The Best Things to do in Latvia for Motorcycle Travellers

Welcome to Latvia! This guide lists a selection of brilliant biking activities and things to do for motorcycle travellers looking to explore Latvia. 

Motorcycle Travel Guide Latvia adventure bikes

Contents

By Rihards Grunte

By Rihards Grunte

Forest food chef and motorcycle adventurer

The Best Things to do in Latvia for Motorcycle Riders:  A Guide to Scenic Routes and Destinations

Latvia offers a unique experience for motorcycle riders, blending its rich history with the beauty of its diverse landscapes. From the rustic charm of its rural roads to the architectural marvels in historic towns, riding in Latvia becomes more than a journey—it’s an exploration of a nation steeped in culture and natural splendor. 

Whether you’re skirting the scenic coastline, discovering the vibrant life of Riga, or adventuring through the forests of Gauja National Park, Latvia caters to your love for the open road and an appetite for discovery.

Navigating the Latvian roads, you encounter an array of attractions tailored to every kind of motorcycle enthusiast. The west coast presents the sounds of the Baltic Sea, while Liepaja charms with its coastal beauty and musical heritage. Your ride through Latvia is punctuated by stops at local rest spots, where you can indulge in the hearty flavors of Latvian cuisine and partake in cultural festivals that bring you closer to the heart of Latvian traditions. Each turn uncovers answers to often-asked questions about this Baltic gem and fuels the desire to dive deeper into its offerings.

The Best Things to do in Latvia for Motorcycle Travellers

Coastal riding routes

When you’re in Latvia, the magnetic allure of the coastline beckons every motorcycle rider. Here’s a guide to ensure you make the most of Latvia’s coastal riding routes.

  • Latvia’s Coastal Experience: Initiate your journey in Riga, where the blend of urban charm and accessibility to the coast is unrivaled. You can stay at moto-friendly accommodations like the 2Wheels hotel and gear up for your ride.
  • Jūrmala: Just a short ride from Riga, you’ll encounter Jūrmala, known for its wooden architecture and serene beaches. Relaxation and stunning views are guaranteed as you ride through this expansive, sandy locale.
  • Cape Kolka: Venturing further, Cape Kolka awaits, often celebrated for its resemblance to Caribbean paradises. Pine forests accompany you as you travel towards this tranquil spot, which remains rather undiscovered, giving you a sense of adventure.
  • Ventspils: Head to Ventspils and you’ll be rewarded with smooth roads and cultural sights. This region gives you a glimpse into Latvia’s maritime heritage, complete with lighthouses and ships to admire. Along the way stop by a hidden forest cafe at dabalaba.lv for a quick oven-baked pizza from all-natural ingredients. 
  • Liepāja: To cap off your coastal tour, Liepāja offers a mix of historical Jugendstil architecture and vibrant music scenes. The roads leading here are perfect for uninterrupted riding, letting you immerse yourself in the landscape and fresh Baltic air.

Remember to keep an eye out for the local fish stalls along the way, offering you a taste of the fresh, local cuisine. Each stretch of coast provides a unique riding experience, with well-maintained roads and a peaceful ambiance.

For a more detailed guide on riding conditions, be sure to check the Motorcycle Travel Guide: Latvia. Remember, Latvia’s coast isn’t just about the destinations; it’s the journeys along the way that make your ride memorable.

Historic towns and castles

The Best Things to do in Latvia for Motorcycle Travellers

Latvia presents you with a scenic backdrop of history on your motorcycle journey. As you ride through its roads, you’ll find yourself immersed in a setting that’s rich with historic towns and captivating castles.

Cesis should be a key stop on your itinerary. The town itself exudes a medieval charm accentuated by the impressive Cesis Castle, a historical landmark that’s one of the most iconic in the country. You’re likely to appreciate the well-preserved ruins that tell tales of Latvia’s past.

Moving on, Sigulda offers a blend of natural scenery and historical architecture. The town is often referred to as the ‘Switzerland of Latvia,’ which is evident in the picturesque landscape that surrounds the stately Turaida Castle. Nestled in the Gauja National Park, this brick castle stands as a testament to Latvia’s medieval era.

Rundāle Palace: Not exactly a castle, but this baroque palace is one of the most beautiful 18th-century buildings in Latvia. As you explore its grand halls and extensive gardens, you’ll find that it competes with some of Europe’s finest.

Kuldiga, nestled in the western part of Latvia, stands as an architectural marvel, a testament to the grandeur of historical craftsmanship and timeless beauty. This quaint city, often referred to as the “Venice of Latvia,” boasts a charming old town that has earned it a place on the UNESCO tentative list. As you meander through the cobbled streets of Kuldiga, you’re transported back in time, surrounded by well-preserved wooden buildings and imposing brick structures that echo the architectural styles of the 17th and 18th centuries. 

The city’s centerpiece, the Venta Rapid (Ventas Rumba), claims the title of Europe’s widest waterfall, and it’s here that Kuldiga’s architecture harmonizes with natural beauty, creating a picturesque scene that captivates photographers and travelers alike. The old brick bridge across the Venta River, built in 1874, further complements the city’s historical ambiance, offering stunning views and serving as a poignant reminder of Latvia’s rich cultural heritage and architectural prowess.

Riga

Exploring Riga on a motorcycle offers a blend of cultural heritage and natural beauty. Start your journey at the UNESCO-listed Old Town. Its cobblestone lanes and gothic churches are perfect for a day’s ride. Discover architectural wonders, like the House of the Blackheads, on your motorbike.

Outside of the Old Town, you can visit the Freedom Monument, a symbol of Latvia’s struggle for independence. A ride along the picturesque Brīvības iela, leading to the monument, is lined with noteworthy facades perfect for a leisurely sightseeing tour.

Must-visit spots in Riga

Art Nouveau District: Riga is famed for having one of the highest concentrations of Art Nouveau architecture in the world. Alberta Street and the surrounding area boast stunning facades with intricate details, making it a paradise for architecture enthusiasts.

Riga Central Market: Housed in five former Zeppelin hangars, this vast market is one of the largest and oldest in Europe. It’s a great place to explore, offering everything from fresh produce and local delicacies to clothing and souvenirs.

The Latvian National Museum of Art: The largest collection of national art in Latvia is housed in this beautifully renovated 19th-century building. It offers an extensive overview of Latvian art, from classic to contemporary.

Riga Castle: Overlooking the River Daugava, this historic castle is the official residence of the President of Latvia. While parts of the castle are not open to the public, its architecture and the surrounding park are worth exploring.

The Three Brothers: This trio of buildings is a perfect example of medieval residential architecture in Riga. Each “brother” dates from a different period, offering a glimpse into the city’s architectural evolution.

Gauja National Park

As a motorcycle rider exploring Latvia, carve out time to visit Gauja National Park, the nation’s oldest and largest national park. Riding through the scenic roadways flanked with dense forests, you’ll be brought closer to Latvia’s lush landscapes and rich history.

What to do in GNP

Explore Culture: Discover the historical Turaida Castle nestled in the heart of the park.

Nature Trails: Venture onto numerous hiking paths and take in the panorama.

River Adventures: The park is named after the Gauja River—perfect for canoeing or rafting.

Wildlife Observation: Keep your eyes peeled for the local fauna, including over 150 bird species.

Motorcycle Accessibility: Riding through Gauja National Park offers smooth and biker-friendly paths, making it a comfortable experience. The park roads will lead you to various attractions, each with parking areas to safely leave your motorcycle.

Accommodation and Facilities: Finding a place to rest is easy with several motorcycle-friendly lodging options. Ensure your trip is well-timed, as the best experiences often require advanced booking due to the park’s popularity.

Remember: Before you set off, check local guidelines as the park is a protected natural area, and certain activities may require permits or have restrictions to conserve the environment and wildlife.

Adventure riding on the Trans Euro Trail Latvia

The Trans Euro Trail (TET) in Latvia offers an exhilarating off-road adventure that takes riders through the heart of the Baltic landscape, showcasing the country’s natural beauty and cultural richness. 

Stretching across various terrains, the Latvian segment of the TET weaves through dense forests, past serene lakes, and along rugged coastlines, providing a diverse and challenging experience for adventure motorcycle enthusiasts. 

Riders are treated to the charm of Latvia’s countryside, dotted with traditional villages, historic sites, and the occasional glimpse of wildlife. The trail also ventures near cultural landmarks and picturesque towns, inviting explorers to take a break from the dirt roads and immerse themselves in Latvia’s vibrant heritage. 

Whether navigating the sandy tracks of the Kurzeme region or the rolling hills of Vidzeme, the TET in Latvia promises an unforgettable journey through one of Europe’s most scenic and unspoiled destinations, making it a must-ride for those seeking the ultimate off-road experience.

READ MORE: Guide to the Trans Euro Trail

Cultural events and festivals

The Best Things to do in Latvia for Motorcycle Travellers

When you’re traversing Latvia on your motorcycle, immerse yourself in its vibrant culture by timing your visit with some of its top cultural events and festivals. One you shouldn’t miss is the Riga City Festival. Revel in concerts, exhibitions, and performances that celebrate the capital’s rich history and current vibe.

During the summer, sync your trip with Jāņi, a cherished midsummer festival occurring on June 23 and 24. This is a celebration of nature, love, and fertility, characterized by huge bonfires, people wearing wreaths of oak leaves and flowers, and dancing through the night.

Festival

Highlights

Baltic Sea Festival

A celebration of music, arts, and seaside activities along the Baltic coast.

