Latvia is one of the three Baltic states that borders the Baltic Sea in Northern Europe. It’s capital is Riga. Latvia was a famous ancient trading point. Latvia was known for it’s amber. During the time of the Iron Curtain, Latvia became a province of the Soviet Union. It regained it’s independence on September 6th, 1991.

de_0040_latvia - Winter road in Latvia, Europe.


The best time to travel to Latvia is between June and September. Latvia is known for its forests, fields and wildlife. So if you enjoy hiking, bicycling and/or bird-watching, Latvia is an ideal location. In Riga, its capital city, you can check out the city’s Old Town. It contains many old historical buildings, museums and churches.

One of the most popular museums, located just outside of Riga, is the Latvijas Etnografiskais Brivdabas Muzejs. It is an open-air museum containing artifacts of the traditional tribal culture of Latvia.  Near Sabile, in the Kurseme region, you can go see the Open Air Art Museum. This museum boasts modern art installations in a nature park.

If walking around museums all day isn’t your idea of fun, Latvia also has one of the biggest water park attractions in northern Europe. It is called the Livu Akvaparks. Another amusement park that would be good for the family, is the Sigulda Adventure Park Tarzans. It is aimed at children but there is something for the whole family.

de_0042_latvia - Art Nouveau, Riga

Local Food & Drink

Latvian food consists largely of butter, fats and grains. It isn’t very spicy. Caraway seeds is as spicy as it gets. They can be found mostly in the Latvian cheeses and breads.

Some of the specialty foods in Latvia are: biezpiena sierins (sweet-tasting curds), kefirs (kind of like yoghurt), kiselis (stewed fruit), griki (buckwheat), skabeti kaposti (sauerkraut) and piragi (bacon and onion wrapped in dough).

Beer is the big drink in Latvia. There are many popular large brewing companies in Latvia. Some of which you may even be familiar with. However, Latvians are most proud of their independent, local breweries. Piebalgas, Bauskas, and Tervetes are some of the beers from these local breweries. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the Black Balsam which is a beer made up of herbs, roots and spices that has an alcohol content of 45%.
Wine is also quite popular, as Latvia is one of the only northern countries that can grow grapes, and thus sustain vineyards. It is only grown in small quantities so it is not as available as it’s malty cousin. Vineyards that you can tour are found mostly in Sabile.

de_0041_latvia - View of Riga , Latvia.


You are pretty safe walking anywhere alone in Latvia. Keeping this in mind, if you go out for a hike in a rural area, medical attention may not be as immediate and forthcoming as it would be in the city. You may want to bring along a first aid kit if you decide to go cliff jumping.

There is only one poisonous snake found in Latvia, called the European Adder. It’s bite can be fatal,if left for a few hours. Rabies exists in Latvia, so try not to be bit by too many strange cats and dogs. There can also be quite a few ticks in the forests and fields during the summer season. Ticks can carry encephalitis and lyme disease.

Back in the city, there is generally just petty crime. Crimes against tourists are generally stolen bicycles, vandalized cars and are scamming done by the mafia. Scammers are generally the random strangers you meet that want you to follow them to their favorite bar.

Finally, Latvians aren’t known to be especially careful and defensive drivers while on the road, so make sure you look both ways before you cross. If you do get struck by a car, the emergency number, to get the fire station, police and ambulance is 112.