If you’re spending a few days in Riga, then planning a day trip to Jurmala and nearby Kemeri is something that should be on every visitor’s itinerary. As one of the premier seaside destinations in Latvia, there are lots of things to do in Jurmala and Kemeri that make it worth spending a day (or more!) if your trip to Riga allows.
Located within easy reach of the Latvian capital, Jurmala has been famed for its beautiful beaches and spas for decades. In fact, it is an incredibly popular destination in its own right despite its proximity to Riga.
A little bit further to the west of Jurmala lies Kemeri National Park and the town of Kemeri. This town is well-known for its sulphuric waters and is home to a (now defunct) sanitorium. The National Park is set atop a bog that is absolutely fascinating to explore – provided you remember some insect repellent!
So if you’re looking for a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of Riga, then follow this Jurmala and Kemeri day trip itinerary and enjoy a little piece of the gorgeous Latvian coast.
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Getting to Jurmala & Kemeri from Riga
Getting from Riga to Jurmala and Kemeri is quite easy and straightforward from a number of different avenues. Whether you’re interested in travelling independently or would rather opt for an organised tour, it is possible to reach Jurmala and Kemeri town by a number of different manners.
Riga to Jurmala & Kemeri by Organised Tour
If you’re really interested in visiting Kemeri National Park and don’t want to hire a car, the easiest way to do this is going to be by organised tour. There are plenty of tours to choose from that include guided walks along the Kemeri Bog Boardwalk and stops at the beautiful beaches of Jurmala.
For instance, this full-day tour will pick you up at your accommodation in Riga and take you to Kemeri Bog Boardwalk. After the walk, you’ll head to the beautiful Lake Kaņieris before heading to a beautiful beach.
Another great option is this small-group tour which also includes stops at the Kemeri Bog, Kemeri Town, Lake Kaņieris, and in Jurmala itself.
And if you’d like to have a guide all to yourself, consider booking this private tour which will take you to the same places as the other tours. Your guide will explain the history of the bog, the native flora, and give you some insight into Kemeri town and Jurmala, as well.
For a unique experience, this sunrise tour of Kemeri could be a good option. Keep in mind that, if you decide to go on this tour in the summer, the start time will be at about 3:30am as Latvia is located so far north geographically.
Riga to Jurmala & Kemeri by Car
If you want to travel independently, see as much of the area as possible and have limited inconveniences, then visiting Jurmala and Kemeri by car is going to be the easiest option.
Driving out to this area is quick and easy and will give you the most flexibility to do and see what you want on your own timetable. Going by car is also the easiest way to get from Riga to Kemeri National Park if you don’t want to go on an organised tour.
The drive from central Riga to the Kemeri bog walk trailhead is about one hour. Unlike if you take public transit, you can drive and park directly at the trailhead, knocking about four kilometres off of your total walk. Keep in mind that the car park has a €2 (cash only) fee.
From the bog walk, you can drive to the town of Kemeri in about ten minutes where there is ample free parking. Once you enter the major Jurmala area, you will need to pay a €2 fee if you are visiting from 1 April to 30 September.
After that, you can park in public areas at no additional cost. The easiest way to pay this fee is through the EuroPark app, where you can enter your license information and the fee is tied to that. You can also pay the fee in advance through the Visit Jurmala website.
If you’ve decided that hiring a car is the route for you, then we suggest browsing RentalCars.com to find great deals across a number of major and local car hire companies.
Riga to Jurmala & Kemeri by Train
One of the quickest and easiest ways to reach Jurmala and the town of Kemeri is by train.
Trains to Jurmala leave from Riga’s central station every thirty minutes or so and if you plan to only visit the seaside area of Dubulti or Majori, the train journey will only take about half an hour. You can purchase tickets at the station and the journey is quite affordable.
If you want to go all the way to Kemeri, then you can also opt to take the train. Trains from Riga Central Station to Kemeri leave about every hour and will take about an hour to get there. Keep in mind that, if you’re planning on doing the Kemeri Bog Walk, there isn’t an easy public transit method that will take you to the trailhead.
The trailhead (you can put “start of the Kemeri bog walk” into Google maps to direct you there) is about four kilometres from the Kemeri train station and it will take about forty minutes to walk there.
Alternatively, it may be possible to arrange a taxi or Bolt that will take you to the trailhead, however, you may struggle to find a ride that will take you back to the town.
It is also easy to hop on a train from Kemeri back to Jurmala (for this itinerary, get off at either Dubulti or Majori station) and that will only take about thirty minutes.
Riga to Jurmala & Kemeri by Bus
Though the train is the most comfortable and the preferred method of reaching Jurmala and Kemeri, it is also possible to take a minibus to Jurmala. From Riga’s Central Bus Station, you can grab a minibus to Majori or Dubulti about once every hour. The journey time will take about forty minutes.
To get to Kemeri, buses leave a little less frequently, however, in the morning, they leave every hour or so from the central bus station. Keep in mind that buses don’t terminate in Kemeri, so make sure you pay attention to the stops along the route.
If you’re interested in taking the bus, you can check timetables and routes here.
Things To Do In Jurmala & Kemeri
Now that you know the ways to reach this beautiful area from Riga, let’s talk about all of the great things to do in Jurmala and Kemeri.
The itinerary listed below can easily be executed in one day, however, it is easiest if you do have your own car. It is possible to do it by public transport, just note that it may make for a long day.
Kemeri Bog Walk
Begin your Jurmala day trip at one of the highlights (in my opinion, at least) of the area – Kemeri National Park and, more specifically, the Kemeri Bog Walk.
As mentioned in the “Getting to” section above, to get to the trailhead, simply enter “start of the Kemeri bog walk” into your GPS and you will be directed to the car park.
