It would be foolish to only remain between the city walls as you'd miss out on many of the beautiful sights that the regions of Latvia have to offer. Riga is the only city of substantial seize meaning that Mother Nature has been left relatively untouched. Going outside into the landscape of Latvia is almost magical. With great museums, palaces, ruins, castles, a beautiful coastline and almost half the country covered in woods, there is plenty enough to do.
Latvia has several cultural regions within the country that are formally recognized as distinct from each other. This mainly has an historical reasons as some of these regions were parts of other countries, and for administrative purposes. The four regions are recognized as: Kurzeme (east), Zemgale (mid), Vidzeme (mid) and Latgale (west).
So now we have made the decision to go out and leave the capitol city, what’s next?
1. Rundale Palace and Museum (Zemgale Region)
Rundale Palace, also known as the Baltic Palace of Versailles, is absolutely magnificent. Designed by Francesco Rastrelli, the architect who also designed the St. Petersburg’s hermitage. The palace and Museum is located in the south of Latvia amidst the gertile Zamgale Plains. The representation rooms in the eastern palace are open to the public. The museum section takes you through the history of the country through creating collections, arranging exhibitions and producing publications. The regular French style park with its rose garden is open for the public as well.
2. Jurmala (Vidzeme)
Jurmala beach is resort town stretching 32 km and is closely located to Riga. If you’re are looking for a seaside resort like no other, or a place to go back to nature by strolling the miles of pine-fringed shore facing the gulf of Riga with romantic wooden houses in the Art Nouveau style. Enjoy miles of sandy beaches and delicious fresh air. Jurmala also hosts top entertainment events all year round.
3. Gauja National Park (Vidzeme)
The Gauja National Park is the largest national park in Latvia, with an area of 917.45 km2 running from north-east of Sigulda to south-west of Cesis along the valley of the Gauja River, from which the park takes its name. The Gauja National park is the perfect place to destress. Miles of stunning hiking trails, medieval castles or to go bungee jumping, bobsleighing and other adventurous activities. The area has been created to protect slightly disturbed natural areas and ensure sustainable development in the area.
4. Kuldiga (Kurzeme)
Kuldiga, nicknamed the Venice of the North, is a town in the complete west of Latvia. Having enjoyed the heyday in the 17th century as part of the Dutchy of Kurzeme, the centre of Kuldiga hosts magnificent Baroque structures like the Town Hall. Drift back to a romantic age as this beautiful town is a mixture of Baroque splendour and soulful timber houses. It poses Europe’s wildest waterfalls and enchanting restaurant and guesthouses to ensure a magical stay
5. Cesis (Vidzeme)
Cesis is a town in Latvia located in the northern part of Central upland Vidzeme. The town is a intriguing mixture of hipness and history. The city is well-known for her medival style old town and ancient castle. In the city you can find cute cafes and diverse artistic and musical events. With over 800 years of history, Cesis is one of the best preserved mevieval towns in the Baltics!
-Written by Leander Vranken