Trip and Wellness

12 Top Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in the Latvia

Aerial panorama of Riga city with a big Latvian flag

Nestled between Estonia, Russia, Belarus, Lithuania, and the picturesque Baltic Sea lies the enchanting country of Latvia. Traveling to this country offers a perfect blend of urban exploration, with must-see sights such as the vibrant capital city of Riga, and breathtaking natural landmarks that will leave you in awe. 

Latvia boasts breathtaking landscapes, including stunning waterfalls and expansive national parks, providing travelers with incredible vistas and a wide range of outdoor adventures. Experience the allure of sandy beaches, enchanting forests, and captivating medieval villages as you embark on a journey to explore the top destinations in Latvia.

1. Riga

A view over central Riga, Latvia
Source: istockphoto

When it comes to travel, Riga stands out as the top destination in Latvia. When exploring the charming Old Town, also known as Vecrīga, travelers will be captivated by its medieval appearance. However, it is worth noting that a significant portion of the architecture underwent reconstruction during the 1990s. 

In the heart of the city lies Centre, a captivating district that boasts over 800 remarkably preserved Art Nouveau buildings. One of the most enjoyable ways to experience Riga is by taking a leisurely stroll, capturing breathtaking sights with your camera as you go. If you’re interested in exploring Latvian history and culture, the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum offers an incredible opportunity for travel. In a picturesque travel destination, you will find a charming assortment of traditional homes. The atmosphere is further enhanced by the presence of locals dressed in authentic attire, creating a truly immersive experience.

Accommodation: Where to Stay in Riga: Best Areas & Hotels

2. Ventspils

South Breakwater lighthouse in Ventspils
Source: istockphoto

Located along the picturesque shores of the Baltic Sea lies Ventspils, a vibrant destination renowned for its bustling port, which stands as one of the busiest in all of Europe. The bustling harbor is an integral part of the city’s vibrant culture, and observing the arrival and departure of majestic vessels can be an exhilarating experience. 

Embark on a delightful journey to the Seaside Open Air Museum, where you will be captivated by the enchanting sights of traditional fishing huts, curing cabins, and a plethora of fascinating artifacts that showcase the rich history of the city. One of the top attractions in this city is the expansive white-sand beach located on the western side of town. It is a favorite spot for sunbathers, beach volleyball enthusiasts, and kite surfers, especially during the summer season.

3. Rundale Palace

Rundale palace in Latvia
Source: istockphoto

Latvia boasts a multitude of magnificent palaces, and Rundale Palace undeniably stands out as one of the most breathtaking. The Baroque building, which dates back to the 18th century, was erected to serve as a residence for the Dukes of Courland. Artists from Germany and Italy were commissioned to contribute their talents to the palace, resulting in exquisite sculptures and paintings that continue to captivate visitors. 

Many of the rooms remain adorned with period-appropriate furnishings, inviting visitors to explore them during tours. You have the opportunity to explore a beautifully restored suite that was once owned by a duchess, marvel at the grandeur of Gilt Hall, and leisurely wander through the magnificent Great Gallery. While traveling, make sure to check out the Rundale Palace Museum, as it is a must-see destination.

4. Sigulda

A church in Sigulda, Latvia
Source: istockphoto

The medieval village of Sigulda is located in the Gauja River Valley, less than an hour’s drive from Riga. Sigulda, known as the Switzerland of Latvia, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes that are perfect for travel enthusiasts. In addition to its natural beauty, Sigulda also boasts a plethora of remarkable architectural wonders that are waiting to be discovered and explored. 

Located in the heart of a picturesque landscape, Krimulda Manor is a captivating travel destination. This magnificent architectural gem, constructed during the 19th century, is enveloped by breathtaking grounds and enchanting gardens. Visitors are welcomed to explore the wonders of this historical site, as it graciously opens its doors to the public. 

