Top 10 things to do in Latvia

Latvia

A predominately Protestant country, its forefathers were of Germanic background.

Latvia is a country.

Latvia (i/ˈlætviə/; Latvian: Latvija IPA: [ˈlatvija], officially the Republic of Latvia (Latvian: Latvijas Republika), is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe, one of the three Baltic states. It is bordered by Estonia, Lithuania, Russia, Belarus and by a maritime border to the west with Sweden. Latvia has 1,997,500 inhabitants and a territory of 64,589 km2 (24,938 sq mi). The country has a temperate seasonal climate.

Latvia is a democratic parliamentary republic established in 1918. The capital city is Riga, the European Capital of Culture 2014. Latvian is the official language. Latvia is a unitary state, divided into 118 administrative divisions of which 109 are municipalities and 9 are cities. There are five planning regions: Kurzeme, Latgale, Riga, Vidzeme and Zemgale.

Latvians and Livs are the indigenous people of Latvia. Latvian is an Indo-European language; it and Lithuanian are the only two surviving Baltic languages. Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th centuries, the Latvian nation maintained its identity throughout the generations via the language and musical traditions. Latvia and Estonia share a long common history. As a consequence of the Soviet occupation both countries are home to a large number of ethnic Russians (26.9% in Latvia and 25.5% in Estonia), some of whom are non-citizens. Latvia is historically predominantly Protestant Lutheran, except for the Latgale region in the southeast, which has historically been predominantly Roman Catholic.

The Republic of Latvia was founded on 18 November 1918. However, its de facto independence was interrupted at the outset of World War II. In 1940, the country was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union, invaded and occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941, and re-occupied by the Soviets in 1944 to form the Latvian SSR for the next fifty years. The peaceful Singing Revolution, starting in 1987, called for Baltic emancipation of Soviet rule. It ended with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and Latvia declared the restoration of its de facto independence on 21 August 1991.

Latvia is a member of NATO, European Union, United Nations, Council of Europe, CBSS, IMF, NB8, NIB, OSCE, and WTO. It is currently in the accession process for joining the OECD. For 2013, Latvia is listed 48th on the Human Development Index and as a high income country until 1 July 2014. It used the Latvian lats as its currency until this was replaced by the euro on 1 January 2014.

Overall rating: 4.9
Country
Typical length of visit: 7 days

Top 10 things to do in Latvia

Daugavpils

Daugavpils
Daugavpils ; Latgalian: Daugpiļs ; Russian: Даугавпилс ; see other names is a city in southeastern Latvia, located on the banks of the Daugava River, from which the city gets ...

Ventspils

Ventspils
Ventspils ; Russian: Вентспилс; German: Windau; Polish: Windawa; Livonian: Vǟnta is a town in northwestern Latvia in the Courland historical region of Latvia, the sixth largest city in the country. ...

Riga

Riga
Riga is the capital and the largest city of Latvia. With 643,368 inhabitants, Riga is the largest city of the Baltic states and home to more than one third of ...

Cēsis

Cēsis
Cēsis , is a town in Latvia located in the northern part of the Central Vidzeme Upland. Cēsis is on the Gauja River valley, and is built on a series ...

Sigulda

Sigulda
Sigulda ; German: Segewold is a town in the Vidzeme Region of Latvia, 53 kilometres from the capital city Riga.OverviewSigulda is on a picturesque stretch of the ...

Jūrmala

Jūrmala
Jūrmala "seaside"; German: Riga-Strand, Baltische Riviera is a city in Latvia, about 25 kilometres west of Riga. Jūrmala is a resort town stretching 32 km and sandwiched between the Gulf of ...

Kuldīga

Kuldīga
Kuldīga is a town in western Latvia. It is the center of Kuldīga municipality with a population of approximately 13,500.Kuldīga was first mentioned in 1242. It joined the Hanseatic League ...

Valmiera

Valmiera
Valmiera ; German: Wolmar is the largest city of the historical Vidzeme region, Latvia, with a total area of 18.1 square kilometres . It is the center of the Valmiera ...

Liepāja

Liepāja
Liepāja ; German: Libau, Polish: Lipawa, Yiddish: ליבאַװע Lybave, is a city in western Latvia, located on the Baltic Sea directly at 21°E. It is the largest city in the ...

Tukums

Tukums
Tukums ; German: Tuckum; Livonian: Tukāmō is a town in Latvia. Three regions of Latvia meet in the vicinity of Tukums – Vidzeme, Zemgale and Courland.HistoryThe historical ...

