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With a rich history, picturesque landscape, and unique cultural heritage, Latvia offers plenty for visitors; from castles and cathedrals to coastlines and forests.
Sonce independence from the Soviet Union, Latvia has made strides in developing its infrastructure, promoting sustainable tourism, and preserving its cultural heritage.
The capital of Latvia is Riga.
Latvia, officially known as the Republic of Latvia, is a country located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe.
Latvia has a complex history that has been influenced by various powers over the centuries.
The region was inhabited by Baltic tribes before being conquered by the German Teutonic Knights and later falling under Polish, Swedish, and Russian rule.
Latvia gained independence in 1918 after World War I but was occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940 and became known as the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic.
Latvia regained independence in 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Latvia is now a member of the European Union, NATO, and other international organizations.
The capital and largest city of Latvia is Riga, situated on the Gulf of Riga.
Riga is known for its well-preserved historic centre, which is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site.
Other major cities include Daugavpils, Liepaja, and Jelgava.
Latvian culture is a blend of Baltic, Nordic, and European influences.
The country has a vibrant arts scene, with notable contributions to literature, music, and visual arts.
Folk traditions, such as singing and dancing, play a significant role in Latvian cultural identity.
Latvians also celebrate various festivals throughout the year, including Midsummer (Jāņi), which is one of the most important cultural events in Latvia.
Latvia has a mixed economy, with sectors such as services, industry, and agriculture contributing to its GDP.
It has undergone significant economic reforms since gaining independence and has embraced market-oriented policies.
The country is known for its strong information technology sector, timber production, and manufacturing industries.
Relatively flat, Latvia has a diverse geographical landscape that includes forests, lakes, rivers, and a long coastline along the Baltic Sea.
The country experiences four distinct seasons, with mild summers and cold winters.
The official language of Latvia is Latvian, which is part of the Baltic language family.
Latvian has similarities to Lithuanian, and it uses the Latin alphabet.
English and Russian are also widely spoken, especially in urban areas and among the younger generation.
Latvia offers visitors a range of attractions, from its charming medieval towns to its unspoiled nature.
Riga's Old Town, with its beautiful architecture, cobbled streets, and numerous churches, is a popular tourist destination.
Other attractions include the Gauja National Park, the seaside resort town of Jurmala, and the historic castles scattered throughout the country.
The best time to visit Latvia is May or September, when the weather is mild and there are fewer crowds.
As well as the Latvian Highlighs listed below, Latvia offers many other attractions and activities like visiting the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga, enjoying the pristine beaches of Liepaja, and experiencing Latvian cuisine and cultural festivals throughout the year.
Another charming town in the Vidzeme region, Cesis is famous for its medieval castle ruins and picturesque old town.
Explore the narrow streets lined with colourful wooden houses, visit the Cesis Castle Complex, and enjoy the peaceful ambiance of this historical town.
Located in the Vidzeme region, Gauja National Park is the largest and oldest national park in Latvia.
It offers stunning natural landscapes with dense forests, deep river valleys, and impressive sandstone cliffs.
Explore the medieval Turaida Castle, visit the Gutmanis Cave, and take a hike or bike ride through the park's well-marked trails.
Just a short distance from Riga, Jurmala is a popular seaside resort town known for its sandy beaches, pine forests, and charming wooden architecture.
Enjoy a relaxing day at the beach, visit Jurmala Open-Air Museum to learn about local traditions, or indulge in the town's famous spa and wellness facilities.
Located in the western part of Latvia, Kuldiga is known for its beautiful architecture and the widest waterfall in Europe, the Ventas Rumba.
Stroll along the charming streets, cross the old brick bridge, and witness the beauty of the waterfall, especially during the salmon migration season.
Situated on the outskirts of Riga, the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum showcases traditional Latvian rural architecture and lifestyle.
Explore the various farmsteads, learn about traditional crafts, and experience Latvian culture firsthand.
Start your journey in the capital city of Riga, which is also the largest city in the Baltics.
Riga is famous for its well-preserved historic centre, known as the 'Old Town', which is an UNESCO World Heritage site.
Explore its cobbled streets, visit the iconic Riga Cathedral, St. Peter's Church, and take a stroll along the picturesque Daugava River.
Known as the 'Switzerland of Latvia', Sigulda is a town located within Gauja National Park; famous for its breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities.
Visit the medieval Sigulda Castle, take a cable car ride across the Gauja River Valley, or try bobsledding at the Sigulda Bobsleigh Track.
The Cesis Region is crossed by the Riga - Pskov highway that goes on to St. Petersburg, and a road from a href="latvia-riga.htm">Riga to Tartu.
