The 11 best places to visit in Latvia


Opened in 1967 to the south east of the capital, Riga, is the Salaspils Memorial Ensemble, one of Europe’s largest monument complexes commemorating victims of Nazism. Once used to imprison Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian military personal and civilians, including children, over 20,000 people found themselves in the Salaspils Camp. Because of intense labour, illness, starvation, inhumane treatment and torture, some 2,000 to 3,000 people died in the camp. The memorial creates a symbol of the border between life and death with a 100 metre (328 ft) long concrete wall and seven concrete sculptures.

11. Salaspils Memoriāls Ansamblis


Completed in 1905, in the far south east of the country in the city of Daugavpils close to where the borders of Latvia, Lithuania and Belarus meet is the Saints Boris And Gleb Cathedral, the biggest Orthodox church in Latvia. Able to hold 5,000 people, it is a visually striking piece of architecture inside and out, casting a striking figure with its white, blue and gold Neo-Russian styling along with its ten golden domes.

10. Svēto Borisa Un Gļeba Katedrāle


Built in the 15th century, directly south from the capital, Riga, is the large Bauska Castle, a complex consisting of the ruins of an earlier castle and a later palace on the outskirts of the city of Bauska. Blown up by the retreating Russians during the Great Northern War in 1706 AD, the fully restored palace can be visited throughout the summer months. The highlight for visitors is to climb the castle keep lookout tower, which offers a panoramic view of the surrounding city and countryside.

9. Bauskas Pils


Built throughout the mid 18th century, almost directly south from the capital, Riga, is the huge Rundāle Palace, the most impressive of the two major Baroque palaces built for the Dukes of Courland in what is now Latvia. Like many great palaces of Europe, Rundāle Palace is a place of grand rooms, intricate detailing, plush decoration and great artworks that display the vast wealth of its history. The palace and the surrounding landscape gardens are now a museum.

8. Rundāles Pils


Built in the 13th century, to the north east of the capital, Riga, is Cēsis Castle, considered one of the most impressive ruins in the Baltic States. Partially destroyed during the Great Northern War of 1703 AD the castle now sits within the Cēsis Castle Park. Created in 1812 AD with romantic characteristics of the period, the park has winding footpaths, exotic plants and a pond designed with the intent to reflect the castle ruins.

7. Cēsis Pils


Completed in 1896 AD, directly east from the capital, Riga, is the very impressive Neo-Renaissance styled Cesvaine Palace. The building is famed for its size and quality of construction, with the facade created in a medieval style. Having survived all revolutions and wars of the 20th century, in 2002 a fire severely damaged the Palace interior, for which it is still undergoing restoration.

6. Cesvaines Pils


To the west of the capital, Riga, is the 382 square kilometre (147 square mile) Kemeri National Park, mostly flatlands of forests and mires, the most notable of which is the Great Kemeri Bog. Close to the coast of the Gulf Of Riga there are also several lakes and lagoons as well as many sulphur springs that are used by the nearby health resorts. At present the park only has around 6 kilometres (3.7 miles) of boardwalk trails, with an observation platform popular with photographers for sunrise and sunset scenes.

5. Ķemeru Nacionālais Parks


North east of the capital, Riga, covering a huge 918 square kilometres (354 square miles) is Gauja National Park, taking its name from the Gauja River that runs through it, it is Latvia's largest area of protected land. One of the countries prettiest natural landscapes, famed for its forests and cliffs, Gauja was given national park status for its biological diversity, and for having over 500 monuments of historical and cultural value including castles, stone forts, churches and archaeological architecture within its boundaries.

4. Gaujas Nacionālais Parks


In the far western centre of the country lies the town of Kuldīga, with a history dating back to the mid 13th century it is said to be the pearl of the Kurzeme Region. The Historical Centre of Kuldīga has still preserved the old wooden buildings which form small and narrow streets dating from the 17th and 18th centuries, making the Old Town around the small river the only remaining 17th and 18th century ensemble of its kind in the Baltic States. The town is also home to the Alekšupīte, the highest waterfall in Latvia.


Pictured is Kuldiga Town Hall.

3. Kuldīga


Dating from 1214 AD, to the north east of the capital, Riga, is the Turaida Castle, meaning 'Thor's Garden' the most visually impressive element of the Turaida Museum Reserve. Though recently reconstructed in the 20th century, this huge medieval castle is undoubtedly the most striking fortress in Latvia. The view from the main tower allows a great lookout over the Guaja-Guaja Valley and the entirety of the Museum Reserve itself.

2. Turaidas Pils


Located on the Gulf Of Riga, in what could be considered Latvia's northern centre is the city of Riga, the countries capital and largest city, home to a third of the countries population. A major centre of the Hanseatic League in the 13th to 15th centuries, the urban fabric of its medieval centre reflects the prosperity from the trade with central and eastern Europe, though most of the earliest buildings were destroyed by fire or war. Noted for its Jugendstil architecture and 19th century imposing wooden buildings in neoclassical style, it is generally recognized that Riga has the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe. For this reason Riga's historical centre has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


Click here for the Must See Places In Riga...

1. Riga

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