Dotted with parks and clustered above the southern bank of the River Gauja around 50km northeast of Rīga, Sigulda is Gauja National Park’s main centre and a good jumping-off point for exploring the rest of the Gauja Valley.
From the train station, Raiņa iela runs north into town, passing the bus station. After about 800m a right turn into Baznaca iela brings you to the impressive seven-hundred-year-old Sigulda Church (Siguldas baznīca). Sigulda is home to three castles: Krimulda Castle (Krimuldas pilsdrupas) and Sigulda Castle (Siguldas pilsdrupas), a former stronghold of the German Knights of the Sword, from which you can see Turaida Castle (Turaidas pilsdrvpas), the most impressive of the three.
West of the train station along Ausekļa iela is the bobsleigh track where you can hurtle down a concrete half-tube at 80km per hr during the summer months, try the exhilarating professional winter bob or check out the view of the Gauja Valley from the top of the tower.Read More
The most impressive of Sigulda’s three castles, Turaida Castle (Turaidas pilsdrvpas) was built on the site of an earlier stronghold by the bishop of Rīga in 1214, the castle was destroyed when lightning hit its gunpowder magazine in the eighteenth century. These days, its cellar exhibitions chart the castle’s history and it’s possible to climb up the main tower for 360 degree views of the valley below.
You can reach the castle by bus #12 (for Turaida or Krimulda) from Sigulda bus station. Alternatively, take the cable car across the Gauja River (daredevils can bungee jump from the cable car; bungee.lv) to Krimulda Castle, descend the wooden staircase signposted “Gūtmaņis Cave”, then follow the path past the cave – the setting for a legend of “star-crossed lovers”. The path turns to the right before rejoining the main road just short of Turaida itself.