Perched on the Baltic Sea, Lativa is probably best known for its gorgeous capital, Riga. That being said, there are a shed load of incredible and best places in Latvia that are beyond the capital, too.
Surrounded by; Russia, Lithuania, Estonia and Belarus, Lativa has a pretty incredible mix of influences and spots that are great to see during a longer trip around the country.
For instance, it has some wonderful towns and villages and a pretty stunning coastline (that you might not think about when you first think of Lativa). After all, it’s right on the Baltic Sea which is great to explore in the summer months.
With that in mind, and after spending some time in the country, I wanted to share some of the best places in Latvia that you should think of visiting on your next trip.
Okay, let’s start with the biggest and probably the most well-known of the best places in Latvia; Riga.
Perched on the coastal edge of the country, Riga is steeped in history and is a totally stunning city to explore.
Once you’re here, make sure to visit St Peter’s Church and the House of the Black Heads that’s steeped in history. Honestly, you’ll be spoilt for choice with all the buildings and the gorgeous architecture.
If that’s your thing, make sure to see the Three Brothers, too… they’re totally kitsch.
Afterwards, take a little cruise down the river. We hired our own little boat (with captain) and it was such a nice way to see the city from a different perspective.
Oh yeah, and if hunger beckons pop into Milda who make the most delicious herring soup. Honestly, you’ll leave stuffed.
So, the 13th-century town of Sabile is located in the Abava Valle; just to the west of Riga.
Once here, you will find the world’s most northerly open-air vineyard and the best time for you to visit is in July during the annual wine festival.
Oh yeah, and you should visit is the open-air museum at Pedale Manor if you’ve got time. It exhibits modern art and hosts cultural events throughout the year so make sure you check what’s going on.
Throughout the Abava Valley, you will also find several archaeological sites that are worth your time exploring.
Now, I was told that Talsi is often called the Town of Nine Hills, which is apparently due to the surrounding hills that shape the town.
After arriving, spend your time relaxing in the parks, there are several to choose from. During the summer months, you can listen to the local Talsi Folklore Group, they give performances most summer evenings with the highlight being the midsummer celebration festival.
It’s a great little place and much more relaxed than bigger cities like Riga.
Hundreds of years ago, Kuldiga was one of the principal capitals of the Duchy of Courland.
Nowadays, however, Kuldiga is still a pretty little town in Lativa and that’s actually known for having one of the widest waterfalls in Europe (close by).
Venta itself is 240m wide and a totally gorgeous to see. Plus, in spring you might even see the salmon jumping up the waterfall, too.
Built within the late 19th century, Pavilosta was conceived by a German baron as a shipbuilding point, which quickly became a harbour, too.
Also, It’s considered one of the sunniest places in Latvia even during the shorter hours of daylight in the winter. Since the end of communist rule, Pavilosta has become a pretty popular spot for some Latvians and one of the best places in Latvia to visit if you want to see another side of the country. It’s so peaceful and a place where you can just chill.
Cesis is one of the oldest towns in the country and easily up there as one of the best places in Latvia to visit; especially for the Old Town.
One interesting thing about Cesis is that there are two castles and they sit right next to each other. The original 13th-century castle now mostly ruins while the newer 18th century New Cesis Castle is a beautifully constructed spot to explore.
While you are in the castle take the time to visit the Cesis Museum of History and Art before popping to St John’s Church and Rozu Square.
If you’re something of a history buff, then popping over to Dobele is almost essential whilst in Lativa.
You see, Dobele has been continuously inhabited since the Stone Age; making it a pretty incredible place to explore.
Once here, you can visit the ruins of the castle, the old churches or take in one of the many festivals that go on throughout the year. For instance, if you head here in spring, there’s a famous Lilac Festival to see. That being said, the summer is time for the Ancient Castle Festival that happens each year.
Finally, the Apple Festival takes place in the autumn or you might like the Snowman Parade in the winter. It’s so lovely.
Ventspils is a town on the Baltic Sea and although it’s one of Europe’s busiest ports, it’s not the only reason why you should visit.
Whilst here, you shouldn’t miss the Seaside Open Air Museum, where you can see traditional fishing huts, cabins that were used to cure the fish as well as hundreds of other artefacts from Ventspils. That being said, if you’re not into museums, you might wanna give this spot a miss.
Also, the beach is another stunning spot in the summer and is a popular spot for locals and visitors alike. Here, you can try your hand at things like; volleyball, kitesurfing that takes place all over the beach.
First off, Jurmala is within easy reach from the capital Riga; making it an easy spot for a day trip. Best of all, it has one of the longest stretches of sandy beach in northern Europe; which is amazing on a sunny day.
In addition to the beach, Jurmala town also has some totally historic wooden architecture that is lovely to see. Honestly, it looks like lots of gingerbread houses; they’re so cute!
Afterwards, take a little stroll through Dzintari Forest Park that’s totally lovely and so relaxing.
Sigulda, in the Gauja River Valley, is another of the best places in Latvia to explore that’s less than an hour from Riga.
This historic town has some totally beautiful scenery and some wonderful architecture to boot! It’s a place you will enjoy exploring; especially if you love something that’s a little off the beaten track.
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot, make sure to see the 19th-century Krimulda Manor, too. It’s open to the public and has some wonderful gardens that are lovely. Now, the medieval castle is in ruins, but you should visit the Sigulda New Castle, it is a beautifully constructed fortification and one of my favourites in all of Latvia.
Afterwards, pop into Mr Biskvits for some of the tastiest desserts in the country. Honestly, they’re so good and you’ll leave stuffed.
Okay, so Ludza is claimed to be the oldest town in all of Latvia; though, I’m sure some disagree!
It was first mentioned as a town in the 10th century and here you can visit the ruins of Ludza Castle that’s pretty epic. After wandering the towns cobbled streets, pop into the Ludza History Museum and see the Ludza Orthodox Church that stands proudly in the town.
It really is one of the best places in Latvia to explore.