Limbaži

Limbaži
Limbaži , Estonian: Lemsalu, German: Lemsal, Livonian: Lemisele is a town in the Vidzeme region of northern Latvia. Limbaži is located 90 km northeast of the capital Riga. The population is ...

Līgatne

Līgatne
Līgatne ; German: Ligat is a town on the Gauja River, in Latvia. The village of Līgatne was built around the paper mill, still extant, on the River Līgatne in ...

Salaspils

Salaspils
Salaspils ; German: Kirchholm is a town in Latvia, the administrative centre of Salaspils municipality. The town is situated on the northern bank of the Daugava River 18 kilometers to ...

Rēzekne

Rēzekne
Rēzekne ; Latgalian Rēzne pronounced  or Rēzekne pronounced ; German: Rositten; Polish: Rzeżyca is a city in the Latgalia region of eastern Latvia in Rēzekne River valley, also known by the ...

Jelgava

Jelgava
Jelgava ; German: Mitau is a city in central Latvia about 41 kilometres southwest of Riga with about 63,000 inhabitants. It is the largest town in the region of Zemgale ...

Rāzna National Park

Rāzna National Park
Rāzna National Park is a national park in the Latgale region of Latvia. It was established in 2007 and covers an area of 532 km . The initiative to create the ...

Bauska

Bauska
Bauska is a town in Bauska municipality, in the Zemgale region of southern Latvia. The town is situated at the confluence of the rivers Mūsa and Mēmele where they form ...

Gulbene

Gulbene
Gulbene ; German: Schwanenburg and the surrounding Gulbene municipality are located in North-eastern Latvia and adjoin the Alūksne, Balvi, Madona, Cēsis and Valka regions.The area of this region is 11.898 km², ...

Ludza

Ludza
for the river see Ludza River Ludza is a town in the Latgalia region of eastern Latvia. It is located on the main Riga - Moscow road, part of European ...

Madona

Madona
Madona ; German: Madohn is a town with town rights in the Vidzeme region of Latvia and is the center of the Madona municipality.HistoryThe surrounding area of ...

Talsi

Talsi
Talsi ; Livonian: Tālsa, German: Talsen is a town in Latvia. It is the center of Talsi municipality.TalsiTalsi - known as 'The Town of Nine Hills' - ...

Dobele

Dobele
Dobele ; German: Doblen is a town in the cultural region Zemgale in Latvia, and is located near the center of Latvia on the banks of the river Bērze. It ...

Alūksne

Alūksne
Alūksne is a town on the shores of Lake Alūksne in northeastern Latvia near the borders with Estonia and Russia. It is the seat of Alūksne municipality. Alūksne is the ...

Aerodium

Aerodium
A vertical wind tunnel is a wind tunnel which moves air up in a vertical column.Although vertical wind tunnels have been built for aerodynamic research, the most high profile are ...

Eži

Eži
Eziran is a village in Baraan-e Jonubi Rural District, in the Central District of Isfahan County, Isfahan Province, Iran. At the 2006 census, its population was 1,170, in 279 families. ...

Regional Studies & Art Museum

Regional Studies & Art Museum
Regional Studies is a monthly peer-reviewed academic journal covering research in theoretical development, empirical analysis, and policy debate in the field of regional science. It is an official journal of ...

Ogre

Ogre
An ogre is a being usually depicted as a large, hideous, manlike monster that eats human beings. Ogres frequently feature in mythology, folklore, and fiction throughout the world. They appear ...

Salacgrīva

Salacgrīva
Salacgrīva , Latvian: "mouth of the Salaca"; German: Salismünde; Livonian: Salats; Estonian: Salatsi is a town in the Vidzeme region of Northern Latvia. It is the administrative center of Salacgrīva ...

Kolka, Latvia

Kolka, Latvia
Kolka is a village in Kolka parish, Dundaga municipality, on the tip of Cape Kolka in Courland in Latvia, on the coast of the Gulf of Riga in ancient Livonia.

Ķemeri National Park

Ķemeri National Park
Ķemeri National Park is a national park west of the city of Jūrmala, Latvia. Established in 1997, Ķemeri is the third largest national park in the country by area, covering ...

Smiltene

Smiltene
Smiltene ; German: Smilten is a town in the Vidzeme region of in northern Latvia, 150 km northeast of the capital Riga. It has a population of 5,880 .

Freedom Monument

Freedom Monument
The Freedom Monument is a memorial located in Riga, Latvia, honouring soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence . It is considered an important symbol of the freedom, independence, ...

