Information & Facts
Most tourists to Jurmala are enticed by the prospect of relaxing
on the beach and getting some world-class spa treatments in one of
the many resorts. However, watersport and hiking enthusiasts will
also have a great time in Jurmala: there are miles and miles of
good walking trails through pine forests to explore; and rowing,
sailing and waterskiing opportunities abound. There are also
informal volleyball and football games happening on Jurmala's
beaches at any given time in the summer.
Latvian is the official language, but English,
Lithuanian, Russian and German are also spoken.
The official currency is the Lat (LVL), which is divided into
100 santims. Most hotels and restaurants in Riga accept credit
cards, and most major banks cash travellers cheques, but outside of
the capital credit cards are not widely accepted and credit card
fraud can be a problem at smaller institutions. Foreign currency
can be exchanged at any bank, at money change kiosks and at some
hotels. Note that a 4% fee will be charged to exchange US dollars
that are torn or marked in any way. Most banks are closed on
Saturdays and Sundays. ATMs are available in the larger cities.
While Jurmala is still relatively a 'undiscovered' resort on the
international scene, it has been a very popular haunt for tourists
from eastern Europe for many years. Some tourists complain that
groups of rowdy Russian backpackers can spoil the serenity of the
town. There is also an increasing amount of development taking
place in Jurmala, which can be a bit of an eye-sore.
Jurmala doesn't exactly have a wild nightlife, but there are a
few sophisticated bars, clubs and restaurants that stay open late
and which are especially pleasant in summer, when most people hang
outside and enjoy the balmy evening air. The Dzintari Concert Hall
has a full programme in summer, showcasing musical performances in
a variety of genres.
Jurmala has a wealth of fine restaurants (more than a hundred in
fact), serving everything from cheap local fare to exquisite
international cuisine. Cafe 53 is great for light meals, Sonali is
praised for its value, and Caviar Club is a fine-dining option
boasting glorious sea views.
Although blessedly free of touts and souvenir stalls, there is
still some great shopping to be done in Jurmala. Be on the lookout
for amber jewellery (set in silver) - a regional speciality.