In and Around Jurmala, Latvia

Monday, July 25, 2016



I'm drafting this post from a cafe in Cape May, NJ while on a beach vacation with my family. We are having a great time watching the dolphins swim in the Atlantic, wandering the cute streets, and bird watching. After the huge amount of traveling we've been doing this summer, I've got a ton of great posts planned, starting with some tips for taking your own Baltic road trip, which I'd highly recommend doing, although I'd suggest allotting more time than we did (if possible). There is really so much to do in the Baltics, especially if you are prepared for a bit of cold and rain and love outdoor activities.

Our first stop on our multi-family Baltic road trip was the northwest shore of Latvia, Plienciems and Jurmala.

Jurmala and its surroundings was my favorite destination on our Baltic road trip. Though the cottage we stayed in was a bit rustic (well, just the toilet, which smelled as though it was plumbed wrong), I loved that we were in a small village. The roof of the cottage was thatched, there were giant snails slimming along the cut wood path, and horses across the street. It was a perfect setting for the start of our multifamily adventure.

Day One, Plienciems, Latvia:


When we arrived at the Airbnb, we were ready for dinner, so our first in search of was to find somewhere to eat. Our host suggested we visit Engure Cafe, which was an awesome recommendation. At Engure Cafe, we ate locally caught fish sandwiches doused in raspberry sauce -- they were incredible. If you visit the area, you should order it! The owners were also incredibly friendly.

Engure Cafe also had a huge space to lounge or play outside, ping pong tables, and a playground. It was a perfect place to eat with two toddlers/crawlers.

Though we didn't spend a ton of time wandering Plienciems because we were limited by time, we did take a nice walk through the woods to the beach. I've never visited a beach that was not built upon -- this beach was blocked from the village by a pine forest, making it incredibly unique. This area is even a part of a nature preserve that is home to seals, pelagic birds, and interesting plants.

Most importantly, Baby ISO loved crawling around in the sand!

















 

Day Two: Jurmala, Latvia

Our second day in Latvia, we drove to Jurmala, the famous Russian resort town during the Soviet times, where we spent the day exploring. We ate a (mostly) vegetarian feast in an Uzbek restaurant, strolled down the pedestrian streets, and marveled at the wooden houses with Art Nouveau detailing. If money was no object, I would have loved to buy one of those houses that had fallen slightly into disrepair and return it to its former glory -- and make some great gardens to compliment (or surpass) the details of the house.

The beach in Jurmala was stunning -- similar to the beach in Plienciems, but slightly more built up for tourism. The sandy shores seemed to go forever and I loved that there weren't many houses built up right on the beach. Growing up by the beach in CT, where houses are built right on the beach, I absolutely appreciated this concern and appreciation for the shoreline and biodiversity. This is oft ignored in the US (even in Cape May, NJ, where I'm writing this post from). 

It was unfortunate that it was SO cold during our visit. It's on my bucket list to swim in the Baltic sea, but each time I've been near the shore, it has just been too cold. Next time!

If you are doing a road trip through the Baltics, I'd absolutely suggest a few day stop in Jurmala. I can see why it was (and still is) a popular resort destination.
















Have you been to Jurmala? What else would you add?

I'm linking up with Wanderful Wednesdays 

14 comments:

  1. I've been dying to see the Baltic Beach Hotel in Jurmala! That is some sexy architecture, for sure.

    We were so close on our Baltic road trip, but unfortunately didn't have the time to make it there. We're hoping to be in Latvia again next May, which will mean a chilly springtime beach stroll for sure. :)

    Also, just an hour or so inland from Jurmala (to the NW) is the awesome little town of Kuldiga - did you all make it there, or did you drive due north from Vilnius? On our road trip we went Riga - Kuldiga - Liepaja - Klaipeda - Kaunas - Vilnius.

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    1. I want to go back to Jurmala, too. We didn't see the Baltic Beach Hotel, but I saw photos of it on Heather's blog (Ferreting Out The Fun). It looks awesome. We didn't get to Kuldiga, we followed the shore to Riga. I'd also like to spend more time in Estonia and see Parnu.

      So much to see in the Baltics!

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  2. I love those wooden houses! They look incredibly cute - and much like many of those we have in our neighbourhood ;)

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    1. Aren't they gorgeous! I really like them too. That is nice that they look like ones in your neighborhood!

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  3. It is the first time I hear about this area. It looks very nice and seems like there are tons of things to keep you busy looking around. This week I have read a lot about the natural spaces in Europe. I am starting to pay more attention to those (as opposed to only looking at the cities).

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    1. I've been looking a lot into visiting more rural areas and towns in Europe as well. It just takes more time and they are more difficult to get to, making these interesting destinations not always the easiest to travel to. Jurmala is a great option though, because it is only 30 minutes from Riga, the capital of Latvia.

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  4. Looks beautiful! And that photo of the salad with cheese and nuts certainly got me drooling :) Yum!

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    1. The salad was good! And it had different types of beet root in it, which were delicious.

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  5. So pretty. Latvia looks gorgeous! Those views and that food won my heart over! Thanks for linking up! #WanderfulWednesday

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    1. Latvia is stunning. If you get a chance, I'd recommend visiting!

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  6. One of my best friends is from Latvia, but I have to admit, I know so little about the area! I've always been really interested in visiting and learning more about it though! This looks like such a great guide and I'm definitely going to keep it handy. That food looks delish and those views are amazing! Thanks for sharing and linking up! :D

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    1. Maybe you and your friend can go to Latvia together! It really is a beautiful country and I'm sure that seeing it from a local perspective would be even better.

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  7. I loved Jurmala! Such a pretty place with a really chilled out vibe. I too had the same dreams of buying a slightly tumbledown place and renovating it - but I wonder just how expensive those places are... I guess it's quite a desirable area. Imagine having that beach as your playground though!

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    1. I can't believe you've been to Jurmala! It seems like so few people have come to the Baltics.

      I bet those houses, even the rundown ones are expensive. I think it'd be worth it!

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