According to wholevehicles, Valmiera is a large city in northern Latvia, located 100 km from Riga and 50 km from the Estonian border. The first mention of the city dates back to the beginning of the 13th century, when the crusaders built their castle here. However, in fact, people settled here much earlier, as evidenced by numerous archaeological finds.
“Valmiera” is translated from Latvian as “a city where calm reigns”, and it fully justifies this name. Today, about 28 thousand people live there and there is a very calm atmosphere of provincial Europe in the best sense of the word.
How to get to Valmiera
The most convenient way to come to Valmiera is from Riga.
- by bus
From the central bus station of the Latvian capital, buses run every 30-60 minutes (sometimes a break is 1.5 hours), the journey time is about 2 hours. The fare is about 5 EUR per passenger.
- by train
The train from Riga to Valmiera leaves 4 times a day from the central railway station. The road will also take about 2 hours and does not depend on traffic jams, although they are very rare on this route.
Valmiera is a small city, but tourists come here regularly, so there is a choice of hotels here. The city has several hotels of the category from 3 * to 5 *, some of them are located in restored old buildings and even former palaces. Staying in a good “treshka” in the city center will cost at least 35 EUR per day for a double room, apartments in the palace cost from 65 EUR per day if booked in advance. In the palaces, you can not only stay overnight, but also rent a hall for a solemn or business event.
Cafes and restaurants in Valmiera
There are several good restaurants and cafes serving traditional Latvian cuisine in Valmiera, especially Rates Varti, Vecpuisis, Cafe Bastions, Restaurant Valmiermuiza Beer kitchen and Terbata, which are almost guaranteed to be tasty and well served. In addition, the city has a good sushi bar Panda Sushi and several good pizzerias: La Pizza Veloce, Krizdolis and Čili Pica.
Almost every cafe in Valmiera has a special vegetarian menu, quite varied.
In local establishments, be sure to try semolina porridge with whipped cream, Alexander cake with raspberries or cranberries, as well as a real peasant breakfast with potatoes, sausage and loin in a milk-egg mixture. The easiest way to find this breakfast is on the weekend menu, but some cafes and restaurants serve it every day.
Attractions and entertainment in Valmiera
From the very foundation, Valmiera was regularly attacked: in the Middle Ages – the orders of the sword-bearers and Livonians, and during the Second World War the city was destroyed almost to the ground. Despite this, many architectural monuments have been preserved on its territory, starting from the 13th century.
The symbol of the history of the city is the church of St. Simeon of the end of the 13th century, located in the very center of the city. The ruins of the castle of the Livonian Order testify to the former greatness of Valmiera. A huge Nine Branches Oak grows next to it, which is considered sacred, and today the Valmiera Museum is located on the territory of the former castle – where you can learn about the history of the city.
On the banks of the Gauja River, the “Park of Senses” is laid out – this is a walking trail created so that local residents and tourists can enjoy nature without leaving the city. The trail is covered with stones, glass balls, spruce and pine cones, sand and chestnuts and allows you to feel nature with all your senses. In the warm season, you can walk barefoot through the needles and moss.
The Valmiermuižas alus brewery, famous all over the country, is located near the city. It is famous for its quality beer. There is a beer restaurant on the territory, and there are also guided tours where you can see the whole process of creating beer from start to finish.
Valmiera and its surroundings are literally created for lovers of active tourism. In summer, trekking, hiking and cycling are popular here, while in winter there are many cross-country skiing trails. Another popular entertainment is rafting on the Gauja River. In the summer, the city hosts a rock music festival, and in October, the Simjuda Fair, which attracts traders from all over Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Here you can buy local goods: knitwear, fur coats, folk clothes and accessories, jewelry, kitchen utensils, seedlings, autumn fruits, berries and vegetables, honey, piparkukas, dried fish, bread, ceramic and leather products, wickerwork and much more.