Towards joint management of the transboundary Gauja/Koiva river basin district


Nature and tourism, nature tourism, tourism in nature – environmentally and nature friendly travelling or so called “eco tourism” is becoming more and more popular nowadays. It is sustainable, environmentally friendly, individual travelling without running and hurry and with the main aim to promote learning local nature and culture as well as nature protection (contrary to big tourist groups which are trying to quickly see as much as possible without taking time to enjoy and catch the feeling of the place).

The Gauja River basin is characterized by a wide range of possibilities to explore nature, to see the typical landscape of Northern Latvia and Southern Estonia, to observe plants and animals in their natural habitats, as well as learn more about nature protection aspects – there are national parks, nature parks, a biosphere reserve, and protected landscape areas in the territory of the Gauja/Koiva river basin.

On Latvian side the Gauja National Park is probably the most famous tourism area in the basin with its beautiful Gauja River valley. Tourism history has a long tradition in the Gauja National Park with a wide range of possibilities to rest. Every year thousands of visitors are attracted by the unique landscape, the largest Devonian rock outcrops – sandstone precipices, rocks and caves, as well as monuments of culture and history, which are twined with many legends and stories. But also cities and towns located in the Gauja River basin offer a wide range of activities - for families with kids, for enthusiasts of art and culture as well as for fans of sports activities. Sigulda, Cēsis, Valmiera - these and other town welcomes visitors and quests.

On the Estonian side is located Karula National Park. There is a wide range of possibilities to rest in the park – go for a walk, swim in the lake, angle, enjoy one or all three nature trails, go across the pasture of Hereford cows and see beavers’ settlements. Or you can access the Tornimägi observation tower (30 m high) and enjoy the view on the Otepää, Haanja and Alūksne uplands. Also Kaika cupola shaped hills are visible from the tower. More detailed information:  For 24 km the Gauja is not only a river but also the border between Latvia and Estonia. River in this border area is wide, fast and available also for boating.

More information for travel in Latvia:

More information for travel in Estonia: