As we had travelled up through the centre of Lithuania it meant that we were not far from Latvia’s capital Riga and therefore decided we would have to miss the west coast as we just didn’t have time unfortunately.
Due to a broken suspension spring at the front of the van we ended up staying in Riga for a lot longer than originally planned. Luckily the spring broke just as we were pulling into a beach side car park in the upmarket district of Jurmala.
The car park was the perfect spot to spend the next week while we waited for the van to be fixed, surrounded by trees for shade, a clean toilet, the beach just metres away and completely safe as we were in one of the richest areas of Riga surrounded by beautiful ornate villas. We cycled along the beach, toured the quiet tree lined streets to check out some villas. We visited the picturesque park/gardens with lovely cycle tracks and a huge wooden tower that we climbed for views of the surrounding forests that stretched as far as you could see and was free!
As soon as the van was fixed we headed to the unusual peat bogs national park which was made up of wooden boardwalks that extended over an extensive swampland, doesn’t sound that great but the landscape was beautifully unique with large pools completely still and perfectly reflecting the sky and gave the sense you could almost be walking in the clouds.
After the national park we headed to Riga where we managed to find a nice spot to park just on the river, looking over to the city and only a 10 minute cycle into the centre. We enjoyed exploring the old town, lovely streets with lots of Art Nouveau Architecture and stunning religious buildings as well as one of the biggest and cheapest markets we had been to in Europe housed in a number of huge hanger buildings.
We continued north to the Gauja National Park in search of nature after the capital and we found a beautiful forests with endless wooden board walks and steps winding up and down through the thick forest and allowing you access to where otherwise it would not be possible.
After traversing the park by foot, paw and bike we continued north along the coastline.
Not far from the Estonian border we stopped for the night just off the busy main road but hidden away in a carpark metres from the beach. We stumbled upon a sign which led us to take a 6km bike ride back on ourselves, along the beach, through a small forest, past a quaint little hamlet to some surprisingly nice sandstone cliffs on the edge of a forest leading to a lovely little beach, such a nice little find on our last day in Latvia.