To live a long and happy life, it is important to enjoy life. One cannot buy joy for money, but it definitely can be found in travels, in discovering something new, by visiting beautiful places and remembering about physical activities in nature. There is a time, when you can get the joy by jumping with a parachute, from diving in the depths of the sea or climbing to the top of the mountain, and there is a time for strolls, time to go swimming or Nordic walking and that certainly is a wonderful way how to actively enjoy nature and improve health at the same time.
Already for thirteen years, The World Health Organization has awarded Jūrmala the status of a Healthy city, which confirms, that in Jūrmala people love and cherish the surrounding environment, take care of its sustainable usage as well as offer a variety of options for relaxation in nature. Walks through small and romantic streets, where wonderful wooden architecture buildings are located, or on the 24 km long beach, bike rides using convenient cycle lanes, bird watching in the Ķemeri National Park, Nordic walking in the forests and along the beach of the city – these are only a few ideas how you can healthily spend time in nature in Jūrmala.
The most remarkable and largest nature territory that invites you to get acquainted and listen to nature is Ķemeri National Park, located in the Western part of Jūrmala. The park covers a remarkable territory of 44 000 ha and offers almost unlimited opportunities of healthy and purposeful recreation. The most popular tourism object in the Ķemeri National Park is the Great Ķemeri Moorland trail – a wonderful place for walks that allows you to become acquainted with untouched high moss moorland and its inhabitants – plants, birds and trees. The marsh is about 8000 years old and a wooden board trail in the shape of number eight can be found there. It consists of two circles. It is possible to choose the closest “small” circle 1.4 km in length, or walk the whole route – 3.4 km. The highlight of the biggest circle is a view tower, from which opens a view to the labyrinth of small pools in the marsh, creating a special landscape.
In the black alder swamp wood footbridge one can see a very wet, natural deciduous wood - black alder swamp wood. The length of the trail is only 0.6 km and the best time to explore it is spring when waters of Vēršupīte flood the surrounding woods and marsh marigolds bloom. The footbridge is convenient for birdwatching, especially woodpeckers. The swamp wood footbridge is connected with a Wood trail that leads through the pathways of the Ķemeri historical health resort and introduces you with rare, magnificent and rich deciduous forest – rich deciduous oak forest. The trail is suitable for baby carriers as well as for visitors in wheelchairs.
The length of Sloka lake circular trail is 3.1 km. In one direction, the trail leads along the bank of the lake, but in the opposite direction – through the wood. When strolling along this walking trail you will be able to observe how different types of wood change from one into another. Here you can find a genuine black alder swamp wood that floods in spring with the variety of moss and woodpeckers as well as fertile pine-spruce forest for the pleasure of mushroom pickers, as well as dried and covered with trees high marsh, where one can still find a cranberry here and there and smell marsh labrador tea. In Sloka lake several protected bird species nest and it is an important recreation spot for migrating birds. That`s why Sloka lake is a good place for birdwatching, especially at the spring and autumn bird migration time. There is a floating bird watching tower placed at the bank of Sloka lake.
!!! Each year Bird watching days are being organized in Ķemeri national park which include educating lectures and free excursions. This year the Bird watching days will take place on April 8.-9. and September 30.- October 1.
In the Eastern part of Jūrmala on the West of Lielupe estuary is located Ragakāpa nature park that provides plenty of opportunities for recreation in fresh air. In Ragakāpa Nature Park there is a walking trail approximately 2 km long made of wooden footbridges that leads through pine wood. The constantly changing eco system of the nature park is the only refuge for many rare species. Seven biotopes protected in the European Union can be found there, including embryonic dunes, white dunes, forested coastal dunes, and naturally developed old coniferous forests. In the park 21 specially protected species may be found: eight plant species, one mushroom species, eight species of insects and four species of birds. Sand pink, protected in the European Union, grows in the Park; stock dove, black woodpecker, wood lark and tawny pipit make their nests there. Taking into consideration these values of Ragakāpa Nature Park, it has been included in the network of protected territories of the European Union NATURA 2000. In the territory of the park also lies Jūrmala Open-Air Museum with a legendary fisherman`s farmstead, a collection of anchors and boats!
!!! On April 16th in Jūrmala Open-Air Museum one has the chance to get to know the traditions of celebrating Easter in Latvia, on May 20th the Museum night events will take place, but on September 30th the traditional Wine festival in fisherman`s farmstead will take place in the museum, where one can meet winemakers – domestic producers and to taste their production.
In the very centre of the city, a wonderful park is located – filled with pines, that are interweaved with pavements for roller skaters and pedestrians. If you are looking for a park, where to spend an exciting time with your family, this is the right place. Playgrounds, roller skating track, a skate park for grandchildren and walking trails for you. The Forest Park is particular for its 33m high viewing tower with 12 viewing platforms – there is a plenty of possibilities to engage in for the people who love recreation!
Lit trail along Dzintari beach
During the dark time of the day everyone can take a walk along the lit beach trail in Dzintari. The walking trail that is made from wooden planks is approximately one kilometre long. The beach is alight from Dzintari Concert Hall on Turaidas Street up to Tirgoņu Street in Majori.
The 2 km long Jūrmala health route in Kauguri leads into the pine forest along Kaugurciems to the very coast of the sea. At some point Kaugurciems was one of the most significant villages of Jūrmala’s fishermen. The main livelihood of the surrounding inhabitants was fishing: the men took to their boats and went off to the sea looking for the big catch that they would later sell and feed their families from. Along the route there are stalls with exercises not only for the body, but also for the mind, that everyone can perform. The walk along the forest trails and the small stretch of the sandy beach can be walked also using Nordic walking poles.
One can enjoy Nordic walking in any season and any age. Almost for 100 years Nordic walking has been an effective sports activity when using specific poles, the body is evenly loaded and approximately 90% of a person`s muscles are engaged. Already in 2000, the company “Cooper Institute Research” performed a research, where it has been concluded that Nordic walking is much more effective that a regular walk without sticks. In Jūrmala nature is so wonderful, that is worth to get a sporty pleasure from the walk along the beach, but the right technique can be mastered with the help of experienced instructors in the Jūrmala sports centres. The necessary equipment is available in several hotels in Jūrmala, but the sites – all around you.
Jūrmala and its untouched nature will surprise you – we are sure!