Latvia – local experiences

LATVIA

 amarillo CARPENTER’S HOUSE “NAMDARU DARBNICA”
WEBSITE: https://www.namdaradarbnica.com

The carpenter’s workshop offers special excursions and theme programmes. Under the guidance of a craftsman it is possible to try out working with traditional wood-working tools and get to know ancient games. A tea break in a romantic cottage. Visitors can buy souvenirs made of a juniper wood.

The programme includes:

  • Finding out about the tree species in Latvia and the traditional use of wood for various household purposes.
  • Seeing in action and trying out, under guidance of skilful craftsmen, the traditional woodworking tools like sawing with a two-man saw, making an accurate roof shindle with a drawknife, and trying one’s hand at carving a trough.
  • Trying the old-time outdoor game equipment made of wood, like walking on wooden stilts, driving the puck, and other.

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 amarillo BIRCH SAP PRODUCTION FACILITIES

1) Birch sap brand products Birzī from the Labanovski  family

From May till October visitors are invited to visit the birch sap production facilities with cellar where sparkling birch sap is produced.  Sap is especially tasty when it’s fresh in April and beginning of May, but in order to maintain its refreshing and valuable qualities, during many years the Labanovski family has developed new recipes. The products are organically certified. All products can be purchased on site.

The programme includes:

  • The hosts telling about birch saps with video projections and photos from birch sap harvests in springtime.
  • Tasting different kinds of birch sap from fresh to sparkling with various flavours, and the unique birch sap syrup, as well as wines from birch sap or dandelion.

Website: www.birzi.lv

2) Bio birch sap products from the Liberts family

A tour of the cellar in which the owner produces fresh birch sap, fermented birch sap lemonade with hint of peppermint, sweet and tasty birch sap syrup, birch sap still wine, sparkling wine made with traditional champenoise method with second fermentation in bottle, birch sap spirit, frozen birch sap (for cosmetic and beverage industries). Products can be purchased on site.

The programme includes:

  • The hosts telling about birch saps, harvesting and production of drinks.
  • Tasting different kinds of birch sap products.

Website:http://sula.lv/

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 amarillo ADZELVIEŠI HEMP FARM
WEBSITE: http://www.adzelviesi.lv

In the fields of Adzelvieši hemp is cultivated, from the seeds of which hemp butter and rough grinding is produced. Exposition of traditional hemp processing tools. Hemp is an ancient Latvian cultivated plant, which has been cultivated more than 1000 years. The programme includes:

  • A story of hemp cultivation history.
  • Tasting traditional hemp products: rough and fine hemp spread, hemp sandwiches, pressed and toasted hemp crumbs, hemp oil.

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 amarillo THE VIENKOČU LANDSCAPE PARK
WEBSITE: http://www.vienkoci.lv/en/

The Vienkoču park islandscape park by the Līgatne river. Theme trails, models of historic manors, wooden sculptures, ethnographic buildings, log-boats, tar kiln are all to be found in the park. Visiting an ecologically built sand-house in Latvia, finding out about its building philosophy and the process.

The park also houses a Woodcraft Museum, arranged as a historic carpenter’s workshop. It is possible to find out in the museum how the craftsmen of old times mastered wooden things. A special attention is being paid to the research of process of making the log-boats.

The programme includes:

  • Guided excursion in the park.
  • Guided excursion in the Woodcraft museum.
  • Optional workshops for visitors to participate.

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 amarillo AVOTIŅI HERB FARM
WEBSITE: http://www.celotajs.lv/en/e/veselibas_augu_ekspozicija

Open-air functional exhibition of medicinal plants introduces visitors to a “green pharmacy”. There are more than 300 different plants. Every healthy lifestyle enthusiast can find the secrets of fitotherapy and learn to use the plants in many different ways – making sauna besoms, aromatic pillows, healthy teas, bath scrubs.

The programme includes:

    • A tour of the medicinal plant garden and collection.
    • Tasting green cocktails.

