Beach and nature, is what you get on the relaxing day trip from Riga to Jūrmala and the Ķemeri National Park. You can have an inspiring walk through the national park and its swamps, and relax on the beach.
Jūrmala and the beach
For me, unfortunately, spending a lot of time at the beach was not that attractive as it was a really rainy day. Nevertheless, the stroll along the beach and good coffee with cake in the cute Jomas street were quite relaxing.
Jūrmala has been always a relaxing place and used to be a top tourist destination for high-level communist party officials back in Soviet times. You can still see a lot of old resort houses from those times.
Getting to Jūrmala and its beach
The little town can be easily reached from Riga by train, especially during summertime there are trains at least every 30 min between Riga and Majori (the station where you have to get off the train to go to the beach). You can buy the ticket online without any registration at www.pv.lv and receive the ticket via email a minute later. You can also get tickets at the ticket office or on the train at the conductor. The tickets are around 2 EUR.
From the station Majori, it is a five-minute walk to the beach in the north. On the way, you also cross Jomas street where all the coffee shops and restaurants are located.
Ķemeri National Park and the swamps
The beautiful Ķemeri National Park is located next to the Jūrmala area but depending on where you want to go, it takes around 30 minutes to get there by train or bus. The Website of the national park is quite bad and not available in English. You get the best overview by looking at the PDF maps www.kemerunacionalaisparks.lv, which are also available in English. I decided to walk to the famous Kemeri Bog, which was unexpectedly difficult to find for such a popular national park sight. Therefore, you can find a brief description of how you can get there below.
The Kemeri Bog with more than 6000 hectares is the second biggest bog in Latvia and offers two boardwalk trails, an 1.5 km walk and the extended 3km one including an observation tower where you have a great view on the swamp.
How to get to the Ķemeri National Park (not that easy)
I started at Majori/Jūrmala but I would recommend that you go directly there from Riga and visit Jūrmala after the national park. You can start in Riga or hop on the train in Majori, it is the same train. Your destination to get off the train is Kemeri (30min from Majori or 60min from Riga). From there it is a 3.5 km walk (!) to the entrance of the Kemeri Bog (9G85WF65+WP). So, if you have any chance to get a bike somehow, it will be a way more comfortable, as you just walk for an hour along a muddy (depending on the weather) road in the forest which is also taken by all tourist buses and cars. According to https://www.visitjurmala.lv/, there is a bike rental station at the Kemeri train station (but I would not bet on it).
Starting from the Kemeri train station, you cross the railway in the south and follow the paved street to the south. After a couple of minutes, there is a non-paved shortcut (see path picture above) on the right side through the forest which is quite nice and you can avoid walking on the road. After a couple of minutes, you reach a busy road which you have to cross again. Now you should already see the non-paved road leading into the forest. Following this road and you will pass by a graveyard in the forest on your left hand side after around 100 meters. Stay on the road and follow it until you reach the parking space for cars and busses. After a few more minutes you will get to the “entrance” of the bog but don’t expect too much, it is just a small info panel beside the path. From there on you can follow the signs which will point you the way through the beautiful swamp.
Recommended schedule for Jūrmala and Ķemeri National Park
For a day trip, I recommend going to Kemeri Bog in the morning as your first destination. You can take the direct train from Riga to Kemeri and do the extensive walk (>10 km) when it is still a bit cooler in the morning. Don’t forget to bring your own snacks and water as you can’t buy anything on the way. After the bog, you can take the train back to Majori/Jūrmala and enjoy the afternoon/evening on the beach.
Facts & Data Kemeri Bog
- Kemeri Bog Entrance 9G85WF65+WP
- Accessibility: No steps or stairs, but the boardwalk is quite narrow and there are gaps between the three wooden boards (see pictures). I would estimate the width to around 60cm, I saw people with a pushchair.
- Opening hours: 24h, open throughout the year
- Price: for free
- Trail length: 1.5 or 3.5 km
- Infrastructure: None, no cafes, bars or shop, so bring your own snacks and water. There are toilettes (two small wooden huts) at the start of the walk.
- More information at https://www.visitjurmala.lv/