Thinking about traveling to Latvia? Latvia is a lively and culturally rich country in the Baltic region. Even though it’s small, it has a myriad of beautiful places and captivating activities tourists can enjoy. Latvia, or the Republic of Latvia, is one of the Baltic countries. It borders Lithuania in the south, Belarus and Russia in the east, and Estonia in the north. Its population is approx. 1.9 million and the official languages are Latvian and English.
If you want to explore Europe beyond its iconic destinations, Latvia is the perfect place to go. During your trip you can visit the scenic towns, explore the spectacular nature, stroll across the sandy beaches, try the delicious local food and attend cultural events.
Riga is the largest city of Latvia that has a lot to offer to travelers, from stunning architecture and vibrant cobbled streets to a wide selection of local cuisine and an exuberant nightlife. Start your adventure with a slow walk across the Cathedral Square to soak up the old town vibes.
The square’s main attraction is the red-brick Riga Cathedral dating back to 1211. Nearby is the Museum of Riga’s History and Navigation displaying artefacts from different historical eras. Other landmarks include the Riga Bourse Art Museum, Riga Castle and a bunch of 15th-century medieval houses.
If you are a history enthusiast, you can visit the Riga Ghetto Museum which was built on the site of the Jewish Ghetto. The museum shows the sufferings of Jews during Nazi and Soviet rule and tells the revival story of Judaism in independent Latvia. In the Occupation Museum you will find evidence of atrocities committed by Nazis and Soviets against Latvians.
If you are a fan of old cars, you can visit the Motor Museum which houses an impressive collection of retro vehicles, including Stalin’s armored limousine. Riga offers many accommodation options for all types of budgets. The city abounds in restaurants, cafes and self-service cafeterias that serve filling meals from local and international cuisine.
Other attractions in Latvia
Latvia’s beauty extends beyond Riga, comprising lush forests, golden beaches, stately manors, sea resorts, nature trails and national parks.
Jūrmala is a favorite destination for those who crave some seaside vibes. The town lies on the coast of the Baltic Sea, being dotted with seaside resorts. The clean and sandy beaches are backed by pine forests.
A 77-km drive south of Riga leads you to an architectural gem of Latvia, Rundāle Palace. The prominent Baroque castle has 138 rooms built in two phases in the 18th century. Each room was decorated uniquely and has a story to tell.
If you have a soft spot for medieval castles, you can visit Sigulda’s three castles. The most spectacular one is Turaida Castle built in the 13th century. You can admire the cellar exhibitions and climb on the main tower and get a breath-taking view of the surrounding landscape.
Gauja National Park
Gauja National Park spans over a vast territory covered by forests, valleys, and water basins. There is a wide variety of plant and animal species you can enjoy while exploring the park. Additionally, there are many opportunities for hiking and cycling as the valley is dotted with nature trails. You will find plenty of campsites in the wilderness where you can rest and enjoy a snack. Some major camping sites offer overnight rafting trips.