Discovering Latvia: Essential Things to Know Before You Go

Latvia river


Latvia is in the Baltic region of northeastern Europe and is undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous countries in the world. It is sandwiched between Estonia and Lithuania and offers a rich history, pristine beaches, jaw-dropping architecture, lush forests, stunning landscapes, modern cities, and world heritage centers. Its population is approximately two million people, but it packs a punch with its plentiful attractions and activities. Latvia is part of the EU and the Schengen Zone, so before you plan your trip, don’t forget to research the Latvia visa requirements of your country. Check out the exciting things you can do in this lovely European gem. 

The Best time to visit Latvia.

April to September is the summer season and one of the best times to visit Latvia. The weather is quite pleasant, and you can enjoy various activities. 

Latvia church

Unique Facts About Latvia

Latvia boasts several interesting things and is the proud owner of many unique things.

  • The Latvian flag is one of the oldest national flags in the world and is still used today. It dates to the 13th century and was changed a few times before being reinstated in 1990. 
  • Latvia is heaven for Wi-Fi users; it has more than 800 points in Riga that are free to use and boasts of the fastest internet speed.
  • The country is home to the widest waterfall in Europe, Ventas Rumba, located in Kuldīga. Visiting this remarkable waterfall is one of the most awesome things to do in Europe. You can also see flying fish jumping above the waters in this fall. 
  • One of the weirdest facts about the country is that you can voluntarily spend a night in jail. Yes, you heard it right! In Liepaja (a city), an old military lockup offers accommodation to tourists, where you can tour of the place and get Soviet-style treatment. 
  • Latvia is known for having the world’s tallest women; the average height of females here is more than 170 cm. However, the men are not behind and hold the record for the fourth tallest globally.
  • The country has 500 kilometers of unending coastline, and you can find numerous sandy beaches with crystal-clear water. 
  • Did you know that the humble pair of jeans we wear daily also have Latvian roots? In 1871, Jacob Davis, a Latvian-born tailor, invented denim as a durable fabric for trousers and later partnered with Levi Strauss, which today is known as one of the best brands worldwide for jeans. Isn’t it cool?
  • Latvians have more than 1 million folk songs and are recognized by UNESCO for their Latvian Song & Dance Festival, which takes place every five years. 
  • More than 54% of Latvia is covered in dense forests, making it one of the greenest countries in Europe.
  • Latvians love beer, and their per capita consumption of this drink is among the highest. It is also the only nation where you can indulge in a beer spa, believed to have many skin benefits. 

Things to Know

  • Since January 2014, the Euro has been Latvia’s official currency. 
  • The national language is Latvian, or Lettish, and apart from Lithuanian, it is one of the two Baltic languages that are spoken today. 
  • Ice hockey is a revered sport in the country, with a history dating back to 1930. 
  • Getting around in Latvia is quite easy, as it has a well-maintained public transport system. Buses, trains, and trams connect most major cities and towns. 
  • Latvia became part of the USSR province after World War II, and it is better to refrain from speaking to native Latvians about Russia as it is a disputed topic. 


Latvia offers a diverse range of attractions, from beaches and national parks to UNESCO heritage sites. Here are some of the unmissable attractions in Latvia. 


Riga Latvia

Riga is the capital of Latvia and undoubtedly one of the most famous attractions here. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dotted with incredible art nouveau buildings, a charming old town, serpentine cobblestone streets, bustling squares, and historic churches. One of the most renowned landmarks in the Old Town is the Freedom Monument, a 42-meter-high structure. It was built to commemorate the soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence. Apart from its deep-rooted history and culture, Riga also offers a vibrant nightlife and an array of fine-dining restaurants, making it one of the best places to visit in Europe

Kemeri National Park

Latvia is an ideal place to return to nature, as it boasts a massive green belt. Kemeri National Park is best known for its mineral springs, wetlands, extensive swamps, and peat bogs. It is a popular place for bird-watching, and you can spot many rare species of birds here. You can wander the Great Kemeri Bog Boardwalk and explore this green oasis. 


Cesis is one of the oldest towns in the middle of the Gauja National Park. It is best known for its medieval castle, which offers splendid views of the entire town. The Old Town is replete with narrow, cobblestone lanes, verdant parks, and ancient wooden buildings. Hiking, bird watching, and canoeing are some fun activities you can indulge in here. 


Jurmala is a seaside resort town in the Gulf of Riga and the largest resort in the Baltic area. It has a vast coastline and impressive wooden architecture that looks straight out of a fairytale. It is the perfect place to enjoy the sun, sand, and sea and spend some serene moments in the lap of nature. It is also famous for its mineral mud pools and holistic health treatment centers. 

Gauja National Park

Latvia’s oldest and largest national park is brimming with hiking trails, scenic river valleys, magnificent castles, dense jungles, and sandstone cliffs. You can also enjoy watersports such as canoeing and rafting on the Gauja River. 

Rundale Palace

The sprawling Rundale Palace is one of the most extraordinary attractions in the country. This majestic structure was built in the 18th-century in the Baroque style of architecture for the Dukes of Courland. Tours of the palace are available, and you can see a suite belonging to a duchess, the Gilt Hall, the Great Gallery, and the Rundale Museum. 


Whether looking for nature, adventure, culture, or history, Latvia caters to all kinds of travelers. So, the next time you plan a European holiday, why not ditch popular places like France, Spain, Italy, and Germany and visit this beautiful country of Latvia instead?

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