What makes Jūrmala’s 25.6-kilometre -long beach unique is not only its ﬁne, sugar-like white quartz sand, but also its spaciousness. In the city centre, the sandy area measures from 25 to 50 metres wide from the water to the ﬁrst line of dunes. This means plenty of sun and sea, and plenty of room for everyone. The nearby pines provide shade and natural aromatherapy for sunbathers, and the comparatively low salinity (5.5 per mille, or 0.55%) of the Baltic Sea decreases their need to search for a shower after every swim. The water becomes deeper very gradually and evenly, almost meditatively, allowing one to wade towards the horizon for almost a hundred metres in some places...to the accompaniment of splashing footsteps and the mild breeze.
Jūrmala’s beach has always hosted a lively social life. In the 19th century ladies with parasols paraded along the promenades, while in the 1960s the white beaches became a colourful mosaic of bikinis and towels. Today, selﬁes in front of a magniﬁcent sunset are common. But there have always been two sides to the social scene in Jūrmala, namely, that of the locals and that of the summer holidaymakers. Each group uses the beach very differently. The locals rarely lounge on the beach in the middle of the day; they’re more likely to head to the beach for a walk or healthy jog early in the morning or late in the evening. Holidaymakers, on the other hand, make full use of the beach from midday until sunset.
Currently, Jūrmala has 11 developed swimming areas along its beach, of which ﬁve (Jaunķemeri, Dzintari, Bulduri, Majori and Dubulti) received Blue Flag certiﬁcation in 2015, meaning that they meet stringent standards for environmental sustainability as well as water quality and beach management. The swimming areas also accommodate people with special needs.
Various annual sports events – both on the local and international scale – have recently become one of the most signiﬁcant aspects of social life on Jūrmala’s beach. In the summer, beach football and beach volleyball tournaments, as well as beach races attract crowds, while in the winter the beach becomes a cross-country ski trail. The playgrounds and various climbers are also popular and bring a special energy and joy to the beach.