Rīga is already a well-known destination for many a stag party, but it would be foolish to visit Rīga for a cheap booze filled weekend. For one you would miss out on many a beautiful sight in this classic Nordic city. And Rīga certainly is pretty. It is also the only city of note in Latvia, meaning that nature plays first fiddle around these parts. With almost half the country covered in forests, and a beautiful coastline, there is plenty of outdoorsy stuff to do.
The people are a mix of Latvians and Russians, and culturally, as well as in its architecture the Swedes, Germans, and Poles have also left their mark. This is what you get when every Nordic would be Empire has trodden over your soil in search of everlasting glory.
Start your trip to Latvia in Rīga, but if you have the time get out into the countryside. Head into Gauja National Park, or up to Ķemeri National Park, both are certainly worth your while. Or walk around the Turaida Museum Reserve, with it red bricked castle. For a Versailles like experience visit the Rundale Palace, the grandest of its sort in the Baltics. Brave the cold waters and take a dip in the Baltic at Liepāja or Ventspils, or just walk along the beach and enjoy a sunset.
There is more than meets the eye in Latvia, isn’t it time you get out there and explore it for yourself?
Highlights from Latvia
- Old town Rīga (aka Riga) with its many art-nouveau buildings, cobbled streets, squares and outdoor cafés is joy to walk around
- Hike around Gauja National Park, with its forests, rivers, springs, rocky outcrops and several castles to boot
- Ramble through the Turaida Museum Reserve
- Take a dip in the Baltic in Ventspils, Liepāja or Jurmala
- Next to Gauja National Park lays picturesque Cēsis with its castle
- Take a walk over the boardwalks in Ķemeri National Park, a wetland of bogs, lakes, rivers and forests
- Venture out to beautiful Kuldīga with Europe’s widest rapids
- Make a pilgrimage to the Aglona Basilica in the far east of Latvia
- And since you are in this corner of Latvia, why not pass by Daugavpils, birthplace of Mark Rothko the abstract expressionist artist
- Take a look at Bauska Castle built between two rivers
Hints and Tips for Latvia
- Part of the EU and the Schengen free travel zone, so a Schengen visa will do if you need one at all.
- Public transport is good and cheap.
- Another country which is good for cycling, it is cheap and will get you to places which you normally wouldn’t see.
- English is spoken Riga, elsewhere less so. German and Russian might come in handy, and a phrasebook is always good to take with you.