The town of Gulbene is located 186 km from Riga and it was granted its town right in 1928. The coat of arms of the town depicts a silver swan on a black background. The reason behind the swan being the symbol of town is that the name Gulbene originates from the Latvian word “gulbis” – a swan. According to a legend, the town was founded on the spot where “a daring plowman gave the land a tilth”. Gulbene was first mentioned in chronicles in 1224.
Aluksne – occupies the most elevated position in Latvia – 200 meters above the sea. It was first mentioned in Pskov chronicles, where the town was referred to as Alyst or Volyst. Similarly to many other Latvian towns, it was long ruled by the Livonian order which raised a fortress and a castle by the lake.
One of the most attractive sights in the area is the Narrow gate Gulbene – Aluksne railroad . It is the only public narrow-gauge railway in the Baltics (the width of the gauge is 750 mm). A 33-kilometer-long section remains of the narrow-gauge Stukmani-Valka railway launched in 1903. Banitis (from German Bahn – railroad) is the only railroad in Latvia that was recognized as a cultural monument of national significance. Passenger traffic from one regional centre to the other operates on a daily basis. Three pairs of trains per day go back and forth along this route. In June, 2005 the restoration of the narrow gauge railway engine Kc-4-332 leased from the Estonian railroad museum in Lavasaare was completed.
How to get there
By car: Follow the A2 Riga- Pskov A2 motorway until the P27 Smiltene – Gulbene junction, turn towards Gulbene. The distance from Riga to Gulbene is 186 km.
By train: Route Riga – Gulbene. The timetable is available on the Latvian Railways website.
By bus: Bus information: Riga Bus station.
Tourist Information Centers
Gulbene - Abelu 2, Tel. +371 6 449 77 29, Fax: +371 6 447 13 52, email@example.com
Aluksne - Darza 8a, Tel. +371 43 22804, firstname.lastname@example.org