August 17th, 2019
Urban beaches in the centre of Riga, Latvia – Lucavsala and Ķīpsala
BeActive Beach Games, which for the first time are taking place in European countries, will be hosted by two urban beaches in Riga, Latvia – Lucavsala and Ķīpsala. Until a few years ago, both beaches on the banks of the Daugava River were off limits to Riga residents: Lucavsala was full of abandoned sheds, while Ķīpsala, formerly home to fishermen, sailors, pilots and ferrymen, has since evolved into an attractive public area, where historical buildings have been preserved under the aegis of UNESCO. Today, both beaches are highly popular with outdoor recreation enthusiasts: both offer outdoor recreation and swimming opportunities near the centre of Riga for those who want to spend time outdoors but at the same time stay in the city.
Lucavsala, which is located on the Daugava River next to Salu Bridge, was transformed into a park and a beach just a few years ago – the sensation of finding yourself in a large beautified area overlooking the nearby Zaķusala Island makes you forget that you are almost in the centre of the city. Big and smaller outdoor concerts, picnics and different events take place here today. Although the park covers just part of the island, 2 km long and 1 km wide, it is quite interesting that the more distant parts of the island still remain incredibly lonely places.
There are playgrounds in Lucavsala Park, a swimming area surrounded by buoys, including a smaller swimming area for children, a beach volleyball court in the summer, a skate park with ramps, all the recreational infrastructure, including for people with disabilities. Security takes care of people’s safety in the park for the entire season, and water quality tests are performed on a regular basis.
Ķīpsala Beach covers an area of about 1 square kilometre on the left bank of the island at one of the bridges over the Daugava River, offering a great view of the skyline of Riga and the Old Town with its church steeples. At the beginning of the 20th century, Ķīpsala was an abandoned and unkempt place, with old private wooden buildings and warehouses and unused sand beaches. Today, the buildings have been restored as part of UNESCO heritage programme, becoming not just an exclusive residential area, but also a great place for active social life – Ķīpsala is home to the campus and several departments of the Riga Technical University, there is also a yacht marina.
Ķīpsala urban beach features not only sunbathing and swimming areas, but also – during the summer season – beach volleyball courts and football pitches, and a cafe.
Both urban beaches of Riga are easily and quickly accessible by private or public transport, including by bicycle or on foot by crossing Salu Bridge or Akmens Bridge.
Even though state, municipal, non-governmental and private organizations have been increasingly energetic in promoting active lifestyles in recent decades, significant part of the public still do not do enough sport. BeActive Beach Games are intended to become a model for outdoor recreation, not only on natural seaside beaches, but also on urban beaches, with the aim of finding new ways to make people active in different environments, to show that any environment can be easily transformed into a play area. For two days in August, 2019, both beaches, Ķīpsala and Lucavsala, will host 24 different popular sports games during the first BeActive Beach Games in Latvia.