The three pearls of Zemgale

2 days tour

Zemgale is the name given to the area of southern Latvia stretching from south of Riga along the west bank of the River Daugava and down to the border with Lithuania. Its name derives from the Semigallian tribes which once occupied it before the arrival of the German crusaders in the 13th century.

Much of Zemgale is fertile farmland, making it Latvia's pantry, and the drainage which made the land suitable for agriculture means that the region is criss-crossed with streams and rivers, many of them finding their way into the Gulf of Riga via the River Lielupe. Zemgale is divided into 20 smaller regions. The area is rich in castles, castle mounds, manor houses and palaces, the most spectacular of which is undoubtedly the lavish Rundāle Palace.

07:50 Pick up in Riga (location hotel), departure from Riga to Jelgava
08:50 Arrival at Jelgava
Jelgava is the heart of Zemgale region, the 4th biggest city in Latvia. For centuries it has been the Capital of the Courland and Semigallia Duchy. Nowadays it is the centre of education, culture and manufacturing of Zemgale region. Jelgava is also a student city due to the Latvia University of Agriculture.

09:00 Jelgava Holy Trinity Church Tower
The former church tower (built in 1574) was renovated in 2010 and has become the top attraction in Jelgava. There are three interactive historic displays, restaurant, sightseeing platform, exhibition hall and tourist information centre located in the Tower.

09:40 Presentation of Jelgava tourism offer, coffee break
10:10 Walking tour "What's new in Jelgava?"
Local guide will show around the novelties of Jelgava on the way to the Jelgava Palace (sculpture-fountain "Student of Jelgava", Mītava bridge - the longest pedestrian bridge in Latvia, Pasta island reconstruction project, lighthouse and tea-house).

10:30 Jelgava Palace and Hot Chocolate at the Dukes' Residence
The Jelgava Palace was built by the architect F. B. Rastrelli in 1738. It is the largest Baroque-style Palace in the Baltic States, situated on the island between two rivers. Nowadays the Latvia University of Agriculture is located in the Palace. A special recipe for hot chocolate is created in the Palace and served in the company of the Duchess.

11:10 Rundale Palace Museum exhibition in Jelgava Palace "The Family Vault of the Dukes of Courland"
The Vault is located in the basement of Jelgava Palace. There are thirty members of the House of Kettler and the Biron dynasty buried. The Vault contains sarcophagi and coffins, the exhibition about its history, restored articles of clothing and their details, and fragments of upholstery fabrics.

11:40 Departure from Jelgava to Rundāle Palace
The guide from Jelgava will tell about the places of interest in Jelgava county along the way.
Note: road construction works on the Eleja highway can cause delay

12:30 Arrival at Rundāle Palace
Rundāle Palace ensemble – the most outstanding monument of Baroque and Rococo architecture and art in Latvia.

12:40 Lunch at Rundāle Palace restaurant
13:40 Rundāle Palace and Museum
Tour with a guide through the palace. Excursion with an electro mobile in the French Regular Park with a flower garden, the Green Theatre, ornamental parterre and a fountain.

15:40 Departure from Rundale Palace to Bauska Castle
16:00 Bauska Castle, coffee brake
Bauska Castle is the only castle in Latvia illustrating the expressions of renaissance and mannerism architecture and decorative arts in the Duchy of Courland. Educational program "The Culture of the Court Life at the end of the 16th- first half of the 17th century".

18:00 Departure from Bauska Castle to Mežotne Palace
18:20 Arrival at Mežotne Palace
Mežotne Palace – one of the most beautiful classicism palaces in Latvia, was built in 1797–1802. The Russian Empress Catherine II handed palace over to the preceptress of her grandchildren princess Sharlotte von Lieven. There is a hotel in the palace with 19th century furniture, a restaurant and conference premises.
Opportunity to walk through Mežotne palace hotel, take a walk in the English style landscape park on the banks of the Lielupe River.

19:00 Dinner at Mežotne palace restaurant
20:00 Transfer to Riga

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