If you have chosen Latvia as your next destination, then it is worth knowing that the small country lies on the shores of the Baltic Sea; there are about 12,500 rivers, streams and large ditches in its territory, and its lakes cover 1.5% of the country’s territory. Such water infrastructure offers great opportunities for water and wind sports. Water tourism and water sports in Latvia are available to every interest group and any level of difficulty.
Whether it is a relaxed rest and enjoying nature, or testing your physical abilities – everything is possible in Latvia!
Water tourism in Riga
Like most of the capitals of other countries, Riga has also historically emerged close to the water – it is washed by the Gulf of Riga, and the impressive Lake Ķīšezers and the second longest river in the Baltic Sea basin – the River Daugava – are located there. Such proximity of water means that various water tourism opportunities are available right in Riga.
For a relaxed holiday, a great way to explore the city from a different angle is by taking a trip on one of the boats along Riga Canal or the River Daugava. If you would like to see the city even closer and are ready for some physical activities, you can also go kayaking on the same routes.
But if you are seeking an even greater, more physically challenging adventure in the very centre of Riga, apply for a particularly exciting and unique exploratory trip on the River Daugava and Riga Canal on stand-up paddle boards. Both the River Daugava and Riga Canal are water routes that are calm enough and at the same time exciting enough to explore them right from the board. You can experience different feelings by travelling below the bridges, by viewing the city from a different angle and even entering the fountain to cool off.
Near the centre of Riga, Lucavsala is also located, where in summer especially exciting entertainment and recreation opportunities are available. The island, which is located in the River Daugava, has a facilitated beach that is safe for swimming for both children and adults. For those who enjoy more extreme sensations, a wake park with a 230-metre-long linear cable wakeboard system has been installed on the right bank of the River Daugava opposite the TV tower. Just outside the centre of Riga the tenth largest lake in Latvia – Lake Ķīšezers – is located, which offers a wide range of recreational and entertainment opportunities on the water. You can explore the lake in boats, catamarans and on stand-up paddle boards. It is possible to go on a swim on the shore, play beach volleyball or visit the obstacle course constructed on the water. In addition, the location of the lake is also suitable for wind sports such as windsurfing and kitesurfing. At Lake Ķīšezers it is possible to rent equipment and learn the mentioned sports accompanied by instructors.
Water and wind sports at the sea
The sea is definitely one of the riches of Latvia. The coast of the Baltic Sea in Latvia stretches for almost 500 kilometres. Freely accessible sandy beaches await you along the entire coast, where you can swim and enjoy water and wind sports.
Pāvilosta is the capital of extreme water sports in Latvia. If you would like to enjoy sports such as surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing, you should definitely head to Pāvilosta. The open sea and its winds are able to provide favourable weather conditions and big enough waves for learning both these sports, or to perfect your skills. The average wind speed in Latvia is below 5 metres per second. Wind gusts also rarely exceed 15 metres per second. A truly exciting way to enjoy the nature and the sea of Latvia is “down-wind” kitesurfing, which allows you to see the wild beaches, where people can rarely get to on foot.
Yacht sailing is the best way to catch the taste of adventure, as well as to feel the true power and closeness of nature. Almost all ports in Latvia have yacht berths – in Liepāja, Pāvilosta, Ventspils, Roja, Mērsrags, Engure, Sloka, Lielupe, Priedaine, Skulte, Salacgrīva, Ainaži, as well as Riga berths in Ķīpsala, Āgenskalns and Andrejosta. Here you can find more information about harbours in Latvia: harbours in Latvia.
They are also available in the inland waters of Latvia – in the River Lielupe near Jelgava, in the River Daugava near Lielvārde, in Lake Usma and in Lake Rāzna. Yacht clubs have also been established in most of the berths, where it is not only possible to rent a sailing boat with a captain for trips around the waters in Latvia, but also to learn the art of sailing yourself.
Travelling in Latvia along rivers
During the rivers tours in Latvia you can see the forest landscapes, the outcrops of the coastal rocks and once again make sure that there is nothing better than active recreation in nature. Our rivers are suitable for holiday-makers without much previous experience in boating. Boat rides in the spring will provide a more extreme experience.
In Latvia, it is possible to boat in almost any river. The River Gauja with its characteristic shores, rich in sandstone outcrops, is one of the most picturesque water tourism routes. The most popular section of the river stretches from Cēsis to Sigulda, which can be travelled in 2-3 days. This section is located in the territory of Gauja National Park, which means that boaters will be able to not only enjoy spectacular nature views but also use facilitated recreational places to spend the night. But note that the River Gauja is also one of the most dangerous rivers in Latvia; therefore, you have to be especially careful when boating there.
If you are more of an adventure seeker, then it is definitely worth going on a boat trip on the fastest river in Latvia – the River Amata. the spring and autumn periods after rainfalls are especially good for boating on this river. A boat trip along the River Amata can begin in Melturi, where the river is crossed by the Riga-Pskov highway, and it can end before the bridge of the Cēsis-Līgatne road in the water tourist settlement “Amata”. This 15-kilometre section can be completed in three hours, but it should be noted that some sections of the river have been assessed as highly difficult. This fascinating river is dangerous, especially at Lustūzis Rock, where the River Amata hits it at full force, flushing out deep niches.
Between Krāslava the so-called Arches of the River Daugava are located, on the banks of which the oldest wooden church in Eastern Latvia sits, as well as Slutišķi Village of the Old Believers and Markova Castle Mound are located. From the steep banks of Ververi and Slutišķi a wonderful view opens up of the ancient river valley and Vecpils Castle Mound, where Dinaburga Castle once stood. Boaters should take into account the fact that in the case of strong winds, waves may form in the River Daugava, which will make travelling along the river difficult.
Boat and raft rental
In order to fully and safely enjoy the adventures, it is better to do so accompanied by professionals – both when choosing the equipment and the instructor. Boat and raft rental points can be found next to the most popular rivers. Boat rental options can also be found on the internet, for example:
However, if you would like to relax and entrust the trip to someone else, you can apply for an organised boat tour: