'' Took a deep breath. And pick yourself up''
During this difficult time in the world, surely it gets a lot more needful to spend some peaceful time in nature. In Latvia there are plenty of interesting trails to follow, and we felt like this is a perfect place to discover with small kid, so, we went there.
The Ragakapa nature park is full of old beautiful trees and good trails. Easy to access with a bike and by foot, even with a good stroller. The area of the park is 150 hectares. Ragakapa Nature Park is a specially protected territory of nature formed in order to preserve the dunes covered with an ancient pine forest and the biodiversity on the sea coast.
Ragakapa, reaching the height of 17 metres, is protected by the state since 1962. In order to introduce the visitors to the natural values of the territory, two nature trails have been established in the park. One of the trails leads through the pine forest, is approximately 2 km long, and is mostly formed of boardwalks. Information stands and benches are placed along the route, and in its steepest places - stairs. Near the Open-Air Museum by the stairs you can leave this trail and go to the second trail maintained by the JSC "Latvijas valsts mezi".
The nature trail provides information about the biodiversity of the park, the unusual history of Ragakapa sceneries, plants, development of a natural old pine forest, and traces left by the insects in the forest. The constantly changing ecosystem of the Nature Park is the only refuge for many rare species. Seven biotopes protected in the European Union can be found there, including embryonic dunes, white dunes, forested coastal dunes, and naturally developed old coniferous forests. Forested coastal dunes are a specially protected biotope in Latvia. In the park 21 specially protected species may be found: eight plant species, one mushroom species, eight species of insects and four species of birds. Sand pink, protected in the European Union, grows in the Park; stock dove, black woodpecker, wood lark and tawny pipit make their nests there. Taking into consideration these values of Ragakapa Nature Park, it has been included in the network of protected territories of the European Union NATURA 2000.
Residents of Latvia usually do not see dunes as something special: we are used to seeing them on our coast, stretching along it almost for 500 km but if you go pass the woods, you get to a lovely beach that is way less crowded than Jurmala. I would recommend this beach over the actual Jurmala beach any day! It's simply a quiet happy place compared to the tourist crowded end of the beach.
There are open air museum for the local fishing trade. Unfortunately because of covid-19 for now it's closed but there you can see the history through the years and is worth a stop to see the recreation of the buildings where people will have lived and the many artifacts from the fishermen.
There is also a small play area for kids and picnic places to have a meal.Or, if you fancy, you can treat yourself to a fine lunch in the local restaurant No. 36 which is located near the main entrance of the beach.
On a final note, keep in mind that during the summer a section of the beach near the mouth of River Lielupe is reserved for nudists. ;)
Walking is the best possible exercise and it's the best therapy for our family when things get difficult. While access to travel to other countries are closed, I truly recommend to enjoy this time by exploring your hometown. And save this trail to another time when borders will be opened for traveling. I would like to hear which are your favorite trails in your country? Let us know in comment below :)