Rundale palace and more: an excellent day trip from Riga

When visiting the capital of Latvia, Riga, take your time to see what Latvia has to offer outside the city. One of the most popular sightseeing places near Riga is Rundale Palace, located in Zemgale region about 80 kilometres from Riga. Zemgale is the smallest region, and it lies in the centre of Latvia. It is well-known for its historical monuments, palaces, manors, and castles. Its nickname is ‘breadbasket’ because in the past most grains were grown here: the soil is fertile and the land is flat. This region has two important cities, Jelgava and Bauska, and some worth-seeing palaces, starting from Jelgava palace which is a university now. Then there is Rundale Palace, an outstanding example of Baroque and Rococo architecture. It was designed in the 18th century by world-famous architect Rastrelli, who was also the architect of St. Petersburg’s Hermitage. Mežotne Palace in classicist style also houses a hotel and Livonian Order Castle in Bauska. I suggest you do a day trip to see two palaces, a castle and more around Bauska town. Here you go:

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A good time to start is 9 a.m. After a one-hour drive, you arrive at Mežotne Palace.

Mezotne Palace

Situated approximately 10 kilometres from the town of Bauska, on the right bank of the River Lielupe, is the Mezotne Palace - a classicism building of remarkable distinction in Latvia. Commissioned by Russian Empress Catherine II and presented to Princess Charlotte von Lieven, governess to the Empress' grandchildren, the palace was constructed at the end of the 18th century, its interior designed in the Neoclassicism style. During the agrarian reform of 1920, Count Anatole Lieven lost the Mezotne estate and the building then housed an agricultural school until 1944, when it was partially destroyed during World War II. Restoration works commenced in 1958 and were completed in 2001, preventing the palace from complete decimation.

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The landscape around the palace is harmonious and carefully planned. Its expressive auxiliary buildings, the beautiful park, the Lielupe River, and the picturesque landscape over the river make a unified ensemble. The park has three parts – a parade yard, a summer park and a winter park. In summer you can take a romantic walk there.

11 mezotne palace latvia 1270214Mezotne Palace can currently be seen only from the outside. In the summertime, guests of Mezotne can use a footbridge to walk and bike over the Lielupe, which connects Mezotne and Rundale Palace located 3 kilometres away.

10 mezotne palace latvia 127022011 mezotne palace latvia 1270228Our trip continues back to Bauska. When entering the town make a stop at...

Bauska Motor Museum

It is a branch of the well-known Riga Motor Museum. Previously these premises were used as Riga Motor Museum’s fund storage. Now the Bauska branch has been transformed into a new high-quality tourism attraction.10 bauska motor museum latvia 1270289

The museum displays a great variety of antique vehicles – classic passenger cars from the 1930s and post-war period, farm machinery from the 1920s till 1930s, a real threshing machine and tractors.

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12 bauska motor museum latvia 1270291The collection of military machinery includes military vehicles from World War II and vehicles used by the Latvian armed forces after Latvia regained its independence in the early 1990s.13 bauska motor museum latvia 1270310

For those not interested in a car’s every detail, the exhibition includes a restored artisan workshop and the interior of an early 20th-century farmer’s house.

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Address: Derpeles iela 2, Bauska
Then take a 10-minute drive to the next stop.

Bauska Castle

Bauska Castle is an example of military architecture dating from the 15th to 17th century, with its oldest part being an artillery fortress of the Livonian Order. Further additions included a residential castle with bastions, protective walls and an earthen rampart, as well as the Kettlers’ residence, the Dukes of Courland, built in the late 16th century. It is the only architectural monument in Latvia that showcases Mannerism castle architecture and decorative artworks of the Duchy of Courland. Restoration works of the castle began in the 1970s and the Duke’s residence was restored in the 1990s. Restoration of the Castle is continuing also these days.

