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Visit Latvia: 16 of the most popular attractions

If you’re into exploring ancient cities, then you’re on the right page. When you visit Latvia, you’re stepping on grounds that were inhabited since 9000 BC. Holy moly, how amazing is this!

But before we explore all the fascinating attractions of the city, let me share some insider info on the Latvian lifestyle. 

Oh yes, and don’t forget there are some travel tips further down, like average travel costs to work out your travel budget, and a fabulous self-catering accommodation spot!

Let’s dive in!

Latvia is called “the singing nation”

Therefore, you will seldom find a Latvian who has not sung in a choir or some other group either as a child or an adult. The Latvian folk song (“daina”) is one of the distinguishing features of Latvian culture.

The Latvian Song and Dance Festival is one of the largest amateur choral and dance events in the world and is an important event in Latvian culture and social life. As one of the Baltic song festivals, it has been on the UNESCO List of Oral Intangible Heritage of Mankind since 2008.

Latvia lies in Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania. The capital city is the charming Riga.

Although the official language of Latvia is Latvian, fluency in English is a requirement for anybody wishing to work in the tourist industry. The younger people are more likely to speak English, and English is quite widely spoken in Riga.

Maritime; wet, moderate winters. Check out the annual weather averages (January to December) for Riga Airport, which is 9 km from Riga.

Summertime, until October 30: EEST (UTC +3)

On this day Latvians set their clocks back one hour when DST ends.

Euro €

  • Riga International Airport (RIX) is the international airport of Riga.
  • Liepaja International Airport (LPX)
  • Ventspils International Airport (VNT)

Check out holidays and observances in Latvia from January 1 to December 31.

Family is important to Latvians

It is not unusual to find more than one generation in the family home, providing emotional and financial support for each other. Subsequently, as parents age, they usually are taken care of by their children. A respectful way of giving back to their elderly parents who they recognize for their wisdom.

In situations where adult children move elsewhere to work, they tend to go home for holidays.

In general, Latvians expect the eldest person, or a person of the most senior position, to make decisions that are in the best interest of the group.

16 Best Things to do in Latvia

  • Riga Classical Old Town (Vecriga).
  • The Beer or Cider Bike Tour in Riga is great fun!
  • Jurmala Beach.
  • Kemeri National Park, near Jurmala.
  • Rundāle Palace, constructed in 1730 by Ekaterina (a Russian monarch) and is today a public governmental museum. 
Visit Latvia The Singing Nation best things to do and sightseeing in Riga min
Visit Latvia best things to do and sightseeing in Riga cathedral turaida castle blackheads dzintari forest park min
  • Kemeri National Park (Latvian: Ķemeru nacionālais parks) is special for its great biological diversity, the unique Kemeri Bog, mineral waters, and therapeutic mud found here. It’s also the third-largest national park in the country by area, covering an area of 381.65 sq km. I suggest you set aside a full day to experience the best of Kemeri National Park.
  • Dzintari Forest Park is the perfect place for both active recreation lovers and those who prefer a leisurely stroll through the fresh pine air.
  • The House of Blackheads is a building in the old town of Riga, Latvia. The original building was built in the first third of the 14th century for the Brotherhood of Blackheads, a guild for unmarried merchants, shipowners, and foreigners in Riga.
  • Riga Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Riga, is a short 4-minute walk from the House of Blackheads.  It’s a fine example of 13th-century Romanesque architecture and worth a visit.
  • The medieval Turaida Castle (Sigulda) dates to 1214 and is set in a stunning landscape.
  • Old demolished Northern Forts at Liepaja.
  • Central Market (Centraltirgus) – a must for food lovers and the keen explorer.
  • Summer flowers on the Ligo holiday market.
  • Riga Motor Museum was founded in 1989 and has become one of Latvia’s most remarkable museums. Furthermore, it’s the largest antique motor museum in the Baltic countries. 
  • Karosta Prison is known as the only military prison in Europe open to tourists and the prison nobody has ever escaped from.
  • The 17th-century Karosta St. Nicholas Orthodox Sea Cathedral is a magnificent example of a traditional Russian church. Its central dome represents Christ, whereas the four smaller domes represent the four evangelists. When you visit Latvia, make a point to step inside this historic cathedral that was originally built to serve the Russian navy stationed in Karosta.
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