Each of us have our own reasons for travelling – to change the surroundings, to open up a more creative spirit, to experience a new culture, to relax and not think about everyday worries, to go on an adventure or to experience something truly out of the ordinary. We can promise you that you can fulfil any travel goal in Latvia, you just have to choose the right focus and enjoy the hospitality on offer.
1. Four seasons for every taste
Some people want to travel to warmer lands, and some people are tempted by winter fun – Latvia is unique with its four beautiful seasons and each of them has its charm. If you choose to visit Latvia in spring, you can go on a thrilling boat trip on one of the rushing rivers, in summer – enjoy the sun on a white, sandy beach, in autumn - enjoy the glorious colours along the Gauja Valley and in winter – experience the activities on the ski slopes.
2. Pristine nature
For those looking to get closer to nature, Latvia's forests, marshes and lakes are the place to be. There are so many opportunities to come face to face with untouched nature – by visiting a nature park where special attention is paid to preserving flora and fauna, for example, the Slītere National Park which is part of the European network of specially protected nature areas Natura 2000. There you can also see the landscape from the Slītere Lighthouse, the second-oldest lighthouse in Latvia. Note that some of the trails can only be walked with a guide, but in general, there are plenty of opportunities for walkers, bicyclists, and water tourism enthusiasts. If you're quiet and careful enough, you might spot a frightened deer or a curious squirrel at the top of a tree. There are also various possibilities to stay in really remote places, where nature is right outside your door. You can spend the night like this at the Tērvete Nature Park glamping, in a tree house near Cēsis, on an island in the middle of the lake and elsewhere.
3. Life nearby waters
It will be hard for anyone to resist a relaxing holiday by the sea, on a white sandy beach. Latvia has almost 500 km of sea border, most accessible to everyone. You can go to the sea by train from Rīga, or look for accommodation in any seaside village or town, for example, Liepāja and Ventspils offer a wide range of cultural opportunities alongside the beach. Inland, however, you can stay overnight at a lake in any corner of Latvia, enjoying swimming and other activities – boating, SUP, fishing and more.
4. Connect to the world with ease
Latvia has successfully developed the necessary infrastructure to be a friendly place for those who know they will need to do some work during the holidays. Practically anywhere, there is internet of sufficient quality and speed to connect to meetings or send the emails you need. It is possible to stay undisturbed in a cottage secluded from the outside world, where the conditions will be comfortable enough to inspire productive work. Sometimes a few days in peace is just what you need to find inspiration and get creative again.
5. Get to know yourself on hikes
Nature hikes are a great way to discover new things about yourself or your fellow travellers. Latvian nature is fit for various hiking formats – both challenging oneself by going tens of kilometres along the seacoast or through untouched forest terrain, over rivers and other cliffs, or on a more relaxed hike that can be interrupted at any time. You can go hiking in groups or organise your own hike by finding your preferred route – almost every region offers different trails.
Photo: "ZELT" smiltsērkšķu dārzs
6. A chance to learn something new
A great trip is one from which you return, having improved yourself. And in Latvia, you can do it in a most practical way – by learning something new. You can take a master class in candy making, preparing natural cosmetics from sea buckthorn or even a jewellery making workshop to create your own Namejs ring.
7. Experience history
Latvia's history is long and complex, but it is also possible to look at from a modern point of view and empathise with historical characters. Going to Dobele Castle you will not only be able to glimpse at the medieval way of life, but also see the medicinal herb garden, which was widely used in medicine at that time, in the Koknese Castle Ruins you can take a peek into a real torture chamber, and a light and sound experience of medieval Alūksne in the multimedia exhibition "The Eighth Brother of Marienburg" in the renovated South Tower of the Alūksne Castle Ruins.
8. Warm and open people
Although there is a perception that Latvians find it challenging to open up to other people, if you come to Latvia, we can promise that your experience will be quite the opposite especially if you go to explore life further away from the capital, in the regions. It may be a little harder to win our hearts, but when you do, you won't have to doubt the hospitality. In the homesteads of Latgale experience a welcome in the true spirit of Latgale, which means several days of talking and feasting. Even Latvia itself is amazed by the traditions of Vidzeme, such as the cemetery festivals, which most often turn into real family reunions with dancing and singing. On the other hand, although Kurzeme and Zemgale may seem a little more down-to-earth, you must visit one of the magnificent manor houses to experience a truly warm welcome and hospitality from caring hosts.
9. Great food
Latvians love to eat well and are also happy to treat their guests. It's no coincidence that we put 12 dishes on the Christmas table, and it's not unusual for guests to go home with the leftovers after a family celebration, because the hostesses have prepared a spread that could potentially break the table. Gastrotourism enthusiasts will therefore also find something to interest them, such as traditional medieval cuisine at Jaunpils Castle or a traditional Latvian meal at the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum. But if you don't want to experiment, a list of regional restaurants will come in handy. You can find high-quality, modern dining establishments in almost every major city, and often the most beautiful manor houses and castles also have a high-quality restaurants.
10. A balance of active and relaxing leisure
Especially, if you come to Latvia from a country with a larger territory, everything will seem within arm's reach. And it allows you to experience unforgettable contrasts and gives your trip a balance between city life and the relaxing effects of nature. For example, spend a day in Rīga first, exploring its Art Nouveau gems, visit the Latvian National Museum of Art, relax in one of the best coffee roasters and dine in a restaurant. The next day, you can go for a walk in nature, along the sea or on one of the many nature trails near the capital - in the Sigulda area, the Blue Mountains of Ogre and elsewhere, and finish the day with a sauna ritual under the guidance of a professional sauna master.