Latvia, a little country placed on the Baltic sea, has a beautiful and varied landscape. The tranquil Gulf of Riga and rough Baltic Sea are the highlights of Latvia. Both of these have a seemingly endless beach that is frequently secluded. The surroundings are equally enchanting with its rows of forest, surging rivers, and peaceful lakes.
Riga, the capital of Latvia, is one of the region’s most visited areas by tourists. This city houses a remarkable collection of Jugendstil, which is a kind of art, buildings in all of Europe. Riga has one of the hottest nightlife scenes, a total contrast to the city’s history and extraordinary architecture.
A longtime favorite holiday destination, Latvia’s appeal is being discovered further abroad. Beyond Riga lies medieval towns, grand palaces, folk parks, museums, country castles, and ruined fortresses. This country will undoubtedly be from being known as Europe’s hidden treasure.
Things to Do in Latvia
Basilica of Aglona
This cathedral is worth seeing even if you aren’t a religious person. The best time to visit is during the Feast of the Assumption in August where 150,000 people participate in a torch-lit march.
The wetlands and farmland bring in a large amount of uncommon and interesting birds including the corncrake which is a rare species in other areas of Europe.
A part of the Slitere National Park, the beach at Cape Kolka is incredible as the Gulf of Riga and Baltic Sea collide. It is also the perfect place to go on a walk.
Take a tour of Cesis’ cobbled streets, striking castles, beautiful churches, and wood buildings. Cesis is one of the oldest towns in Latvia and was occupied in the 13th century.
Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia
Founded in 1924, the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia is one of the oldest museums in all of Europe. Included in the museum and collected from all over Latvia is workers’ farms, historical homes, and a tavern and windmills.
Take a cable car ride from Sigulda to Krimulda and get a perfect view of the Gauja River Gorge. There is also a ruined castle in Krimulda to see.
Latvian Night Life
There is little distinguishing between the bars and cafes in Riga. Both types overflow onto the terraces during the summer months. You have your choice of what kind of nightclub you want to go to from blues concerts to dancing all night. There is also a variety of lap-dancing and strip clubs. You can also find a lot of places to drink in the larger cities like Liepaja, Ventspils, and Daugavpils.
Latvian Food & Drink
Largely swayed by the available local crops and weather, the food in Latvia is substantial. Red meat with a creamy sauce and stews are a constant on menus. Fish is a bigger part of Latvians diet that lives more towards the coast. Meals are usually accompanied by a strong drink or Latvian beer.
• Piragi (bacon and onion filled pastry)
• Alexander Torte (cranberry/raspberry filled pastry)
• Sweetbread soup w/ dry fruit
• Skabu kapostu zupa (cabbage soup)
• Kotletes (meat patties)
Things to know:
Drinking, or having an open alcohol container in your possession, in parks, streets, and other public areas is strictly prohibited and has a large fine if caught. The drinking age in Latvia is 18 years old.
Getting around towns and cities in Latvia
Riga has a sizeable network of trolleybus, tram, and bus routes while a single tramline and busses run in Liepaja. You should purchase tickets from the conductor on board and keep them for inspection. Taksobussi (share taxis) are also available but cost more than buses. Taxis are run privately, use meters, and charge extra at night. Some trolleybuses and trams also run at night. The rail in Latvia connects Riga to all of the major cities and towns in the country including Ventspils and Liepaja in the west, Rezekne and Gulbene in the east, and Daugavpils in the southeast.