There is so much to discover here in Latvia. You can immerse in true wilderness wonderland. Dense and pristine forests, amazing natural bog ecosystems, boating routes in numerous beautiful rivers and lakes, gorgeous secluded beaches, plenty of hiking trails and so much more. You will find peace in our countryside and will be amazed by our historically rich capital Riga and small cozy towns. Take a part in our grand mid-summer celebration, and get thrilled and immersed in unforgettable and unique culture and traditions of our green country!
Latvia is a country in the North of Europe that has a unique natural and cultural heritage, rich with traditions and diverse history. Nowadays Latvia is also a modern country of European Union with extensive mobile networks and one of the fastest internet in the world.
With almost 65 thousand square kilometers we are bigger than Denmark, Netherlands and Switzerland. We are only 2 millions out here, which means that there is plenty of room for our guests ... :)
Latvia consists of four main regions: Vidzeme, Zemgale, Kurzeme and Latgale.
We speak Latvian - one of the two remaining Baltic languages (the another one is Lithuanian). Besides this, majority of population speaks also English and Russian.
We pay in Euro.
Our red-white-red flag is one of the world's oldest ones and is first dated used by ancient Latvian tribes from Cēsis during the battle back in 1279.
LIELVĀRDE'S BELT (LIELVĀRDES JOSTA)
Historical belt of Lielvārde is our most magnificent ethnographic belt twined around with countless legends. Lielvārde’s belt is woven in red and white, and contains unique arrangements of mesmerizing, geometrical patterns. It has been recognized that Lievārde's belt is one of the richest and most complex system of geometrical ornaments in the world with similarities to pictographs of ancient Asian and other ancient nations. Some mystics and also scientists explain that the belt is unique and includes encoded information about the origin of cosmos and our place in it. It is also believed that everyone can find its own personal symbol in the Lielvārde’s belt. The idea is to touch the different patterns in the belt – the one that feels warm is the person’s symbol. The pattern presumably resonates with the person’s energy and can be used in other textiles such as shirts and scarfs as a protective sign.
The correct order of the patterns, however, still remains a mystery to us...
Lielvārde’s belt is about three meters long. In the past the belt was worn by women and men around the waist in celebrations. As time went by, the belt became glorified symbol of Latvian nation.
Latvia is rich with pristine and unspoiled nature. We have around 12,000 rivers and 3,000 lakes - perfect for boating. There are around 500 km of sandy beaches, and during hot summer days you will not find any better place for a wild beach holiday. More than 50 percent of Latvia is covered by forests while more than 10 percent is bog, making it one of Europe’s greenest countries.
Around 20 percent of Latvia is protected. There are four national parks, 42 nature parks, 260 nature reserves, 355 nature monuments, seven protected marine areas, a biosphere reserve and lots of micro-reserves. Latvia topped the Environmental Performance Index in 2012.
Latvia is a superb location for bird watching. Many bird migration routes cross the country. In the autumn many birds are travelling from Scandinavia and northern Russia across Latvia to South Europe, and they return in spring. The country’s location by the sea, its lakes, rivers, forests and flood-lands make it a great dwelling place for many species of migratory birds.
We have unique and rich traditions and we welcome all to take part in them. Jāņi is the largest annual Latvian festival, when we celebrate the summer solstice. Although the solstice usually falls on 21 or 22 June, the public holidays - Līgo Day and Jāņi Day - are on 23 and 24 June. The day before Jāņi is known as Līgo Day. These are the days when most of the Latvians leave cities and go to countryside to be close to the nature - our origin. We celebrate mid-summer most extensively probably in the whole World. Summer solstice is considered to be the top point of the summer, when the nature has reached its highest vitality. You can take part in the ancient folk traditions related to renewal and fertility and immerse yourself in more authentic or modern versions of this celebration, including dancing, singing, drinking bear and eating traditional Jāņi cheese. Come and share with us this outstanding festive experience...
We also love beer and we have lots of small beer breweries on everybody's taste. You can even have bear SPA here.
We love and know how to sing and dance. The unique Latvian Song and Dance Festival held once in every five years in Riga is a masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity (included UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists). So if you are lucky you might visit us during that time.
A "daina" or "tautas dziesma" is a traditional Latvian form of music and poetry. Latvian dainas often feature drone vocal styles and pre-Christian themes and legends, and can be accompanied by musical instruments such as the Baltic psalteries (kokles). Dainas tend to be very short (usually four-liners). Lyrically, dainas concern themselves with native mythology and traditional festivals but, in contrast to most similar forms, do not have any legendary heroes. Compilation of dainas is called "Dainu skapis" and is included in the UNESCO Memory of the World register.
