What are the best places to see in Latgale, Latvia? Latgale is one of the most interesting areas of the country, and many foreigners come to visit it to explore more off the beaten path travel in Latvia! As Latvian locals, we have visited Latgale many times, and so have our friends, so this article with provide you with all the major places to see in this region, based on our and our friends experience!
Want to keep this post for later? Pin it!
Teirumniku Bog Trail
Teirumniki or Tirumnieki bog trail is a circular, about 800m long pathway through the bog, forest and near a lake. The water is a typically dark bog lake color, which makes it exceptionally warm in the summer! One of our favorite bog trails in Latvia, read more about it here.
Makonkalns is a beautiful park nearby Razna lake. You can also see Volkenberg castle ruins. Stunning views of the surrounding forest and lake!
When we visited the area in January, we hadn’t planned to see the Folvarka church, but the little, bright blue old believer’s prayer house is very worth a visit! It is located in an isolated, quiet area, and while you can’t visit inside unless during a service, even just observing from the outside it leaves quite an impression! Read more about it here.
If you call Inese 26312465 at least an hour in advance (but better – earlier!) you can get a true Latgalian meal in her home! She served a wonderful lunch for us in her basement with a fireplace – traditional sorrel soup followed by guļbešņīķi (you have to try them to know what it is!) and then a tasty dessert! Read more about other culinary treasures of Latgale here.
Luznava manor and park are worth a visit! The manor was built in 1911 (and recently renovated!), and is an art nouveau treasure among forestlands of Latgale! Entrance fee is 2 euros, and you also can see the art exhibit. There are concerts organized here frequently! Read more about it here.
Daugavpils Shot Factory
Daugavpils shot factory is one of the best known tourism objects in Daugavpils! Unfortunately, on the cold winter’s day we visited the area in January, it was already closed, but all of our friends who have visited it, speak very highly of it!
You cannot plan a trip to Aglona without visiting the Bread museum! Be sure to call in advance 29287044 (best – at least a week before your rip!). The hostess Vija showed us how bread is made, and she has been at this task for more than 20 years! She also speaks Russian and English, and other language translations can be arranged on request! You will also have a chance to participate in the bread baking process and try lovely local meal, including the strong local spirit “šmakovka”! Read more about food tourism of Latgale here.
A brand new place opened only in 2019, is a moto and metal art gallery Nester Custom in Preili! I must admit, before coming here I was a bit skeptical, but once I entered the gallery, I was surprised how much there is to see and how interesting are the stories of the owners Alina and Alexander! Read more about this unusual place and other things to do in the area here.
According to my friend Maija, who recommended this place to me, you have to drive through forest for 15 min without phone reception or roads making any sense, but when you do reach it, you are in for a treat – a fully renovated classical building!
Lake Lubans is an amazing place to go cycling or bird watching, picnicking or boating! It is easily accessible from the main roads and you don’t have to worry about driving through private property. Some of the roads can get a bit flooded during the rain. I recommend the bird watching towers for the best views! Read more about this area here.
Stiglava (Stiglova) glen is a geological object, a 3-4 m tall sandstone formation originating 375 million years ago, and entrance to it is free. When you leave the car at the parking lot, you have to walk down to the river, from there turn to the right and go down the steps. This is the trail. It is more of a natural trail, so you will not see too many signs or any wooden planks to show you the way, so it is a chance to explore a very natural object. The sandstone is relatively well preserved and there are not too many carvings in it, which is not the case with more well known and closer to the capital city sandstone cliffs. More on it here.
The park, created in 2004, is a Natura 2000 territory, build to protect the unique biological & geological diversity of the area. There are four lakes, pine forest and a bog. When you climb the 20 m tower, you can see all of that around you, as the tower has been built on a hill and offers much better views than you’d expect! If you came later in the evening, there are two star watching chairs to enjoy dark sky without any light pollution. As we walk around the tower in the forest, we notice how quiet it is at this time of the day, and we only see animal footprints in the snow. Deer, foxes and other animals have been active here! More on Northern Latgale here.
Rezekne definitely is worth a full day trip! I have been here many times, as my relatives live here, and you are in for a treat in this city – the castel ruins as well the Museum of the cultural history of Latgale, the Latgalian Embassy “Gors”, as well as the beautiful city itself!
Especially popular among catholics in the summer, this is a place of pilgrimage that several Pope’s have visited! Read more about Aglona and other things to do in the area here.
Rothko center is a multi functional art, culture and educational center in the fort of Daugavpils. Have you heard of Mark Rothko? Or, perhaps, seen his pieces in the best museums around the world? Well, he was born in Daugavpils! So this is a unique chance to see some of his works as well as learn about other artists.
A narrow pathway between two lakes – Pintu and Sesku, just at the border with Belarus! Lake Pintu is also suitable for swimming! You have to get a permission to be at the border area, as well as have your passport with you, when visiting, as this is at the external EU/Schengen border! Read more about this area here.
The oldest city in Latvia, and rest assured, you will have fun here! The old historic center, narrow streets, medieval castle ruins, old believer’s prayer house, Catholic church and city park are just some of the places to see!
Kristus Karala Hill
Kristus Karala (the King Christ) hill is a 20 ha large sculpture park, and most are on the topic of the Bible. There is also a small church at the top of the hill. Mostly visited by pilgrims to Aglona basicilum. Entrance is free. In summer many people enjoy long walks in the garden in full bloom! Read more about this garden and other things to do in the area here.
Slutiski courtyard is the only old believers cultural heritage museum in Latvia. We visited in the winter, when it was closed, but in summer not only you can see the inside of the wooden houses, but also purchase souvenirs made by local craftsmen! Read more about the area here.
Preili Doll Museum
Preili Doll Museum is not too far from Nester Custom metal & moto gallery! You will see miniature castles and dolls, and can also try on the outfit of a royal!
Lake Certoks (Devil’s)
It is one of the most well known natural sightseeing places in Latgale! In fact, it is a protected area spanning 53 hectares, designated in 1977, where the lake is the center piece, but the forest around is very beautiful as well. It is a mythical place with many legends about it. The first thing you might notice is that the lake has unusually transparent water and in the deepest area, 18m, the visibility is about 8m. However, you are not allowed to swim in it, and the information around it suggests it has a high level of mercury salts in it. Legends also say there is no life in the lake or around it. We do see plenty of birds, but can’t judge about fish or transparency of water, as it is all frozen over! Read more about the area here.
The Smakovka Museum
When we arrive at the Smakovka museum, a really cool guide Raivis Malnačs is waiting for us! In 1 hour he shows and tells us everything about the traditional Latgalian strong drink – the spirit smakovka in a nice modern museum! I never thought I would tell this, but this museum, primarily dedicated to alcohol, is actually suitable for the whole family. Children should only enter with adults, but you do learn a great deal about the history of the region overall – how the flour was made with a different kind of millstone – made of oak wood, how the fight for illegal alcohol trade happened, and also the chemical process. Read more about the area here.
Balvi Lutheran Church
The Balvi Lutheran church was finished in 1915, and a lot of money has been invested in it’s renovated recently. We recommend seeing it in the evening, when it is nicely lit! More on Northern Latgale here.
This trail commemorates the military resistance groups that lived here in 1945. About 300 people stayed here, and there were 22 bunkers, a hospital, graveyard and a small church, and it was the largest partisan settlement in the Baltic states. Soviet forces had discovered this place and attacked on March 2nd, 1945. While partisans managed to fight the initial attack, they had to flee and luckily, managed to do that without significant loss of life. The people then joined other partisan groups in the region. The hiking trail is good for history (information on the info stand in Latvian, Russian and English) and seeing the views. The boardwalk has been recently renovated, so you can get to the island that used to have the bunkers with dry feet. If you continue walking a bit deeper in the forest, past the flagpole, you can get closer to the bog area, and see what Latvia is famous for – the bog looks especially beautiful at sunrise and sunset! More on Northern Latgale here.
Balkani Hill Nature Park
There is a 3.8km trail for skiing in daylight and 1.5km with artificial lightning for evening. Every year there are more trails open, and you can also walk in the beautiful spruce forest (entrance is free). They also have a holiday home on the grounds, so you can stay the night or organize a celebration here, but you should reserve in advance. More on Northern Latgale here.
Lake Dridzis is the deepest lake in Latvia, 65.1m, and to visit it best, you should be on a bicycle, as a lot of land around it is private, so you won’y be able to approach it from any direction.
Balvi Orthodox Church
The wooden church was built in Russia, in Velikije Luki, and was transported to Latvia in 2012 as a gift. It is located right in the city center, so definitely make sure to stop by!
Daugavas Loki (Arches) Nature park
Daugavas loki (arches) nature park was established in 1990, to protect the unique natural and cultural areas of the Daugava river from Kraslava to Naujene. The river Daugava makes 9 arches, and this is where the name of the park comes from! Especially beautiful in autumn foliage season.
The tower is located right next to the Teici preserve, and you can see the entire surrounding area! The tower is 27 m tall, and next to it is a countryside style bathroom. More on other weekend ideas for Latgale, here.
This tower located in Kraslava city, is 32 m tall, and the surrounding view is exceptional! Also the Kraslava city itself is worth a visit, as is small, very clean and had a lot of beautiful houses. More on other weekend ideas for Latgale, here.
Hotels and guest houses where we our our friends have stayed and can recommend these:
We hope you enjoyed this article about the places to see in Latgale and will visit soon! Pin for later!