Madonas novads is an administrative region in Latvia.
Madonas novads is an administrative district in central Latvia, comprising places such as Madona town, Kusa, Sarkaņi, Biksēre, Dzelzava, Prauliena, Lazdona, Liezēre, Mētriena, Ļaudona, Degumnieki, Mārciena, Sauleskalns, Bērzaune and numerous smaller inhabited places. Madona is a region’s capital, education, culture, medicine, trade and industry centre and home of half of regions inhabitants. Madonas novads is known for its untouched nature, tourism, winter sports and culture activities.
Thanks to collaboration with other twin towns, foreigners are frequent visitors and there is always personnel able to speak Russian, English or German in hotels or touristic places. Usually the youth will talk English, older generations will speak Russian and possibly German.
The nearest major airport is Riga International Airport in Riga 165km away, serving over 80 destinations. Madonas novads is easily accessible by roads and railway. The best way to get there is by road (either by car or bus). A daily train runs from Riga to Madona every evening, on Saturdays an additional morning train is available in the morning. In winter weekends a dedicated train "Sniedziņs" will bring the skiers to Madona. The train is connected to the bus which takes the skiers directly to the ski slopes.
Car is probably the best way to get around. By local roads almost every place is easily reachable. Some places such as Degumnieki, Ļaudona are reachable by gravel road only but they are generally in good or at least acceptable conditions and can be easily managed by any tipe of private car (no need for off-road vehicle) Caution: Some gravel roads may be in bad condition (even closed) in springtime (usually March, April). In those conditions they may be accessible only for off-road vehicles. Roads in winter are generally cleaned from snow and maintained. However gravel roads, although cleaned, mayhave a hard packed snow on them, so winter tires is a must by law and for your safety. In some conditions like when air temperature rises above 0, the packed snow becomes a mirror-like ice, so drive only with good winter tires and with great care. Keep in mind that braking distance may increase by factor of 4 and even more.
By public busEdit
Every major place can be reached by bus. Most of them several times per day and at very low cost. Bus tickets can be bought at the bus station (only in Madona town) or at the bus driver when getting on. Please take into account that many routes may be served by small buses which cannot accommodate bicycles, skiing or windsurfing equipment.
In late spring/summer/early autumn on dry days a bicycle is a very good option. When cycling in inhabited places, do not leave your bike unlocked on the street as the bicycle thefts are possible, however still quite uncommon and especially in the countryside.
On foot is a good option to get around locally in the villages or towns. Some of villages may be quite sparse so bicycle or car may be a better option. Also when it rains. Beware of unsupervised dogs, which may come of out nearby homes and show signs of aggression.
You will need a private airplane, but at the same time you will have no constraints. There are no restricted airspaces around and the ceiling of G-class airspace extends up to 10 000 feet. Plenty of emergency landing fields for your safety are available.
- Krustkalnu nature reserve
- Teicu nature reserve
- Cesvaine's castle (actually in Cesvaines novads but very close to Madona)
- Lubana's lake - the largest lake in Latvia by size
- Gaiziņkalns - the highest point of Latvia (311m)
- Mārciena - hosted a military base in Soviet times, now there is an abandoned ghost town, accessible by road.
- Cross country skiing. An excellent cross-country skiing base is just outside Madona (southwest nearby the bypass road) with high quality and regularly maintained tracks. The base regularly hosts national and international (such as Scandinavian Cup 2012) competitions. Good skiing possibilities available also in many other places around.
- Skiing and snowboarding
- Gaiziņkalns and multiple slopes around it
- Rēķu kalns
- Ice skating and ice hockey
- Dog sledging
- Indoor sports - basketball, volleyball, floor-ball, artificial wall climbing, gym are available at newly built Madonas Sports Center.
- Under-ice fishing on lakes and rivers
- Off-road driving
- Cycling - there are several predefined cycling routes of various length offering great sightseeing opportunities. Bicycle rentals are also available.
- Beach volleyball - 2 volleyball fields on local beach of Madona's town. In summer when weather permits there is always somebody playing.
- Roller-skiing in the Smeceres sports complex
- BMX - one of the most challenging BMX tracks in Latvia. In the heart of Smeceres sports complex just outside the town of Madona.
- Paintball - just outside the Madona town, nearby the stadium
- Windsurfing - in Lubanas lake or Kāla lake.
- Shooting - shoot flying clay discs
- Hunting - many dimensionless forests rich in wild fauna are within 30min driving. You will need a license for hunting.
- Fishing - many lakes and rivers for fishing. Please note that for fishing in private lakes you need owner's permission. For fishing in general you need a fishing license which can be bought in many outdoor shops.
- Rafting, rowing and boating - explore numerous lakes and rivers by boat. Numerous boat rentals available allover the region.
- Horse riding
- Music festivals
- Nature trails
- Go-cart racing
- Swimming - the water in lakes and rivers is generally clean and warm despite it does not usually look very transparent. Most major lakes have public beaches.
Few hotels are available in Madona and many guesthouses and small hotels are available through the whole region. Prices are usually very affordable if not cheap.
Madonas novads is very safe region and is extremely unlikely to get into any kind of trouble. Generally avoid confrontation with drunk people, as some people when drunk tend to become aggressive.
Police reachable by calling 112. Take into account the local policemen are quite poor in English, but talking Latvian or Russian should be fine.
Both sea and continental weather are present in Madona depending on the season. The temperatures in July can reach as high as 33ºC . And it can also fall as low as -35ºC in the winter months. While -35ºC is still a rare occurrence, -20ºC instead occurs pretty often. Its much more mild whenever a western wind from the Baltic sea blows, it usually brings temperatures around 0ºC in winter and around 20ºC in the summer, and most likely also some sort of precipitation.
- The main tourist information center is located in the city hall on the central square in Madona.
Address: Saieta laukums 1, Madona, Madonas novads, LV - 4801 Phone: +37164860573, +37129130437. Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Daugava – biggest river in Latvia and Baltic states. One hour away from Madona towards Pļaviņas.
- Cesvaine – just 16 km from Madona, a nice small town with a great castle to see.
- Alūksne – nice town in north-east corner of Latvia. Just 90 km away driving in direction to Gulbene. Can be reached from Gulbene by narrow-gauge railway, which is a UNESCO industrial heritage and the only narrow gauge railway in Baltic states with regular passenger traffic. Sometimes on some celebrations and national holidays they use a steam locomotive.
- Cesis – a medieval town just an hour driving away.
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