At the Crossroads of Europe & Asia

Photo credit: Vita Balckare

Where in the World Is Latvia?

The sun sets over the rooftops of Riga, Latvia. Photo credit: Peter Guttman
The sun sets over the rooftops of Riga, Latvia. Photo credit: Peter Guttman

It may be small, but Latvia is mighty with a robust history of hardy fisherfolk, pagan traditions, and a lengthy struggle against tyranny. Lauded by Lonely Planet in 2016 as the #5 country in the world to visit, there is so much to learn about Latvia!

Here is Latvia at a glance:

Mini Geography

  • On the Baltic Sea, right across from the southern tip of Sweden
  • Sandwiched between the other Baltic countries (Estonia and Lithuania), with Russia to the east and Belarus to the southeast
  • The capital, Riga, is 525 miles west of Moscow
  • About the size of Ireland, with Riga Bay taking a big bite out of the upper left-hand corner of the otherwise rectangular country
Boats sailing on Latvian waters.
Boats sailing on Latvian waters

Mini History

  • Illegally occupied by and incorporated into the USSR in 1940, along with Estonia and Lithuania
  • Won by Nazi Germany in 1941, reclaimed by the USSR in 1945
  • In August 1989, two million people formed a human chain stretching across Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia calling for secession
  • Regained independence in 1991
Latvian National Opera House in Riga. photo credit: Kestutis Ambrozaitas
Latvian National Opera House in Riga. photo credit: Kestutis Ambrozaitas

Mini Current Affairs

  • In 2014, The Ethical Traveler named Latvia one of the 10 Most Ethical Destinations on Earth and The Huffington Post gave 18 Reasons Latvia is Europe’s Best Kept Secret
  • Latvia has the largest percentage of Russian speakers in the EU
Old Town Riga, Latvia. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta
Old Town Riga, Latvia. Photo credit: Martin Klimenta

Mini Cultural Facts

  • Riga was a European Capital of Culture 2014
  • Already a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 2014 the city presented a special menu of classical concerts, operas, ballets, world premieres of new Latvian compositions, art exhibits, and museum expositions
Stunning architecture in Riga’s Art Nouveau district. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes
Stunning architecture in Riga’s Art Nouveau district. Photo credit: Douglas Grimes

Riga, Continuous Culture

  • Reopened in 2016 after extensive renovations, Riga’s Latvian National Museum of Art with the country’s largest collection of Latvian art
  • Concerts on the Dom Cathedral 1884 Walcker Organ, one of the biggest in Europe, with 6,768 pipes
  • Latvian Symphony Orchestra performing in the 14th century Great Guild Hall
  • Open-air Ethnographic Museum festival, with masters of over 18 different crafts demonstrating spoon-carving, beekeeping, embroidery and other Latvian specialties
  • Ligo! National Solstice Festival, with bonfires and beer
  • The finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe
  • Every five years since 1873, Riga holds a huge folk song and dance festival, listed since 2008 on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Travel with MIR to Latvia

MIR has over three decades of travel experience with on-the-ground support, guides, and tour managers that clients rave about. MIR’s full service, dedication, commitment to quality, and destination expertise have twice earned us a place on National Geographic Adventure’s list of “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth.”

You can explore the history, culture, and landmarks of Latvia on these MIR itineraries:

MIR specializes in personalized, private journeys – we love to take your ideas and weave them into a trip tailored especially for you. Travel wherever, however, and with whomever you like relying on our expert assistance. Contact us to find out more about our custom and private travel expertise – each trip handcrafted to your interests, dates, and pace.

Our Trips

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