Sigulda Travel Guide
Did you know Latvia is home to some seriously impressive castles? If you want to check out the best ones, a visit to Sigulda is mandatory. In varying states of restoration, these citadels will take you back to medieval times.
Pair it with fun diversions like vertical skydiving towers, and you have a fun travel destination in Latvia!
Come check out our Sigulda travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Sigulda, Latvia.
Latvians love Sigulda for its many castles. Start your visit by checking out Turaida Castle. You won’t believe its constructors built this medieval-era structure in the 13th century. It appears to be in excellent condition, but as recently as 1976, much of it lay in ruins.
For centuries, it served as a strategic defensive point. Upon its completion, The Livonian Brothers of the Sword protected the area. They and their predecessors, the Teutonic Order, continued to do so until the 17th century. Its occupants abandoned it after a devastating fire in 1776, as it had lost its strategic importance.
Today, Turaida Castle is part of a larger complex of attractions housed within the Turaida Museum Reserve. In addition to this restored castle, you’ll also get to check out a church, manor, and a garden. If you can time your visit, try to arrive during the Summer Solstice. At this time, Latvians celebrate the start of summer in this extraordinary place.
If you’re still in the mood to poke around castles, drop by Sigulda Medieval Castle next. Like Turaida, Sigulda Medieval Castle was a battlement that was in ruins but since, authorities restored it. Unlike its cousin, which is mostly red brick, Sigulda Medieval Castle is mainly comprised of stone.
It rose at roughly the same time as Turaida, in the early 13th century. Over its life, it saw plenty of action in regional wars. It went through periods where it lay in ruins, only to have someone breathe new life into it.
Today, some parts of Sigulda Medieval Castle stand tall, while others lay in a state of beautiful decay. Efforts are underway to keep some structures from falling apart completely. As such, you may encounter some renovation work. Nonetheless, the views here are amazing and worth the price of admission.
If you need a break from castles, explore Gutmanis Cave. Despite being the highest and widest cave in the Baltic countries, visitors often miss this place. Their loss will be your gain, as you’ll get to see its natural features without feeling crowded.
It may be a natural attraction, but Gutmanis Cave is tied in with the history of the Sigulda area. For starters, the tragedy of Rose of Silgulda played out nearby. A survivor of a Swedish attack on Turaida Castle, the castle record keeper raised her as his own daughter.
When she came of age, a deserter from the Polish army courted her. She denied his advances, which angered him. Arranging a deception to take her by force, Rose found herself trapped. She opted to die instead of feeling the shame of being taken. The Polish deserter then committed suicide by hanging himself.
You’ll find her grave in the cave. Because of this, Gutmanis Cave is the oldest tourist attraction in Latvia. In the cave, you’ll find engravings from people who visited as far back as the 17th century.
Want to check out a church while in Sigulda? Make time in your schedule for Sigulda Lutheran Church. Its builders erected this white stone church in the 15th century. The base of the building has survived the ages intact. However, officials did add a pulpit and bell tower in the 1930s.
Visitors can ascend the bell tower for a small donation. Feel free to do so, as the views from the top are gorgeous.
Still can’t get enough of the castles in the Sigulda area? Add the Krimulda Castle Ruins to your travel itinerary. Its makers christened it in the 14th century – sadly, it did not enjoy as long a life as its colleagues. At the start of the 17th century, an enemy offensive levelled the place, leaving it in ruins.
Locals left Krimulda to the elements, unlike other castles in the region. Some prefer it this way, as it has given it an authenticity other sites lack. Today, a trail takes you through the old grounds, long since reclaimed by a thicket of trees.
When you’re all “castled out,” Sigulda offers plenty of touristy attractions to keep everyone entertained. In winter, start with the Sigulda Sledding Track. Here, visitors can scream down an Olympic-style track in a bobsleigh, or on a luge.
Too scared to jump out of a plane? Good news – you can still experience skydiving with Aerodium Sigulda. This vertical jump tower uses compressed air to allow ground-bound folk to experience of mid-air freedom. No worries – there’s plenty of netting to catch you in case the pumps fail!
Photographers won’t want to miss a ride on the Sigulda Cable Car. Strung above Turaida and Sigulda Castle, this vantage point will give you photos that are sure to impress!