Latvia can be compared to the four cardinal directions – it is just that diverse. Kurzeme, Latgale, Vidzeme and Zemgale – each with their own charm and character, formed by the habits of the people, the differences of nature and even the weather. The complete feeling of Latvia can only be grasped by experiencing its different tastes, smells, various terrains, and, above all, getting to know the people who create all this colour.
We are glad that you have decided to go to Latgale, which is often called the land of blue lakes. Sixt car rental in cooperation with the Latvian Investment and Development Agency Tourism Department has developed 2-day routes that have been visited, tested and appreciated by locally and globally renowned people. Host of the Morning Show Linda Krumina went to visit Latgale. We offer only proven values!
Before we go, we will introduce you to some of the rules of the trip.
In Latvia, the maximum permitted speed in a deserted place is 90 km/h, in a populated area - 50 km/h, everyone in the vehicle must wear a seat belt, but you already know this! We believe that you have the sparkle of a youthful and relentless discoverer inside you and that you can inspire and demonstrate this wonderful adventurousness to others!
Share your pictures, feelings, views and experiences by adding the hashtag #ApceļojuLatviju for your Latvian, and #EnjoyLatvia - for your foreign friends. Be creative and invent the hashtags yourself!
If you do not have your own car, or at the last minute you need a bigger one, it is always possible to rent it. Rent your Sixt car from our website, Sixt App (IOS or Android) or call +371 67207121 and get your car delivered to your preferred location at the best time for you!
Enough of rules, we are ready to go! Onwards to Latgale!
9:00 am departure from Riga
You do not need to listen to the songs and sing along, but we will be glad if you take pictures and share them with your friends on social networks before going on your trip to Latgale. Remember to use the hashtags #ApceļojuLatviju #EnjoyLatvia
If you leave Riga in time, around 9:00, then after an hour at 10:00 am you will be in the place everyone dreams to return – in the wonderland – your childhood. Did we forget to mention that this trip promises to be magical as well?
"Vēsmiņas", Lielvarde Municipality, Ledmane Parish, LV-5011
GPS: 56°47’03. 25°01’06
Working hours: June – September every day at 10.00 – 19.00
Internet: abpark.lv; phone: +371 27336600
The amusement park Avārijas Brigāde is located near Lielvarde, in Ledmane parish, the park features a real city from the famous cartoon Avārijas Brigāde, where you can meet the characters from the film and take photos with them. Also it is also possible to climb the mill or visit other attractions at the park.
It is a perfect place for parents with children up to 10 years old. Experienced visitors will be able to return to the memories and feelings of their childhood. Although much can already be seen and enjoyed, it should be taken into account that everything is in the process of perfection, but will Rīga ever be ready? We are happy for the entrepreneurial spirit and mainly the idea, because it would be much easier to use popular foreign cartoon characters, but here - our own great fairy tales and cartoon characters deserve to be appreciated!
After meeting the heroes of the movie and an active and cheerful rest, we continue with the trip by 12:00 at the latest.
We highly recommend to have dinner in the place where delicious smells reign supreme – the Liepkalni bakery. It welcomes everyone who wishes to taste and enjoy the real Liepkalni rye bread and other delicacies. The delicious, decently-sized portions offered at the café are great value for money. And Liepkalni definitely offer some of the best eclairs in Latvia!
Let’s skip baking bread this time, as it takes at least 30 hours from preparing the dough to baking it, and you don’t have that kind of time, as adventurers don’t stay in one place so long!
Domes Street 1, Līvāni, Līvāni City, LV-5316
Website: livanustikls.lv; phone: +371 65381855
If you were born in the last century, you are probably familiar with the name “Līvānu stikls” (Līvāni glass). It is likely that some pieces produced in the famous glass factory could or can still be found in your parents’ home. Yet it is also likely that you are not that aware of what Līvāni glass actually means and what exactly was produced in the factory.