23 bauska castle latvia 127044512 bauska castle latvia 127034313 bauska castle latvia 1270355The castle is surrounded by picturesque scenery. It is located on the land strip between the rivers Mūsa and Mēmele, not far from the place where they meet to form the river Lielupe. In the 70s of the 20th century, the restoration of the castle’s newest part began. Look at the ruins of the Order Castle, climb the central tower, view the panorama of Bauska, and see the outline of the previous fortification system consisting of bastions and ramparts.20 bauska castle latvia 1270430See the castle’s interior and the historical exhibits: “Clothes and Jewellery in the Duchy of Courland, 1562—1620” and “Bauska Castle: A Military Fortress”.

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Inspect the medieval fortress’ defence systems and see the collection of the castle’s cannons in the ruins of Livonian Order Castle.
11 bauska castle latvia 1270335After the castle visit, if you have the time, take a pedestrian path through Pilskalns Park, across a meadow and over a canal bridge to Ķirbaksala, the beginning of the River Lielupe.
As lunchtime is approaching, you can have lunch in medieval-style Castle Tavern offering Latvian and European cuisine.


Continue your trip for 12 kilometres to Rundāle Palace.

Rundale Palace

Rundale Palace was built in the early 18th century, according to the design of architect Rastrelli as a summer residence of the Duke of Courland Ernest Johann Biron.11 rundale palace latvia 1270460

A major part of the interior was made in the middle of the 18th century. Representation rooms in the eastern wing of the palace – the Gilt Hall, the White Hall, and the Great Gallery – are open to the public. The central part accommodates the Duke's suite with reception parlours and private rooms, and the eastern part hosts a fully restored suite of Duchess's rooms.13 rundale palace latvia 1270479

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17 rundale palace latvia 1270504Rundale Palace houses a museum which works as a centre for research into Latvia's history, through creating collections, arranging exhibitions and producing publications. The exhibition halls display applied art, fine art and historical expositions; the palace hosts the Early Music Festival and recitals of classical music.

The regular French-style park with its rose garden, the Green Theatre, ornamental parterres and the fountain are open to the public. In summer the park becomes a venue for the Garden Festival. The park spreads out to the south of the palace, and Bartolomeo Rastrelli designed it together with the palace building.14 rundale palace latvia 1270485

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Rundale's formal garden is a mere 10 hectares in size, however, Rastrelli managed to create a complex maze of pathways, pergolas, and bosquets. The rose garden reflects the evolution of roses in Europe since the 18th century. A "green amphitheatre" was built in one of the bosquets, modelled after Rastrelli's original design and using the existing relief shapes. In the summer of 2004, the opera Rinaldo by Georg Friedrich Handel was performed in the garden. If you have the time, be sure to explore the palace and park, and consider attending the Garden Festival or early music festival in July.
Then continue your travel to the last stop, Mazmezotne the manor house.


Situated at the top of the Lielupe River Valley, this nature-rich destination is ideal for guests looking to unwind and enjoy amenities like overnight accommodation, meals, and event or seminar spaces. For those who enjoy outdoor activities, there are cycling, boating and walking opportunities through the nearby nature trail and pathways. The refurbished manor house is distinct from other such structures in Latvia, having more of a Swiss architectural style.

12 mamezotne manor latvia 1270586The restaurant is named among the 6 best restaurants located in manor houses and palaces in Latvia, so it’s an opportunity for you to stay for dinner or even stay overnight in the 4-star hotel there.15 mamezotne manor latvia 1270600

14 mamezotne manor latvia 1270590You’d just better make your reservation in advance. The restaurant's rooms are decorated with oak furnishings and luxurious fabrics, creating an ancient and cosy atmosphere. Besides, the restaurant also has a bar area and an outdoor terrace, which offers charming views of the beautiful natural landscape of the river Lielupe.

11 mamezotne manor latvia 1270585So your trip is coming to an end and a bit after 6 p.m. you are ready to go back to Riga.

