Latvia is a Baltic country located in northern Europe. It was initially a part of the Russian Empire and became an independent country post the Russian Revolution in 1917. Latvia is defined by its untamed nature, countless pristine beaches, and lovely lakes. With half the country covered by forests, this is an excellent playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
The capital Riga is the biggest metro in the Baltics and is home to one-third of Latvia’s population. Here, you will find the UNESCO world heritage listed pedestrian-only Old Town (also known as Vecriga) with its impressive Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture. This port city – on the coast of the Gulf of Riga – has a lively nightlife and almost a thousand years of history. Other highlights of Riga include the Blackheads House – a 14th-century landmark building, the Freedom Monument – a 42m tall memorial dedicated to the martyrs of the Latvian War of Independence, Riga Central Market – Europe’s largest market, Riga Cathedral and various art galleries and museums.
Riga makes an excellent base for exploring Kemeri National Park – located near the resort town of Jurmala which has a pristine beach and seaside villas. Kemeri National Park’s major highlights are its forests, lakes, picturesque villages and the famed Great Kemeri Bog. The park is a nature lover’s delight and offers stunning scenery and nature walks.
Throughout the country, you can be sure to stumble upon charming historical towns. Cesis – located in the northeast, has a lovely medieval castle. Situated almost halfway between Riga and Cesis, Sigulda is a mountainous town with the red-bricked Turaida Museum Reserve, plenty of outdoor sports activities and other historical sites.
One of Latvia’s most recognized landmarks – Rundale Palace is located in the southern region of the country in a village named Pilsrundale. This stunning piece of architectural marvel has a well-manicured garden and visitors can explore 40 out of its 138 rooms.
On the west coast of Latvia lies the beautiful port city of Liepaja, known for its beaches, torpedo boats and old prison. Located in the northwest corner of Latvia, Cape Kolka is where the Baltic Sea meets the Gulf of Riga. Together with the nearby Slitere National Park, Cape Colca is a paradise for nature lovers.
Be it the beautiful beaches or the dense forests, Latvia’s amazing natural charm is a delight for its visitors. Along with nature, the country is also packed with numerous historical elements, which makes this underrated destination in Europe, a true delight to explore.
The UNESCO world heritage listed Riga Central Market is Europe’s largest market.