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 amarillo HERB GARDEN AND COUNTRY STYLE LUNCH (STOPOVER RIGA-TALLINN)
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The distance from Riga to Tallinn is more than 300 km and it takes ~5h by bus. Therefore we suggest to make  a stop on the way for a brief excursion in a herb farm and lunch in a country pub.
This stopover place is in ca 1.5 hours’ drive from Riga, just on time to stretch one’s legs and diversify the trip. It will give an insight in the country lifestyle and it may surprise the visitors with how Latvians live closely with nature, knowing and using herbs for food, health and beauty. After excursion, the group will have lunch in a country pub serving meals from natural and locally grown ingredients.
The whole stopover package with an excursion in the herb farm and with lunch  (incl. drive) in the pub will take 4 hours.

 amarillo INDĀNI NATURAL FARM
WEBSITE: http://www.indani.lv

Visitors will see an example of natural farming of today. There are farm animals, a collection of ancient tools, a country sauna.

The programme includes:

      • A tour of the farm introducing the way of life in the countryside.
      • A tea break drinking herbal tea with honey, tasting carrot buns and other traditional pastries.

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 amarillo ĶOŅU MILL
WEBSITE: http://www.konudzirnavas.lv

This is one of the few places in Latvia to offer a look at industrial equipment from the 19thcentury that is still in good working order – a wool plucking and combing apparatus, a unique spinning wheel and a windmill used to grind grain.  Visitors can track the processing of wool on equipment that is 100 years old, watching how blankets and pillows stuffed with sheep wool are produced by hand.  There are souvenirs for sale.  The owners organise celebrations of Summer Solstice, the Latvian traditional pagan festivity.

The programme includes:

      • A tour of the mill.
      • Optional: a programme with traditional singing and dancing performance.


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       amarillo CERAMIC WORKSHOP AND COUNTRY STYLE LUNCH (STOPOVER RIGA-TALLINN)
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      The distance from Riga to Tallinn is more than 300 km and it takes ~5h by bus. Therefore we suggest to make a stop on the way for a brief excursion in a ceramics workshop and lunch in a country pub.
      The stopover is in ca 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Riga and it consists of 2 components – a visit in a pottery  “Cepļi ceramics” by Ingrīda Žagata and lunch in a cozy country pub “Sidrabiņi”.

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       amarillo BREAD BAKING WORKSHOP AND COUNTRY LIFE IN THE COUNTRY HOUSE “CAUNITES” (DAY TOUR)
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      Bread baking is one of the most honoured traditional skills in Latvia as bread has always been one of the most important staple foods for Latvians.
      “Caunites” is a country house that keeps Latvian traditions and shows them to visitors. The hosts master many of traditional skills in handicraft, music, making food, and they offer specialised excursion and workshop programs to groups and individuals. The house is designed and decorated in traditional Latvian style and carries authentic ambience while having modern facilities.
      Bread baking is the most popular programme. Under guidance of the hostess, visitors bake their own loaf of sweet-and-sour bread in a wood-fired bread oven. Traditionally in Latvian families, it was one of the main duties of the mistress of the house, to bake a week’s supply of bread for the whole family every Saturday morning. Everyone was proud of her own best recipe and passed it down to her daughters and granddaughters through generations. There are many traditional beliefs, sayings and riddles linked with bread in Latvian folklore. Today, there is great interest in old recipes, bread baking methods and use of ecological ingredients as many families go for healthy lifestyle.
      The “Caunites” country house is located 40 km from Riga, the capital, and it can be easily reached by train or private transfer car. The time of the visit and programme should be booked in advance.

      VIDEOS

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       amarillo MAZBURKAS GRAPE AND SHEEP FARM
      ADDRESS: Smārdes pag., Engures nov., LV-3129, Latvia
      DISTANCE: Riga 67 km
      SEASON: all year
      FOR WHOM: individuals and groups
      HOST: Gunta Niedra
      WEBSITE: www.celotajs.lv/en/e/mazburkas

       

       

      The farm specialises in sheep breeding, grape growing and the production of wine. It has 44.5 ha of land, 5 ha of vineyard and a flock of 145 sheep.

      There are vineyards on the southern slopes of the hills, and some 60 different varieties of grape are grown there. Visitors can pick their own grapes or buy some that have already been picked.  The lady of the farm produces outstanding wines that have received prestigious awards, including international ones. Visitors can see the flock and purchase mutton if they have contacted the farm in advance for that purpose.

