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.

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