Saldus

Saldus
Saldus ; German: Frauenburg is a Latvian town located in Courland and is main town in Saldus District. In 2005 the town had a population of 12,707.1856 is considered the ...

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter's Church
St. Peter's Church is a Lutheran church in Riga, the capital of Latvia, dedicated to Saint Peter. It is a parish church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. ...

Ādaži

Ādaži
Ādaži is a village in the historical region of Vidzeme, the Riga Planning Region in Latvia, and the centre of Ādaži Municipality. It has a population of about 9,000.Ādaži has ...

Museum of the Occupation of Latvia

Museum of the Occupation of Latvia
Museum of the Occupation of Latvia 1940-1991 is an historic educational institution located in Riga, Latvia. It was established in 1993 to exhibit artifacts, archive documents, and educate the public ...

Grobiņa

Grobiņa
Grobiņa ; German: Grobin is a town in western Latvia, eleven kilometers east of Liepāja. It was founded by the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century. Some ruins of their ...

Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum

Latvian Ethnographic Open Air Museum
Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum is a museum in Riga, Latvia. It is an open-air museum, situated in a forest park area beside a lake just outside the capital, with farmers ...

Koknese

Koknese
Koknese is a historic town in Latvia, the administrative centre of Koknese municipality on the right bank of the Daugava River. It has a population of nearly 3,000.

Cesvaine

Cesvaine
Cesvaine is a town in Cesvaine municipality, Vidzeme Region, Latvia. It is home to the Cesvaine Palace, built in 1896 near the ruins of previous medieval castles.HistoryDuring ...

Riga Motor Museum

Riga Motor Museum
Riga Motor Museum is the biggest antique vehicle museum in the Baltic countries, located in Riga, Latvia. The museum is a state agency operating under the Republic of Latvia Ministry ...

Jēkabpils

Jēkabpils
Jēkabpils ; German: Jakobstadt; Polish: Jakubów is a city in southeastern Latvia roughly halfway between Riga and Daugavpils and spanning the Daugava River. Historic Jēkabpils lies on the left bank, ...

Latvian War Museum

Latvian War Museum
The Latvian War Museum is a war museum in Riga, Latvia. It began as the Riflemen Museum in 1916 during World War I. The building that houses the museum was ...

Roja Municipality

Roja Municipality
Roja Municipality is a municipality in Courland, Latvia. The municipality was formed in 2009 by merging Mērsrags parish and Roja parish the administrative centre being Roja. Since 2010 separate Mērsrags ...

Small Guild, Riga

Small Guild, Riga
The Small Guild is a building situated in Riga, Latvia, at 3/5 Amatu Street. The building was erected in the years 1864—66 after a project by architect Johann Felsko in ...

Ķegums

Ķegums
Ķegums ; German: Keggum is a town in Latvia.SportĶegums has been host to the Latvian Sidecarcross Grand Prix numerous timesDuring the 2009 FIM Motocross World Championship season, ...

Ozolnieki

Ozolnieki
Ozolnieki is a village in Latvia and the administrative centre of Ozolnieki municipality. The village is located at Iecava river approximately 36 km from the capital Riga and 6 km from the ...

Latvian Museum of National History

Latvian Museum of National History
The Latvian Museum of National History is a national history museum in Riga, Latvia.It was founded in 1869 by the Riga Latvian Society.Since 1920 it has been located in Riga ...

Saulkrasti

Saulkrasti
Saulkrasti ; German: Neubad is a town in Latvia, which lies on the east coast of Gulf of Riga. It stretches across 17 km from Lilaste river to Zvejniekciems village including. ...

Latvian National Museum of Art

Latvian National Museum of Art
The Latvian National Museum of Art is the richest collection of national art in Latvia. It houses more than 52,000 works of art reflecting the development of professional art in ...

Aglona

Aglona
Aglona is a village in Aglona municipality, Latvia. It is located 40 kilometers northeast of the city of Daugavpils.Aglona is famous in Latvia and beyond for its Basilica of the ...

Museum of Foreign Art, Riga

Museum of Foreign Art, Riga
The Latvian Museum of Foreign Art is a museum in Riga, Latvia. It was established in 1920 and contains the most extensive collection of world art in Latvia from Ancient ...

Liepāja lake

Liepāja lake
Lake Liepāja is the fifth-largest lake in Latvia, located near Liepāja in the Liepāja District. The total area of the lake is 37.15 km, and it has a length of 16.2 km, ...

Krāslava

Krāslava
Krāslava ; Latgalian: Kruoslova is a town and the administrative centre of Krāslava Municipality, in the Latgale region of Latvia.HistoryKrāslava was an important hillfort on the waterway ...