Practical tips for travellers

You can easily reach Bauska town by public bus but other parts of the trip done by public transport are too time-consuming to be reasonably practical.
So you are left with three options of how to do this tour:
1) Join an organised tour covering most of this itinerary.
2) Come to Bauska by public bus, rent a bicycle and do the rest of the tour by bicycle. The biking tour route is marked.

10 biking route sign latvia 1270218Address of the bike rental: Kalna iela 12, Bauska. Office hours are Monday to Friday 9 am - 6 pm. Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Open in summer.
3) Rent a car in Riga for the entire trip.
The best days of the week for a visit: are weekdays for less of a crowd in Rundale Palace. 

I hope you have a wonderful time in Latvia!

Rundale and more

  • Updated by Anita on November 26, 2023

Author: Anita Sane

Anita 03 18

About the author
Anita is a part-time traveller, passionate photographer and a retired career woman from Latvia, 
travelling mostly solo for more than 15 years. She is a skilled travel planner who plans and executes her travels by herself. Anita wants to show you how to travel the world and open your mind to new experiences. Follow her on FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter and Bloglovin.


Divyakshi Gupta
The architecture of the palace is just so regal and stunning. Love the windows, the palatial ceilings, the ornate work. Just too gorgeous. Even the castle is a wonder! So fairy tale like:) I love vintage museums and the Bauska Motor musuem reminded me of the National Transport museum near delhi! What a gorgeous lush green surrounding!!
Hi Anita, You have such beautiful photos in this post! I've never been to Riga, but seeing your pics and reading your post makes me wanna plan a trip there. Rundale palace is a very impressive and colourful building.
I haven't been to Riga yet but Def want to go.Thanks for adding to my intrigue. Like the way you put together the visit to Rundale palace as well as pictures. Keep exploring :)
Only By Land
Wow, I visited Riga but never knew of the option to visit Rundāle Palace. From seeing your pictures, I'd compare Rundāle Palace to Versailles in France. Flights are always cheap to Riga so this year I'll make an effort to revisit the city and take the trip to Rundāle Palace.
Sandy N Vyjay
Rundale Palace looks so bright and colourful and in harmony with its surroundings. The grand palace looks elegant and magnificent from the inside too. The other place I would absolutely love to go to is the Motor museum, it looks so fascinating indeed. Latvia is really a gem blessed abundantly by nature.
Samantha Sparrow
Riga has been a must visit destination for me for some time, mainly due to its architecture and looking at your pictures of the palace it seems I'm right - I love the architecture here and the colours too. Maybe I'll get to visit soon!
The Mezotne palace is very nice. I honestly was not expecting much when I first started reading but I am very pleasantly surprised by the grounds and the inside. Rundale palace seems a lot like the Palace of Versailles. Latvia has more to see than I would have imagined.
Beautiful photos! Riga looks very charming, I would love to visit more of the Baltics at some point :)
Adrenaline Romance
What a beautiful place! Rundale Palace is the epitome of elegance. But those cars---mmmmmmm! I love cars considering I create model kits as a hobby. Also, that Willy's jeep evokes a lot of memories. My old uncle once had one like that as a "gift" after WW2.
Woow, this looks really amazing, This is really on my have to do list before i get into my 40'sKeep posting,Kind regardsStefanie
The place looks so serene and so picturesque and so beautiful! Reminds me of the English riverside castles!Esp the bridge to Mezotne Palace is just stunning and if I'm travelling with my guy, I'd have a tough time pulling him out of Bauska Motor Museum.
I was in Riga and felt a bit disappointed. It's so small that it took just a few hours to visit. We had half a day left with nothing to do. So sorry I didn't look any further. I love the picture with the footbridge.
What a fantastic day out! I had heard of Rundale Palace, but not the other locations, which is incredible since I have been to Riga - either I didn't research well enough, or perhaps they are not open in December? But they all look spectacular. If I am ever back in Latvia in the summer months I will definitely need to look them up.

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