What to do in Latvia? Sightseeing shouldn’t be limited to just Riga. Our Latvia travel guide recommends unique places to visit in Latvia to give you an authentic, in-depth experience.
Duo Una and Kaspars, of We Are from Latvia, come to us with insider advice on Latvia destinations and how to make the most of your experience when you visit Latvia.
This post contains affiliate links and/or references to our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on or make a purchase using these links.
Where is Latvia Located and What is Latvia Known For?
Latvia, a country in Northern Europe, is one of three smaller countries with shoreline on the southeast side of the Baltic Sea. Flanked on either side by Estonia and Lithuania, Latvia is one of our recommendations for the off the beaten path Europe experience many travelers seek.Sharing its inland border with Russia and Belarus, and a maritime border with Sweden, Latvia’s history is notable for maintaining national identity despite centuries of foreign rule.
Latvia’s 20th century independence – declared in 1918 – was interrupted by annexation within the former Soviet state in the 1930s. This was followed by Nazi occupation and oppression during WWII.
Re-occupied by the Soviets from 1944 until 1990, Latvia declared and restored its independence in 1990-91. Today Latvia enjoys a strong economic and cultural resurgence as a member of the European Union.
Latvia is a good place to travel for both luxury travelers and budget travelers. All in all, Baltic travel is not expensive; you’ll find transportation, restaurants and Latvia hotels are significantly cheaper than in other European countries (especially in Western Europe).
Tourism industry in Latvia is developed. Not surprisingly, you’ll find plenty of well-appointed hotels and hip cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy your vacation. Whenever Baltic States points of interest are mentioned, Latvia tourist attractions feature prominently.
With forests covering almost half of the country, Latvia is among the greenest destinations in the world. Meaning if you are a nature lover, it is a place to be. There are a lot of nature parks and sanctuaries in Latvia, as well as many nature adventure parks!
In this list below, we have included off-the-beaten-track places in Latvia, places to visit that are popular tourist attractions, and a variety of activities to interest all types of travelers. You can get to most of the places to see in Latvia that are on this list by public transportation (train and bus). Renting a car is the best choice, though.
Read on to learn more about what to see in Latvia and the diversity Latvia attractions have to offer.
In and Around Latvia’s Capital: Don’t Limit Yourself Just to Riga Sightseeing
Many tourists coming to Latvia explore only Riga, its capital. But there is much more to Latvia
than Riga old town, albeit as charming and historical as it is. Even if you are in Latvia for only a few days, you can manage to visit not only Riga but also some of the places surrounding it.
We’ll start off with a few ideas of places to visit in Riga and others that are close by.
1. National History Museum of Latvia – “Dauderi”
Learn about the history of Latvia in the National Museum of History “Dauderi”.
In Riga, places to stay aren’t limited to old town Riga. The “Dauderi” museum is located in a picturesque neighbourhood, some 4.3 miles (7 km) north of the city center.
The museum is set in one of the most beautiful historical buildings that dates back to the 19th
century. Designed by Heinrich Scheel, a leading Eclectic and Art Nouveau architect in Riga, the interior and exterior of this former family home are well-preserved.
Location: Zageru iela 7, Riga.
Admission fee: 3 EUR.
Getting there: By bus: No 49. Bus stop – “Aldaris”. By tram: No 9. Train stop: “Aldaris”.
2. The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia
The Museum of History is not the only place where you can learn about the history of Latvia. Popular among Riga points of interest is the Ethnographic Open-Air Museum of Latvia.
Set in a village-like settlement just outside Riga, the museum welcomes visitors of all ages.
Strolling past the historical wooden buildings you’ll feel like you have gone back to the past! You
can also walk in those buildings and see how people lived back then.
Location: Brivdabas iela 21, Riga.
Admission fee: 2 EUR.
Getting there: By bus. No: 1, 19, 28, 29. Bus stop – “Brivdabas muzejs”.
Click here for reviews and additional information.
3. Go for a Walk in One of Latvia’s Many Bogs
There are many bogs and swamps in Latvia. In fact, its estimated that 4-5% of the land in Latvia
are swamps and bogs.
The largest of them is the Great Kemeri bog. It is located in Kemeri National Park, a mere 28 miles (45 km) west of Riga. But the longest boardwalk (3.7 miles / 6 km) is located in Dunikas bog which is located 28 miles (45 km) south-east of Liepaja.
There are several other large bogs in Latvia, such as Cenas Tirelis, Stiklu purvi, Cužu purvs.
There are boardwalks in all of these bogs, so you can leisurely explore them and see their characteristic landscapes with tiny pine trees, moss, little dark lakes and pools.
Interesting fact: Many WWII military tanks were swallowed up by the Kemeri bog. Its depth exceeds two stories.
4. The Barefoot Path at “Valguma pasaule”
The barefoot path is another awesome place in Kemeri National Park, a 20 – 30 minute ride away from the Kemeri bog.
Enjoy a relaxing walk on the Valguma barefoot path that is made of different natural materials. Walk on rocks, boulders, pebbles, wood, moss, cones, clay, tree bark, and wood chip, as well as through river water.
This path is first of such kind in the Baltics and it’s also the longest of all the barefoot paths in Latvia at 1.9 miles (3 km). It’s a great place for relaxing and rejuvenating feet massage! Walking barefoot on different surfaces is good for your spine, hips, knees and ankle joints.