Positivus Festival

Enjoy a medley of indie, pop, folk, and electronic music at this three-day music fest.

Midsummer Festival

Dive into traditional festivities with bonfires and local cuisine.

Kurland Bike Meet

One of the largest motorcycle events in the Baltics, offering live music, bike parades, and contests in Ventspils.

If you’re in Latvia during the autumn months, check out the Cesis Castle Medieval Fair for a historical throwback. You’ll find reenactments, medieval-themed activities, and crafts that offer a genuine taste of Latvia’s past.

The OUTDURO Scout Festival in Latvia is a celebration of motorcycle adventure and outdoor camaraderie. This annual event at the beginning of September attracts riders globally, blending exhilarating rides with camping, survival workshops, and orienteering. 

Participants explore Latvia’s breathtaking landscapes, improve their wilderness skills, and enjoy evenings filled with campfires, stories, and music. It’s an enriching experience that fosters community and ignites a passion for adventure among enthusiasts.

Gear up and plan your journey to coincide with these events to truly experience the fervor and tradition of Latvian culture from the back of your bike.

Latvian cuisine and local rest stops

The Best Things to do in Latvia for Motorcycle Travellers

When touring Latvia on your motorcycle, you’ll discover a variety of unique Latvian dishes and quaint rest stops that cater to your taste and need for relaxation. Here’s a list of must-try foods and ideal spots for a weary traveler:

Rye Bread (Rupjmaize) Indulge in the dense, dark rye bread, often served with a thick slather of bacon fat and garlic. It’s a hearty staple that will fuel your road trip adventures.

Rasols Stop by a local cafe and try Rasols, a refreshing potato salad with beets, carrots, eggs, and meat. It’s perfect for a quick, energizing lunch.

Cold Beetroot Soup For a summer ride, cool down with a bowl of cold beetroot soup, seasoned generously with garlic. Find this vibrant dish at places like Lido, a popular chain in Riga.

Maizes Zupa Surprise your sweet tooth with Maizes Zupa, a dessert soup made from black bread, fruit, and cream. This treat can be a delightful conclusion to your meal.

Here are rest stops known for their authentic Latvian cuisine:

Rest Stop

Specialty

Folkklubs ALA Pagrabs

Nestled in the heart of Old Town of Riga, this tavern offers a cozy, underground setting to enjoy folk music, a wide selection of Latvian beers, and hearty Latvian meals.

Lido Restaurants

Riga: A large, folk-style restaurant and leisure park offering a vast buffet of traditional Latvian dishes. It’s not just a place to eat but an experience, complete with a brewery and live music.

Zaķu krogs

Cozy tavern inn on Latvia’s west coast, serving authentic, locally sourced Latvian cuisine in a picturesque countryside setting.

Wild’n’Free

Offers an adventurous culinary experience with its specialty wild game meat burgers, crafted from the finest, ethically sourced meats. 

Remember, Latvian meals are usually hearty and filling, perfect for refuelling during long rides. As you explore Latvia, these rest stops will not only satisfy your hunger but also offer a glimpse into the country’s rich culinary traditions.

Conclusion: embracing Latvia’s roads and culture

Latvia is a treasure trove for motorcycle riders, offering a blend of scenic routes, historic charm, and vibrant cultural festivals. From the architectural wonders and lively festivals of Riga to the serene beauty of the Gauja National Park and the coastal allure of places like Cape Kolka and Liepāja, Latvia invites riders into a world where every journey is steeped in history and natural beauty. 

The country’s festivals, like the lively Midsummer celebrations and the OUTDURO Scout Festival, provide unique opportunities to immerse in local traditions and community spirit. Riding through Latvia, you’ll discover not just the thrill of the open road but a deep connection to the land and its culture, making every mile an unforgettable experience. 

Whether you’re navigating its coastal paths, exploring its ancient towns, or joining in its cultural festivities, Latvia offers an adventure that goes beyond the ride, promising memories that last a lifetime.

About the author

Rihards Grunte

Rihards is a Latvian forest food chef and adventure bike rider and traveller. Rihards goes on awesome biking adventures and cooks up incredible meals while he’s at it from smoking fish to towering burgers. You can follow more of his culinary adventures on his awesome website and check out his YouTube channel too. And if you’re interested in riding in Latvia, take a look at his Motorcycle Travel Guide for Latvia on Mad or Nomad below as well. 

And here are a selection of articles Rihards has authored for Mad or Nomad. 

Read more on motorcycle travel in Latvia

Thanks for checking out this Motorcycle Travel Guide: Latvia article. We hope you enjoyed it! Here’s a few more articles on motorcycling in Latvia and Europe that we recommend you read next. 

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Are you planning a motorcycle trip to Latvia? Do you have any questions, tips or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. 

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