Madona

Saieta Square in the winter

Madona is a town in the center of eastern Latvia, in the eastern part of the Vidzeme region. It is home to 9,000 residents, and is a centre of culture, education, trade, sports, and medicine in the Madonas novads region.

Understand

The name “Madona”, often confused with “Madonna”, comes possibly from lake Madona or the medieval German name for the palace of Birži - Madohn. Birži was the official name of the inhabited area before. The name of the town has absolutely nothing to do with the famous singer nor the Christian religious figure.

Get in

By car

There are two main roads from the capital, Riga – one through Sigulda and Bērzakrogs, the other through Plavinas. The road through Plavinas is slower due to traffic and inhabited areas with speed limitations but the road conditions are slightly better.

By bus

Madona is well connected by bus service with Riga and smaller cities in eastern Latvia. Ticket price from Riga to Madona is about €8 and it takes usually 3 - 3.5 hours to get there. From Madona you can catch direct buses to Cesis, Daugavpils, Gulbene, Alūksne, Sigulda, Rēzekne, Aizkraukle, Jēkapils and numerous small villages within Madonas novads.

By train

Going by train is a relatively cheap and quick option (€5, <3hrs). Unfortunately the train runs only once per day (evenings departs from Riga and early mornings returns) and are often crowded with students on Fridays. No advance booking of seats is available. As of summer 2011, there is also a morning train from Riga on Saturdays, leaving at 08:29.

By thumb

It is pretty popular to hitch-hike in Latvia and if you can get to Madona as well. If you come via Pļaviņas, make sure you get off on the bypass road at roundabout before crossing the railway bridge in direction of Jēkabpils. From there the branch road P37 to Madona starts.

By plane

The is no airport with scheduled flights. The nearest airfield is in Prauliena (7km on the road from town centre), which is a small non-supervised 400x20m strip but in very good conditions, sufficient for small general aviation and ultra light airplanes.

Get around

By car

The town is small and getting around by car is an easy task, without traffic jams and takes minutes. Beware that due to ongoing pipeline replacement works the surface quality on some of the streets may be really bad. Free public parking places are available in many places in the centre.

By public bus

There are 3 public bus lines in the town. Tickets (€0.70) can be purchased on board.

By bicycle

In late spring/summer/early autumn probably the best way to get around is bicycle. Do not leave your bike unlocked on the street as bicycle thefts are not uncommon.

Bicycle rental is available at Smecere's Sport Complex.

On foot

Getting around the center by walking is a good option in any season.

See

Madona City Hall and the Saieta laukums ("Gathering Square")

Do

In the winter

In the summer

BMX track

Learn

Madona is a home to two high schools and a branch of public university RPIVA. Check the international exchange programs for possibility of studying. Basics of Latvian language are essential for studying and living there.

Work

The current economic situation and high unemployment rates in general do not offer many possibilities to find a job, however finding a seasonal job in tourism may still be possible. For EU/EEA citizens no permits and no lengthy paperwork is required.

Buy

Eat

Drink

Stay safe

Connect

GSM/3G coverage is virtually everywhere.

Two public Internet access points:

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, April 24, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.