LATVIA - Livonian Flavours in the Vidzeme Region

Duration: 3 days
Transportation: Self-drive
Total length: ~380 km

On this tour, you will see the most beautiful places and towns in the Vidzeme region and Gauja National Park such as Sigulda with the River Gauja valley, the medieval old town of Cēsis, and Valmiera. You will feast on the Miller’s Lunch, visiting a working windmill, explore a herb and vegetable garden by a medieval castle, taste hemp butter, and Valmiermuiža local brewery beer. You will taste the “green cheese”, a sparkling birch sap drink, and can buy delicacies made from locally grown garlic.

Rīga - Sigulda - Turaida - Āraiši - Cēsis (~100 km)

Surroundings of Sigulda and Gauja National Park
Sigulda Town, Sigulda New Castle, Turaida Museum Reserve, and Gūtmaņala Cave. You can join local craft workshops and make your own mini replica of a Sigulda walking stick, which is a famous symbol of the town. You can also try your hand at weaving, paper arts and other crafts.
Āraišu Vējdzirnavas Windmill
Excursion and Miller’s Lunch in an authentic environment. Āraišu Vējdzirnavas Windmill is one of the few Dutch-type windmills in Latvia that is still in working order. You can also try your hand at grain milling. The Miller’s Lunch is made from locally grown ingredients. It consists of barley porridge with meat sauce, dessert with berry jelly, and herbal tea or sour milk.
Āraišu Castle on the Lake
The only tribal residence in Europe that was fortified in the 9th-10th centuries. Its historic reconstruction serves as a museum. and
Cēsis Town
Cēsu medieval castle with a historical reconstruction of a 16th century herb and vegetable garden. It contains only vegetables, herbs and medicinal plants that were found in Livonia 500 years ago, such as onions, garlic, dill and thyme. Both in the Middle Ages and in the palace garden, medicinal plants such as marigold and wormwood were also grown. During the summer season, a knowledgeable medieval gardener will tell you about the plants that are found in the garden and their uses, as well as their positive and negative impacts.

Dining options in Cēsis

  • Restaurant “Jāņoga” offers meals made from local farmers’ produce and the extensive vegetarian menu.
  • Café “Priede”, located in “Rožu laukums” (Rose Square), in the historic centre of Cēsis. Offers meals from local ingredients and coffee roasted in Latvia.

Overnight options in Cēsis

Cēsis - Valmiera - Burtnieki - Valmiera (~100 km)

Country house “Vīnkalni”
Country house is located near Valmiera. The hostess offers 3 different Latvian dishes for a food workshop: fresh cheese, bacon buns and country dessert “Biguzis” made from rye bread. Apart from food workshops, the host family is engaged in traditional Latvian 12th-century love rituals and showings to newlyweds, cooking on live fire, as well as preservation and restoration of antiques. The farm also grows vine plants. There is restored horse stable from 19th century with a place for celebrations. Hosts take care of the surrounding nature and invite others to do so, they are awarded with a Green Certificate, the national environmental certificate for businesses in rural tourism.
Hanseatic Town Valmiera
Highlights: Castle ruins; St. Simon`s Lutheran church; panoramic views of Valmiera and the River Gauja from the viewing tower; a 2 km barefoot trail with 15 different surfaces to be experienced in the “Sajūtu Parks” park.
Valmiera Museum Garden of Herbs and Medicinal Plants
The tour introduces herbs and plants growing in the garden, their use in cooking and impacts on human health. Tasting of fresh herbs and herbal teas.
Valmiermuiža Brewery
Visitors will learn about the traditions of beer brewing, as well as observe how “live” beer is made using natural ingredients. The tour ends with beer tasting. After the tour, visitors can enjoy local foods at the brewery pub.
Adzelvieši Hemp Farm - Excursion and produce tasting. The farm grows hemp and processes it into hemp seed butter and oil. There is an exposition of old farm tools in the yard, and the host introduces the history of hemp cultivation.
Evening Meal and Overnight Stay in the Hotel “Wolmar” in Valmiera
Located in the centre of Valmiera, the hotel features a city theme - each room has its own address and the corridors bear street names. The hotel restaurant offers a culinary journey based on natural local foods.

Valmiera - Trikāta - Rauna - Bērzkrogs - Rīga (~180 km)

“R Chocolate”, Chocolate Production Facility
This chocolate factory in Trikāta Village uses high-quality Spanish chocolate and gives chocolate making masterclasses to visitors. In summer they make ice-cream from local producers' milk and cream.
Birzī Birch Sap Production Factory
Excursion of the production facility and cellars, and tasting of sparkling alcoholic and soft drinks made from birch sap.
Lunch in café “Kukaburra”
It is possible to see the Bread museum there. Guests can take part in baking rye bread every weekend. The café has a Latvian interior and serves products from local farmers and home-based producers of ingredients.
Cheese and pasta factory “Siera Ražotne”
The Rauna cheese factory is owned by Ceriņš family, and for the past 10 years it has offered high-quality and nutritious products to its consumers – cheese, butter and pasta.  The most popular product is “Green cheese,” in which one of the main ingredients, fenugreek, grows in the factory’s garden.
Production Facility “Latvijas Ķiploks” (Latvian garlic)
Tasting and purchase of unique garlic products such as garlic tea with ginger, garlic granules, garlic flower pesto. Tasting presentation also offers Garlic Bloody Mary, garlic sweet cake and garlic ice-cream.