Latvia is likely one of the three Baltic States in northeast Europe. Up to now most vacationers understand it for its beautiful capital metropolis Riga. The attraction of Riga has in some way left another Latvian gems undiscovered. Right here come some large discoveries for a lot of in search of new roads much less travelled. What if I let you know that the forest covers greater than half of Latvia? Do 12,000 rivers, 3,000 lakes, loads of pristine boglands, and greater than 500 kilometers of secluded sandy Baltic Sea seashores resonate with you? Add some spectacular distinctive Baltic cultural and historic heritage and also you’ve in all probability simply discovered an incredible new vacation spot on your subsequent journey. Furthermore, Latvia remains to be very a lot an off-the-beaten-path place to go. I’m an area nature tour information and right here’s my best choice for one of the best and most lovely locations to go to in Latvia…
Riga – the beautiful capital which is likely one of the finest locations to go to in Latvia
Riga has been to this point the most well-liked vacation spot in Latvia. It isn’t with no purpose. Riga is a beautiful metropolis within the very heart of the Baltic States. It has a wealthy historical past of greater than 800 years and a tremendous cultural legacy. Riga’s cozy outdated city (UNESCO heritage web site), effectively preserved and renown Artwork Nouveau structure, new attention-grabbing hipster districts and pubs, in addition to many inexperienced parks, are what pulls vacationers right here.
There’s something particular about Riga, says Nationwide Geographic. You’re going to get an incredible combination of fine outdated Europe and fashionable Northern Europe right here. When you go to Riga you’ll nearly definitely wish to come again once more. One-third of the Latvian inhabitants lives and/or works in Riga. We, locals, wish to joke that Riga is a rustic inside a rustic. The hustle about Riga is so large that not that many guests know that the actual Latvia truly begins exterior Riga.
Sigulda – a tranquil city with lovely views of Gauja Nationwide Park and nice nature journeys
Sigulda is a small city some 50 kilometers from Riga within the central area of Latvia known as Vidzeme. It’s a preferred vacationer attraction not due to the city itself however due to the gorgeous views of Gauja Nationwide Park it affords.
Gauja Nationwide Park is the oldest nationwide park in Latvia. It is usually one of the vital lovely locations to go to in Latvia and, due to this fact, attracts many native and overseas guests. Sigulda is a well-liked vacation spot for day journeys from Riga.
It’s a excellent place for mountaineering in any of the quite a few mountaineering trails or taking a memorable kayaking or canoeing journey within the lovely Gauja River. You might also be fortunate to take pleasure in gorgeous autumn colours in Sigulda must you determine to come back right here in mid-October. A must-visit can be Turaida Museum-Reserve within the close by Turaida city. Right here you possibly can have each breathtaking postcard views from the highest of the tower and loads of details about Latvian historical past and traditions.
Cesis – a comfy Latvian cultural heart with gorgeous pure environment ready to be explored
Cēsis is a small however charming city lower than 100 kilometers from Riga. It’s nearly as outdated as Riga. Its medieval fort and wealthy historical past are what draw folks right here however not solely that.
There are lots of thrilling cultural occasions being held in Cesis throughout summertime. Apart from guess what, this city is once more within the gorgeous Gauja Nationwide Park. Only a quick drive exterior the city and you will note distinctive spectacular sandstone cliffs on the banks of Gauja River. Probably the most well-known are Sietiņiezis and Ērgļu (Eagles’) Cliffs.
Jurmala – a stunning resort metropolis well-known for its seaside
Jūrmala is the closest and most handy place to go from Riga in case you are trying to spend a while on a seaside and revel in all the advantages of civilization on the similar time. Jūrmala is simply 25 kilometers from Riga however stretches alongside the Gulf of Riga for 32 kilometers.
The good a part of spending time on a Latvian seaside is you could be technically in a metropolis and in nature on the similar time. There’s a stretch of coastal pine forest that separates the seaside from housings and the rest in Jūrmala. Isn’t this nice? Jūrmala can be one of many few locations in Latvia the place you possibly can have each lengthy walks on the seaside and even take lengthy bike rides. The sand is flat and onerous sufficient for driving a motorcycle right here in the course of the summer season.
Jūrmala is a resort. It shines with historic wood summer season homes mixed with fashionable costly non-public homes and lux residence buildings. You may as well cease at any of the eating places or cafes on the well-known Jomas strolling road or have a beer in any of the summer season tents on the seaside.