Cesis is a charming little Latvian town with a romantic medieval feel, located on the banks of the picturesque Gauja River
One of Latvia's three nationally treasured cities, the location of Cesis within the Gauja National Park - and its excellent rail, bus and road connections to the Latvian capital of Riga - make it an ideal centre for tourism development.
The Latvian town of Cesis is located in the northern part of Vidzeme Central upland, on high hillocks with terraces; overlooking the blue woods of the Gauja river valley.
Cēsis Castle was built around 1214 and originally served as the residence of the Knights of the Livonian Brothers of the Sword.
Hotel Cesis: Vienibas square 1, Cesis.
Built in 1939 Cesis Hotel is located in the very heart of the ancient city and fits perfectly into its historical landscape.
The area around the hotel houses a number of restaurants and bars but guests shouldn't have to venture outside of the venue since its very own Alexis restaurant offers a splendid view of the Maija Park and some distinguished cuisine.
Guests at the Hotel Cesis enjoyed its elegant atmosphere and found it ideal for both business dinners and a romantic rendezvous.
The Jurmala health resort - with its romantic wooden houses in art nouveau (Jugendstil), its spacious beaches, forests, and calmly flowing Lielupe river - is located at the southern shore of the Bay of Riga, 22km from the Latvian capital.
Buses leave Riga for Ventspils every couple of hours, or you can catch one of the twice-daily trains.
The train is quicker, three and a half to four hours, but the Ventspils train station is out of the centre. The bus station is more convenient, although the bus journey to the capital takes from three to six hours.
Located at the mouth of the Venta River, the Baltic Sea port is of Ventspils ice-free.
Visit the renovated old town and castle or relax on the nearby beaches.
Recent changes in Eastern Europe have opened a new highway through the Baltic countries; the Via Baltica. To drive along the Via Baltica is to discover places that for decades have been closed to western tourists.
You can enter Latvia directly through numerous ports, airports or via road from one of the neighbouring countries. Riga, the capital of Latvia, has the largest seaport with passenger facilities, railway terminal and international airport in the Baltics.
There's plenty to see in Latvia, from castles and cathedrals to coastlines and forests.
Places to visit include Bauska, Burtnieki, Cesis, Daugavpils, Jelgava, Jurmala, Kolka, Kuldiga, Liepaja, Mezaparks, Riga, and Sigulda.
Bauska Town, the administrative centre of the county, is about an hour's drive from Riga (67km). Bauska can also be reached by public bus from Riga International Bus Terminal.
Visitors to Bauska have plenty of things to see and do.
Mazmežotnes Manor: Rundāles pag., Rundāles nov., Mazmežotne.
Mazmežotnes muiža, housed in an historic manor house, is located in tranquil natural surroundings in a Lielupe River valley. Each of the palace-style rooms contain oak furniture and a TV.
Guests at the Mazmežotnes muiža can stay in the Lord's house, the Great Servant house or the Guest house 'Siernīca'.
Dobele is situated about 70 km south-west of Riga, on the banks of the river Berze; where the hilly part of Kurzeme meets the more flat region of Zemgale.
Leaving Riga and driving north-east will take you to the nature park of Gaujiena, and its palace and estate dating from the 19th century.
Riga is the perfect base to begin a tour of the south-eastern region of Latgale, home to some of Latvia's most spectacular scenery as well as charming towns and villages.
The picturesque town of Tukums, nestling on the banks of the Slocene river between the hilly Kurzeme region and the plains of Zemgale, is an ideal starting point for a tour of the north-west of Kurzeme.
Rural Tourism in Latvia
'Baltic Country Holidays' promotes tourism in the Latvian countryside.
Lauku Celotajs (Countryside Traveller) is a rural tourism association, established in 1993, with some 360 members around rural Latvia.
Top 10 Attractions in Latvia
From big city sophistication to heartfelt country hospitality, Visitors to Latvia can discover ancient castles, wander through stunning valleys or laze on miles of beaches.
1. The largest and most exciting metropolis in the Baltics, Riga will inspire you.
2. Wander miles of stunning hiking trails and explore fascinating medieval castles in the Gauja National Park.
3. Just 20 minutes' drive from Riga, Jurmala is a seaside resort like no other.
4. Drift back to a gentler age in Kuldiga, an ideal destination for a romantic weekend.
5. Nicknamed the Baltic Versailles, Rundale Palace (Rundāles pils) will transport you to an age of splendour.
6. Latvia is a land of ancient traditions, and the best place to experience them is the Turaida Museum Reserve near Sigulda.
7. Cesis is a town with an intriguing mixture of hipness and history.
8. Known as the 'city where the wind is born', Liepaja is a port with uncommon attractions.
9. Latgale is an off-the-beaten-track gem that deeply rewards visitors.
10. The port of Ventspils is a town with the sea in its veins, as well as being a delightful destination for the whole family.
Latvia Travel Guides
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