This post will be about other amazing cities and towns in Latvia, excluding the two major cities, Riga and Daugavpils, each of these places has its unique charm and you should visit all of them!
Latvia is not so small country as it seems, it fact, it has a wide variety of areas, in this guide there are so different places, going from white sand beaches to breathtaking castles, read carefully to make the most of Latvia.
Most of these places are easily reachable by public transport, specially by bus, from Riga central bus station there are buses to every corner of the country.
Let’s begin with the third biggest city of Latvia, Liepaja. It is located very close to Lithuania, and short distance from Klaipeda, Lithuania’s most famous coastal city, and Palanga (a sea resort town). The city has the nickname of the city where the wind is born, but also known as the musical city, since a lot of Latvia’s singers and popular folk themes come from there (there are many musical instrument statues in the city as well as the touristic route, marked with musical notes).
But what makes this city special? Well, it has an awesome beach, with a special “Californian” touch thanks to Red Sun Buffet bar (click for video-promo). The city itself has some really old buildings (special mention to the market and wooden houses), which are easily seen by following the musical touristic route stated before. Also in another part of the city you can see Zarist architecture at its best.
But this city has a secret too, there is a district called Karosta, where one of the biggest Soviet Naval bases used to be, right now it looks a little bit abandoned and creepy, but it has very cool attractions, especially the Karosta Prison Museum (about which I wrote an article here).
Also pay attention to Spriditis, a Latvian folk hero who appears represented all over the city.
Hotels in the city have quite nice prices, I always go to Europa City Amrita hotel, a 4* hotel almost in the center for double rooms as cheap as 33€ per night.
Easily reachable from Riga, takes about one hour or less and can be a great day plan.
More than the town, what is worthy about this place is the Gauja National Park, which actually has one of the few hills (and elevation) in this flat country, but they are all covered by a thick forest, where you can easily walk thanks to a beautiful wooden path. In the park there are caves with old school grafittis, and a cozy telepheric (where you can bungee jump), a bobsleigh track and Turaida castle (the one in the picture), which magnificently stands among the forest with its stunning red brick walls and towers. Definitely worth a visit if you spend even a weekend in Riga.
You can find a lot of more information in this website
This peaceful small town is in the middle of Latvian western part, and is loved by all Latvians due to the traditions and calm of the place.
In fact, it can be a great place to spend the weekend due to the fact that even if a quiet place, has a lot of touristic sights and eco-tourism plans (bike trails, animal observation…). Maybe the most international sight is the… WIDEST WATERFALL IN EUROPE!! Which you can actually jump, but it is pretty wide after all. Among the town center, there are a lot of very cozy and old buildings, and especially beautiful wooden doors.
Close to the town and reachable after about one-hour walking (or 7 minutes by car) there is a pretty unique attraction, the sand caves, which are a very large man-made complex of underground galleries, but the visit itself is pretty cool since they give you candles and a guide for not getting lost (really, you don’t want to get lost there). And finally, speaking about some funny tradition, there is a day when the males of the town need to cross the red brick bridge completely naked.
Now, if you think that you saw differences between cities in Latvia, wait until you read about Ventspils, the crazy town of the country. Why so? Maybe because it’s oligarch, major, benefactor (however you want to describe him) decided to focus his efforts toward making Ventspils the most alternative town of Europe, btw, here you can see a video of the major doing “normal” things (min 1:00) so then you can understand what kind of person is behind all this :D
Ok, but why it is so different? Where to start… first thing you will see once you arrive to the city is a cow… (but what’s the fuss about a cow?) well, a sculpture of a cow with some weird costume or painting, but it won’t be alone, since there are tons of cow sculptures of all sizes and positions in the city (yes, it’s weird), but the fun doesn’t stop there… if you do special task like having a photo with all of them or other similar things you can earn a lot of money!! Well… Ventspils currency, the Venti, which you can physically withdraw in the tourism office (Vent Bank) and have great discounts in many museums and restaurants (yes, they worth it, it is not just propaganda stunt). The city has also a nice beach, with a very cool promenade to the lighthouse (where guess what, there is a huge sailor cow).
As extra tip I recommend to eat in Guesthouse Kupfermans, in the old town, amazing well cooked dishes affordable for everybody!!
I hope you liked this article and that now you are more eager to explore Latvia beyond its capital, Riga.
There are many more attractions in the country! Check the main website of Latvia tourism to know more information!
Most of the pictures have been taken from the previous website
In this section you will find all you need to become a little expert in the guide place, without expending a lot!