Kemeri Nationwide Park – a novel and delightful place to discover in Latvia
Ķemeri Nationwide Park is one other nationwide park that’s near Riga. Some 40 minutes of driving by automobile to theWest (or an hour by prepare if you want so) will carry you to a shocking bogland space. The well-known Ķemeri Nice Lavatory and its boardwalk entice many guests. You received’t see such well-preserved raised bathroom habitats wherever else in Europe apart from different locations in Latvia, Estonia, and Finland.
There’s greater than that. You may as well have a ship, Standup Paddle Board (SUP), or a fishing journey in Lake Kaņieris. Or you could find yourself strolling within the wooded dunes, respiratory the recent air of the coastal pine forest, and soaking the solar on the attractive uncrowded white sand seaside of the Gulf of Riga.
Simply don’t neglect to purchase a standard Latvian smoked fish in any of the various fishing villages in your means. These are all good locations with unusual names for foreigners like Bigauņciems, Lapmežciems, Ragaciems, and Klapkalnciems. These are locations with troublesome names however tasty fish snacks in the event you love them.
Liepaja – an upbeat resort metropolis with an attractive seaside
Liepāja is the third greatest metropolis in Latvia value particular consideration. It’s on the far south-west coast of Latvia, and it takes some three hours to get there from Riga by automobile (alternatively you possibly can take an inland flight or prepare). Liepāja is likely one of the most lovely locations to go to in Latvia if in case you have extra time than simply a few days in or close to Riga. It is usually certainly one of many most lovely European under-the-radar locations.
We name it the town, the place “the wind is born” and never with no purpose. It’s principally windy however it has one of many widest and most lovely seashores in Latvia with white sand that looks like silk in your pores and skin. If the climate turns into too windy, you possibly can conceal within the dunes. It is a luxurious you’ll not discover in every single place. Liepāja is a comfy metropolis with predominantly wood homes in its historic heart. The town and the seaside are nearly by no means too crowded.
Simply 10 – 20 minutes to the South of the town and one can find pure wilderness: Nature Reserve “Bernati”. It has a stunning seaside and lots of cozy locations to remain. Simply make sure to e-book prematurely. Go extra the South and it will get even wilder. There’s a tremendous nature park of Lake Pape – a superb place for birdwatchers and all types of nature lovers.
Kolka Cape – a spot the place two seas meet and a shocking place to discover in Latvia
Kolka Cape is a peak attraction for guests within the distant Slitere Nationwide Park – the wildest of all nationwide parks in Latvia. Kolka Cape is the place the Gulf of Riga (which we name the “Small Sea” right here) meets the open Baltic Sea (the “Large Sea”). It’s within the north-west a part of Latvia and it takes about two hours to get there from Riga.
The wind, water, and streams might play tips right here and the form of the Kolka Cape is ever-changing. The waves coming from the Small Sea overlaps with those from the Large Sea. It’s lovely. Simply don’t swim right here! It’s harmful due to the unfastened sand and underwater streams.
On a sunny and heat day, you possibly can stroll a few kilometers away from the cape both to the open Baltic Sea or to the Gulf of Riga. Right here you possibly can safely take pleasure in a refreshing dip into the water that’s neither too salty nor very heat. But it’s okay for swimming on sizzling summer season days (effectively, “okay” from a nordic individual’s perspective). Do you know that the Baltic Sea is likely one of the much less salty seas within the World? The Gulf of Riga is sort of like a giant lake.
Whereas Kolka Cape is fairly widespread in the summertime all the opposite locations in Slitere Nationwide Park are wild and most secluded. You will see historic pristine forests, very good secluded seashores, and tranquillity right here.
Jurkalne – probably the most lovely coast of the Baltic Sea
Jurkalne’s Steep Coast is spectacular. Jurkalne is not less than two and a half hours drive from Riga. But, it’s positively value going there or stopping by in case you are touring alongside the western sea-coast of Latvia.
Jurkalne itself is a really small village. There are just some guesthouses to remain there. Nonetheless, you possibly can simply discover lodging and nice locations to eat in Ventspils port metropolis to the North or within the wonderful Pavilosta fishing village to the South from Jurkalne. These each are nearly half an hour’s drive from Jurkalne, very completely different and nice locations to stick with splendid sandy seashores on the Baltic Sea.