Sigulda is a fantastic destination for travelers seeking to explore the rich history of the region. Among its many attractions are the captivating ruins of Krimulda Castle and the Sigulda Medieval Castle Ruins. During your travels, you will come across the enchanting Sigulda Castle, which has a rich medieval history dating back to the 12th century. Although the castle now lies in ruins, its ancient remnants evoke a sense of awe and wonder. However, right next to it, you will find the magnificent Sigulda New Castle, which stands proudly in pristine condition, offering a captivating sight for all who visit.

5. Kuldiga

The bridge over the river Aleksupite in the small Latvian town Kuldiga
Source: istockphoto

Located in the charming town of Kuldiga, a picturesque river gracefully winds its way through the heart of the community, creating a captivating scene reminiscent of the renowned city of Venice in Latvia. However, the widest waterfall in Europe is a popular attraction that draws many visitors. 

The magnificent Venta waterfall, a popular travel destination, spans an impressive width of 240 meters (785 feet). In the spring, travelers can witness the mesmerizing sight of salmon gracefully leaping over a majestic waterfall, while skilled locals showcase their remarkable talent by catching these fish midair in a truly awe-inspiring spectacle. 

While traveling, you will have the opportunity to appreciate the magnificent brick bridge that stretches across the breathtaking waterfall. Although it has suffered damage in the past, much of it still stands strong and preserved.

6. Gauja National Park

Gauja river and Sietiniezis outcrops in Gauja National Park
Source: istockphoto

Latvia offers a plethora of travel opportunities, and Gauja National Park stands out as a remarkable destination for those seeking an unspoiled natural environment. The park is known for its captivating caves, majestic cliffs, and other stunning rock formations that attract visitors from all over. If you’re an adventurous traveler, you can explore magnificent caves like Gutmanala. As you venture into this magnificent cave, you’ll be captivated by the intricate inscriptions adorning its walls. 

According to local folklore, the waters flowing through this cavern possess remarkable healing properties. As you travel through the park, you will be captivated by the majestic Gauja River, which gracefully winds its way, adorned by awe-inspiring cliffs. Exploring the park’s natural beauty through activities like hiking, mountain biking, and canoeing is highly recommended for an active and adventurous travel experience.

7. Cesis

Medieval castle in the town Cesis
Source: istockphoto

Cesis, situated in the picturesque Central Vidzeme Upland, is renowned as one of the oldest towns in the country. Exploring the cobblestone streets of the Old Town is a must-do when visiting, as it adds a touch of charm and quaintness to your travel experience. Cesis is a remarkable travel destination with two magnificent castles located side by side. 

One of the must-visit destinations is the historic Cesis Castle, which dates back to the 13th century and currently stands in a state of picturesque ruin. Just a stone’s throw away lies the magnificent New Cesis Castle, a marvel of 18th-century architecture. The picturesque castle is a sight to behold, with its stunning architecture and enchanting surroundings. Located within the magnificent castle, visitors can explore the captivating Cēsis Museum of History and Art.

8. Jurmala

Sunrise on sandy beach of the Baltic Sea in Jurmala
Source: istockphoto

If you find yourself exploring the vibrant city of Riga, consider embarking on a delightful day trip to the charming destination of Jurmala. Situated along the picturesque Gulf of Riga, Jurmala beckons as a captivating coastal getaway. Welcome to the magnificent Baltic resort, boasting the largest expanse of sandy coastline in Northern Europe. 

When it comes to travel, Jurmala is famous for its picturesque wood architecture, alongside its stunning beach. Specifically, when traveling, you’ll notice that many of the older buildings resemble charming gingerbread houses. The coastal region is adorned with riding therapy centers and traditional Russian sanatoriums, as it used to be a popular destination for Russians seeking recuperation at the resort.

9. Daugavpils

Mark Rothko Center in Daugavpils
Source: istockphoto

One can now explore the birthplace of Mark Rothko, which stands in stark contrast to the city of Riga in the northern region.

Located amidst the picturesque hills and serene lakes of the Daugava River valley, this charming town immerses visitors in a captivating travel experience. The town resonates with the enchanting melodies of Russian culture, as it is situated in the heartland of Latvia’s Russian-speaking population. Its historical core is a sight to behold, adorned with elegant 19th-century architecture reminiscent of the grandeur of St. Petersburg.

