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Expat Exchange - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Latvia (Plus, Itineraries) 2024
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Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Latvia (Plus, Itineraries)

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Universal Tax Professionals
Universal Tax Professionals

Summary: If you're thinking about relocating to Latvia but haven't decided on a particular city or town yet, taking a discovery trip to explore several sought-after expat locales can offer valuable perspectives. Check out these recommended destinations for your exploratory journey in Latvia.

Embarking on a Look-See trip to Latvia is an essential step for anyone considering relocation. This exploratory visit allows potential expats, retirees, and digital nomads to immerse themselves in the local culture, assess the living conditions, and determine which areas align best with their lifestyle preferences. By experiencing the cities and towns firsthand, one can make an informed decision about where to settle down, ensuring a smoother transition to life in Latvia.

Recommended Itineraries

For a comprehensive Look-See trip in Latvia, it's advisable to explore a mix of urban and rural settings to get a true sense of the country's diversity. A 10-day itinerary could include the capital city Riga, followed by the cultural hubs of J?rmala and Liep?ja, and then the historic towns of C?sis and Kuld?ga. For a 20-day trip, extend your journey to include the eastern cities of Daugavpils and R?zekne, the charming Gauja National Park area, and the coastal region of Latgale, visiting towns like Ludza and Aglona.


Riga, the capital of Latvia, is a vibrant city known for its rich history and stunning Art Nouveau architecture. With a population of over 600,000, it offers a cosmopolitan lifestyle with a relatively low cost of living compared to other European capitals. Expats and digital nomads are drawn to Riga for its lively cultural scene, diverse dining options, and robust public transportation system. The city's proximity to the Baltic Sea and its well-developed infrastructure make it an attractive hub for international residents.

Travel Tip: While in Riga, don't miss the opportunity to dine at LIDO, a beloved local restaurant chain that offers traditional Latvian cuisine in a rustic, folk-themed setting. Also, be sure to visit the iconic Freedom Monument, a symbol of Latvia's independence and national pride.


Just a short drive from Riga, J?rmala is a seaside resort town famous for its long, sandy beaches and therapeutic spa treatments. It's a popular destination for those seeking a relaxed lifestyle by the sea. The town has a population of around 50,000 and offers a serene environment with the convenience of being close to the capital. J?rmala's wooden summer houses, art galleries, and leisure activities make it a favorite among expats looking for a balance between work and relaxation.

Travel Tip: Take a stroll down Jomas Street, the main pedestrian thoroughfare in J?rmala, lined with cafes, shops, and restaurants. Be sure to visit the Dzintari Forest Park for a peaceful walk or a concert at the Dzintari Concert Hall.


Liep?ja, known as the "city where the wind is born," is a coastal city in western Latvia with a population of around 70,000. It's recognized for its music and arts scene, as well as its naval heritage. The cost of living in Liep?ja is quite affordable, and the city offers a range of cultural experiences, from theater to rock concerts. Its beaches, parks, and laid-back atmosphere make it an appealing destination for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of larger cities.

Travel Tip: Explore Karosta, the former military port area that now serves as a unique cultural and historical zone. Don't miss the chance to visit the Karosta Prison, now a museum, for a glimpse into the area's past.


C?sis is a small town in the Gauja National Park region, known for its medieval castle and picturesque Old Town. With a population of around 18,000, it offers a tranquil lifestyle surrounded by nature. The cost of living is low, and the community is welcoming to newcomers. C?sis is ideal for those who appreciate outdoor activities like hiking and cycling, as well as a rich historical ambiance.

Travel Tip: Visit the C?sis Medieval Castle and its park for a journey back in time. The castle complex includes a museum and offers interactive tours that bring the medieval period to life.


Kuld?ga is a charming town in western Latvia, often referred to as the "Venice of the North" due to the river that runs through its center. It boasts well-preserved wooden architecture and cobbled streets, creating a romantic atmosphere. The town has a small population of around 10,000, offering a peaceful environment with a low cost of living. Kuld?ga's artistic community and scenic beauty make it a hidden gem for expats seeking a quiet, creative retreat.

Travel Tip: Don't miss the Venta Rapid, the widest waterfall in Europe, especially during the spring when fish can be seen leaping up the falls. Enjoy a meal at Goldingen Room, a local favorite that combines modern cuisine with historic charm.


Daugavpils is Latvia's second-largest city, located in the southeast of the country. It is a multicultural hub with a population of around 90,000. The city is known for its 19th-century fortress and the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre, which celebrates the work of the famous abstract expressionist painter born here. The cost of living is reasonable, and the city offers a variety of educational and cultural institutions, making it suitable for families and individuals alike.

Travel Tip: Explore the Daugavpils Fortress and visit the Mark Rothko Art Centre to admire the artwork and learn about the artist's connection to the city. Enjoy authentic local dishes at the restaurant Sventes Muiža, set in a beautiful manor house.

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
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