Resources for Latvian Tourism
Latvia has experienced a steady increase in international visitors since re-gaining independence in 1991. However, it remains a largely undiscovered gem and lacks the crowds, traffic, expensive nature, and over-commercialization of many other European tourist destinations.
Late Fall through early Spring is a wonderful time to visit Latvia in order to take advantage of unique outdoor and cultural activities, the wonders and beauty of the holiday season--which the Latvian people celebrate in lavish fashion, and of course to enjoy significant savings in the price of travel, accommodation and other touristic expenses. But even in high season, Latvia is a bargain and a unique and hospitable option as a European tourist destination!
* 44% of Latvia is forested - one of the highest percentages in Europe
* 40% of Latvia is farmland and pastureland
* Latvia is blessed with clean air, water and soil
* For its area of nearly 25,000 square miles, Latvia has one of the most incredibly diverse ecosystems in Europe
* Outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, skiing, horseback riding, and nature photography abound in Latvia and are popular activities
Deciding which buildings to photograph will prove to be a daunting task as Riga contains many structures dating to the Middle Ages and Renaissance, as well as one of the largest concentrations of breathtaking Art Nouveau and Classical architecture in the world! Walking the winding, cobblestone streets of Riga and other Latvian cities has been described as walking back in time to a more peaceful and genteel era. A full range of tourist accommodations are available ranging from charming bed and breakfasts in the countryside to world-class modern hotels, eateries, as well as a wide range of shopping, cultural, and entertainment venues.
* Latvia and the Baltic States are similar in appearance, culture and history to Scandinavia.
* Riga's historic old quarter is a United Nations "World Cultural Heritage" site.
* Latvia is the birthplace of the tradition of decorated Christmas trees.
* Latvia contains over 75 castles and castle ruins dating from the Middle Ages, in addition to castles/palaces from other eras.
* It boasts 8,325 protected cultural heritage sites including: 3,412 architectural, 2,514 archaeological, and 2,251 artistic sites!
* Riga was a part of the famous Hanseatic League & for centuries was one of Europe's most prosperous & cosmopolitan cities.
* For centuries Latvia and its Baltic seacoast was a popular vacation destination of the German and Russian nobility.
* The Russian Tsar maintained an elaborate baroque palace (Rundale Palace) in Latvia as a summer vacation home---today it is open for tourists.
On behalf of the people of Latvia, I invite you to explore the scenic and cultural wonders of what is truly one of Europe's most beautiful and special places, and experience the friendship and hospitality of one Europe's most welcoming and distinctive people. The photos below illustrate the beauty of the country and the range of things to do and see during your visit---please click on each thumbnail to view a larger image of each photo. Please also explore the tourism-related links at the bottom of the page to learn more about one of the best kept touristic secrets of Northeastern Europe, the Republic of Latvia!
Dr. Barry Mowell
Honorary Consul - Republic of Latvia
Latvia Tourist Board - http://latviatourism.lv
Latvian Museum Guide - www.muzeji.lv/index_e.html
Riga Tourist Portal - www.rigatourism.com
Nature & Ecotourism in Latvia - http://www.li.lv/en/?id=27
Latvian Tourist Development Agency - http://tava.gov.lv/tava/index.php
Bauska Guide - www.bauska.lv/tourinfo/eng/castles.htm
Cesis Guide - http://cesis.lv/en/
Kemeri National Wildlife Park - www.kemeri.gov.lv/ENGsakums.htm
Kuldiga Guide - www.kuldiga.lv/indexe.html
Jurmala (beach resort area) Guide - http://www.jurmala.lv/en/home/default.aspx
Liepaja Guide - www.liepaja.lv/page.php?id=927
Preili Guide - www.preili.lv/page.php?id=832
Riga This Week City Guide - http://www.rigathisweek.lv/
Riga Virtual Guide - www.virtualriga.lv/default.asp
Sigulda Guide - http://www.sigulda.lv/?pid=2266
Talsi Guide - www.talsi.lv/pub/?doc_id=31140
Tukums Guide - www.tukums.lv/
Valmiera Guide - www.valmiera.lv/en/index.php
Ventspils Guide - www.ventspils.lv/ENG/Ventspils+pilseta/frontpage.htm
*Some photos courtesy of Patricia Tourist Office, Riga Latvia: www.latviatourism.info
Many additional Latvia photos from the Patricia Tourist Office may be viewed online: www.latviaphoto.com