Latvia is a fascinating country that is commonly overlooked by travelers. Word is starting to get out, however, as more and more tourists are becoming aware of the fine mix of Latvian attractions and the relative affordability of Latvia travel. This country on the Baltic Sea offers charming and interesting cities and towns, seven UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and plenty of recreational opportunities. This is just the start, and world travelers should know that they are very much welcome in Latvia. The country encourages foreigners to explore its lands and to bask in its rich history and culture. Latvia even established a special tourist police branch in its capital city of Riga and has tourism information centers in almost every city and town across the country. The tourism information centers are easy to find, as they display green tourism information signs outside of their buildings.
Things to do in Latvia
The Republic of Latvia is divided into four main regions. These regions include the western Kurzeme region, the northern Vidzeme region, the eastern Latgale region, and the southern Zemgale region. Often times, the capital city of Riga, which is found in Vidzeme, is also referred to as its own region. This makes sense, as Riga is by far the largest and most populous city in Latvia. Each of the Latvian regions has its own appeal. In Kurzeme, history and culture figure among the main draws, as do the shores of the Baltic Sea, the dense forests, and the region’s charming towns. In the Vidzeme region, the towns of Sigulda and Cesis await. Vidzeme is also where you will find beautiful Guaja National Park and the highest point in Latvia – Gaizinkalns (1,022 feet). Heading out east to the Latgale region, an abundance of blue lakes and “Old Believer” churches can be found. Latgale also entices with its festivals and ceramic artifacts. In the southern Zemgale region, history and culture are major aspects, and since this is Latvia’s bread basket, the region is home to opulent palaces, such as Jelgava and Rundale.
Latvia is situated on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea and boasts more than 300 miles of Baltic coastline. In the summer especially, people flock to the Latvian coast, looking to indulge in the sandy beaches. The largest and most renowned resort town on the Baltic coast of Latvia is known as Jūrmala. Blue Flag beaches await in Jūrmala, as do therapeutic thermal waters and pine forests. Health resorts and spa centers cater to those Jūrmala visitors who are interested. The town is also known for its wooden architecture, its large waterpark, its museums, its galleries, and its concert hall, which plays host to international artists. Jūrmala is just west of Riga, and the Riga- Jūrmala region in general is a major beach area of Latvia. For those who want to broaden their horizons, other major seacoast cities in Latvia include Liepaja, Ventspils, and Pavilosta.
Tours to Latvia
Latvia is a fairly small European country, covering an area of just 24,938 square miles, or 64,589 square kilometers. This makes it rather easy to explore. That being said, so many people are unfamiliar with Latvia and aren’t sure how to approach Latvian travel. This is where the tours to Latvia come in. Some of the Latvia tours focus exclusively on the capital of Riga and its World Heritage Site city center. Others combine time in Riga with other Latvian destinations, such as Sigulda and Cesis, or they focus on one of the country’s regions in particular. You can even find tours to Latvia that also include visits to other area countries, such as neighboring Lithuania and Estonia. Ideas for things to do on Latvia tours include walking along historic streets, hiking out in nature, biking along forested trails, boating on one of the country’s many rivers or lakes, or skiing in the hills. Latvia tour packages that include such things as flights and accommodations are available. Latvia visitors can also arrange smaller tours that only last a day or less and focus on a specific activity. Should you have to secure your own lodging when arranging a Latvia tour or visit, you should be happy to know that the Latvia accommodations come in numerous forms. There are hotels, motels, guest houses, youth hostels, holiday houses, country cottages, and camping and trailer parking sites.