My top 7 amazing places in Latvia!
Updated: Aug 7
Latvia is a much overlooked European gem to visit. Coming from Australia, I am constantly having to explain to people where it is!
Not only does it not have the mass tourism as Italy, France, Spain but also many others that are popular with travellers. It seduces visitors with more affordable prices and character that can only be appreciated if you visit. Many airlines including, Wizzair, Ryan Air and Air Baltic fly from all major European cities and elsewhere.
If you are only here for a city break then Riga is your city! See more about the best things to do in Riga here. Here are some of the things over the last two years that I have been lucky to experience.
The Capital and largest city of Latvia is located on the mouth of the River Daugava. From the picturesque Old Town and Gothic architecture to fun activities like kayaking or stand up paddleboarding on the Daugava.
Explore the many museums, bars and restaurants. There is so much to do!
Have a look at my Riga blog here.
40-minute drive or a 40-50 minute train ride from Riga. (40km)
Jūrmala is a popular seaside resort. With white sandy beaches and the shallow Baltic Sea, it is the ideal place to enjoy a spa hotel or even just experience nature during a day trip.
Jurmala is extremely popular with hotels with spas offering a variety of saunas, pools, treatments and more! I have never experienced such a concept in other countries which makes it so unique!
Even in winter Jurmala is a relaxing getaway.
You can read more on Jurmala on the Visit Jurmala website here.
A 2-hour drive or 3.5 hour train ride from Riga.
Kuldīga is one of the most beautiful and romantic towns I have visited in Latvia. Cobblestone streets, timber buildings, charming restaurants and waterfalls, Kuldiga has it all. The Venta Waterfall is the widest in Europe. You can swim in the waterfall and walk across it to the other side through the water. Be careful though it is slippery!
You can read more on Kuldiga on the Visit Kuldiga website here.
4. Birini Palace Hotel
1-hour and 20-minute drive from Riga.
Even before getting engaged, I decided I wanted to get married and Birini Palace! I was so happy when my soon sister in law surprised me with an entire family dinner here. The beautiful grounds is surrounded by a lovely lake.
Besides a hotel, you can enjoy traditional Latvian cuisine in the restaurant. Go horse riding, SUP boarding, bicycle riding and other recreational activities.
It is genuinely like a fairy tale!
1 Hour 25-minute drive from Riga - 88 km
Cesis is a medieval town in north-eastern Latvia and is known for its medieval castle first built in the 11th and then rebuilt several times since.
Yet another one of Latvia’s beautiful cobbled street towns, Cesis Old Town is scattered with quaint cafes and outdoor restaurants to enjoy during summer.
Cesis castle was built around 1214 and has over 700 years’ worth of history. You can climb the castle towers as well as attend the exhibition in its neighbouring manor house.
The Castle Park that sits beneath the shadows of the castle has a pond surrounded by romantic gazebos and beautiful foliage that is enjoyed by visitors and locals alike.
You can read more on Cesis on the Latvia Travel website here.
6. Rundale Palace and Museum
1-hour 20-minute drive from Riga, 12 km west from the town of Bauska.
The largest and most famous palace in Latvia. This gorgeous yellow palace is also a museum and you can walk through the numerous beautiful rooms and see how the palace looked in the 1700s.
The palace’s garden is perfectly manicured, with stunning hedges, fountains and old-style see-saw for children to play on.
See more about Rundale Palace and Museum here.
7. Cross the border into Lithuania
If you have some extra driving time available, you can continue from Latvia into the countryside of Lithuania! Whilst the terrane looks similar, the language is different! Visiting the Hill of Crosses (Kryziu Kalnas) Lithuania This Christian pilgrimage has over 200,000 wooden crosses on a hill. It is said that they first began erecting crosses in 1831 but during the Russian occupation it was bulldozed twice as religion was forbidden. Despite the area being patrolled by KGB agents, Lithuanians would still sneak to the hill to plant crosses. Whilst some could say it is a bit eerie, it is an impressive sight and one that brings awe to anyone religious or not.
So there you have it, this are some of things I have been lucky enough to experience during my time in Latvia. I will update this as my travels continue