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       amarillo VAIDELOTES GRAIN FARM
      ADDRESS: Jauncode, Codes pag., Bauskas nov., LV-3901, Latvia
      DISTANCE: Riga 70 km
      SEASON: all year
      FOR WHOM: groups
      HOST: Daira Jātniece
      WEBSITE: www.celotajs.lv/en/e/zs_vaidelotes

       

       

      An organic farm with 365 ha of land, including 270 ha of grain (wheat, barley) fields and 44 ha of fields of rapeseed and legumes (beans, peas). There are five cows on the farm. This farm epitomises the traditional Latvian lifestyle, organising seasonal celebratory events for Easter and Midsummer. The hostess offers traditional country foods such as porridge, dumplings, bacon rolls, and pastries made using grain and wholemeal flour produced on the farm. Herbal teas, herbs and other rustic goodies are available for sale. The farm holds Latvian Heritage and Latvian Cuisine awards for maintaining and promoting Latvian traditions.

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       amarillo VALMIERMUIŽA BREWERY
      ADDRESS: 2 Dzirnavu str., Valmiermuiža, Burtnieku nov., LV 4219, Latvia
      DISTANCE: Riga 109 km
      SEASON: all year
      FOR WHOM: groups
      WEBSITE: www.valmiermuiza.lv

       

      The brewery welcomes visitors to experience how their excellent beer is brewed from a combination of Valmiermuiža well water, delicious malts, heritage hops and natural yeast. An integral part of any visit is discovering and sampling the wide range of brews and listening to stories about the traditional Latvian holiday drink. Valmiermuiža Brewery has also revived its historical and cultural centre and organises traditional celebrations and farmers markets. The brewery’s pub serves traditional seasonal Latvian foods such as fish from nearby Lake Burtnieks, and green pea mash with loganberries. The house speciality is sliced pork marinated in unfiltered winter beer. Tour and beer sampling duration: 1.5–2 hours. The brewery holds a Latvian Heritage award for its efforts to keep the brewing tradition alive and a Latvian Cuisine award.


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       amarillo STRAUPE FARMERS’ MARKET
      ADDRESS: Pārgaujas nov., Straupes pag., Straupes zirgu pasts, Latvia
      DISTANCE: Riga 73 km
      SEASON: all year
      FOR WHOM: individuals and groups
      WEBSITE: www.celotajs.lv/en/e/straupes_lauku_labumu_tirdzins

       

      Straupe’s farmers’ market is a member of the Slow Food International Earth Markets alliance. The produce that is sold on the market conforms with the Slow Food philosophy – it is locally grown, seasonal and of good quality. It has been grown and produced in a responsible way. The farmers at the market stalls are selling their own produce and can answer all the buyers’ questions about the products and production processes. The market sells a variety of foods, animals and poultry, plants and seedlings, and handicrafts.
      The market takes place twice a month – on the first and third Sundays. It is hosted in a renovated former pub building that has national architectural heritage status. The market holds a Latvian Heritage award for its efforts to revive and maintain Latvian market traditions.

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       amarillo LIEPĀJA CRAFTS CENTRE
      ADDRESS: Dārza iela 4/8, Liepāja, LV 3401, Latvia
      DISTANCE: Riga 217 km
      SEASON: all year
      FOR WHOM: individuals and groups
      WEBSITE: www.celotajs.lv/en/e/liepajas_amatnieku_nams

       

      This is a unique opportunity to watch the work of various craftspeople (amber workers, jewellers, weavers, seamstresses, etc.) and purchase their masterful work. Visitors can see the world’s longest amber necklace – 123 m and 19 kg – which was made using pieces of amber contributed by local residents. The crafts centre holds a Latvian Heritage award for its efforts in maintaining traditional Latvian handicraft skills.

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       amarillo KURMĪŠI HERB FARM
      ADDRESS: Rakuti, Ūdrīšu pag., Krāslavas nov., LV-5601, Latvia
      DISTANCE: Riga 280 km
      SEASON: April – October
      FOR WHOM: groups
      HOST: Ivars Geiba
      WEBSITE: www.celotajs.lv/en/e/zalu_tejas_kurmisi
      www.kurmisi.lv

       

       

      The farm grows medicinal plants that are very common in Latvia – oregano, St John’s wort, wormwood, lemon balm, cat’s-foot and others – altogether 25 species. It is located in a nature reserve and therefore in a clean ecological environment. Tours present how the medicinal plants are cultivated, and how herbal teas and other products are made on the farm. Herbal tea is served after the tour. The farm holds a Latvian Heritage award for its efforts in keeping alive the traditional knowledge of herbal tea production and its medicinal properties.

