The reserve includes Turaida Castle and the surrounding area and is the largest protected cultural monument in the country. Construction of the red, brick castle began in 1214 when it served as a fortification on the Gauja River Valley. Inside is a museum that documents the history of the structure and the now extinct Liv tribes which once lived in the surrounding hills. Climb the stairs to the lookout tower and take in the astonishing view of the Gauja River Valley on clear days. An art studio in the same building sells authentic Latvian jewellery, with information on the meaning of popular rings and designs. Restored for the most part with shiny new bricks, the castle lacks a genuine feeling of antiquity and is best viewed from afar, especially across the valley.
Open 09:00 - 20:00 (May - Sept), 09:00 - 19:00 (Oct), 10:00 - 17:00 (Nov - Mar), 10:00 - 19:00 (Apr). Admission: adults €3 - 5, children €0.70 - 1.15.