Just 33 miles (56km) from the capital, Sigulda - a picturesque little town located in the primordial Gauja river valley - is well worth the trip for tourists to Riga. Dubbed the 'Switzerland of Vidzeme' due to the steep cliffs and caves that line the sides of the river gorge, Sigulda makes a wonderful base from which to explore Latvia's considerable natural bounty. Notable tourist attractions of the area include the Medieval and Turaida Castles, with the former staging an annual open-air Opera Festival in the summer. Gauja National Park is within touching distance of Sigulda, offering great activities such as walking trails and bungee-jumping in summer; and luge, bobsledding and skiing in the winter. The town of Sigulda itself is particularly worth visiting in spring, when cherry blossoms bloom; and in autumn, where the very town seems to take on the blood-orange hue of the leaves falling from its myriad trees. Be sure to visit the Gutmanis Cave, the largest in the Baltic region, and the setting of the Latvian folk-tale of the Rose of Turaida.