Guest post by Latvian filmmaker and photographer Arvids Baranovs. All the photos used in this article are taken by Arvids.There’s a perception that Latvia is a safe, but a bit boring country and that there’s nothing much to see. Sure, we don’t have snow-capped mountain peaks, grand canyons or a jagged ocean coast, but if you look closer there’s so much to discover, experience and capture. Let me just scratch the surface and take you on a 20-photo journey around Latvia through all seasons. So load up your film… ahem… charge your batteries and come to Latvia!
20 Photos That Will Make You Want to Travel to Latvia
1. Golden Autumn in Sigulda
Wander off the main tourist paths and you’ll find yourself navigating the small winding rivers amongst an explosion of colors.
2. Cena Mire
Immerse yourself into the land of a raised bog with its complex of pools and ridges, just follow the walking path.
All it takes is just a 30- minute drive from Riga city center.
Speaking of raised bogs, not far from Riga is another popular one – the raised bog of Ķemeri. Albeit it has been getting crowded lately, especially on weekends. Choose another time, preferably in autumn and enjoy the views that you won’t find anywhere else in the Western Europe. Watch my video!
4. Lake Engure
Do you see a face? Find out if its real in one of Latvia’s largest nature parks – lake Engure. These islands are artificially made for migratory birds and wild animals and a walking paths leads to them. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to stroke a Highland cattle, how cool is that?
5. Wild West Coast of Latvia
The wild West coast of Latvia consists of sandy beaches as far as the eye can see bordered by the Baltic sea and lush pine forests. Can you spot the resemblance with the National Flag of Latvia?
6. Jurkalne Seashore Bluffs
While you’re there, exploring the West coast of Latvia, don’t miss a chance to pitch a hammock on the coast at Jūrkalne – one of the most beautiful parts of the Baltic sea coastline in Latvia, that is mostly untouched by civilization featuring drops high as 20m.
7. Kaltene Stony Beach
Speaking of beaches, we have rocks as well such as these on the Stony beach of Kaltene on the West bank of the Gulf of Riga. Oh, and an occasional show of Northern Lights as well (watch my video).
8. Rocky Seashore of Vidzeme
And there are more rocks on the opposite side of the Gulf of Riga – the Stony beach of Vidzeme. Perfect for a long summer hike.
9. Watchtowers, Watchtowers Everywhere
Why not spend a night in million-star hotel? Pitch a hammock in one of many watchtowers scattered around the country and rise with an epic view like the one in the next pic.
Are you looking for things to do in Latvia? Check out these tours and this list of activities!
10. Ložmetējkalns Watchtower
Not bad, eh? This 27-meter high watchtower situated on the Ložmetējkalns (Machine Gun Hill) offers beautiful panoramic views of forests and sites of the fierce Christmas battles of World War I that took place in this area.
11. Northern Forts of Liepaja
If urban exploration and unusual sights is your thing make sure to visit the Northern Forts of Liepaja. These were built but never used for their original purpose by the Tsarist Russia and now are slowly crumbling into the Baltic Sea. Hurry up while they still stand!
But when the winter finally arrives, you shall dress warmly and head to Līgatne to stroll around the river Gauja admiring the contrast of sandstone outcrops and snowed up forests all accessible by car or a short walk.
13. River Brasla
Or if you’re into more wild experiences, immerse yourself into the winter wonderland around river Brasla. Plan for a full day of hiking and blowing your mind away.
14. Gauja Valley in Sigulda
Sigulda might be known for its golden autumn, but winter has what it takes as well. Breathe in the epic views of the ancient valley of river Gauja, just look out for the White Walkers.
15. Dviete Floodplain
However when the snow melts and the rivers can’t take it no more the floodplains of Dviete turn into one big lake and you have the rare opportunity to kayak through forests, literally (watch my video).
16. Abava River Valley
Gauja National Park with its valley might be the most known sight in Latvia, but in Kurzeme there’s another one, no less impressive – the valley of river Abava also known as the Switzerland of Kurzeme. And the valley is the route of the historical road from Riga to Prussia and Northern Germany and as such is rich in nature, historical and cultural monuments. Just add fog and you’ll get this.
Speaking of fog – those rolling hill landscapes around Tukums just come to life once it sets in. You just have to wake up a bit earlier and go on a wandering trip (video).
18. David’s Mill Waterfalls
Believe it or not, but we have waterfalls in Latvia as well! One has to admit – they’re no Niagaras, but still offer nice photo opportunities for those with an eye for details. Featured here – David’s Mill waterfalls near Cēsis falling over the rounded stones and painting them orange thanks to the iron hydroxide contained in the water.
19. Krievkalni Hill
There’s a common knowledge that Zemgale region consists of mostly flat agricultural fields. Not if you visit the vicinity of Lake Zebrus and camp on top of the Krievkalni hill (149m) with top treetop views.
20. Peace Pagoda Near Jelgava
If it’s still not enough you might just go strolling around the forests near Jelgava and stumble upon a real Buddhist stupa. Located deep in the woods, literally in the middle of nowhere, this Peace Pagoda is only one of 7 built in the whole Europe. How’s that for the boring Latvia?
Arvids is a filmmaker and photographer from Latvia inspired by all things outdoors. He is running a local nature and adventure film studio Eaglewood Films and building a new shoulder season travel blog Shoulder.travel with the aim to inspire smart travel by escaping the crowds, expensive bills and the mainstream tourism.
Follow his visual adventures here:
Author: Kaspars Misins
Kaspars is a long term traveler and a travel blogger from Latvia. He loves going on long walks, reading non fiction books and spending time outdoors. Together with his girlfriend Una they have been traveling – volunteering – working abroad since 2013. On We Are From Latvia they share their experience and things learned along the way.