Cēsis is a town in Gauja National Park, in the Vidzeme region of Latvia. Having only around 18,000 inhabitants, it is a fairly quiet historic town, containing two beautiful castles and parks, houses built in various different time periods as well as small cobbled streets in the Old Town.
Cēsis is located roughly 100 km to the east of the capital Riga.
Many bus routes exist in the region. Direct connections between Cēsis and other nearby large cities such as Riga and Valmiera exist and departures are fairly frequent - usually once an hour. Connections with smaller towns exist, but may be less frequent, depending on the time of day. The Latvian inquiries service 1188 provides up-to-date timetables with information such as pricing.
Many buses in the region provide free WiFi access, especially on longer distance routes.
Getting into Cēsis by car is fairly simple. The A2/E77 heads out of Riga in a north-eastern direction and can be followed until the P20 which can then be followed north until turning off west into the town. If following the A2/E77 from a town further east, the P30 (turnoff from A2/E77) can take you straight into Cēsis. From northern towns such as Valmiera, simply following the P20 south until turning off to Cēsis in a similar fashion as when driving from Riga. Following the P14 south-east will also take you straight into Cēsis.
Various turnoffs can be taken from the P20 depending on what the end destination in Cēsis is exactly and should probably be evaluated beforehand.
The town center is fairly small and can be traversed by foot. Practically all sidewalks are asphalted or have flat brick tiling.
Local taxi companies exist and are reasonably priced making them a viable method of getting around. Regardless, you should always keep an eye out for possible scams related with overpricing such as bumping the meter price up with a touch of a button on the meter.
Local public transport exists, but the count of bus departures throughout the day is fairly low making walking to the destination often a much more viable opinion.
- Old Town (Vecpilsēta). 24/7. Various wooden buildings from the 18th and 19th centuries still standing.
- Cesis Castle Complex, Pils laukums 9. May-Sep: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm; Oct-Apr: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 10am-4pm. Complex with the Medieval Castle, the New Castle and the Cesis History and Art Museum. €3.
- St. John's Church (Svētā Jāņa baznīca), Lielā Skolas iela 8. Sat, Sun 11am-5pm. Built in the 13th century with the spire built in 1853. Currently a Lutheran church. Climbing up in the tower provides a nice view over the Old Town and surroundings.
- Square of Roses, Rožu laukums (in front of St. John's Church). 24/7.
- Unity Square (Vienības Square), Vienības laukums. 24/7. Contains the Victory Monument.
- Līvu Square, Līvu laukums, Rīgas iela 47 (south of Castle Park). 24/7. Has a fountain that is illuminated at night.
- May Park (Maija parks) (on the opposite side of Lenču Str from Castle Park). 24/7.
- Svētavots Nature Park and Holy Spring, Atpūtas iela 12 (in the western outskirts).
- Ski Centre Žagarkalns, ☎ +371 26 266 266. During season: Tue-Fri 3pm-11pm, Sat 10am-11pm, Sun 10am-9pm. During the last hour each day, cleanup starts to take place on slopes one by one.. €15-€18 for a 1 day adult ski pass.
- Ieriķu nature trail (Ieriķu dabas taka), Ieriķu dzirnavas, ☎ +371 28 396 804, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Parachute jumping at Vidzeme Aero-club.
Rīgas iela is the central walking street in the Old Town with a couple of shops and restaurants.
- Cafe Popular, Vienības laukums 1 (on the side of Kolonna Hotel, next to the Victory Monument), ☎ +371 641 20 122, e-mail: email@example.com. Mon 11am-8pm, Tue-Thu 11am-9pm, Fri, Sat 11am-11pm, Sun noon-8pm. Pizzas. Daily bistro. Summer terrace.
- Kolonna Hotel Cēsis, Vienības laukums 1 (next to the Victory Monument), ☎ +371 641 20 122, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Reception open 24/7. Starting with €40.
- Hostel "Putniņkrogs", Saules iela 23, ☎ +371 641 20 290, e-mail: email@example.com. Around €10.
- Ligatne – a town south-west of Cēsis housing fairly well known nature trails
- Jaunpiebalga – museum of the Latvian composer Emils Darzins (1875-1910) at "Jāņaskola" (phone: +371 641 62 354)