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Pārgauja Municipality

A bustling rural municipality in the centre of Vidzeme Region suitable for hiking, visiting sites of cultural heritage and enjoying delicacies from local farms.

Pārgauja Municipality invites travellers to cross the River Gauja and to have a look at the bustling life flowing along the scenic environment on the right bank of the River Gauja, the old buildings, and modern farmsteads.

Outdoor adventures

One may access Pārgauja Municipality either by traversing the bridge over the River Gauja near Cēsis or Sigulda, or choosing a special adventure and traverse the river on a ferry near Līgatne. Līgatne ferry crossing is the only ferry crossing in the Baltic States, which is run on the power of the river stream. This allows enjoying the magic flow of the River Gauja.

Right after Līgatne ferry crossing one may find Lielstraupe thick forests where those preferring active leisure can enjoy excellent routes where to pick wild mushrooms and berries.

Heading through Lielstraupe forests in the direction of Cēsis, along the rolling terrain around Raiskums, one may enjoy the golden leaves of autumn. Peace, picturesque individual homes will make the autumn adventures outdoors even more pure and complete. A cycling route network has been created here. Depending on the mood, one may follow signposted routes for a few hours or for the whole day. Bicycle rent and convenient accommodation is offered by one of the best camping sites in Latvia — camping “Apaļkalns”.

The River Brasla, which mouths with the River Gauja close to Sigulda, flows through the municipality. The River Brasla is one of the most beautiful small rivers, delighting each and every water tourist with its colourful sandstone outcrops.

If you choose a two-day canoeing trip, accommodation sites offer other exciting adventures as well, for instance, the owners of “Mārkulīči” offer bow shooting or shooting with various hunting weapons. Meanwhile close to the holiday home “Vējiņi” one can step in the underground to see extraordinary, long lakes. These are the only underground lakes of this type in the Baltic States. 

Cultural heritage

There are two buildings built in the 14th century that are still preserved in Straupe — Lielstraupe Castle and Mazstraupe Castle, which are proof of the love of an old German family towards the place. The Von Rosen Family was one of the most powerful families within the Riga archbishopric liegemen family, who settled in Straupe already in the 13th century. Despite the changing Polish, Swedish, and Russian reigns, they remained in the castles and the vicinity thereof for more than 700 years, until 1939.

Travellers are welcome to visit the church of Lielstraupe Castle, hosting divine services every Sunday. Meanwhile the castles are now home to a school and a hospital.

Ungurmuiža is another excellent architecture monument of the 18th century. It is the eldest wooden residential building of manors still preserved in Latvia. Here you can enjoy the charm of the authentic building, the antiqueness of the oak stand, and enjoy a meal made by the chefs of Ungurmuiža restaurant from local products.

Delicacies from local farmers and items made by craftsmen

Locals are pre-dominantly employed in agriculture, cattle-breeding, but their little farms are hard to spot by travellers, since these are often hidden away in forests, the rolling terrain, and bogs. Nevertheless their products can be bought at Straupe market place where local delicacies are sold. The market is unique in Vidzeme Region, since it allows farmers show their skills of making qualitative and tasty food within a natural environment. Meanwhile craftsmen demonstrate their skills by turning local timber into various domestic and creative items. The market is open twice a month.

On the roadside of A3 motorway there is a garden of sculptures made from boulders, which is open every day and is managed by Ezeriņi creative workshop. Get inspiration for creative works, or buy items made from stone for your garden or home.



  • Pārgauja Municipality Festival is celebrated each year on the third Sunday of July.
  • In August, those into active lifestyle are welcome to join Pārgauja Municipality sports event, and runners are welcome to participate in the traditional race around Rozula devoted to the celebration of the Lāčplēsis Day (11 November). 
  • Nearly every Sunday Ungurmuiža hosts music performances of high quality. However, music festivals are the largest events — Small Opera Festival in June and the Schubertiad in August.
  • Twice a month — each first and third Sunday — Straupe market, selling local delicacies and craftsmen items, is organised in the village Plācis in Straupe rural territory. This is the place to buy best of the best products grown and made by local farmers, producers, and craftsmen. The market hosts a Slow Food Street which sells products made by the organisation “Slow Food Straupe”.
  • A divine service is held every Sunday at the Straupe Evangelical Lutheran Church


Facts and figures

  • Pārgauja Municipality was established in 2009 by merging Straupe, Raiskums, and Stalbe rural territories
  • The total area amounts to 485.3 km², of which more than half is covered by woods
  • Population — around 4000
  • There are around 10 larger and smaller settlements in the municipality. Since long ago these were the centres of small manors or craftsmen villages
  • Main employment areas are agriculture, timber processing, and food production
  • Largest enterprises: peat extraction company SIA “Unguri” and the cooperative society of dairy farmers “Straupe”
  • The municipality is crossed by two most beautiful rivers of Latvia — the River Gauja and the River Brasla, and there are also about 50 larger and smaller lakes
  • The municipality is well linked by bus routes leading to Riga, Cēsis, and Valmiera. See the bus schedule in www.1188.lv

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