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In order to truly get to know Latvia, one must head outside of the capital city, and discover the beautiful little small towns. Most can be strolled through in a mere couple of hours!
The time of town fairs is especially exciting in Latvia’s towns, when artisan markets, concerts, and exciting activities attract locals and visitors. The fairs tend to take place on weekends during the summer months, from June until August.
Kuldīga has long been considered one of the most beautiful small towns in Latvia. The city is given an especially romantic feel from the old bridge across the Venta and Venta Rapids, where fish jumping can be watched in spring.
The steep slopes and gently sloping hills, lakes and meandering trails of Talsi – all of this can be found right alongside the town’s historical buildings. Nine hills and both city lakes preserve the history of many centuries.
The cobbled streets of Kandava and the old town promenade in the romantic lantern light entice visitors to explore the ancient Kurši castle mound, and view the oldest stone bridge in Latvia. From the Kurši castle mound, on the roadside, one can see the scenic slopes, caves and sandstone cliffs which adorn the Abava Valley.
Sabile is a town situated in the most beautiful and deepest section of the Abava River Valley. On the other side of the Abava, part of the beautiful natural landscape, is the Pedvāle open-air art museum.
Pāvilosta is a port town, characterised by low buildings and the fact that almost all the streets lead out to the sea. A marina, a large sea boulder, unspoiled nature, tranquillity, fresh sea air, and the promise of finding amber on the beach entice everyone.
Cēsis, one of the oldest small towns in Vidzeme, boasts medieval castles and cobbled streets, while the pride of Sigulda is the Gauja River Valley.
Gulbene invites visitors to take a ride on the only public narrow-gauge railroad in the Baltics. The town boasts a fountain, the town clock, Vecgulbene manor house and other notable sights of interest.
Cesvaine has a landscaped park with medieval ruins to see, as well as the Sūla River. Surrounded by a romantic park and an ancient manor house, the Cesvaine castle raises its towers to the sky.
The ancient and the changing – this is how Limbaži sees itself. The oldest fire station stands in the centre of town. Not far from there are also medieval ruins. The castle gate tower is the only surviving one in Latvia to have fragments of a retractable gate grille. Next to the castle ruins is the exciting Limbaži Museum.
Bauska boasts steep river banks; where alongside contemporary buildings are the mighty Livonian Order castle ruins and other notable historical monuments. In turn, Iecava Park, together with the manor buildings, is a national architectural monument. On the banks of the River Iecava is the Dievdārziņš (God Garden), with a scenic view of the Lutheran Church.
Dobele – a city with a Semigallian history, with castle ruins and a white church - is particularly beautiful and intoxicating in early summer, when the lilacs begin to bloom.
The most remarkable sight in Ludza is its castle ruins. From the castle mound, a good panorama of the city stretches before you. The historical centre of Ludza is interesting with one-storey residential wooden houses, typical of 19th century Latgale, secluded courtyards, narrow streets and an ancient market square.
Krāslava is unimaginable without the church towers and waters. Various cultural traditions are closely intertwined in the town’s buildings. Lakes surround the town, and through it flows Latvia’s river of fate, the Daugava. It’s not for nothing that Krāslava is referred to as the fishermen’s and water-lover’s paradise!
Līvāni is called the key to the gates of Latgale. When in Līvāni, visit the Latgale Art and Craft Centre. In the not-so-distant past, Līvāni was home to a glass factory with more than a hundred years of history. Nowadays, this is the location of the Līvāni Glass Factory Museum.