Like the entire Latvian shoreline, Jūrkalne is part of the Baltic Coastal Climbing Route. There are not less than 5 large causes why mountaineering in Latvia is the final word expertise for nature lovers.
Kuldiga, Kandava and Sabile – probably the most charming medieval cities to go to in Latvia
It’s straightforward to fall in love with the charming and comfortable Kuldīga city within the western a part of Latvia – Kurzeme. It has a sunning effectively preserved medieval outdated city heart, scrumptious locations to eat, a historic stone bridge on Venta River, and above all of the widest waterfall in Europe – Ventas Rumba (Venta Fast). Whereas being the widest Ventas Rumba is not at all the best waterfall. It’s nearly 2 meters excessive. There are additionally nice swimming spots within the Venta River in case you occur to be right here on a sunny and heat summer season day.
Go to Kuldīga in spring and you could be fortunate to witness native fish known as vimba leaping in Venta fast on its approach to spawning locations. Kuldīga shouldn’t be the one lovely medieval city to go to in Kurzeme. Kandava and Sabile are two smaller however no much less charming locations within the lovely Abava River Valley.
Kandava is a tranquil city with a historical past that dates again to 1230. It has a comfy outdated city heart and nice views from the fort hill. Kandava can be an incredible place to start out a kayaking or canoeing journey on the attractive Abava River. Sabile is one other small city talked about within the Guinness Data Guide because the northernmost winery within the World. When you can definitely get conventional wine from grapes in Sabile an area wine product of fruits or cider might be a more sensible choice. Sabile Wine Hill ascents above the city with a stunning view of Abava River Valley.
Rudale Palace – a Baroque-style palace everybody needs to see
One of the vital lovely locations to go to in Latvia is Rundale Palace. It’s a Baroque-style palace that’s some 80 kilometers south of Riga and price mentioning by itself. The Italian architect Franchesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli designed this marvel and it was constructed firstly of the 18th century. He was additionally the writer of the well-known Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg.
The palace has a spectacular inside and an attractive park. There are traditional day excursions organized to Rundale, however you can too go there by yourself by automobile.
Aglona – a fairly pilgrimage and a stunning vacation spot in Latvia
Let’s transfer to Japanese Latvia or Latgale now. Latgale is a area with a novel tradition and even language. Aglona is an area and even regional place of pilgrimage. Two visits of various popes alone say loads concerning the significance of this place for Catholics. Basilica of the Assumption is the principle spotlight there.
But Aglona shouldn’t be solely concerning the church. Its pure environment are nothing much less however spectacular. Japanese Latvia is wealthy with lovely lakes, which is why we additionally name it the “land of blue lakes”. Due to this fact, Latgale can be a spot for wonderful kayaking and canoeing journeys. Chances are you’ll cruise a number of lakes in a row right here, and each is completely different. The open waters mixed with the wild islands make the landscapes, boating journeys, and likewise tenting experiences unforgettable right here. Lastly, the Museum of Bread in Aglona and Latgalian delicacies are value some consideration too. Your style buds will thanks for that.
Daugava River – the Latvian River of Future
Daugava is the largest river in Latvia. It begins its course in Russia, crosses Belarus and its final 365 kilometers are in Latvia. Latvians additionally name Daugava the river of future. It is a vital ingredient in Latvian traditions, literature, tradition, and likewise the economic system. River’s lovely meanders remind us about many adjustments within the historical past of Latvia and in our lives. But Daugava can be an attractive journey vacation spot.
The river appears to be like very completely different in Riga metropolis in comparison with its environment close to the Latvian border with Belarus and the second greatest Latvian metropolis Daugavpils. Nature park “Daugavas loki” (Meanders of Daugava River) is a beautiful place within the southeast area of Latvia. It attracts vacationers in search of magnificent pure surroundings. Visiting the wonderful viewpoints on the river banks is an ideal approach to take pleasure in nature and the Latvian countryside. Additionally kayaking or canoeing right here or simply driving alongside the Daugava’s riverbank is a memorable expertise.
12 of probably the most lovely locations to go to in Latvia was written by Rolands Ratfelders from ESCAPERIES. Rolands is an journey and nature traveler, genuine escape journey blogger, conservationist, ecotourism advisor, and improvisation coach. He additionally crafts journey plans and you’ll rent him because the native nature tour information in Latvia at his personal small ecotourism firm “i-Dā” Adventures.