Rundale Palace, Latvia’s answer to Versailles, with both furnished interiors and well-tended gardens is a delightful stop an hour and half outside of Riga.
From the parking lot you would never know you were at the palace. Although there is a Rundale Palace sign letting you know you’re at the right place, nothing points to the direction to the palace entrance. Walk around and you’ll find it.
The 18th century palace has been nicely restored and offers two options to explore the palace and grounds, the short ticket and the more expensive long ticket. The short ticket route includes a number of elegant yet empty rooms while the long ticket route also takes you through the furnished private chambers of the Duke and Duchess. Unfortunately little information is given other than a list of furnishings.
In late September the beds at the front of the gardens were in full bloom but much of the rest of the garden was already past its summer peak. Still, it’s a fun garden to explore with great arbors, neat rows of hedges and lollipop trees. Wind your way through the various rooms of different plantings, many of them newish rather than well established.
On this particular Saturday an amazing stormy sky made the visit. Angry and threatening to open up at any minute (but never actually doing it) it was a great backdrop for the greenery, colorfull plantings and palace itself.
Driving the Backroads of Latvia
From Klaipeda, Lithuania we took a back way through the countryside to Rundale Palace outside of Riga. Not 10 minutes after we crossed the border into Latvia the road turned to dirt and we lost most of the traffic. A great drive on a well-groomed dirt track through farm land, tree lined lanes and a few small towns, but not many. Note that the Hill of Crosses is an easy stop on the way from Klaipeda to Rundale Palace.
September 21, 2019
For links to all the posts in this series see the Baltics Road Trip page.