Jūrmala is a beautiful beach town only 40 kilometers from Riga. The beach is stretched for over 33 kilometers, so if you want to relax, have a romantic walk, and watch the sunset, Jurmala is the place to be. The city is also unique because of the old wooden houses and narrow streets, which create a cozy atmosphere.
It would be a shame not to visit at least a couple of palaces and castles while exploring Latvia. Rundāle Palace, located at Pilsrundāle, 12km west of Bauska, was built in the 18th-century for the Dukes of Courland. This baroque-style palace is also called ‘the Versailles of the Baltic’ because of the many colorful gardens surrounding the area. If you are lucky, you might even witness a majestic wedding ceremony as Rundāle Palace is a top-class spot for lovers to tie their lives together.
There is no better place in Latvia for birdwatching than Kemeri National Park because it provides the perfect conditions for local species to thrive. Also, there are lots of bogs, forests, and lakes so the visitors can experience every part of the Latvian countryside in one place. People who want to relax even more can visit Kemeri resort and have some spa procedures, including therapeutic mud baths.
Sigulda is one of the most beautiful towns in Latvia, only 53 kilometers away from Riga. It is a gateway to the beautiful Gauja National Park and also the home of many ancient castles and ruins. People who enjoy more extreme activities can slide down the Olympic bobsleigh track or bungee-jump from a cable car.
Cēsis town is located inside of the Gauja National Park and is considered to be one of the most traditional towns in Latvia. There are plenty of things to do in Cēsis, of which the most popular and unique is visiting the stunning Cēsis Castle, which was once the headquarters of the Livonian Order. So, you can spend your day walking around the chambers of the castle, getting familiar with Latvian history, and also exploring the beautiful nature.
People who are interested in history, especially WWII, should definitely visit Salaspils Concentration Camp, which was built by the Nazis in 1941. This place is surrounded by a lot of tragedy, including many deaths of innocent children, so visitors should prepare to be shocked. Rumbula Forest Massacre Memorial, which was established to pay tribute to all the victims of the Holocaust, is also located close to Salaspils. This day-trip is a great way to learn more about the most tragic period of humans’ history.
Salaspils novads, Salaspils pilsēta, Latvia, +371 67 700 449
Liepāja is the third biggest city in Latvia, located on the west coast. It is a little over 200 kilometers away from Riga, so you would need to leave Riga early in the morning to have enough time to fully experience everything Liepāja has to offer. People who just want to relax can walk around wonderful streets of Liepāja and chill on white sandy beaches. The more extreme traveler should definitely take a tour around Karosta military prison, which will take you back to the Soviet times.