Jurmala - the largest beach resort in the Baltic States
Jurmala [ pronounced Yurmala – see Language Tips ] - the largest beach resort in the Baltic States is situated along Riga Bay, only 20 km from Riga’s city centre. Jurmala’s unique, white sand beach is 32 km long. It meets Europe’s water quality, infrastructure, and safety standards and receives the EU Blue Flag each year. Smoking and walking dogs on Jurmala’s main beaches are banned.
Jurmalа - Where to Stay?
How to get there
The drive on an excellent highway takes 15 to 25 minutes from Riga. At the Jurmala border those coming by car must stop and pay a entrance fee of 2 EUR. If you are staying at a hotel or spa-resort in Jurmala, you don’t have to buy the entrance ticket.
The ride from Riga’s central railway station takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes, depending on how far you would like to go. Please pay attention: on the train schedule you will not find the name “Jurmala”. You must buy a ticket to the district you wish to visit, for example, to Lielupe, Bulduri, Majori, Dubulti, or Jaundubulti. After purchasing your ticket, board a train marked: Dubulti, Sloka or Tukums. You may also obtain the ticket on the train from a conductor, but this option is more expensive.
From June 3, 2008 to October 31 a direct bus runs between airport Riga and Jurmala. Fare is 2 Ls (about 3 EUR).
By river boat
In summer a river boat travels from Riga Castle to Majori station, during the days takes all comers for a trip along the Lielupe river, and comes back to Riga in the evening. River trip is the most picturesque but at the same time the longest one, with duration of 2.5 hours.
Jurmala’s uniqueness not only lies in the length of its beach, but also in its shallow coastal waters, where one can not only swim, but also walk, stand, sit and lie. The shallow water is perfect for children. The beach is surrounded by dunes and tall pine-trees, giving off a wonderful, relaxing, and healing scent.
Jurmala’s attractions extend beyond the beach. Jurmala is also a township situated in a park-like landscape, where two-storey, intricately carved wooden housing predominates. The architecture consists of an eclectic combination of modern mansions and original wooden homes dating from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Jurmala is quiet, calm, and relaxed with its clean paved paths, narrow streets, and houses hidden among the trees. Garden-lovers will enjoy the impeccably mowed lawns and elaborate flowerbeds surrounding Jurmala’s mansions.
For at least two centuries, Jurmala’s spas have been famous for their mud baths and mineral springs. These resorts have extensive experience in healing various diseases, and offer health-improving procedures affordably.
The city provides everything from tennis courts to restaurants and cosy casinos. Both classical and contemporary music concerts and festivals regularly take place at Dzintari Concert Hall.
Pedestrian Jomas Street is always full of lazy tourists, and offers cosy shops, cafes, and outdoor beer gardens. This street runs parallel to Jurmala’s best beaches, stretching from Bulduri to Majori. This beach area features summer beachside cafes, volleyball fields, and swings. In case of bad weather, the water park “Livu Akvaparks” is always a good alternative and can fit up to 1500 visitors simultaneously in its many roomy sections.
What’s in Jurmala
Jurmala is a township running along the long coast line. It is divided into several districts, or centres.
- The closest to Riga is Lielupe, a quiet area of fancy houses. Lielupe offers a couple of hotels, a bowling centre, tennis courts and “Lоvu Akvaparks” water park. A walk from Lielupe to the pedestrian Jomas Street in Majori would take about an hour, so it’s better to take a train or micro-bus, both of which run frequently.
- Lielupe is followed by Bulduri. Usually this is the first stop where people from Riga get off the train on their weekends and holidays. The beach here is more crowded than in Lielupe.
- Dzintari and Majori mark the centre of Jurmala, and it’s where the tourists go. This area is the home of Dzintari Concert hall and the pedestrian Jomas Street with all of its cafes and restaurants.
- Dubulti and Jaundubulti are walking distance from Majori. Many make this walk along the beach, where signs are posted at each district.
- Pumpuri, Melluzi, Vaivari, and Jaunkemeri are all fairly far away from the Jurmala centre. Large spa resorts are hidden In this quiet area. Microbus transport is the easiest method of travel between these districts and Jurmala’s centre (15-20 minutes).
Jurmala- past and present
The bathing fashion of the late 18th century in Europe also reached Latvia. Then bathers consisted of rich landlords and Rigans, most of who originated from Germany, Poland or Russia. Initially Jurmala offered no particular services. Even the wealthy had to stay in a fisherman’s hut.
After Russia’s victory over Napoleon in 1812, Russian colonels and marshals started to come to Jurmala. In the middle of the 19th century, beaches became more “civilised”. Bathing enthusiasts formed unions, hired summer doctors, and organised concerts and other entertainments. Up to the late 19th century women and men were not allowed to swim together, as this was considered to be indecent behaviour characteristic to poor people. When women were bathing a blue flag was raised; a red flag marked the men’s turn. The whole procedure took place under stringent police control.
In the 20th century, during the 1970s and 1980s, Jurmala became a fast-growing resort, visited by people from even the most distant regions of the Soviet Union. Jurmala was considered a prime vacation spot, in that it was more westernized than other Soviet resorts in Georgia or Crimea.
In recent years new cafes, restaurants and hotels continue to open while old hotels are being reconstructed according to European standards.
Jurmala Tourism Information Centre
Lienes iela 5, Majori, Jurmala LV-2015
Теl: +371 6 714 79 00, +371 6 714 79 02, +371 6 714 79 05,
Fax: +371 6 714 79 01
Official Jurmala Website (LV, EN, RU)
Places to Go in Jurmala
Dzintari Concert Hall – various classical and contemporary music concerts, festivals. Concert programme (LV, EN, RU)
Livu Akvaparks – the largest water park within The Baltic States (LV, EN, RU, EE, LT)