The Latgale Art and Craft Centre offers a fascinating exhibition where the sight of milk and cream bottles – a familiar thing from your childhood – will make you smile, whereas finding out about the fine, world-class products once created by the Līvāni masters will inspire amazement and awe. Those who can take the heat are welcome to explore the more than 100 year old glass blowing traditions and observe the glass production process. And there’s more! Within the grange walls that have felt the breath of several centuries you will find the exposition “Artisans in Latgale during the 19th – 20th century”, telling of the masterfully skilled craftsmen. The wondrous national belt – the longest of its kind in Latvia – is on display in the exhibition.
After visiting the exhibition, it is time for at least a 45 minute drive to the Mark Rothko museum in Daugavpils – the place that is recognised as the Mecca of art not only throughout Latgale, but in the whole of Latvia as well.
Mihaila Street 3, Daugavpils, LV-5401
GPS: 55.88361; 26.49764
Website: www.rothkocenter.com; phone: +371 26126743
The Mark Rothko Art Centre is located within the area of the old Daugavpils fortress, making it another two-for-one destination. Although it is quite likely that you have already heard many a word of praise regarding the art centre, visiting it in person will exceed all your expectations. It is modern, exciting, ambitious, a place where you can feel the pulse of the world! Viewing the original Rothko pieces is a definite must-have for every art lover. At the same time, you will be pleasantly surprised at how many contemporary artists there are in Latvia.
Daugavpils Fortress is the only 19th century fortress in Europe that has managed to escape from being spoiled by significant rebuilding. It is worth noting that the Rothko Centre is home not only to 6 Mark Rothko originals, making it the only place in the whole of Eastern Europe where you can find any original paintings by the world famous artist at all, but also to one original painting by the well-known Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, regarded as one of his best works. During the Art Night on 9 June, the large-scale sculpture “War Horse Ghost” made by a group of artists led by the International sculpture symposium jury nominee sculptor Egons Perševics was unveiled. It has become a permanent contemporary art object in Daugavpils. You can visit various exhibitions and art projects that are on display in the 2500 m2 area of the Rothko Centre. And, of course, you must have a look at the ghost horse. It glows at night!
For those who wish to linger in the presence of art and history a bit longer, the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Centre offers 10 comfortable and cosy rooms to stay for the night. The café “Arsenāls” is located on the ground floor of the Art Centre.
If your adventurous spirit is still ready to go places after visiting so many cultural institutions, you are welcome to spend some time in the second biggest city in Latvia. A selfie by the Daugavpils prison will certainly be appreciated by your friends on social media!
If you wish to spend the night in Daugavpils, we recommend the Homelike Hotel, located in the city centre: 66 S.Mihoelsa Street. It is a new and exclusive hotel for guests of Daugavpils, and it has already gained a reputation of being hip, pleasant and cosy. The rooms are both comfortable and stylishly designed. The location of the hotel (the city centre) is undoubtedly an advantage, and the staff are very kind and helpful. If you wish to enjoy what is so great about Latgale – the Latgalian hospitality –, we recommend the guest house “Mežinieku mājas” in Aglona.
Gūteņi, Aglona pagasts, Aglona municipality, LV-5304
GPS: 56.1026, 26.9415
Remember to book your visit in advance by calling +371 29234425; +371 28350601
“Mežinieku mājas” is a guest house that can accommodate 74 tourists visiting Latgale (and more, should it be needed). The Latgalian culinary delights made from organic home grown food, a sauna and even an expert specialising in body care aesthetics – you will find all that in “Mežinieku mājas”!
Many tales have been told about the Latgalian hospitality, but it has to be experienced in order to truly understand what it’s all about. The “Mežinieki” hostesses are warm, welcoming and wondrously enterprising. Their farm is direct proof of how much a person can do – if they really want to do it. Starting all off by devoting half of the house to guest accommodation and making it grow into two guest houses that can house several hundred guests in total – that is truly worthy of admiration! “Mežinieki” offers real Latgalian dishes, and the best part of it is that they are made at the farm from scratch: the bread is baked by using the flour made from grain grown on the farm, the cheese is made by milk given by their own cows, and the fruit and vegetables are grown on the farm. A healthy mind in a healthy body! And we strongly recommend that you apply for a health sauna with a sauna attendant and enjoy the special foot baths or relax in a tub or jacuzzi.
