Jurmala Travel Guide
Almost every country has a go-to place to get away on holiday. For many Latvians, that place is Jurmala. Situated on the Baltic Sea coast within a convenient drive from Riga, its pine-lined beaches are heavenly.
Pair that with national parks and some unique museums, and you’ve got a compelling travel destination.
Come check out our Jurmala travel guide as we cover the best things to do in Jurmala, Latvia.
On the whole, Jurmala is more of a beach town than a cultural hot spot. That said, several attractions will interest those interested in culture and history. Begin with a visit to the Jurmala Open Air Museum.
This collection of cabins depict how life was for fishers and their families in the 19th and 20th centuries. In these reworked homes, you’ll find up to 2,000 artifacts, which include tools, anchors, and fishing boats. Be sure to check out their workshops. After watching the living history actors/actresses do their thing, you can attempt to make rope and patch nets.
Don’t forget to take a stroll through nearby Ragakapa Nature Park. This boardwalk will take you through groves of pine trees and sublime dunes. All in all, it is a relaxing way to end your trip to this museum.
Learn about the history of this seaside settlement with a trip to the Jurmala City Museum. For the most part, this institution focuses on the role of Jurmala as a resort. The stand-out exhibit is its extensive collection of female swimsuits. As you’ll see, style and standards have changed a great deal in the past century!
Another exhibit of note – “Ships in depth.” From simple fishing boats to warships and submarines, you’ll learn a great deal about the nautical history of Latvia. Other noteworthy items in the Jurmala City Museum include local art, vintage postcards, and artifacts pulled from Baltic shipwrecks.
As a popular seaside resort, it’s not surprising that many notable Latvians has summer homes in Jurmala. This list of local celebrities included poet Elza Rozenberga. Her pen name was Aspaziya, which gives Aspaziya House its name.
Aspaziya was more than a poet – she was a playwright, a journalist, and a politician. To unwind and chase inspiration, she spent summers in Jurmala. To this day, her highly-stylized, teal home stands out markedly from the others on her block.
Her former holiday home is now a museum dedicated to her memory. The furniture within is just as it was when she lived there, as is her garden. The museum keepers have even installed holograms of cats, to represent her multiple feline companions. Admission is free of charge, and an English audio guide is available at the reception desk.
Want to check out an art gallery with a twist? Visit the Inner Light Art Gallery late in the day. In the afternoon light, this collection looks like any other. However, as the sun recedes, you’ll be in for quite the surprise.
The artists behind each of these pieces imbued their works with luminescent paint. As darkness falls, additional accents emerge, changing the meaning of each piece. Admission is 5 euro per adult, but only one euro for children. As such, it is a great place to go as a family.
Nature lovers will want to spend some quality time exploring Kemeri National Park on a visit to Jurmala. Those expecting soaring mountain ranges will be disappointed (Latvia is flat as a pancake, after all.) However, bird watchers will love it here, as species like the golden plover and wood sandpiper are found here.
As you walk atop the bogs, you’ll read about how Jurmala spas use its mud for therapeutic purposes. You’ll also learn about how advancing German tanks sank into the swamp completely. Mother Nature can be vicious when she wants to be!
For centuries, Latvians have been coming to Jurmala Beach to relax by the seashore. Join them during the summer months – plenty of pine trees provide shade, while kilometres of sand offer space to suntan. Waters are shallow, allowing for safe swimming for families. Watersports, from kitesurfing to SUP-ing, are very popular here.
When you aren’t in or near the water, play football or volleyball with the locals. The exercise and the friends you’ll get will be worth it!
Indulge in some forest bathing with a walk through Dzintari Forest Park. As you walk between these 200-year-old pines, their fragrance will lull you into a sense of relaxation. For a unique experience, get up into the canopy in this park’s observation tower, or take a ropes course.
Cap off a perfect day in Jurmala on Jomas Street. It is here where you’ll find many of this city’s best pubs and restaurants. You may be fortunate enough to catch street performers in action – be sure to reward them for their talents!