Experiencing The Great Kemeri Bog Boardwalk in Latvia
While researching some alternative travel experiences around Europe, I came across some highly atmospheric photos of the bogs of Kemeri National Park in Latvia. A country I hadn’t had the pleasure of visiting at the time, but that I was very curious to discover. And I wanted something more than a city break in its capital Riga.
Latvia seems to be among Europe’s most overlooked countries when it comes to travel experiences, but for a Dane like me, it’s actually just a short flight away from Copenhagen with airBaltic. So I thought, why not try something different?
If you’re a nature-lover like me, Latvia is definitely a good choice of destination, and if you rent a car you can reach Kemeri National Park in about 30 minutes from Riga. The park is neighbouring the popular coastal resort Jurmala just south of the capital. You can also take the bus or the train to the town of Kemeri, which is less than an hour’s journey from the capital – and from Kemeri you can consider discovering the park by bike.
The National Park was celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2017, and the best place to start your expedition, before setting off into the park itself, is at the Forest House (a 30 minute walk from Kemeri train station). An idyllic-looking building with a beautiful thatched roof. It was originally built as an entertainment complex and later used as a sanatorium for children during the Soviet times. Today it has several functions and the official visitor centre of the national park is based here, which is why it’s a great spot to get the information and inspiration you need before setting off – into the wild.
I was lucky to get to go with a personal guide to one of the park’s absolute highlights: The Great Kemeri Bog Boardwalk. A boardwalk might not sound like a great attraction, but trust me… this is not your ordinary walk in the bog. This is a route offering a “roundtrip” of 3,4 kilometres – elevated above the spectacular and wide open landscape of one of the park’s raised bogs.
A shorter 1,4 kilometre route is also available and shares some of the same stretches as its “big brother”, but unless you have trouble walking, you should go for the longer route, which takes you through a magical land of moss, sky-mirroring lakes and small pine trees – while you can spot a number of birds, sunbathing lizards, grasshoppers and colourful dragonflies.
If you visit on weekdays or out of the main holiday seasons, you’ll be able to enjoy a quiet walk along the broad planks, which are relatively new and in great condition. Along the route, they will lead you to the observation tower more or less halfway. A tower offering some even more spectacular views of this unique scenery. From here you’ll get a sense of how big the 381 km2 park really is, although you can only see a small part of it after all.
The good news is that this boardwalk experience is completely free to enjoy, and it’s a wonderland for photographers who often choose to come here on early mornings while the surroundings are covered in an atmospheric mist. Simply magical.
The Great Kemeri Bog Boardwalk is definitely among my most memorable nature experience while travelling in Europe, and I can highly recommend you to consider Latvia as your next destination. I’ll definitely be back!
Find more information about the park in English here: Magnetic Latvia
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I was invited to Latvia by Magnetic Latvia and airBaltic, but this article is written from personal experiences.