In addition, there are also different massages and aromatherapy, and you can enjoy the herbal teas made from herbs grown in “Mežinieki”. Well, we can’t promise that your year of birth will change, but you will definitely feel at least 10 years younger – that much we can guarantee! And there’s more! “Maizes namiņš” (the Little Bread House) gives you an opportunity to bake your own loaf of rye bread, heat some cheese in the open air, taste 14 different kinds of cheese, as well as some home brewed beer. The children will be delighted with the equipped playground! And the horoscope park and the Baltic Sign Park, as well as a nature trail, are just around the corner!
Cirīšu street 8, Aglona, Aglonas novads, LV- 5304
GPS: 56.125235, 27.013975
The Mass: on working days: 7:00; 12:00; 19:00; On Holidays and festivals - 10:00; 12:00; 19:00
Internet: aglonas-bazilika.lv; phone.: +371 29188740
Start the second day by visiting one of the biggest sacral buildings of the region early in the morning – the Aglona Basilica. This place has a very distinct feeling about it, but the most important is peace – complete peace that engulfs every visitor.
The Aglona Basilica is the most significant centre of worship for Roman Catholics in Latvia. It is a late Baroque style building, adorned by two towers that reach approximately 60 metres in height. In its interior you will see crossing arches and columns richly adorned with Rococo ornaments. It was built in the 18th century, and the side altars were added at the beginning of the 19th century. The Basilica has a large collection of paintings, sculptures and valuable art objects, including the famous icon "Our Lady of Aglona's Miracle" which is brought out only during religious celebrations. The devout believe that the icon can work miracles. It is believed that it has the ability to heal.
If you visit the Basilica during a service, you will feel elated, even if you are not a churchgoer. There is something very special about the atmosphere of Aglona. Connoisseours recommend to have a look at the icon "Our Lady of Aglona's Miracle". The Basilica is undoubtedly not only the centre of Roman Catholic worship in Latvia, but also a building of architectural and artistic importance in Latvia and beyond.
After you have gained a transcendental experience and still feel its echoes, we advise that you to take a walk to the Lielais Liepu kalns (the Great Linden Hill) observation tower – enjoy each step you take, get lots of fresh air and be closer to the sky :)
Rāzna National Park, Kaunata pagasts, Rēzekne municipality
GPS: 56.270791, 27.6547405
Big Liepu Hill (the Great Linden Hill) is the highest peak in Latgale and the third highest in Latvia, its highest point being 289.3 m above sea level. The tallest wooden observation tower is built at the top of the hill. The tower itself is 34 metres tall, but when you reach its top, you will be 323 metres above sea level.
From the top of the tower there is a breathtaking view of the surrounding region – you can even see Rāzna lake! The sight of the lakes of Latgale, green forest groves, and the sprawling fields is enough to take one’s breath away. If there would be no other destinations left, you could spend the whole day just by enjoying Latgale from a bird's eye view. However, we must press on!
A trail will take you from the parking lot to the observation tower, there are information stands, recreational spots and swings too. And don't forget to capture this view in order to share it with your friends on social networks by adding the hashtags #Traveling Latvia and #EnjoyLatvia – you do want to inspire your friends, right?
Rāzna National Park, Kaunata pagasts, Rēzekne municipality
GPS: 56.271182, 27.654815
Website: pudnikuskula.lv; phone.: +371 26695877
Evaldas Vasiļevskis is the only potter in Latvia who digs up and cleans the clay himself, and one of the few that uses the smoke firing technique: just as our ancestors did thousands of years ago.
The pottery exhibition reflects the development of the potters’ craft right from its beginnings – the Neolithic era – to the present day. Here you can look at the ceramics, feel the roughness of unglazed clay and the softness of glazed pots, hear the nature moods of Latgale, get to know a stylised potter's workshop and to get a feel of the wonderful meeting of clay and fire where the dishes gain their amazing colours and sounds.
