AUG 13,2018 - AUG 13,2018 (1 DAYS)
One day in Jūrmala:
Main Attractions: sculpture by L. Kristovskis “Lāčplēsis”, Jomas iela, Rainis’ and Aspazija’s Summer House, Jūrmala Globe, Adventure Park "Jurmala Tarzan", Kado Karim, Villa Alvine, Dzintari Concert Hall, Dzintari beach, Jūras street, Turtle sculpture.
Duration: 3/4 day. Distance: 3-4 km. Weather: any weather. Start & End: Majori railway station.
Jūrmala on the Baltic coast has three main assets: with its impressive 26 km long white sand beach, fantastic spa & health retreats, and a convenient location only 30 minutes from Riga city center, this coastal gem has all the ingredients to qualify as a top wellness destination in Europe. Latvia’s premier beach resort has been fascinating since the heyday of the Russian Empire. Jūrmala originally was a string of fishing villages along the Baltic sea coast that over time became a popular holiday destination amongst wealthy Russians (this was while Latvia was still a part of the Soviet Union). But it wasn’t until 1877, when the railway opened, that Jūrmala became a tourist destination as well. It was awarded city status in 1959. Today, the seaside resort attracts people from all over Europe. The beach is a long stretch of silky sand backed by more than 4000 historic wooden houses. Visitors come to laze by the water and to stroll or cycle the surrounding streets, admiring the wooden chocolate-box homes along the way.
Public Transportation: Passenger trains to Jūrmala leave Riga Central Station (Stacijas laukums 1) from Tracks (ceļš) 3 and 4 on Platform (perons) 4. Look for trains going in the direction of Tukums, Ķemeri or Sloka. Depending on your selected destination, the ride from Riga to Jūrmala takes between 20 to 50 minutes and costs between EUR 1.90 and EUR 2.40 (for example, Riga–Majori takes 30 minutes and costs EUR 1.90). The train line runs through the entire length of Jūrmala, from Priedaine to Ķemeri, with 14 stops within the city limits. Generally spoken - 2 trains / hour. The wagons are quite old but clean. In Riga, buy a ticket at the counters in the main ticket hall or, directly, from the conductor on the train. If you plan on taking your bicycle with you on the train, make sure to also buy a baggage ticket. Find train schedules and other information at www.pv.lv/en.
The Jūrmala Tourist Information Centre is located in the heart of Jurmala - Majori. It is easy to reach because it is located next to the railway station, the bus stop and car park.
We chose to drop off in the Majori railway station of Jūrmala (as we said before, Jūrmala is a chain of villages - and there are several stops or railway stations in the municipal district of Jūrmala. Head eastalong Jomas iela toward Ātrā iela, 160 m. At Jomas iela 32 you see the sculpture by L. Kristovskis “Lāčplēsis” stands opposite the Railway Station in Majori. In 2006, a fountain “The Horizon” was opened here:
Behind the sculpture (north) you see a beautiful garden with a white house planted into this garden. The premises of the Jurmala Culture Centre offer possibilities to visit varied events – concerts, dance performance, art exhibitions, here there is also Jurmala cinema:
Nearby is the Rainis’ and Aspazija’s Monument devoted to two famous Latvian poets:
The No. 1 attraction in Jūrmala is Jomas iela, Jurmala’s kilometre-long pedestrian boulevard, a strip of friendly bars, cafes and restaurants. The name of the street in Latvian means parallel lines in the sand of dunes. Nowadays there is a tradition to celebrate the first Jūrmala’s pedestrian street - Jomas street festival. This is an iconic street in Jurmala - but you'll be surprised that there are NOT many pedestrians thetre. Most of the passers-by are tourists. Part of the shops, bars, restaurants and stalls - are closed. But, still, it is a charming mix of pastoral architecture, good and budget food, nice and cheap souvenirs and proximity of nature (forests, beaches, nature reserves and dunes):
Further north-east along Jomas iela - we see the Mermaid and Swimmer statue by Olga Shilova:
Along the street there is an exposition of historical pictures of Jūrmala. Here is the beach (probably 100 years ago):
Jomas iela #66:
Jomas iela #55:
Jomas iela - Hats stall:
Jomas iela - Hand-made woolen yoys - Kariniino:
Jomas iela #79:
When you arrive to Jūrmala Casino, turn left (north) to the Raiņa un Aspazijas vasarnīca - Rainis’ and Aspazija’s Summer House, 5/7 J. Pliekšāna St. Rainis’ and Aspazija’s Summer House is, actually, a museum which is devoted to the two famous Latvian poets. The cottage in Majori was purchased by Rainis in the autumn of 1926. It was both a workplace and a summer holiday retreat for the poets until 1929. There are three buildings, typical of the wooden architecture of Jūrmala, forming the museum complex. The poets’ Summer Cottage – a single story wooden building with an attic, wood carvings on the facade and an Art Nouveau veranda, with its small paned windows – was built at the end of the 19th century. Another building is a small stone cottage, which is located deeper in the garden, while a third – a neighbouring summer house, was built early in the 20th century. It is a wooden house built with Art Nouveau influences. One can see the poets’ rooms with their authentic furniture and other items, The Rainis and Aspazija personal library, as well as the “Rainis’ life and writings” exposition at the Museum. Closed: SUN-MON. Open: other days 10.00 - 17.00.
