Latvia is a hidden Baltic gem of sprawling forests, national parks, white beaches and diverse architecture. One of Europe’s most well-rounded, diverse destinations, Latvia’s addition to the green list is the perfect motivation to five this under appreciated destination a chance! Walk Europe’s widest waterfall, bobsleigh through golden brown forests or taste one of Northern Europe’s best brewing scenes. Here are just five reasons you have to visit Latvia in the late summer and autumn months.
Embark on an autumnal adventure in the colourful Latvian countryside
Home to deep blue lakes, towering mountains and golden beaches, Latvia is quickly garnering a reputation as one of Europe’s best outdoor adventure destinations. Hike at dawn through Gauja National Park and take in the golden hue of the densely populated forests. Paddleboard across some of the 500km of breathtaking coastline or climb Latvia’s highest peak, Gaiziņkalns Hill. Adrenaline seekers can fly high in a vertical wind tunnel, reach speeds of up to 125km/h bobsleighing through Eastern Europe’s first year-round bobsleigh track or row through its exquisitely interconnected lake region as the red, orange and golden foliage reverberate from the crystal clear waters.
Explore golden forests, blue lakes and Europe’s widest waterfall
Did you know that forests cover around 50% of Latvia? The country boasts a host of stunning national parks such as Ķemeri and Gauja. Wander through fairytale forests that come alive with colour during golden autumn months. Discover a diverse range of wildlife exclusive to the country including lynx, beavers and the rare northern gannet. Check out Venta Rapid, Europe’s widest waterfall. Wander across the Great Kemeri Bog boardwalk or paddle along the brilliantly blue Lake Lubans, with over 225 species of birds recorded in the area. These untouched areas of natural beauty make for the perfect autumnal digital detox.
Enjoy the last of the summer sun on some of Europe’s best hidden beaches
From one of Europe’s most complex sand cave systems to the vibrant surf beach considered the best in the Baltics, Latvia’s golden coastline is flooding with surprises. Far quieter in the autumn months, explore the Baltic coast in total peace from SUPing around a stretch of the 500km coastline or kicking back on the white sand. Latvia’s coastline can match any other in Europe, take in the picture perfect seashore bluffs of Jűrkalne, the wild horses at Pape Nature Park or the pristine Blue Flag beach at the ultra edgy Liepāja.
Foraged fine-dining: Enjoy the Riga food scene, powered by local produce
Foraging is second nature in Latvia, and the capital is known for its use of seasonal produce hand-picked from the outskirts of the city. Restaurant 3 serves wild and modern Latvian cuisine, using foraging and sustainable methods to create their seasonal menu that changes every two to three months. FERMA is another incredible restaurant using local produce to showcase Latvia’s culinary flair. Nestled in the quiet part of the city overlooking Viesturdarzs Park, the combination of setting, local produce and freshly-made bread makes for a sensory culinary experience. Finally, head to 3 Chef’s Restaurant, where you can buy local ingredients from the highly-regarded Riga Central market with chef Martins Sirmais, then cook with him back at the restaurant to create your own delicious dish!
Take a sip of Latvia’s beer district, one of the best in Northern Europe
Rapidly establishing itself as one of the premier craft beer scenes in Northern Europe, enjoy the carefully grown flavours from the home soil of Riga’s beer district. Formed by the three large historical breweries, Kimmel, Kunzendorf and Stritzky, the Labietis interactive beer workshop and a number of smaller local breweries are said to take their high quality beers from the area’s water source. The region produces over 100 high quality beers which can be tasted along a 2.5km route. After you have explored the stunning golden countryside, head into the buzzing city of Riga for a break filled with culture, stunning architecture and world-class beer.