Located on the river Gauja, the city has about 25,000 inhabitants (2027), making it the largest of the county of Vidzeme. It is also the main industrial centre.
Valmiera grow around a castle of the Order of the Sword Brothers. In 1323, it received city rights and became a Hanseatic city in 1365. It has been destroyed more than once over the last centuries, so there are not many old buildings left.
See 1188.lv for up-to-date bus and train schedules, route planner and prices.
A regularly operated bus to Valmiera leaves the Riga bus station quite often. Tickets can be bought at the cash desk in the bus station in Riga. There are also buses from/to Cēsis, and Valka, the town on the Estonian border.
There are a few trains daily going through Valmiera from Riga, connecting to Valga in Estonia.
Valmiera is an approximately one hour car drive away from Riga using A2 and A3. From Cēsis Valmiera is about half an hour away.
- 1 St. Simon's Church (Svētā Sīmaņa baznīca), Bruņinieku iela 2, ☏ (pastor), (church), ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu–F 11:00–18:00, Sa 11:00–17:00, Su 11:00–13:00. Medieval church in Gothic style.
- 2 Castle Ruins (Valmieras viduslaiku pils). The remains of the castle of the Order of the Sword Brothers.
- 3 [dead link] Valmiera Museum (Valmieras muzejs), Bruņinieku iela 3, ☏ . Tu–Sa 10:00–17:00.
- 1 Theatre (Valmieras teātris), Lāčplēša 4, ☏ . The only professional theatre of the region Vidzeme, established in 1919. Almost all plays are in Latvian only.
- 2 Cinema Gaisma (Kino Gaisma), Rīgas iela 19, ☏ . The only cinema of Valmiera and in the wide region. Often shows international movies, but check if they are not dubbed. Tickets are rather cheap.
- 1 Valleta, Rīgas iela 4, ☏ . However rather small this is the only shopping mall of its kind in Valmiera. Several international chains are represented here.
Only Rewija of the following is near the centre.
- 1 Hotel O.K., Cempu iela 8B, ☏ . "Budget" but good ratings. Room from €40.
- 2 [dead link] Rewija Holiday Home, Raiņa iela 2C, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. Double from €48.
- 3 Holiday Complex Avoti, Avotu iela (2 km northeast from the centre), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Camping from €3.60, wooden bungalow from €50 (double).
- 4 Hotel Naktsmajas, Vaidavas iela 15, ☏ , , ✉ email@example.com. From €45 incl. breakfast.
- Seda – Founded in 1953 in an uninhabited area, it still embodies the pomp of Communist and Stalinist shock-work aka architecture. Nearby a vast man-made peat bogs nature area can be found, and is not to be missed. Both occurrences are historically tied to each other.
- Smiltene – Features a manor, some castle ruins, and a watch tower over the surrounding area. Not very interesting, but quite cosy and slightly larger than Valka, and not far from the Pskov highway.
- Cēsis – One of the country's oldest towns. It has an impressive castle complex of Livonian Order origin, a charming city centre with some cobblestoned streets, and historic wooden buildings.
- Ligatne – A village fairly well known for its nature trails, with a great natural park with wildlife animals and "fairy tale" forests with characters from famous Latvian fairy tales. Nearby, also an old Soviet bunker complex can be visited, which was built in case of a nuclear war.