Latvia

#cheese #valleys #caves #art nouveau #manor houses

Apart from its vibrant capital Riga with amazing Art Nouveau facades Latvia charms with its gastronomy, unspoilt nature and and countryside architecture.

For travellers, the best thing about Latvia is that it is so compact. Its 500 km of sandy beaches are easily reached from historical towns, where medieval hanseatic foundations support baroque and art nouveau buildings, that become venues for cultural festivals during the summer. Families of storks happily give their seal of approval to the unspoilt nature, fresh air and clean water around them. In addition to Riga, its spectacular gateway, there are 6 other UNESCO world heritage listed sites. A trading hub for over 800 years, it is well versed in welcome. With such a variety, Latvia is best enjoyed slowly. 

Riga

Riga is the gem of the Baltics. It is situated at the mouth of the Daugava, on the shores of the Gulf of Riga on the Baltic. Riga has an ancient history and rich cultural heritage. As Riga has always been located at a juncture of trading routes, it is a multicultural city which means there are things to see here: a weekend in Riga is a great way to gather new impressions and to relax.

Travellers can admire the diverse architecture of Riga, especially the art nouveau buildings. Riga has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to the collection of art nouveau buildings that is one of the largest in the world, as well as a city in whose architecture the entire history from 1201 to the present day is reflected. It is also valued as a city with a unique collection of wooden developments in its central section.

Jurmala

The town of Jūrmala is proud of its unique natural resources – therapeutic thermal waters, peat mud, pine forests, healthy maritime climate, dunes and beaches covering 32.8 kilometres.

Jūrmala is proud of its unique wooden architecture which has been a distinctive trait of its urban architecture since the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. The architectural features of Classicism, Art Nouveau, National Romanticism, and Functionalism harmoniously co-exist here. 414 buildings have been included in the List of Architectural Monuments, but there are more than 4000 historical buildings.

Liepaja

Liepāja is an ancient city on the Baltic Sea east coast, located between the sea and Liepāja Lake, where people have been living for more than 750 years. Liepāja is a city of music and culture. Wander in the Northern Fort labyrinths by torchlight, explore for yourself the exotic nature of the Military Port’s architecture or the former prison, look at the art nouveau buildings in the city centre and the unique wooden architecture of the Seaside Park!   

Rundale

The Rundāle Palace is set amidst the fertile Zemgale Plains in the south of Latvia. The Rundāle Palace ensamble, one of the most outstanding monuments of Baroque and Rococo architecture in Latvia, was built between 1736 and 1740 as a summer residence for Ernst Johann Biron, Duke of Courland and a favourite of the Russian Empress Anna Ioannovna. The palace was designed by the Russian court architect Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli and built under his supervision.

Kuldiga

Kuldīga is a small and attractive town in Kurzeme which has always been admired and praised by poets and painters. The city centre, which developed in the 17th –18th centuries, has still preserved the old wooden buildings which form small and narrow streets.

Cesis

Cēsis is situated in the centre of Vidzeme and is one of the most beautiful towns in Latvia. The medieval castle ruins are the symbol of Cēsis and, together with its park, create the romantic atmosphere in the town. The cobbled streets of Cēsis Old Town have preserved the their layout from the Middle Ages, keeping also the old buildings with red tiled roofs, closed yards, and restored facades of the buildings.

Jurmala

Abava Valley

Until its independence from the Soviets in 1991, the Abava River valley, a region that developed during the Middle Ages along the route to Germany, had remained immune to the modern age. Medieval towns such as Kandava, the vineyards of Sabile, the country estates of Pedvale, 18th- and 19th-century churches and dwellings, and significant wildlife and nature reserves were intact.

The nature park has been created in Abava valley – an ancient valley formed by the melting glaciers in Latvia. This is an area with fantastic landscape – landscapes of river valley, landscapes of meadows and slopes, geomorphological values. The ancient valley features specific relief forms – steep coasts, dolomite exposures, springs of terrace coast slopes. Here is large geobotanical diversity of meadows – more than 50 protected plant species, as well as great diversity of natural habitats.

Gauja National Park

The picturesque ancient valley of the Gauja River has been attracting tourists from all over the world for centuries, and not without reason – Gauja National Park is the most popular tourist destination in Latvia. Its first visitors were hiking in the Sigulda area with walking-sticks as far back as in the 19th century and the evidence of this is the engravings left by them on the sandstone walls of the caves.

Text courtesy of The Tourism Department of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA)