The most important of the attractions of Latvia is undoubtedly the country’s capital, Riga. Well located on the Baltic Sea, in the center of the vast Gulf of Riga. The city still retains its historical center (which is a heritage UNESCO World Heritage Site) extensive traces of its history as an important commercial center of the Hanseatic League, and several buildings from later periods, including many Liberty-style buildings (Art Nouveau / Jugendstil).
The rest of Latvia does however have several other interesting tourist attractions. It is above all the historical, natural and religious aspects that can make the visit of Latvia outside the capital very interesting. In the country there are ancient historic towns such as Cēsis, located north-east of Riga, in the center of the Gauja National Park, with a beautiful castle and a medieval old town.
Talsi, located not far from the coast, west of Riga, is another historic town that has the distinction of being nestled between two lakes. A little southwest of Talsi lies what is probably the most picturesque town in the country, Kuldīga. This city during the period of German dominance was called Goldingen, and was an important city of the Hanseatic League and for a certain period the capital of the Duchy of Curlandia. Its historic center features wooden houses from the 17th and 18th centuries.
A COUNTRY TO DISCOVER
South of Riga, in the region of Semgallia, there is Jelgava, an important historical city, the ancient capital of Curlandia. Here there are important buildings such as the Jelgavas pils, a Baroque palace residence of the Dukes of Curlandia, the work of the Florentine architect Bartolomeo Rastrelli. South-east of Jelgava, near the town of Bauska (where there is a beautiful medieval castle of the Teutonic Knights) there is the summer residence of the Dukes of Curlandia, the Rundāles pils, also the work of Bartolomeo Rastrelli. At a distance of a few kilometers from Bauska is the Mežotne pils, a neoclassical style building designed by the Italian architect Giacomo Quarenghi.
Along the coast of the Baltic Sea, Jurmala, Ventspils and Liepaja are among the most famous holiday resorts in the country. They are all popular seaside resorts during the summer. Thermal springs are located in the resort of Ķemeri near Jūrmala.
The nature of Latvia is another reason for a visit to the country. The generally flat or slightly undulating landscape is made up of vast wooded areas, bodies of water and rivers. Latvia’s most beautiful natural areas are preserved thanks to four national parks (Gauja, Ķemeri, Rāzna and Slītere) and some integral nature reserves. Among the national parks of Latvia, the largest and oldest is the Gauja National Park, located north-east of Riga, made up of vast forests, rivers and lakes. The castles of Sigulda and Turaida are also located near the park.
The climate of Latvia.