by Bus
Another option is to use the public bus service. Riga and Jurmala are well-connected by bus routes, and there are various bus stops throughout the city where you can catch a bus to Jurmala.
The journey typically takes around 40-50 minutes, depending on traffic conditions. While it may take slightly longer than the train, buses offer more flexibility in terms of departure points and timings.
So if you’re not staying close to the central train station, you might want to check out the bus schedule!
TIP: Use Omio to find the best connections from Riga to Jurmala.
Other Transport Options
If you prefer the freedom and flexibility of traveling by car, renting one is a good choice. The drive from Riga to Jurmala is straightforward and takes approximately 30 minutes, depending on traffic.
You can follow the A10 highway, which is well-maintained and signposted, making it easy to find your way to the resort city. Keep in mind that parking might be limited, especially during peak tourist seasons.
For the more adventurous and eco-conscious travelers, biking to Jurmala can be a fun experience! Dedicated bike paths connect Riga to Jurmala, offering scenic views of the Latvian countryside and the beach.
The journey may take around 1.5-2 hours, depending on your cycling pace and starting point in Riga.
Last but not least, if you want you can also take a guided half-day tour to Jurmala which already includes transportation.
Top 5 Best Things to See & Do in Jurmala
As already mentioned, there’s a lot to do in Jurmala. To avoid putting too much on your agenda and possibly even getting stressed out as a result, I put together a list of the top 5 things to see & do.
These things guarantee that you’ll get the full experience without rushing from one spot to another.
1. Jurmala Beach
Probably the most famous part of Jurmala is its beach, which stretches along the Gulf of Riga for about 33 kilometers, making it one of the longest beaches in Northern Europe.
The most popular area at Jurmala Beach is the central part, which is often referred to as the “Majori Beach.” There you can bask in the sun, swim in the refreshing waters of the Baltic Sea, or take long leisurely walks along the shoreline
If you’re seeking more adventurous activities, Majori Beach offers opportunities for water sports. Jet skiing, windsurfing, and paddleboarding are popular options, and equipment rentals are available along the beach.
If you decided to stay in Jurmala until the evening, don’t miss the opportunity to witness the breathtaking Baltic sunset from Majori Beach! it’s one of the best in all of Latvia!
2. Jomas Street
Not only is a section of Jurmala Beach named Majori, but the entire neighborhood. Of course, the main attraction of Majori is its stunning sandy beach, but there is one part of the area that is just as worthy of being seen!
Jomas Street is the vibrant and lively heart of Majori. This pedestrian street stretches for about 1.3 kilometers and is a must-visit destination for tourists and locals alike.
The street has a long history dating back to the 19th century when it served as a connecting route between the train station and the beach.
Thanks to its cobblestone pavement and colorful wooden buildings it kept its enchanting and nostalgic atmosphere.
Jomas Street is also a culinary paradise, offering a wide array of cafes, restaurants, and other eateries. From traditional Latvian cuisine to international flavors, you can savor a diverse range of dishes while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.
Make sure to check out the many charming boutiques and shops selling souvenirs, unique gifts, and local handicrafts.
3. Our Lady of Kazan Church
At the end of Jomas Street, you can find a beautiful Orthodox church called Our Lady of Kazan Church. For people who are not used to seeing Orthodox churches, this one will be especially striking.
The church is very beautiful with lots of bright colors, tall onion-shaped domes on top, and bells that play a lovely melody every hour. It was constructed in 2010 and is therefore a rather new addition to the city’s architectural landscape.
Despite its recent construction, the church follows traditional Russian Orthodox design principles, reflecting the influence of the religion in this area.
Although it’s most striking from the outside, it’s worth going inside as well. The interior is adorned with religious pictures, murals showing biblical scenes, and fancy decorations that make the place look very grand.
4. Historic Wooden Houses
Another thing you’ll find in Jurmala is a great number of historic wooden houses that add to the neighborhood’s unique charm and character.
These well-preserved architectural gems date back to the 19th century when Jurmala was a popular resort destination – which, of course, it is still today.
Many of them feature intricate woodwork, decorative carvings, and colorful facades, making each house a unique and captivating piece of art.
Simply take a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood and enjoy the sight of the charming old wooden houses along the way!
5. Dzintari Forest Park
Last but not least, plan a short visit to Dzintari Forest Park, a lush green space that offers a refreshing getaway in nature. The park has well-marked walking paths, perfect for leisurely strolls and enjoyable hikes.
One of the park’s highlights is its rich variety of plants and animals, providing a home to various bird species and wildlife.
Throughout the park, you’ll find charming spots for picnics, cozy benches, and open areas to relax, read, or simply enjoy the serene surroundings.
If you prefer to be more active, the park provides many opportunities for cycling and jogging along designated paths.
It’s a wrap!
As you see, Jurmala is truly a place worth seeing and undoubtedly the perfect address if you want to escape city life and spend a relaxing day at the beach or in nature.
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