Latvia for Sports
The wonderful nature is a wonderful backdrop for a bike tour or a vacation with long bike tours. You discover places that might remain closed to a car or bus tourist and you get closer to the population at eye level.
Some areas in Latvia have inclines, the road or path conditions are not always optimal. Therefore, an all-terrain bike is ideal for a cycling holiday in Latvia, even if the country itself has relatively little incline. A good physical condition prevents you from losing out on the stages. A pedelec or e-bike may be helpful.
A cross-border long-distance route (an EU project) to Estonia, the Tour de LatEst, runs through northern Latvia. A great way for cyclists to combine a visit to the two countries.
Some tour operators offer organized bike tours. The Baltic specialist Schnieder Reisen, for example, has an individual tour through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in its program – with daily stages of 60 to 80 kilometers and pre-booked accommodation. In Latvia, among others, Cesis, Riga, Jurmala, Kuldiga and Liepaja are visited.
Good for day trips: if you don’t have your own bike, you can borrow one from a bike rental shop. This option is available in Jurmala, for example, as well as in Riga and other tourist regions. However, the network can still be expanded.
The bike paths in some cities, such as Ventspils or the one from Riga to Jurmala, are surprisingly good. In Riga, too, there are some routes that are easy to use as a cyclist. However, as is so often the case in large cities, some places in the capital are not very recommendable by bike. In an emergency, you have to get off the car or park your bike.
In some places you can even ride a bike along the beach. In Liepaja, for example, the wide sandy beach is quite suitable for this, depending on the weather. If you have a headwind, the endeavor is no fun.
Hiking, cycling, on the go with canoes and rafts, skiing, swimming, kite- and windsurfing – the range of offers for active people is huge in Latvia. According to Countryaah, Latvia is a nation in northern Europe.
Winter sports enthusiasts can, even if the land is rather flat, step on the boards in the snowy winters. Around Sigulda in the hilly Gauja National Park there are good winter sports areas, various ski slopes also challenge experienced skiers and snowboarders. There is also a toboggan run here, which even hosts international competitions. Several cross-country skiing tracks will be set up on the Viesturi golf course near Riga in winter.
Lots of water and wind ensure good conditions for windsurfers, kitesurfers and sailors. There are several clubs in the Riga Bay that lend equipment and give courses. In Vizdeme, surfing is possible on Lake Inesis and Lake Ungurs near Cesis, for example. In the wind town of Liepaja with its wide beach, kite surfers are in the right place. There is a section of beach here (between Perkones and Jurmala iela), which is intended for this. The Usmas Lake in Kurzeme is very popular with sailors. There is a large yacht club and a sailing school, regattas and competitions take place here. Or how about ice sailing on the frozen Latvian lakes?
The rivers and lakes of Latvia are ideal for canoeing and rafting. On the Gauja, for example, you can explore the landscape in an active way. Its tributary, the Amata, is one of the fastest rivers in Latvia, especially after rainfall. The rivers Rauna and Ablus, also in the Gauja National Park, are not suitable for beginners, especially after the spring rains. The Venta and Daugava are also great for raft and canoe tours. Water tourists should definitely think of life jackets, suitable (rain) clothing, sunscreen, mosquito repellent and waterproof containers for valuables.
And of course the extensive nature and the diverse national parks offer a wonderful backdrop for hikes and bike tours. Short and long, multi-day stages can be planned without any problems, depending on fitness and fun. Nine different hiking routes lead through the Slitere National Park alone. The association “Rural Tourism” (“Lauku celotajs”) offers information on one-day and multi-day hikes. Those who like it organized and comfortable: The Baltic specialist Schnieder Reisen has a ten-day group tour through Lithuania and Latvia in its program. Seven selected hikes are covered a maximum of 10 kilometers each. So have fun actively exploring Latvia!
Latvia has numerous campsites for campers, which enable a holiday that is close to nature and at the same time affordable. You can find shelter with a tent, caravan or mobile home, and small houses or log cabins are often rented out, so that you don’t necessarily need complete camping equipment to live on tent sites. This is especially nice for bicycle vacationers who do not want to take a lot of luggage with them.
Most of the campsites are in the north and northwest, the south and east are less well-stocked. There are also good campsites in the cities. In Riga, for example, the Riga City Camping is a parking space close to the city, from where the old town can be easily reached on foot, by bike or by bus. In Jurmala, you can stay at the somewhat aging Nemo campsite. And in Ventspils south of the city center, the modern and well-equipped campsite Piejuraa, which has direct access to the sea, awaits holidaymakers. The Gauja National Park has several places to offer, most of which have a wonderful panorama. Camping is especially nice here because you can enjoy nature to the fullest.