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Curious what backpackers do in Latvia? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day382

    Happy midsummer day from Riga where its 10pm, bright daylight and flipping cold!!. We're huddled in the outer tent trying to cook our evening meal sheltered from the wind. Headband, shorts, trousers, t-shirt, 2 long sleeved tops and a gilet combined with socks and sandals are the current uniform for the evening.

    We had planned to stay in Jurmala tonight but the campsites were ghettos right next to a busy A Road. One was in the shadow of a completely derelict block house building with broken windows. Creepy!

    As we were fresh from yesterday's rest day, (and its never dark!) we carried on the extra 15km to Riga where two city campsites are located on a strip of land on a river. The latter of the two looked the least ghetto so we rolled up there to find the 2 Munich-ers we met in Kolka on the same site. Small world! As it was so bitterly cold they invited us into their lorry conversion for a warm tea and an update on the past few days.

    As we are back in city territory that means better supermarkets = tofu and fresh spinach!!! Finally protein and fresh veg are back on the menu! . The smaller supermarkets were killing us slowly with their wall to wall of neon coloured soft drinks, syrupy pasta sauce, and endless processed junk. Hopefully Sweden will be more health conscious and veggie friendly.

    The current plan is to probably stay in Riga again tomorrow, not yet sure where, visit the ferry ticket office and see the city before closing the chapter on eastern europe the day after.. lets see what happens!
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  • Day383

    Erste Station war heute das Fährterminal. Von Osteuropa übersättigt setzen wir morgen nach Schweden über. Juhu!

    Danach wollten wir schnell eine Unterkunft beziehen und die restliche Zeit die Stadt erkunden. Das 20€-Hostel der Wahl sollte haben ein Doppelzimmer mit Fahrradstellplatz, Haartrockner, Waschmaschine etc., um nur einige Details zu nennen, die auf angepriesen wurden. Die Realität sah anders aus. Es gab einen winzigen Raum mit Doppelstockbett. Das war alles, der Rest Lüge. Der Betreiber gab uns zu verstehen, wir könnten es für 5€ haben, wenn wir auf der Website eine 10 als Bewertung geben (Bestwert). Für das Angebot für dieses Wohnklo haben wir uns eine Stunde durch schlimmsten Verkehr gearbeitet.

    Im Konzept der Innenstadt sind Radfahrer, Alte, Kinder und Gehbehinderte nicht vorgesehen. Kurz nach dem Ausspruch dieses Gedankens sahen wir auch gleich eine bettelnde, alte Rollstuhlfahrerin an einer der Unterführungen stehen, die für uns ebenfalls nicht passierbar waren.

    Die Altstadt ist winzig aber hübsch. Wir durchquerten sie beim zweiten Versuch, eine Unterkunft zu finden. Nun sind wir in einem Hinterhofhotel, das unseren Bedürfnissen entspricht.

    Den Abend haben wir uns in einem indischen Restaurant versüßt. Großartig! Seit langem einmal wieder ein Fest für die Geschmacksnerven. Danach ein Spaziergang in die Altstadt.
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  • Day380

    Waking up to someone shouting "Schei$$e!! Alles weg!!!" on a quiet beach-side campsite was the last thing we expected at 4.30 this morning. A fellow cycle tourist had been robbed of everything, taken from inside his zipped tent (inner AND outer).

    I looked over to Peter in disbelief and my heart sunk. Bike tourists are so vulnerable and exposed in any country. The terrain, the weather, the people, the infrastructure... every single element has an effect on your day. You sleep with your worldly goods (typically the bare minimum to get by) separated from the outer world with a millilitre of fabric as protection and security. You want to trust strangers and always hope for the best in people.

    We looked through our flyscreen to see the purple tarp still in place secured by bungee cord in a bike-like shape and breathed a premature sigh of relief.

    Our eyes then naturally darted down to the front of the tent, which was uncharacteristically bare, discovering that our 4 front bags and our cooking equipment bag were all gone. Only the 2 pairs of shoes were left. All clothes, toiletries, pots, pans, stove, trainers, glasses etc were in those bags.

    The slightly nonplussed camp owner had since appeared, made her way to the woods to search for any traces and then called the police.

    It gets stranger...the camp owner called us over to say she'd found all of the bags. All of our stuff had been scattered around and the thieves had been through everything.

    But it was all there..... what a HUGE relief!!!

    We had already assumed it was a lost cause and prepared ourselves mentally for the mammoth task of replacing our fairly specialised set up in Riga, once we'd cycled there in our pyjamas and flipflops that is!

    Since re-packing everything we found that nothing important had been taken - just our good folding knife, my headphones, a pack of COTTON BUDS (yes, what the hell is that about?!) And some nail clippers. Moritz was not so lucky, having his entire valuables bag taken from near his head whilst he slept.

    The police didn't speak english and wanted me to come to them at the camp site entrance.
    As if i was going to leave my things unattended after a theft.. 🙈 They then left their briefcase (with wallet /ID cards) next to our tent as they left and got 1 hour down the road. Glad to be supported by such geniuses at our time of need!

    So many strange things don't add up.
    Why the camp owner didn't tell us at check in to mind our belongings due to a similar spate of thefts the night before - a vehicle was broken into whilst children were sleeping in it.
    Why the camp owner was so blasé about it all.
    Why she didn't give the rubber gloves that were found with our stuff, to the police.
    Why the thieves took only rediculous items from us.

    We're now 90km from Riga, totally exhausted, fuelled by bewilderment and chocolate. Hoping to get a good night's sleep tonight to be able to decide if we buy a ferry ticket to Stockholm or carry on with our route. Our new german buddy Moritz told us of his journey from St P and it sounds like a higher scale Poland experience. Intoxicated truck drivers on the main road, packs of wild dogs on the side.

    We need to think very carefully about what we do for "fun" and where to draw the line.

    That line is in reaching distance right now.
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  • Day376

    After a comfy night's sleep in the tent pitched on piney forest floor, we breakfasted with a Swedish cycle tourist and exchanged stories for a while before making our way out of Klaipeda towards the Latvia border following European cycle route number 10.

    Eurovelo route 10 has probably been the most scenic of our trip so far, making today an absolute biker's paradise (except for the unfinished bit of EV10 on deep deep sand and the 22km of A road (which has the same size designation as a motorway)) but we'll forgive Lithuania for that because the cycle route building is very much underway. We'll be left with memories of pine forest, sand dunes and blue skies, very much like a Dali painting.

    Today we;
    ...went over the 2000 miles mark(imperial day!).
    ...saw the Baltic Sea for the first time today - very satisfying after 6 weeks on the road.
    ...ate far too many biscuits. applauded as we crossed the border.
    ...found 2 shops in the same village with 10 varieties of tomato pasta sauces which all contained a tonne of added sugar. Yuck. (We have enough sugar consumption on the menu already, thanks to baltic bread and biscuits!)
    ...are the only people on our small private campsite.
    ...are going to try and go to bed by 11pm despite it not being dark, to finally adjust to the timezone we've been for a week!

    Its seems the area we are currently in is well populated by small private campsites each eith their own unique charm and flair, run by old people on a piece of their land.

    The water here, like in Lithuania, smells and tastes like metal...the carbonated bottled water also tastes pretty disgusting (strangely like salt). Thankfully it's not so hot at the moment that we need to drink much of it!
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  • Day267

    Beautiful luxury bus and a four hour ride with gorgeous scenery brought me into Riga in the early afternoon. Wowwww! Another great feel city and super friendly people. Had a beer in an underground cellar recommended by Jana (yup) at the hostel and super cool (beer was great too). Walked along the river to the cruise ship area where a huge luxury liner from Panama was docked. It was 27 degrees and the Latvians were swimming in the river. I dipped my feet in and it wasn't too cold. Walked through the magnificent parks where people were laying in the grass, talking and snoozing. There is a water taxi you can take up and down the river. I came across some kids playing in the city water fountain to keep themselves cool. This city is a hidden gem in Europe and has almost a Swedish feel to it. I walked for five hours straight. Picked up a salmon cheese and chive triangle tart for dinner which was very yummy. I can't understand the Latvian language but there is a lot of English and Russian spoken here.Read more

  • Day268

    Last day here today and so off to the other side of the Daugava River for a different view. Cool and windy this morning so I doubled back to change and grab a jacket. Walked four hours and then went to the museum at the Powder Tower. One of the best historical museums I've been in in all if Europe. These poor Latvians were constantly at war and being over thrown by someone. I spent 4 hours in the museum. Next was the arsenals, along the park, groceries and back to the hostel for prepping tomorrow's trip to Tallin Estonia.Read more

  • Day378

    Over breakfast we decided that we should do a 100km+ day as that would take us nicely to Ventspils, the next big town/city on our coastal tour to Riga.

    Following the Eurovelo 10/13 we were hoping for a designated seperate cycle route that ran along the coast....we got a 85km A-road a few hundred meters away from the sea! Probably our longest, most repetitive road on the trip yet, but on the plus side navigation was easy and it rolled pretty well. Anything dry was an improvement on yesterday's rainy, wet sand experience!

    There weren't any real villages directly on the road so our one and only lunch stop came fairly late and was much-needed just to break the monotony amd so we could actually talk to each other. Whilst sat outside the little shop we met a cycle touring couple from Switzerland, cycling their way back from Thailand. After a chat (and 2 ice creams for Peter) we got back on the road to put the final 30km to bed with a pizza stop as the incentive at the end. We found cracker bread for the first time in ages so were able to avoid eating a sandwhich which tasted like cheese in a sweet cake. Yay!

    Ventspils makes a welcoming impression, very green, clean and tidy. Tree-lined avenues with well-networked cycle tracks run throughout the town. Tonight's campsite is directly in the town itself, its a bit like too commercial compared to what we are used to and like but that's the beauty of cycle touring- differnt locations every day!

    Today's drying effort after yesterday's rain
    The first real building we see on the road today-Ventspils brewery. (We tried their beer today= not great!)
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  • Day5

    Riga.. De stad van de art nouveau en het Black balsam drankje. Het is een echte grote stad en we moesten weer even wennen aan de ommeslag, maar vonden alle art nouveau architectuur erg mooi! Niet de meest spannende stad, maar we hebben ons wel wel weer vermaakt met een museum, een grote indoor food markt en uiteraard weer lekker rondwandelen. Ons hostel stonk naar tenenkaas dus we zijn voor onze laatste avond maar even ergens anders neergestreken. We doken nog even de stad in want je bent niet echt in Riga geweest als je hun zwarte kruidenbitter niet hebt gedronken!Read more

  • Day7

    Wij reisden naar Sigulda, een dorpje dat bij het natuurpark Gauja hoort en waar wij vandaag een flinke hike achter de rug hebben! Zo fijn in het zonnetje. Het zag er nu al prachtig en indrukwekkend uit, en dat terwijl nog alles in de knop zat. Ik snap wel dat dit een geliefde plek is voor wandelaars en mountainbikers in de zomer! Over ons heerlijke toetje in het restaurant zat uiteraard een lekker Black Balsam sausje :) Morgen treinen we terug naar Riga en stappen daar op de bus naar Tallinn, Estland.Read more

  • Day1

    Nur 2 Flugstunden von Hamburg entfernt empfängt uns die lettische Sonne. Um 11:50 gelandet - um 12:00 sitzen wir schon im Taxi - ich glaube, der Flughafen in Riga ist noch kleiner als der Segelflugplatz in Uetersen..... 700.000 Einwohner hat die baltische Metropole und zumindest heute nicht besonders viele Touristen. Es ist kalt trotz Sonne (vereinzelt liegt sogar noch Schnee !) und ein erster Bummel führt uns zu einigen der interessantesten Sehenswürdigkeiten: der orthodoxen Geburtskathdrale, dem Freiheitsmonument, den Bremer Stadtmusikanten (???), einem übergroßen Lenin, der doch nicht Lenin, sondern der lettische Poet Rainis ist (aha) und schließlich den berühmten Schwarzhäupterhä ganze Menge für den ersten Tag....Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of Latvia, Lettland, Latvia, Letland, ላትቪያ, Letonia, لاتفيا, ܠܐܛܒܝܐ, Latviya, Латвія, Латвия, Letoni, লাতভিয়া, ལཏ་བི་ཡ།, Letonija, Letònia, Lettonia, Lotyšsko, Латви, Latfia, Latvia nutome, Λεττονία, Latvio, Läti, لتونی, Letonii, Lettonie, Lètonie, Letlân, An Laitvia, An Laitbhe, લાત્વિયા, latibiya, לאטביה, लाटविया, Letiska, Lettország, Լատվիա, ラトビア共和国, ლატვია, Lativia, Letlandi, ឡាតវីយ៉ា, ಲಾಟ್ವಿಯಾ, 라트비아, لاتڤیا, Latvi, Lativya, ລຼາດເວຍ, Latvija, Латвија, ലാത്വിയ, लाट्‌विया, Latvja, လတ်ဗီးယား, लाट्भिया, Lettonnie, ଲାଟଭିଆ, Łotwa, Letônia, Lituniya, Lativa, Летония, Latvie, Látvia, Letonùii, ලැට්වියාව, Latfiya, Летонија, லாட்வியா, లాట్వియ, ลัทเวีย, Latbiya, Letonya, Latviä, لاتۋىيە, لٹویا, Latviyän, לעטלאנד, Orílẹ́ède Latifia, 拉脫維亞, i-Latvia

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