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       amarillo GEIDAS DAIRY FARM
      ADDRESS: Džūkstes pag., Tukuma nov., LV-3147, Latvia
      DISTANCE: Riga 65 km
      SEASON: May – September
      FOR WHOM: groups
      HOST: Gundega Jēkabsone
      WEBSITE: www.celotajs.lv/en/e/geidas

       

       

      The farm specialises in organic dairy farming. During the farm tour, visitors will learn how dairy products are produced and get the chance to try churning butter and making cream using a mechanical milk separator. There is a room containing a display of old milk processing tools and equipment. A traditional Latvian snack will be offered – a glass of milk with bread and berry jam. The hosts will talk about the importance of milk as part of a healthy diet, and will share Latvian riddles and beliefs related to milk. The farm holds a Latvian Heritage award for its efforts to keep dairy farming traditions alive.
      Duration of the visit: 1.5–2 hours

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       amarillo SKRĪVERU HOMEMADE ICE-CREAM
      ADDRESS: 96, Daugavas str., Skrīveri, Skrīveru nov., LV-5125, Latvia
      DISTANCE: Riga 81 km
      SEASON: all year
      FOR WHOM: groups
      HOSTS: Lelde Sotniece and family
      WEBSITE: www.celotajs.lv/en/e/skriveru_majas_saldejums
      www.majassaldejums.lv

       

       

      This family enterprise makes homemade ice-cream. Their range includes various types of dessert, including plombières, cream, frozen yoghurt, sorbets and today’s latest innovations – blue cheese, horseradish or potato ice-creams, with tomato sauce. So far the family have trialled 80 different ice-cream recipes. The house speciality is horseradish ice cream with herring! The enterprise holds a Latvian Heritage award for producing craft food.
      Tour programme:

      • introduction to the family enterprise, an insight into the history and types of ice-cream;
      • ice-cream making demonstration;
      • ice-cream tasting: small portions of unusual ice-creams, for example, beer, potato, coal, sorbet, zephyr ice-creams;
      • a chance to enjoy traditional freshly made ice-cream.

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       amarillo SKRĪVERU MILK SWEETS FACTORY
      ADDRESS: 2 Daugavas str., Skrīveri, Skrīveru nov., LV-5125, Latvia
      DISTANCE: Riga 80 km
      SEASON: all year
      FOR WHOM: groups
      HOST: Baiba Lūse
      WEBSITE: http://www.celotajs.lv/en/e/skriverupk
      www.skriverugotina.lv

       

       

       

      The milk sweets factory is a family enterprise where handmade milk sweets are produced following authentic recipes and using high-quality ingredients. The enterprise holds a Latvian Heritage award for preserving the Latvian ‘Gotiņa’ milk sweets brand.
      Tour programme:
      • introduction to the enterprise and its history;
      • chance to see the production machinery and the collection of milk sweets wrapping papers;
      • tasting session;
      • chance to master the skill of sweet wrapping. Guests can take their wrapped sweets away as a souvenir.
      There is a wide range of freshly made products available from the factory outlet that can be visited after the tour.

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       amarillo KLIMPAS SHEEP FARM
      ADDRESS: Rūjienas nov., Jeru pag., LV-4234, Latvia
      DISTANCE: Riga 150 km
      SEASON: all year
      FOR WHOM: groups
      HOST: Ilze and Valdis Leskas
      WEBSITE: http://www.celotajs.lv/en/e/zs_klimpas

       

       

       

      This certified organic farm breeds more than 150 pedigree sheep on 200 ha of land. The owners organise animal auctions and Sheep Days. Visitors can tour the farm and learn about sheep – their breeds, habits, foods and feeding, and sheep farming. The farm also produces natural sheep’s wool products including blankets and socks. The farm holds a Latvian Heritage award for keeping traditional sheep-breeding and wool crafting skills alive.