Cēsis is an ancient town with a history of 800 years. Mound Riekstu, which was inhibited by the first-known inhabitants of Cēsis — the vendi — in the 9th century, is deemed the origin of the town.
Later Cēsis became the central town of the Livonia, but nowadays, for more than hundred years, the town is an important centre of art and culture.
It is deemed the flag of Latvia comes from Cēsis. According to the Livonian Rhymed Chronicle, the armed forces of Cēsis Castle had carried a maroon-white-maroon flag in the battle near Riga in 1279. The first flag of Latvia is exhibited in the Cēsis New Castle.
During the warm days, one can walk along the cobblestone-paved streets of the Old Town and parks decorated with flowers. Other marvellous feelings can be experienced while watching the greenish nature of the primeval valley of the River Gauja, or paddling along the royal and curvy river.
In the summer, the castle park is often filled with music because of its concert performances. During a walk in the park pond you can watch the white swans and ducks and enjoy the beutiful view on the Medieval castle.
All through the year there are exciting excursions in the Cēsis New Castle and Medieval Castle, where one can also have a try of the medieval crafts and games.
During the winter days, downhill skiers and snowboarders spend their time on the tracks of leisure centres “Žagarkalns” and “Ozolkalns”. And the Vidzeme Regional Concert Hall “Cēsis” welcomes its guests to enjoy multiple music, arts, theatre, and cinema performances.
An exciting adventure is the walk along Cīrulīši Nature Trails, which shall demonstrate you the development of the primeval valley of the River Gauja up until nowadays, and shall show you the local flora.
Cēsis Castle Park offers a beautiful view on the Medieval castle and a nice calm atmosphere to relax while sitting on one of the park benches. The Maija Park allows watching the majestic life of the black swans.
The walking route “Gaujaslīči Section of the Cīrulīši Nature Trails” will lead you beyond the borders of the town and shall demonstrate some of the things off the beaten track. The walk will reveal the panoramic view of the town, while the primeval valley of the River Gauja — the marvellous wooden villas bearing extraordinary names like “Baltica”, “Carola”, and “Henriette”. (Route map is available from the Cēsis Tourism and Information Centre.)
“Lanterns of the Cēsis Old Town” is a excursion leading to the majority of the most beautiful sites and most important buildings in the Old Town. The special feeling will be created by the lanterns lit at night. (excursion can be booked at least 3 days in advance by contacting the Cēsis Castle visitor centre)
Another interesting object of sightseeing shall also be the Sarkanās Cliffs and the spring Rūcamavots emerging from the ground with such power one can even hear it slightly roaring (spring’s name in Latvian means “the roaring spring”).
The town Cēsis conceals true pearls of architecture and history — St John’s Church, Cēsis Medieval Castle, and Cēsis New Castle. You can walk along the cobblestone streets and watch the old wooden and stone buildings.
The contemporary and bright Vidzeme Regional Concert Hall “Cēsis” (opened in 2014) permeated with the touch of nature is also impressive. The brown brick walls at the ground level form the trunks of trees, while the glass structures above them are the crowns, and the yellow sun screens — the leafage. Inside of the concert hall there are elements preserved from the old club house, which once stood where the concert hall is standing now.
The facilities of Rucka Manor, which present looks and the park date back to the 18th century, conceal also the centre of craftsmen and artists.
The primeval valley of the River Gauja is full of the energy of nature and reveals the filigree wooden villas, bringing one back to the life of Cēsis many years ago at once. Several villas are seen while on the route “Let’s meet at the River Gauja in Cēsis”. (Route map is available from the Cēsis Tourism and Information Centre.)
Since the late 19th century, Cēsis has become the centre of art, culture, and leisure events not only in Vidzeme Region, but also in Latvia. Every summer it hosts the contemporary art festival “Cēsis”, which covers several tens of culture and arts events: exhibitions, concerts, and theatre performances.
Vidzeme Regional Concert Hall “Cēsis” puts various events on stage — exhibitions, classical music concerts and pop music gigs, dance and theatre performances, movies, and many other culture events with local and foreign artists participating.
The Medieval Day presents the medieval lifestyle allowing visitors to try various games and crafts, taste medieval dishes, watch tense fights of knights, listen to the medieval music and watch dances.
And in summer, the open-air stage in the Castle Park hosts various concerts and performances.
When discovering the Gauja National Park, you may stay for a night at peacful campsites where there is a place to park a campervan, build a tent to rest and to be prepared for the adventures of the new day. There are several welcoming campsites in Cesis Municipality that wait for travellers offering them cosy and groomed territories adjacent to forests and the winding Gauja river, peaceful as a blanket of mist that decorates the Gauja Valley early in the morning.
The campsite "Apaļkalns" is quiet and surrounded by nature. The closest surroundings can be discovered from a boat and SUP. The Lake Rasikuma can also be observed by cycling along gravel, forest and paved roads seeing the Village of Raiskums. Campsites is is equipped with holiday and campsite houses and wigwams, preserving space for holidaymakers and travellers. As a new day begins, you are warmly welcomed to observe Cesis and its old town which is just 9 kilometres away from the Campsite “Apalkalns”.
The campsite “Ozolkalns” waits its travellers to offer rest at the foot of the Gauja Valley. Here, the River Gauja winds, stately trees are growing and travellers find peace. In addition to classic fireplaces, glassed sunset houses that are illuminated with lamp garlands and mildly heated by glowing firewood are available for picnics. The River Gauja that flaws nearby invites to have amazing rest as well showing primordial beauty of nature at its banks and mighty sandstone openings and cliffs.
At campsite "Žagarkalns" enjoy summer and early autumn idyll created by natural landscape, winding River Gauja, beach and forest. For peacful rest at the campsite offers beach volleyball, football grounds and children’s playground, and the guests are invited to explore Cirulisi nature trails and swim at the well-equipped beach. On weekends, the Campsite “Zagarkalns” invites everyone to taste special meals from the Gauja Grillbar - Street Food prepared by the chef to enjoy special flavours of delicacies made of products of Latvian countryside.
At campsite “Mārkulči” the proximity of nature allows enjoying quietness and recreating before the travel around Latvia continues. The Campsite is located near the River Brasla, and trees offer shadow on a sunny day. For guests who like quiet rest may go for a stroll along the river, cross it walking along the net bridge or wooden bridge, warm up at a steam room and listen to birds singing, grasshoppers whirring.