If you stay in a discount hotel in Valmiera, you are in the middle of a region that is rich in Latvian history. Valmiera dates back to early medieval times. It gets its name from the early 1200s when Prince Vladimir of Pskov, after being banished from his city, was set up here as a ruler by the Bishop of Riga. A Teutonic stone castle was built in 1288 to secure the German domination of the territory. The castle ruins can still be seen, and are under reconstruction.
Today visitors in Valmiera can see a monument to the victims of an 1802 peasant revolt. Near the castle ruins, there is an 18th century building that is Latvia’s oldest pharmacy. It was in operation for over two hundred years before it closed in 1965. Simanu Church was built in 1283, and reconstructed in 1729. The church’s viewing platform gives a great view of the town and the Gauja River. Next to the church is the Valmiera History and Art Museum, where you can see the works of local artists and learn all about the town’s past. A few kilometers from Valmiera is Zilaiskalns (Blue Hill). This site is 127 meters above sea level, and has an observation tower that provides spectacular views of the countryside and nearby towns. According to legend, this hill was the site of a magical spring whose waters had curative powers. You can find more information on budget hotels in Valmiera on the listings at Vayama.com.