The picturesque ancient valley of the Gauja River has been attracting tourists from all over the world for centuries, and not without reason – Gauja National Park is the most popular tourist destination in Latvia. Its first visitors were hiking in the Sigulda area with walking-sticks as far back as in the 19th century and the evidence of this is the engravings left by them on the sandstone walls of the caves.
Every year the distinctive landscape of the Gauja ancient valley, the largest Devonian rock exposures in Latvia, sandstone steps, rocks (Raven Gorge, Devil’s Cave Rock, Spriņģu Rock, Fine Clay Rock, Zvārtes Rock,) and caves (Gūtmans Cave in Sigulda is the widest and the highest cave in the entire Baltic region!), as well as its cultural and historical wealth rich with legends and tales, attract thousands of visitors.
All of the natural and historical values of Gauja National Park can hardly be counted. There are so many of them and, besides, they are concentrated in a relatively small territory, and, one way or another, one day will not be enough to enjoy the magic of all of the GNP’s natural attractions. More than 500 cultural and historical monuments are located in the National Park – hill forts, stone castles, churches, watermills and windmills, as well as other archaeological, architectural and artistic monuments. The chief tourist destination is Sigulda, which is often referred to as the “Switzerland of Vidzeme”, and Turaida Castle, as well as Cēsis, but this is not all.