8 Pils Street, Lūznava, Lūznava pagasts, Rēzekne municipality
Website: http://www.luznavasmuiza.lv; phone: +371 28686863, +371 29390701
The Lūznava Manor is a restored pearl of Latgalian cultural life and an embodiment of a fairy tale in the middle of nowhere! What you see will surpass all your expectations. The accuracy and respect for the history with which the manor was restored is worthy of admiration. It was once built as a place for artists where they could live and create their works of art, and now it has been reborn as a creative centre where you can celebrate life, renowned throughout Latvia.
The Lūznava manor is an early 20th century Art Nouveau building, created as a space for art and music. It has undergone a number of changes throughout its history: it has been a school, military headquarters, a school again, the home of the parish administration and a library. It was reborn in 2015 as a place to inspire and a home for the muses. At the moment, there are several wonderful exhibitions on display, but the building itself is no less remarkable.
Don't be surprised if all of a sudden you are struck by a mood to dress up in early 20th century clothing so that you can take a walk in the manor hallways and have a cup of coffee on the balcony of one of its rooms…
After a thorough insight into the cultural heritage of the past centuries, we recommend that you visit the concert hall GORS in Rēzekne, which currently is one of the most renowned modern culture institutions.
4 Pils street, Rēzekne, LV-4601
GPS: 56.503285, 27.325711
Website: www.latgalesgors.lv; phone: +371 64633303
GORS is not just another cultural institution: it is the embassy of Latgale – a place where the story of Latgale is both created and told. It is the meeting place of cultural heritage and traditional values, traditions and creativity, languages and events, the most important global trends, art, culture, dances and songs.
Here the young meet the old, the communities meet the families, the locals meet the visitors. It is a place where new and exciting ideas are born into existence: a true, creative and beautiful spirit. A place that is home to a culture centre, concert hall, cinema, accommodation for artists, an exhibition place for art, restaurant for enjoying life – a place to experiment with all of your senses. A place of rumble and buzz. The location of the awakening of Latgale – so the locals say. GORS, the Embassy of Latgale has become an esteemed regional culture centre, a place in which people can visit in order to enjoy art, and where the artists can meet the admirers of their talent
After visiting “GORS”, it is time to go home. The evening falls, and we hope that the way home will be full of reflection, and that the impressions left of Latgale will last. We thank you once again for joining the campaign “Latvia in 4 weekends”, the aim of which is to get to know the regions of Latvia from a traveller’s point of view, to discover the undiscovered and to inspire others to embark on their own journeys. #ApceļojuLatviju #EnjoyLatvia
Afterword: It is quite likely that these two days out of your stressful routine offer a chance to break away from the hustle and bustle of the city, to admire nature, enjoy culture, history, recreation and adventures that are offered in Latgale, one of the most splendid regions of Latvia. We hope that your holidays are memorable and believe that our own country and its nature is full of undiscovered surprises, so we hope that you will prove it – to yourself, to us and to everybody else. #ApceļojuLatviju #EnjoyLatvia
In order to make sure that everything goes as planned, we would like to note that the route has been created for a weekend trip to Latgale, but you can definitely visit on any other day – just make sure the working hours match up with your planned arrival. If you plan to stay longer at one place (or vice versa), the viewing times may change.
And most importantly – remember to apply for places with planned excursions in a timely fashion. And, of course, accommodation should be booked in advance.
In cooperation with the Tourism Department of the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia, the Sixt Car Hire went on this trip organised by the Agency with the SEAT Leon car from Autobrava, covering ~700 km. We didn't even have to refill the fuel tank during the trip – that’s how economic the Sixt cars are!
NB! The Latgale route is also available online: http://www.latvia.travel/lv/marsruts/latvija-4-nedelas-nogales-latgale-ar-lindu-kruminu - you can also correct and add to it to your liking! #Traveling to Latvia #EnjoyLatvia The description of the route uses the publicity photos of the tourism board.