As you embark on your journey, you will be greeted by the majestic Daugavpils Fortress, a prominent symbol of the Russian Empire. Its towering bulwarks stand as a testament to its military significance. As you explore further, you will be captivated by the stunning Saints Boris and Gleb Cathedral, adorned with golden-hued onion domes and Orthodox cupolas. These architectural marvels resemble the iconic Kiev and St Basil’s cathedrals, adding a touch of grandeur to the town’s skyline.

10. Liepaja

Baltic Sea beach and sign in Liepaja
Source: istockphoto

Located on the picturesque eastern coast of the Baltic Sea lies the captivating city of Liepaja. Liepaja, a city divided, was briefly the capital of Latvia during the First World War. One-half of the city is located in the heart of the traditional center, offering a glimpse into its rich cultural heritage. The northern half of the destination is widely recognized as Karosta, a former covert Russian military town. 

When traveling through Liepaja, you will notice that the architecture varies depending on your location within the city. Liepaja is a popular destination for travelers seeking the breathtaking beauty of its pristine white sand beaches. Vecliepaja and Dienvidrietumi are two of the most sought-after travel destinations for beach lovers, offering serene and uncrowded environments. Karosta, a popular travel destination, boasts stunning beaches that attract visitors from all over the world. 

Among these beautiful beaches, one stands out as the venue for a highly anticipated annual beach music festival. This vibrant event, typically held in the month of July, brings together music enthusiasts and beach lovers for an unforgettable experience.

11. Bauska

View to the Bauska town hall and market square
Source: istockphoto

The first arrivals were the Knights of the Livonian Order, who constructed fortifications on the small islets embraced by the tree-fringed waterways at the inception of the Lielupe River.

Subsequently, the dukes of Courland and the imperial tsars of the Russian realm introduced a wholly new stronghold, which currently occupies a central position in the town. Its distinct whitewashed walls and red-tiled roofs create an intriguing sight.

Yet, beyond its history of affluence and militarism, Bauska exudes a delightful provincial allure. The river channels meandering through the town are bordered by spontaneous plots of land and farmlands. These waterways are traversed by delicate suspension bridges, and a picturesque market square thrives with local activity. A truly pleasant setting.

The first arrivals were the Knights of the Livonian Order, who constructed fortifications on the small islets embraced by the tree-fringed waterways at the inception of the Lielupe River.

12. Slitere National Park

Slitere National Park
Source: istockphoto

Slitere National Park is a breathtaking travel destination that is widely regarded as the magnificent natural gem of the Kurzeme region.

Welcome to a captivating travel destination that combines the allure of a cultural museum with the charm of a picturesque hinterland. This remarkable region boasts the stunning Blue Hills, vast expanses of untouched coastline, and undulating sand dunes. You’ll be enchanted by the golden sands that gracefully meet the crashing waves of the Baltic Sea.

As you embark on your journey, you will discover a magnificent park that stretches out into the vast ocean, offering breathtaking views of the pristine beaches of Cape Kolka. As you venture further, you’ll find yourself surrounded by untouched wilderness, where dense forests of majestic fir, elm, and the elusive Baltic ivy create a captivating landscape.

The Slitere National Park is a fantastic destination for travelers seeking a unique experience. Within the park, you will discover numerous charming fishing villages with a rich historical background. These villages have managed to maintain their authentic and secluded atmosphere, largely due to the presence of a military base during the Sovietera.


Q1: Is English widely spoken in Latvia?

A1: Yes, English is commonly spoken, especially in tourist areas.

Q2: When is the best time to visit for winter activities?

A2: The winter season, from December to February, offers the best conditions for winter sports and festive celebrations.

Q3: Can I explore these attractions on a budget?

A3: Absolutely! Latvia is known for its affordability, making it a great destination for budget travelers.

Q4: Are there any UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Latvia?

A4: Yes, Riga’s Historic Centre and the Struve Geodetic Arc are UNESCO-listed sites.

Q5: How do I get to Cape Kolka?

A5: Cape Kolka is accessible by car or public transportation, and the journey itself offers scenic views of the Latvian countryside.