Sabile

Sabile
Sabile ; German: Zabeln is a town in Talsi municipality, Latvia.Sabile was first mentioned in chronicles in 1253. From the 14th century to the 16th century, it was a site ...

Riga Aviation Museum

Riga Aviation Museum
Riga Aviation Museum is an aviation museum in Riga, Latvia. The museum was established in 1956 by Victor Talpa, who worked for the Latvian Civil Aviation Administration, but it was ...

Preiļi

Preiļi
Preiļi is a town in Latvia. It is also the administrative center of Preiļi municipality.HistoryPreiļi is one of the oldest settlements in Latvia. It was first mentioned ...

Riga Film Museum

Riga Film Museum
Riga Film Museum is a film museum in Riga, Latvia. The museum was established in 1988, and is the only one in Latvia dedicated to this art form.The museum's collection ...

Mālpils

Mālpils
Mālpils is a village in Mālpils municipality, Latvia. Mālpils had 2,168 residents as of 2006.Mālpils manorMālpils manor back ...

Ķīšezers, Riga

Ķīšezers, Riga
Ķīšezers is a lake in Riga, Latvia, with primary inflow of the Jugla River. The lake is 1,730 ha large, it has 2.4 metres of average depth and reaches 4.2 metres ...

Mārupe Municipality

Mārupe Municipality
Mārupe Municipality is a municipality in Latvia. The municipality was formed in 2009 by reorganization of Mārupe parish the administrative centre being Mārupe.Riga International Airport is located in the municipality. ...

Latvian Museum of Natural History

Latvian Museum of Natural History
The Natural History Museum of Latvia is a natural history museum in Riga, Latvia. It was founded in 1845 by the Riga Balto-German intelligentsia as part of the Riga Naturalist ...

Pāvilosta

Pāvilosta
Pāvilosta ; German: Paulshafen is a small town in Latvia. ...

St. Gertrude Old Church, Riga

St. Gertrude Old Church, Riga
St. Gertrude Old Church is a Lutheran church in Riga, the capital of Latvia. It is a parish church of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Latvia. The church is situated ...

Pļaviņas

Pļaviņas
Pļaviņas ; German: Stockmannshof is a town in Latvia. The town is located on the Daugava river. ...

Latvian Railway History Museum

Latvian Railway History Museum
The Latvian Railway History Museum is a railway museum in Riga, Latvia. It was established on August 30, 1994 and contains more than a thousand items, documents and photographs related ...

Pilsrundāle

Pilsrundāle
Pilsrundāle is a village in Rundāle municipality, Latvia. Pilsrundāle had 862 residents as of 2006. Rundāle Palace is located in Pilsrundāle. ...

St. Alexander Nevsky Church, Riga

St. Alexander Nevsky Church, Riga
St. Alexander Nevsky Church is an Orthodox church in Riga, the capital of Latvia. The church is situated at the address 56 Brīvības Street. ...

Slītere National Park

Slītere National Park
Slītere National Park is a national park in Talsi district, Kurzeme Region, on the west coast of Latvia. Although formally established in 2000, it is based on former Slītere Nature ...

Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Riga

Our Lady of Sorrows Church, Riga
Our Lady of Sorrows Church is a Roman Catholic church in Riga, the capital of Latvia. The church is situated at the address 5 Pils Street. It is built in ...

Lielvārde

Lielvārde
Lielvārde ; German: Lennewarden, population 6328, is a town in Vidzeme, Latvia, the administrative centre of Lielvārde municipality on the right bank of the Daugava river, 52 km southeast of Riga.

Riga Porcelain Museum

Riga Porcelain Museum
Riga Porcelain Museum is a ceramics museum in Riga, Latvia.The museum opened on October 30, 2001. The museum regularly temporarily displays contemporary solo work by Latvian porcelain artists such as ...

Cable Car

Cable Car
A cable car is any of a variety of transportation systems relying on cables to pull vehicles along or lower them at a steady rate. The terminology also refers to ...

Jews in Latvia

Jews in Latvia
The History of the Jews in Latvia dates back to the first Jewish colony established in Piltene in 1571. Jews contributed to Latvia's development until the Northern War , which ...

Museum of Decorative Arts & Design

Museum of Decorative Arts & Design
Museum of Decorative Arts or Decorative Arts Museum may refer to:DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, Williamsburg, Virginia, USAFirma y Odilo Estévez Municipal Decorative Art Museum, Rosario, ArgentinaKirkland Museum of Fine ...