Latvia has a lot to offer visitors. From medieval architecture and UNESCO World Heritage Sites to untouched forests and snow-capped mountains – Latvia is a remarkable country to visit. If you’re asking if Latvia is worth visiting, the answer is a resounding yes. With bustling cities, quaint traditional towns, and an array of stunning natural landscapes, there’s something in Latvia to suit every kind of visitor. Not sure what to do in Latvia? To help you plan your trip, let’s explore some of the best places to visit in Latvia.
Top places to visit in Latvia
With a rich history, art nouveau architecture, and bustling café, restaurant and bar scenes, the capital city, Riga, is a must-visit destination in Latvia. Not sure what to do in Riga? Explore its enchanting Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with its cobblestone streets and stunning buildings. Head to the Central Market (one of the largest markets in Europe) for a taste of local flavors, and climb St. Peter's Church for panoramic views over the city.
Guaja National Park
Guaja National Park, a natural paradise of rich forests, waterfalls, and rivers, is one of the top places to visit in Latvia. Explore the hiking trails through untouched wilderness, discover ancient caves or take a dip in the freshwater springs. Driving from Rija to Guaja National Park takes about an hour and 30 minutes.
Just half an hour’s drive from Riga is Jurmala, a popular seaside resort town. Here, you can sunbathe on the golden shores, explore the charming wooden architecture, and even indulge in a spa treatment or two.
Rundale Palace and Museum
The grand Rundale Palace is known as the Versailles of Latvia – a Baroque architectural masterpiece surrounded by acres of manicured gardens. Whether you’re a history buff or not, you’ll enjoy a tour through the opulent halls and gardens to learn about the palace's rich history. Rundale is one of the most popular things to see in Latvia.
Step back in time to the picturesque town of Cesis, known for its medieval charm and scenic landscapes. With quaint cobbled streets, medieval castle ruins and multicolored traditional buildings, Cesis is a great stop on your trip and one of the best places to visit in Latvia.
Latvian food & drink
The food and drink scene in Latvia does not disappoint. Latvian food is hearty and comforting, so expect plenty of local produce and seasonal dishes. Let’s explore what to eat in Latvia. Traditional Latvian foods to try on your trip include rye bread (a national staple), Kartupeļu Pankūkas (grated potato pancakes) and Koletes (fried minced meat patties). As for drinks, try some typical quince juice, or indulge in sweet and tangy cranberry, black currant, or sea buckthorn cordials.
Festivals and events in Latvia
Attending festivals is one of the best things to do in Latvia. Here’s a selection of our favorites:
Riga City Festival
Riga City Festival is held annually in August in the heart of the capital. With street performances, concerts by local artists, mouth-watering food stalls and a grand fireworks display, this festival showcases the best of Riga's cultural scene.
The biggest music festival in Latvia, Positivus Festival takes place every July in Salacgrīva, just outside Riga. The three-day festival boasts a diverse lineup of international and local artists, plus picturesque camping grounds and a laid-back atmosphere.
Experience the enchanting traditions of Latvia at the Midsummer Festival, celebrated on June 23rd and 24th throughout the country. Join locals as they gather in meadows and forests, adorned with flower crowns, to enjoy bonfires, folk dancing, singing, and local produce.
Staro Riga Light Festival
Every November, Riga is illuminated with the Staro Riga Light Festival. Stunning light installations and projections transform the city's landmarks, streets, and parks into a visual spectacle – it’s certainly a sight to behold for visitors, and one of the top things to see in Latvia.
Riga Opera Festival
Classical music enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the Riga Opera Festival, an annual celebration of opera and ballet in June at the Latvian National Opera. World-class performers descend on the Latvian capital to put on a show.
Best time of year to visit Latvia
The best time to visit Latvia is in late spring and summer, from May to September. The weather is warmer, with averages of 20 degrees Celsius in August. Visiting in the autumn and winter can also be pleasant but be prepared for cold weather.