Tukums is situated 65 kilometers from Riga, and is a small settlement with a rustic Old Town, a smattering of medieval castles and lakes for fishing.
Off the beaten track, Tukums is a good example of a typical Latvian town and not at all touristic but if you want a quiet escape from Riga or the resorts on the Baltic coast then it’s a pleasant town to stay and discover in your own time.
Jaunmoku Palace is an early 20th century brick palace that was used as a summer residence and hunting castle. Renovations continue today, and you can visit a museum in the palace dedicated to Latvian forestry and hunting, picnic in the surrounding grounds or stay in the palace stables at a 3-star hotel that offers horse riding and a sauna.
Fifteen kilometers from Tukums is Cinevilla Backlot, a replica film set that was set up for filming a historical movie. Today, tourists can visit the site and try on set costumes, view original set props and decorations such as bridges, railroads and piers and farm buildings.
Climb to the top of Clay Hill where you will see the Monument for the Freedom-Fighters of Tukums (1975) by sculptor A Dumpe. The monument resembles the form of an oak tree, in the centre whereof is the Mother, and on both sides - sons fighting for opposite fronts.
Grab a fishing rod and make a beeline for one of the many waterways in and around Tukums such as Lake Dzirnezers or the Vēdzele River where you can try your luck landing carp, northern pike or silver bream.
Thrill seekers can spend a few hours at Zviedru Cepure which has many outdoor activities to satisfy any tourist. In summer, zoom downhill on the rodel (summer toboggan) or go horse riding and in winter there are great ski runs and cosy wooden chalets to stay in.
Nature fans should include a visit to Engures Lake, an important nature reserve north of Tukums where you can walk marked pathways to see rare bird species and the rare Latvian blue cows.
Drive 49 kilometers southeast from Tukums to Jelgava, the location of the largest Baroque palace in the Baltic States – the impressive Jelgava Palace. Now housing the University, its best admired from the exterior. Other main sights in the town include the beautiful white and blue-domed St Simeon’s and St Anna’s Orthodox Cathedral and the Holy Trinity Church.
Tērvete Nature Park is a family-friendly place to visit just 50 kilometers south from Tukums. Here, the young (and the young at heart!) can explore fairytale settings in the pine forests, ride a mini train or go swimming or sailing on Swan Lake.
Roja, is located 62 kilometers from Tukums and a town with strong connections to the sea and maritime history. Explore the long sandy beaches, canoe on the Roja River or take a trip on a fishing trawler complete with local fishermen and your chance to haul in the nets of cod and herring.