Latvia is beautiful in all seasons, but winter has a special charm. Maybe your next active trip to Latvia will be in winter? The crunching sound of snow, the cold air and the cold spell give a special atmosphere to physical activities. There are plenty of options to choose from in Latvia in winter: both calmer nature lovers and lovers of sharp sensations will be able to choose a suitable sport for themselves.
Everyone should keep one thing in mind: winters in Latvia tend to be cold, reaching even -30 degrees, so the most important thing for a winter sports enthusiast is appropriate clothing. Warm socks, boots, waterproof trousers, a warm jacket, a hat and gloves are required.
One of the most beautiful ways to enjoy winter without special physical training or equipment is to go hiking while in Latvia. Besides, such walks provide absolute freedom - go alone to the forest or walk along one of the coasts of the Baltic Sea. Or choose from already existing hiking routes.
Bogs are special natural values that are disappearing or not easily accessible in many parts of the world. It is an almost magical realm of absolute silence, far away from the city's noise, cars and crowds of people. For example, the Great Kemeri Bog Boardwalk can be walked all year round. Special tours are also available, where you can go into the bog with specially adapted snowshoes accompanied by professionals. It is possible to apply for a hike and rent snowshoes, which are suitable for winter walks in the bog, on the homepage of Purva brideji.
Those who are ready for more physical exertion should definitely try cross-country skiing. The plains of Latvia are especially suitable for this skiing discipline. In addition, it is a sport that can also be practised in Riga: cross-country skiing tracks are available in Victory Park (Uzvara Park), Lucavsala, Mežaparks, Biķernieki Track and other places. Also, tracks of different lengths and degrees of difficulty are available throughout Latvia. You can access a detailed map here. Once the skiing technique is mastered, it is possible to try your hand at winter orienteering, an endurance winter sport of cross-country skiing. A successful “winter orienteer” combines high physical endurance, strength and excellent orientation skills while moving at high speed. This sport is a great test of athletes' physical strength and orientation skills.
Fans of more extreme sensations can also go to higher mountains and enjoy downhill skiing or snowboarding. The highest slopes and ski tracks are located along Gauja Valley in Sigulda and Cēsis. It is also possible to go to the highest mountain in Latvia, Gaiziņkalns Hill, where there is also a guest house on the side of the track, so it is possible to capture the feeling of a real ski resort. Baldone is home to the largest ski resort in the Baltics - Riekstu Kalns. It is possible to go down the mountain with skis or a snowboard and ride the camera track, climb the observation tower and have a meal at "Riekstu krogs".
Skating has its own special magic, especially when it's outdoors. Latvians have long been skating on frozen waters, especially lakes. If the weather permits, it is possible to enjoy this magic of nature's presence and speed on Lake Alūksnes, where you can go with your own skates or rent them. If you want to enjoy this sport, you must consider that when the ice melts, water will accumulate in the outdoor rinks, and when wet snow freezes, the field will not be usable for several days until the owners pour a new layer of ice. Such problems will not arise, for example, in the covered ice halls of Mārupe, Ventspils, Tukums, Ogre and other cities.
The brave can not only skate on the lake, but also go swimming in it. Winter swimming is exciting and full of different emotions: you have to overcome yourself, but the satisfaction afterward is huge. However, it should be considered that winter swimming should start gradually, starting in autumn. If the body is not hardened, combining winter swimming with a sauna ritual is recommended.
The Bobsleigh and luge track in Sigulda is one of the most unique places to spend free time, because there are only 18 tracks of this type in the world, and not all of them are accessible to visitors. The location of the track is picturesque in itself: it is located in Gauja Valley and offers a unique view. But that's not all - thrill seekers can also go down the track. Moreover, not only in one way! Visitors can go downhill with a vuchko - a specially designed padded rubber ride that will allow you to enjoy both speed and turns and a winter bobsled.
In the winter period, when the ice reaches the required thickness, it's the right time to go ice karting! The option to rent ice karts and go on a specially built track is available in Vecāķu Yacht Club and Baldones Waterjump complex. Before you go to enjoy these winter pleasures, you must definitely contact the service providers, because the conditions are not always suitable for winter go-kart rides.
Real Nordic feelings and real speed can be felt when riding in a dog sled. There are usually about six dogs harnessed to the sled, Alaskan malamutes or huskies, or dog breeds that find it their calling to be in front of the sled and it makes them happy. If the dogs go for it, they can reach speeds of up to 30 km/h per hour. If the weather is snowy, you have to be prepared for the snow to fall on your face during a faster trip. You can apply for the ride here.
If you wish something completely unusual, it is worth trying your hand at a Nordic sport - skijoring. Skijoring is a winter sport in which a person is pulled on skis by a horse, car or motorcycle. Riders who compete in this sport are pulled on skis behind a motorcycle, reaching speeds of up to 120 km/h. It is possible to try skijoring on a motorcycle in Sports Complex 333 or on horseback in Mežezeri. Again, this is a sport that is very dependent on the weather, snow depth and the availability of the track or horse, so it is important to check with the service providers before going to one or the other rental location.
No matter which winter activity you choose, it is recommended to warm up with a warm drink and a delicious meal in one of the local cafes afterwards. It should also be taken into account that you can have real fun in the winter by making a snowman and sliding down the hill with a sled. Winter in Latvia is made to be enjoyed.