We suggest visiting this place during summer or early autumn, as the rest of the time weather in Latvia is mostly cold, damp and in other ways unpleasant.
Location: Kemeri National Park, next to lake Valgums and the Slocene river.
Admission fee: 5 EUR.
Click here for reviews and additional information.
5. Zilie Kalni (Blue Hills) Nature Park in Ogre
One of the easiest near Riga attractions for those interested to get out of the city and into nature, Blue Hills Nature Park in Ogre municipality is a beautiful, quiet place. Great for walks in summer and for cross-country skiing in winter, consider it a Riga must see to offset your city experience.
Interesting fact: Ogre has been a healthy city escape for Riga residents since 1861, when rail access made it practical for them to build summer cottages along the river and in the stately pine forests.
There are several cycling and hiking trails, as well as several cross-country ski tracks. A forest
covers most of the Blue Hills territory and is home to some of the protected plant and bird
There’s also an observation tower, and a reservoir with a small beach.
Location: Ogres Zilie kalni, Ogre.
Getting there: By train, Riga – Ogre. Train stop: Jaunogre. Then walk – around 1.6 miles (2.5 km).
Click here for reviews and more information.
Western Latvia Points of Interest
6. The Pokainu Forest
Go for a walk in this mysterious forest! It is an ancient holy site in Latvian mythology, it has a long history which dates back to 11th century, and it even has been mentioned in Ancient Greek literature!
In the old times people went to this forest to regain strength and cure themselves, as back then
folk healers lived in Pokaini. Still many species of medical plants can be found in Pokaini, many of them rare.
Various inexplicable phenomena have been observed there, in Pokaini.
There are several walking paths in the Pokaini forest, with the total length 9.3 miles (15 km).
Location: “Senpokaini”, Dobele district, Naudite parish.
Admission fee: 2 EUR.
Click here for reviews and more information.
7. KuldigaKuldiga is one of the most beautiful historical towns in Latvia, dating back to 13th century. Kuldiga is popular among local tourists. However, it shouldn’t be missed by foreign tourists, too! In my opinion Kuldiga is even more beautiful than Riga!
Tip: Check out the Museum of the Kuldiga Region for a look into the elegant life in a wealthy family’s home in the late 19th century. In Kuldiga town, visit the new Live Museum to experience history in an innovative, interactive way.
Not only you’ll see plenty of pretty historical buildings but also beautiful nature. Venta Rapid,
Europe’s widest waterfall also is located in Kuldiga. Explore the waterfall and go for a swim in the Venta river – there is a small beach on the riverbank.
Liepaja, a port city on the west coast, is one of the largest cities in Latvia, and also one of the
most beautiful ones. Liepaja is rich with sights and interesting landmarks. To enjoy the amazing
atmosphere of this charming city to the fullest stay there at least a couple of days!
There’s also an adventure park “Tarzans” in Liepaja. It’s an adventure park with several different
routes of zip lines and different obstacles that are set up on trees at different heights.
To cap off the eventful and impression-rich day visit “Cafe Workshop” – a stylish cafe with a nice atmosphere! Click here for reviews and information.
Eastern Latvia Things to Do
9. Go on a Road Trip Around Latgale
Latgale is one of the four regions of Latvia located in the east of the country. It’s also known as
the Land of the Blue Lakes because half of Latvia’s lakes are located there.
If we would need to describe Latgale in a few words, we would say: “Beautiful nature, very few
- Latvia’s largest lake, Lubans, and the second largest, Raznas, are located in Latgale.
- Also Latvia’s deepest lake, Dridzis, is located in Latgale.
- There’s a place of mystery, too. Velnezers (also known as “Devil’s Lake”), a lake with clear green-blue water, is wrapped in legends. Locals believe that one mustn’t swim in this lake. One can drown easily there, as the lake has “bad energy”, thus it can make a person sick while they swim across the lake.
- In Latgale you’ll find some of the best museums in Latvia, such as “Livani Glass Museum”,
“Preili Museum of Dolls” and “Mark Rothko Art Center”.
- “Daugavas Loki” (the Bends of the Daugava River) is a place where one can see unique,
picturesque landscapes and untouched nature. The bends of the Daugava are considered to be the oldest geological formations in Latvia.
10. Go on a Canoeing Trip on the River Gauja
There are plenty of water activities available for tourists in Latvia. One of the most popular ones is canoeing.
And one of the most scenic places for canoeing is the river Gauja because of the picturesque sandstone outcrops on its banks.
It is possible to camp next to the banks of the Gauja river, too. There are plenty of free camping
sites and bonfire places along the river, as well as few guest houses. Don’t forget to take with you a sleeping bag and a tent, and some camping equipment, like a portable gas stove, a pot and
cooking utensils (as well as some food), in case you plan to camp.
If you don’t want to camp there are plenty of guest houses in the Gauja National Park. Though,
only few are near the banks of the Gauja river.
We suggest you to start your canoeing trip from Cesis and finish in Ramkalni (near Riga).
Of course, that’s not all. There are plenty more things to do in Latvia. But this should be enough
for you to have a proper first impression of Latvia and experience more than most of tourists
manage to do. Latvia is so much more than Riga.
Author Bio: Una is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia sharing her travel stories and photography at We Are From Latvia. Together with her boyfriend, Kaspars, she has been traveling extensively since 2012.