At the eastern end of Jomas iela (the intersection with Turaida iela) you see the Jūrmala Globe - Jūrmalas globuss:
If you continue walking more eastward - you arrive to the Adventure Park "Jurmala Tarzan". VERY pleasant walks for families and adults, wonderful and advanced playgrounds for children including skatebording and rollerskating. You can spend here hours ! There is a lot of shade because of the trees. Amazing views from the viewing, metal tower in the middle of the huge park (in clear days you can see Riga's skyline and the Baltic sea). The tower is a bit shaking at its top - so avoid it during windy times. NOT for those who are scared of heights. The entry to the viewing tower is FREE:
You arrive to the Adventure Park via Aizkraukles iela. In Aizkraukles iela, on your left (north) resides Kado Karim, a shapely trio of brand new apartment buildings, the brainchild of designer Karim Rashid. It is a collection of three separately standing, but functionally integrated three-floors buildings. Housing a total of twenty one apartments, each structure conforms to the same architectural scheme, but each features its own particular concept of interior design. The all three complexes are with undulating forms and unique circular windows. Influential Latvian architect Andis Silis, founder of the architectural bureau SZK Partneri, designed the demure white buildings of Kado Karim. Each story forms an organic layer, slightly off set from the next, but retaining a cohesive rounded shape of the structure as a whole. Regularly spaced rectangular windows and small balconies mirror the shelved protrusions of each shifting layer:
The parallel street of Aizkraukles iela (more northern) is Ikšķiles iela. Arrive to this street via Turaidas iela (a shady, pleasant street in its own. We shall walk along part of this road a bit later. See below).
In Ikšķiles iela #1 we find the Villa Alvine. Very attractive residence project (several apartments are for vacation rentals. Part of the project is, actually, an hotel):
From Villa Alvine, Ikšķiles iela 1 we turn RIGHT (north) toward Turaidas iela and walk 160 m. (turning right to stay on Turaidas iela). 60 m. further, on our right, is the Dzintari Concert Hall, Turaidas 1. An architectural and cultural gem. This is an open-air (no walls, just roof) stage about 200 m from the Baltic sea coast. In the past these halls were widely used for concerts of classical music presented by symphony orchestra, nowdays they are more often used for pops, e.g. annual festival in the first week of August. The Dzintari Concert Hall complex includes an elegant concert hall built in the 1930s, with excellent acoustics – the Small Hall, and the summer concert garden built in the 1960s – the Great Hall. Professionals have evaluated this place as a unique and in the matters of acoustics as one of the best in the entire Europe. During reconstruction in 2004 to 2006, the park at the concert hall was expanded and beautified, and the wings of the Great Hall now spatially merge with the view of Jurmala dunes. Centenarian pine trees in the concert hall's park sways in the wind, while the sea rustles behind the dune, washing waves over a white sand beach. This is a place to look for true synthesis of art and nature while enjoying world-famous artists live (http://www.dzintarukoncertzale.lv/):
Continue walking north beyond the Dzintari Concert Hall - and you arrive to the wonderful Dzintari beach. In overall, Jūrmala has 12 official bathing areas, 11 of them are on the seashore and one - on the shore of Lielupe River. In summer, it can get really hot and sunny in Latvia, with temperatures around 28-32 degrees Celsius in Jurmala. We were rather surprised to see such a lively atmosphere on the beach. Jūrmala's beach is formed of fine white silica sand, which has been brought here by the coastal stream over thousands of years. The beach is a great place for resting. Note two main facts: almost no shade and the water becomes deeper very gradually (the water is very flat at the beginning). It is a VERY beautiful strip of beach with clean, white sand and (most of the time) the beach is not over-crowded. The more you walk to the WEST - the less people you see. There is still enough space to have a peaceful day at the beach (well, Latvia, in general, provides you, the tourist, a lot of space - nothing is crowded). There are CLEAN public toilets along the beach (but they cost 1 euro to enter). Water is not very salty:
After walking along the beach we head back to the railway station. We suggest you to walk back to Majori station along a different way that is illustrated above. You can walk BACK to Turaidas iela (where the Dzintari Concert Hall is, now, on your left) and turn LEFT to Jūras iela and make the whole way, along Jūras iela (with your face to the south-west) until you arrive to Vanagi iela and turn LEFT to Ērgļu iela to arrive to Majori train station. Another option is walking along the beach until you see the Turtle sculpture
and turn LEFT to meet Jūras iela and follow the instructions above to arrive to the train station. Jūras street is the street closest to the Jūrmala dunes, where you can see almost all of Jūrmala's typical architectural styles. Jūras street has 23 architectural monuments of state and local importance:
Wooden Villa Jūras iela 53:
Hotel Eiropa, Jūras iela 56: