Alternative Travel Index Rank: #37
Latvia is also the 19th Most Underrated Travel Destination
Excels in environment protection and transport efficiency
Population and tourists density at peak season: 33 (low)
Latvia lies in Northern Europe, on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea. Once a famous trading point, after independence in 1918, Latvia achieved considerable results in social development, economy, industry, and agriculture. During the time of the Iron Curtain, it was a province of the Soviet Union and regained its independence only in 1991. Today Latvia is a democratic and developed country that features many interesting places to see, both urban and rural: from the wild beauty of its unspoiled sea coast to medieval ruins and historic places.
Latvia ranks #58/141 for price competitiveness in Justraveling’s Alternative Travel Index. Average travel costs per day: $43 (backpacker) – $130 (mid-range).
Best Time to Go
Apr-Sep is the best time to go to Latvia, when it’s warm and sunny, and days last longer. January and February are the coldest months, while spring and fall bring fairly mild weather, assuring a pleasant stay and better prices.
Places to Visit
Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states and home to one third of Latvia’s population. The city’s historic centre is renowned for its Art Nouveau and 19th century wooden architecture. Riga was the European Capital of Culture in 2014.
Slītere National Park hosts one of the oldest nature reserves in the Baltic region, and protects a large portion of the Livonian Coast, including Cape Kolka and its vivid villages. Famous for its broadleaf forests, and the unique complex of dunes and depressions, the park is also a great place for birdwatching.
Despite being rather small, Liepāja is one of Latvia’s largest cities, and has a rich heritage. It features a beautiful city center, full of wooden and Art Nouveau buildings, and some unspoiled white sand beaches. Karosta, the northern part of the city, was a secret military town for the Russian Empire and the USSR.
Kuldīga is the pearl of Kurzeme, Latvia’s Western Region. It boasts a greatly preserved old town with a distinctive landscape and architecture, the Venta River with the widest waterfall ledge in Europe, and cool natural surroundings.
Travel Ideas and Things to Do
Hike or walk in the Gauja National Park, which offers high biological diversity, various terrain shapes, and an extensive network of trails, designed both for short nature excursions and longer, steep climbs. The park runs along the Gauja River Valley, hosting over 500 cultural and historical monuments.
Long distance cycling route EuroVelo 10 crosses Latvia for more than 680 km, from Ainazi to Liepaja. About one-third of it follows the Baltic sea coast, assuring a very relaxed and scenic ride, with moments of absolute delight.
Take part in the revitalization of rural Latvian traditions, and discover its organic lifestyle by staying on a WWOOF farm. The deal is simple: free food, accommodation, and ecological inspiration, in return for volunteer help.
Are you looking for a one of a kind experience? Then don’t miss to join the team of Positivus, the most important music and art festival in the Baltics.
This Travel Guide is a work in progress. Improve it with a Latvian touch!
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Sources: some text excerpts from Wikitravel & Wikipedia; travel cost data from Numbeo.