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Ecotourism traditions in Latvia are comparatively new and still in formation. Nevertheless, Latvia as an ecotourism destination is interesting and fascinating: Latvia has a comparatively untouched nature, a multicultural society and authentic cultural environment in the countryside.

Latvia can be proud both of its comparatively untouched nature and authentic cultural environment. Latvia is sparsely populated and a half of its territory is covered with forests where all the natural processes and wild animals can be observed. To those who are truly interested in nature, a visit to a natural park in Latvia will offer a special adventure of viewing bird migration or exotic animals like auroch or wisent.

Latvia's countryside and small towns can boast their distinctive character. In the West of Latvia, Kurzeme, one is introduced to the unique culture of the Suiti and the heritage of a small Finno-Ugric people, the Livonians (Livs). In the East of Latvia, a visitor is overwhelmed by the hospitality of the locals, may learn the skill of pottery making and see the diverse Catholic, Orthodox and Old Believer churches. Besides, each small town of Latvia has its own unique story to tell about the people who once lived there.

Quite a few Latvians grow food in their own allotment gardens, especially in the countryside. Therefore, when touring Latvia, one should not miss an opportunity to buy locally grown vegetables and locally picked fruits of the forest – berries and mushrooms – at local markets. Home-made smoked meats and game are also for sale. A number of Riga's restaurants, too, offer local produce from the Latvian countryside.

Then, should you be looking for an accommodation, the ecotourism certificate by the "Lauku ceļotājs" (Country traveler) association is a sure landmark to indicate that the accommodation meets the letter and the spirit of ecotourism. There you can experience the hospitality of local people and, if you wish so, enjoy the spirit of the local sauna.

Wild bilberries in Latvia.
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