Latvia – a holiday of sweet satisfaction
Situated on the Baltic Sea, this European country will keep you entertained from the time you arrive. It’s a country that will take your breath away with its monuments and landscapes. Its famous art nouveau styled buildings will take you back in history and its delicacies will enthral you.
What a holiday without food? Be prepared to take your taste buds on a whirlwind adventure on your holiday to Latvia. If you are a meat lover, then you have come to the right country. Nearly everything here is served with meat. So get your fill of pork, sausage and smoked meat when you touring the country. The country is famous for its bread, caraway cheese and beer. If you fancy game, there is plenty of deer, duck and boar to try. Thirsty travels should note that drinking in public in Riga is forbidden and if you are caught, the fine is quite steep.
Pack your Euros and get to Latvia!
Things to do in Latvia
- Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum: Opened in 1932 this is a delightful museum to visit to get a feel of Latvian history. Located on the edge of Jugla Lake within a pine forest, this museum boasts 118 buildings on display from Latvia’s four provinces. Some of these date back to the 17th century while others were built in the 1930s. You will also learn about the differences between each region and how people use to live. Take a walk through old Latvian farmsteads and see the items they used daily. There are even animals roaming around the museum. A great museum to bring the family too. Even get to feast on some Latvian wine and cheese while you’re there. For some great interactive activities, why not mould pottery, make honey or weave a blanket. Fancy a ski in winter, then this is the place to be. History buffs will be in their element here!
- Riga Dome Cathedral: The most important church in the city of Riga and also one of Latvia’s oldest churches, is well-known for its impressive organ. This huge plain-looking church dates back to 1211. It was later turned into a basilica. The church is formed from various styles which include Baroque, Roman and Early Gothic. Inside the church, its walls and floors are filled with old stone tombs. At the cloister of the cathedral, visitors will find cannons, tomb plates, materials discovered during excavation and other historical artefacts. The cathedral plays host to many musical performances, so catch a show if you can. Riga Dome Cathedral is great piece of Latvian history to see.
- Museum of the Occupation of Latvia: The museum is dedicated to the period 1940-1991 when Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union and Nazis. The museum is a reminder of the horrors experiences by Latvians. At the museum you will find information and films on the different periods of occupation. Take a guided tour of the museum which is available in 4 languages. Visitors should note that the original museum building at Strēlnieku laukums is currently under construction and visitors can visit the temporary building on Raina bulvāris.
- Riga Central Market: For a true Riga experience, visitors must see this market. Not too far from the Old Town, Riga Central Market is one of the largest marketplaces in Eastern Europe. Four of the pavilions at the market were used as Zepplin hangers during the First World War. The market has been active as early as 1570, but in 1930 it was moved to its current location. The massive hangers are filled with a variety of produce – anything from meat and vegetables to souvenirs and flowers. Opening hours of each hanger varies. Old warehouses at the market have been turned into an arts and entertainment square as well, adding to the buzz of activity. An array of sights and smells awaits you at this amazing market. The Riga Central Market is also a World Heritage Site.
- Latvian National Opera: This magnificent building has played host to audiences since 1863 and survived a fire in 1882 which damaged the main building. The Latvian National Opera has wonderful acoustics and is perfect for an outing to watch an opera or ballet performance. Take a guided tour of the building where you get insight to the theatre’s history. Dress up and take in the splendour of Riga!
- Alberta Iela This is a street in Riga known for the architecture. The street is filled with houses, restaurants and shops. While you are there, feast yours eyes on the art nouveau architectural buildings for which Riga is famous. More than a third of the buildings in Riga are built in the Art nouveau style. When you closely examine these masterpieces, you will notice goblins, griffins and lions. If you are an architectural buff, it’s recommended you stop in at Alberta Iela.
- Old Town Riga: There is plenty to see and do at this World Heritage Site. Walk the cobblestone streets of this popular tourist attraction and marvel at the buildings in their splendour. For great views of Riga, take a trip to St Peter’s Church and check from the 72 meter church tower. Visit souvenir stalls and pop in at one of the arts and craft houses or frequent one of the clubs to enjoy a night of dancing. Take a walking tour and stop off at Laima Clock, which has been a popular meeting place since 1924 for workers who didn’t want to be late for work. The famous clock had also been used to advertise Laima chocolate. It’s also a place for the romantics. Go back in time at the Museum of War or check out the Freedom Monument at the edge of the Old Town. While you’re here, stop in at one of the pubs or cafés and relax over a drink. Don’t miss a visit the Old Town, it’s a gem!
- Turaida Museum Reserve: Turaida means ‘God’s Garden’ and this area is indeed filled with inspiring buildings. Turaida Museum Reserve is comprised of 42 hectares of Latvian culture and architecture. The castle looks like it comes from a fairy-tale. Dating back to 1214, the castle features a prison, guardroom, cellar and cannon room – all of which can be explored by visitors. Go up the castle tower for great views of the surroundings. It’s easy to spend a day at this stunning castle. Located in the castle grounds is the Daina Hill Song Garden, which contains sculptures which express Latvian folk songs. Other buildings within the museum have been turned into galleries and exhibitions. There’s also a smiths house where you can try your hand at forging metal – give it a go! Also located in the reserve is an old wooden castle built in 1750. The Turaida Museum Reserve also contains a manor. Construction of the manor began in the Middle Ages. Some of the buildings at the manor are over 200 years old.
- Blackheads House: Built in 1344, the House of Blackheads was occupied by unmarried merchants who called themselves Blackheads. This Gothic style building is worth seeing while you are in Riga. The interior is grand and will take you back to ancient days when you see the chandeliers and painted ceilings. Take a look at the medieval cellar and see pottery and other items. Nowadays concerts and exhibitions are also held here. A great idea would be to take photographs here at night.
- Doll Garden of Sabile: For something a bit unusual, visit the Doll Garden of Sabile where you will find over 200 dolls made of straw. They are set up doing various activities. Taking photographs in this airy garden is a must.