Riga or Rīga in Latvian is the biggest metropolis in the Baltics. It perfectly blends timeless tradition and cutting edge modern city life. Our capital is vibrant cosmopolitan city. Lonely Planet notes that "like all northerners, it is quiet and reserved on the outside, but there is some powerful chemistry going on inside its hip bars, modern arts centers, and in the kitchens of its cool experimental restaurants". Riga is former Hanza city sometimes described as the Paris of the North. Riga is also a capital of Art Nouveau architecture. Standing next to a gulf named after itself, Riga is a short drive from sea resort city Jūrmala. Jūrmala has its own charming wooden style original architecture blended with modern private houses. Both cities are rich with parks and forests and therefore very green. Most stunningly both cities have beautiful white-sand easy to reach beaches. If you are craving solitude and a pristine environment, gorgeous sea dunes and blueberry-filled forests, begin in Daugavgrīva beach in the Riga city itself or right outside the city's boundaries. Should you wish to explore Riga from a different perspective, jump on a canoe and go for an adventure in the city channel, the River Daugava. You can even rent a canoe to go to the Riga harbor.
We have four pronounced seasons here in Latvia. Each and every season here comes with its own distinct benefits. For many visitors, this offers the opportunity to make several visits a year, and enjoy distinctly different experiences. Travelers visiting Latvia can enjoy a real winter with subzero temperatures and snow, spring floods and boating during that time, warm summers, and truly colorful autumns.
The winter in Latvia usually lasts from December to the beginning of March. Air temperature can fluctuate from +5 degrees Celsius all the way down to -30 degrees. During last years, however, Global warming has brought its effects here as well. The winters have become milder with higher temperatures and less snow.
The spring may begin already at the end of February or as late as in late April, and the spring season lasts until the beginning of June. The average air temperature in spring is 0 to +15 degrees, sometimes more and rarely less.
The summer in Latvia starts in June and continues until September. The average air temperature in the summer is around +19 degrees, but on some days it may rise up to or even above +30 degrees. The latter half of the summer may bring sudden thunderstorms.
Autumn in Latvia lasts from September to December. The average air temperature decreases from +10 degrees in September to about 0 degrees in November.
Sometime at the beginning of the autumn, there is an Indian summer when temperatures rise to up to +20 degrees, whereas the first snow may fall already in October or November.
During the golden autumn period, foliage turns colorful red, orange, and golden across Latvia.
Vidzeme - the middle/central part of Latvia including capital Riga. It has rocky coastline, hills, gorgeous landscapes and valleys along the banks of Gauja River - the second biggest and the longest river in Latvia. Visit Gauja National park, which is the oldest national park in Latvia. It provides you with amazing hiking, biking and boating opportunities combined with stunning landscapes. Here you can spend some time in one of the oldest cities of Latvia - Cēsis and enjoy one of our best beer brends in brewery situated in the city of Valmiera.
Zemgale is mostly the southern part of out land. On the border with Kurzeme there is a stunning place Ķemeri National Park containing large biodiversity and huge areas of pristine bogs, forests and seashore. The park has excellent hiking and bird-watching opportunities.
Kurzeme's (Courland) cultural and historic heritage is as colorful as the long woolen skirts of the famous Suiti womenfolk, and as diverse as the natural surroundings of the Liiv-inhabited Baltic Sea coast. Kurzeme is the Western part of Latvia. The people here are used to be called as very proud. This is probably because Kurzeme once used to be the richest part of Latvia that owned even two colonies (Tobago and Gambia). Nowadays it will blow your mind with the wildest, widest and also the windiest and most beautiful beaches in the whole country. We dare to say that these are among the most gorgeous seasides that you can find in the whole world too. Relax deeply in many cozy and truly charming cities and towns like Liepāja, Kuldīga, Kandava, Talsi, Aizpute and others. In the very distant Nord-west part of Kurzeme in between the open Baltic sea and Riga Bay lays a magical place called Kolka. This is Slītere National Park. Its serenity, breath-taking wide sandy beaches and pristine forests, bogs and special energy will not let you forget this place ever. Birdwatchers will be also amazed by the nature park of Papes Lake and nature park of Engures Lake.
Latgale - eastern part of our country is the heart of our hospitality. You will be always welcomed here by truly open and friendly people. Latgale is the only region in Latvia that has its own language that is still widely used, as well as a dominating religion - Catholicism. The language and religion and mixed mentality and different traditions is what makes Latgalians different from other Latvians.
We also call Latgale "the land of blue lakes", and not without a reason. This land is rich with lakes and is a dream place for those who enjoy secluded beauty of nature. There is also our biggest lake Lubāns - protected area and a bird watcher's paradise. You can also visit our youngest Rāzna National Park established here around big lake called Rāznas Lake or go to the protected area with sunning landscapes called ”Daugavas Loki” (the Bends of the Daugava River) in the very Eastern part of Lartvia.