The trail is incredibly well marked and there is a short dirt trail (there are also outhouse-style toilets at the beginning of the trailhead) before you will arrive at the boardwalk and the beginning of the bog walk.
There are two options when it comes to doing the walk – the first is a 1.5km loop that will only take you to the beginning of the ponds and really boggy area. The second is a 3.5km loop that winds you all along the bog on a well-maintained boardwalk. I would recommend the longer loop if you would like to get the best experience of the bog.
There are plenty of benches and places to stop off and relax along the trail. There is also an observation tower that you can climb to gain excellent views over the bog. The trail is also lined with plenty of plaques (written in both Latvian and English) that explain some of the history of the bog along with the interesting flora and fauna that can be found here.
Plan for the 3.5km walk to take about an hour – especially if you make multiple stops.
After enjoying the peaceful nature of Kemeri National Park, it’s time to head over to the town of Kemeri itself. This small town on the western edge of Jurmala was once a famous spa destination and you can even visit a (now closed) Kemeri sanatorium dating back to the early 20th Century.
Kemeri sits up geothermal, sulphuric waters that run from the bog. You can actually wander through the lovely park in the centre of the town to a tap, where it is popular to bathe or rinse in smelly water.
The park also boasts a beautiful gazebo (known as the Islet of Love) and plenty of peaceful walking paths. You can also view the Kemeri Water Tower and, should you wish, pay the fee to climb to the top.
From Kemeri, it’s time to head to Jurmala proper and one of the most popular areas to visit here is Dubulti. Located to the west of the most popular and lively beach of Majori, Dubulti is a good place to explore for something a little bit more laid back.
Obviously, the main draw of this area is the expansive, white sand beach. Like most beaches in the Baltic states, the sand is incredibly fine and the water is quite shallow.
If you want to go for a swim, you may have to go walk out for 100 metres or more before you’re able to fully submerge yourselves. Because of how shallow and calm the water is, these beaches are very popular with families with younger children.
The beaches of Jurmala have plenty of changing areas and Dubulti is no different. You will also find volleyball areas and a few cafes where you can get a drink and some snacks. There is also a boardwalk that you can stroll along to the other beaches of Jurmala, including Vaivari to the west and Majori, Dzintari and Bulduri to the east.
If you’re looking for a place to have a good lunch, then consider heading away from the beach to Kinza House, an excellent Georgian restaurant serving up favourites from this beautiful Caucasian country.
While Dubulti is perfect for those looking for a laid-back beach to relax on, no Jurmala day trip would be complete without visiting Majori – the main neighbourhood in Jurmala. Majori is home to, obviously, a beautiful beach where you can also take a photo with the “Jurmala” sign. While in Majori, make sure to find the massive turtle statue, as well.
This is also where the majority of the big hotels and spas are located and there are quite a few restaurants and bars to visit. Majori is more of a “proper town” rather than a sleepy seaside suburb that you are more likely to find in the other Jurmala neighbourhoods.
Take the time to enjoy the delightful white sand beach, but make sure you go for a stroll in the town itself. There are plenty of beautiful, traditional houses to take in and a great seaside vibe to enjoy.
This 2-kilometre-long pedestrian street winds its way from the centre of Majori all the way to the neighbourhood of Dzintari. Jomas Iela is a lively thoroughfare that is lined with countless bars, shops, restaurants and hotels and is really the main artery in Jurmala.
Make sure to take the time to stroll down this pedestrian street, stop at some of the souvenir stands, grab a drink somewhere and just enjoy the energy of this lovely street. Walking town Jomas Iela is absolutely one of the best things to do in Jurmala.
Our Lady of Kazan Church
At the end of Jomas Iela lies a beautiful orthodox church known as the Our Lady of Kazan Church. Especially for those who are not from countries where Eastern Orthodox is a dominant religion, this church will be striking to see.
Complete with beautiful colours, numerous onion domes and a cacophonous bell symphony on the hour, this church is very much worth seeing.
Dzintari Forest Park
If you didn’t get your fill of forest scenery while on the Kemeri Bog Walk (or you have decided to forgo that particular part of this day trip), make the final stop on this Jurmala day trip be the Dzintari Forest Park.
This is a vast park lined with pathways and tranquil forest vibes that is the perfect place to relax away from the sun and sand of the beach. It is also one of the main attractions in Jurmala.
Where to Stay in Jurmala
If you’ve determined that you’d rather have more than a day in Jurmala, then there are plenty of accommodation options in this seaside area of Latvia. Ranging from swish hotels to comfortable apartments, you’re sure to find something that suits. If you’re wondering where to stay in Jurmala, have a look at these suggestions:
Kurshi Hotel & Spa – This hotel is an excellent choice for those looking for a comfortable but affordable place to stay in Jurmala. They have a range of clean and modern rooms available, a location within a few minutes walking from the beach and a lovely spa to relax in should you choose. Click here to see their latest prices
Hotel Jurmala Spa – One of the most popular Jurmala hotels, this is a great luxury option if you really want to take advantage of this famed spa destination. They have a number of rooms on offer, a full-service spa on site and a great bar and restaurant on site. Click here to see their latest prices
Greenhouse Apartments – If you’d like to have your own place to stay in Jurmala, then this studio apartment can be a great option. Located within easy walking distance from the beach, this place is perfect for couples looking for a comfortable stay in Jurmala. Click here to see their latest prices
Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse other hotels in Jurmala
Planning a day trip to Jurmala and Kemeri is an excellent addition to any trip to the Latvian capital. This area is famous for a reason and it is well worth taking the time to visit for yourself.
Are you planning a Jurmala day trip? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments!