Planning for your next big trip across the pond? This summer travel season is set to be one of the busiest ever, with travelers flocking to Europe in record numbers.
International travel is up more than 200% compared to 2022, and international airfare has risen by more than 30%, according to data from AAA.
With the increase in travel this summer, popular European destinations will be even more crowded (and more expensive) than last summer.
Travelers dreaming of places like the Amalfi Coast, Santorini, Venice, or Barcelona may be disappointed to find that the reality of traveling to these destinations over the summer will be less than magical.
If you’re looking for an underrated summer destination in Europe, look no further than Latvia.
This Baltic country is not one that immediately comes to mind when thinking “summer in Europe,” but here are the top 6 reasons to consider Latvia for your summer trip:
1. A Cool Capital City
Riga, Latvia is a picturesque European capital city that is a great place to explore for a few days. Located on the River Daugava at the mouth of the Baltic Sea, this quaint capital city is known for being a cultural hub. It also has an extremely charming Old Town with colorful buildings and cobblestone streets.
Whether you’re looking to explore museums and cultural sites or are interested in partying and nightlife, Riga has something for everyone.
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2. Low Crowds And Affordable Prices
When it comes to prices, Latvia is a much more affordable destination than any country in Western Europe. It’s not one of the cheapest countries in Europe, but in comparison to popular destinations with sky-high prices like Paris or most of Italy, it’s very budget-friendly.
Additionally, you can avoid the extreme summer crowds and overtourism that plague many popular destinations. Latvia is a great choice if you’re looking for a calm and laid-back summer vacation.
3. Nearby Beaches
Many people don’t realize that Latvia actually has nice beaches. While they might not be the clear azure waters of the Adriatic or the Mediterranean, Latvia’s beaches have a natural beauty to them.
Jurmala is a popular resort town that is just half an hour from Riga.
There are also many more wild beaches in Latvia where you can enjoy pristine, untouched nature and low crowds.
4. Other Natural Beauty
While Latvia’s beaches shouldn’t be missed on a summertime trip, there are even more great outdoor things to do in Latvia during the summer.
Kemeri National Park is a must-visit. Located 45 minutes from Riga, this national park is known for its biodiversity and unique landscapes like bogs and wetlands.
A little further afield, you’ll find Gauja National Park, which is about 1.5 hours from Riga. This idyllic national park is a great place for scenic hiking in the summer.
5. Mild Summer Weather
If you want to avoid the extreme summer heat of places like Spain, Italy, and Greece, then Latvia is a great choice. Being in Northern Europe, Latvia experiences very mild summers.
In July, the average high temperature is 73° F, while the average low is 56° F. This makes Latvia a great escape where you can beat the heat and enjoy mild, pleasant weather instead.
6. Can Visit Other Countries Easily
Finally, another reason to visit Latvia is that it’s a great base for exploring more of the Baltics and beyond.
There are tons of budget airlines that fly out of Riga, and you can easily find cheap flights to other cities around Europe.
Tallinn, Estonia is a short flight away from Riga (less than one hour) or a 4.5-hour bus ride. This is another great, underrated European capital to check out.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Tuesday 2nd of May 2023
I love Latvia and would live there if I could. I adore everything about Latvia and Riga and long to make my first visit there. 💕 But I draw the line at eating pickled carrots.
Monday 1st of May 2023
Latvia is a wonderful country. Definitely worth a visit, to those who’ve never been.