Why I love Latvia.

Travelling to Latvia has been a magical experience and here I wish to share with you just why I love it so much. I really recommend travelling to this little gem of a country, at least once in your life! And if you are half Latvian like me; then I propose you come here more than once!

  1. Latvia is full of greenery. Lush and dense oak, birch and pine trees are everywhere. So if you are nature lover you will love it too. There are loads of nature trails, lakes and outdoor spaces to explore; and the country is virtually flat so cycling here would be perfect.

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2. The food is so delicious, natural and home made, just like your Grandmother would make! I ate my body weight in pierugs (little parcels of bacon and onion and spice), many flavoursome sausages, cheese with caraway seeds, fresh blueberries, cherries and strawberries. Many different soups, and bakery goods like rhubarb and custard cake to mention one big fat favourite. So if you like food, you need to come here immediately. Trust me, come hungry, and forget about watching your waistline!

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3. Latvia is rich in cultural traditions. One such tradition I was lucky to experience was Ligo! Here people collect beautiful flowers from the fields, make wreaths for their heads, drink, eat ‘shashlik’ (bbq meat) and stay up all night until sun rise. Doesn’t that sound like fun? It really is a great way to celebrate the summer solstice and be at one with the nature.

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This lovely girl was at my Ligo celebration. After collecting these flowers from the surrounding fields, she then made a wreath for her head. Amazing!

4. If you are into getting all your gear off, than Latvian herbal sauna experience is for you! Being naked in nature is one of the most liberating feelings you can have. We all sat in the sauna with our bare bums on the wooden benches, pouring cool water over us to survive sweat inducing heat, and just for the fun of it whacked ourselves with bunches of flowers and leaves. And if that wasn’t fun enough, we then jumped into a freezing cold pond just outside! Brilliant! Our skin and bodies felt refreshed and revitalised after this very unique experience.

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Although this is not the exact sauna I went to, it did look a lot like this. In the nature with a lovely pond right next to it! And hot hot hot inside! Photo credit: reallatvia.com

5. Latvians love their jewellery and if you are a proud Latvian you have many national rings to choose from! I love my plaited and ‘jingly’ ring, and it is an excellent symbol of recognition as you travel the globe, stamped with Latvian symbolism.What other country has this? I can’t think of any! Amber is also a common stone to buy, coming in many shades of yellow, also very beautiful.

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Amber the Baltic Jewel

6. If you have an appreciation for impressive architecture you will love this very picturesque city. I have honestly never seen so many amazing buildings in one city! And I know I didn’t even get to see them all. Art Nouveau is the style here in Latvia, you must remember to look up for the details, faces and even cats!

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Look at the details in this amazing building! Close to my favourite in Riga!

7. If you like art and museums then you need to visit Riga. They have over a dozen interesting museums to visit and one of the most impressive Art Galleries I have ever been to. The building alone is worth visiting, and the collection at the ย National Art Gallery was ย both varied and interesting.

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This building is the Art Academy, where you can study Art. This building was next door to the National Gallery and also worth visiting, it was also spectacular in design.

8. I love flowers and I was really happy to see many beautiful flowers blooming in the fields, in the local parks and gardens and at the markets. There are many little old ladies selling small bunches of sweet peas in places around town, and there are flower stands selling freshly cut ones. I was also impressed with the aromatic blooms, large jasmine bushes, and abundant lily ponds.

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9. If you like cats you have definitely come to the right place. We stayed a few nights in Kuldiga in a smaller country town, and there were cats roaming the streets, coming into restaurants and generally being fury purry friendly felines.

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10. If you are into textiles, coloured placemats and beautiful linen, then a trip to Latvia is a must! I was pleasantly surprised to discover very colourful blankets were common here, and I love colour!

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I wanted to buy all these rugs, but I am backpacker with limited space! I need to return with a big empty suitcase so I can fill it with all these awesome Latvian things!

11. If you are into Churches and admire their structures, or are religious, there are many churches here representing all the different faiths. I am purely into their structural beauty and I am sure you will not be disappointed by the number of them!

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A Lutheran Church in Kuldiga. Possibly where my Grandparents were married!

12. I have a new appreciation for the colour yellow, and I dare say this could be my new favourite colour after coming here. The buildings, the walls, the fabrics, even paintings, I saw so much yellow! To me it is a fresh, bright and happy colour, and it makes me want to go home and paint all my walls this lemony goodness!

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13. If you like markets then you will be very impressed when visiting one of the biggest markets in Europe. Staged in 4 massive halls, you have whole rooms for cheese, meats, fish and smoked varieties, and fruit and vegetables. You could spend months eating your way through this place! For me the best part was the fresh berries from the fruit stands out the front! The strawberries smell and taste amazing in this country!

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14. If you like castles, there are many castles here in Latvia. Spread out all over the countryside, it appears that Latvia was once a very wealthy country as it is sprinkled with opulent massive castles on a grand scale. Complete with sweet water lily ponds,sprawling grounds and good stories, you will have plenty of castles to choose from!

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Note all the greenery in the background. This is the view all over Latvia, greenery everywhere! Photo credit: Virtuallatvia.lv

15. And one final entry, although I could go on; if you like drinking quality tasty beer than this is the place for you! I am not even a beer drinker and I have found the beers to be very tasty here. All mostly naturally brewed, with unique flavours and colours, there will be a beer for you!

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Look at all those rich amber colours! Delicious! Photo credit: Eatriga.lv

So there you go, many reasons why I love Latvia, and trust me there are many more! I feel like the more I travel to this gem of a place the more I will uncover, and the bigger appreciation I will have for its rich history, culture, architecture and art. I will be back to Latvia that is for sure!

I hope you have enjoyed my post on why I love Latvia, and I hope it inspires you to travel there too!

Anita xx

 

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10 thoughts on “Why I love Latvia.

  1. Thanks Ilsa, yes I feel that way too. I love to connection Latvians have to nature too, this really appealed to me, as I am like this too! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I just loved you whole blog. So much about Latvia where my father’s parents are from reminds me of our family farm here in Franklin, Massachusetts. I can see how he brought much of his Latvian heritage to his own place here. My grandmother had brought her passion for her flower gardens as well as her recipes for Latvian food. My grandfather cleared the land which was 98 acres of woodland to build his house and planted his many crops of apples, pears, peaches, plums. cherry trees. We had the usual vegetables too, He started out with a large chicken business and then started to raise Holsteins for their milk and meat. Our 114 acre farm has made it to the third generation, but now we are going to close the book and start a new life with a brand new housing project. It had survived many hurricanes and rebuilds over the 116 year since it was first conceived. Thanks for all the lovely pictures and narration of my grandfather’s Latvian homeland. He was born in Kuldiga so that is definitely on my bucket list.

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  3. Oh Linda that is so nice to hear from you. I love your story and I am so pleased my article has made an impact. Take care and please have a read of the other articles I have written, there is one in particular about Kuldiga and my time enjoying Ligo I think you will like ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

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  4. Enjoyed your stories about the places you visited which most I have been to as well. It is always interesting to hear about someone else’s experience to make comparisons. I also look forward to my next visit to Latvia.

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