11 things to do in Gauja National Park, Latvia

Gauja national park lead image

From hiking along precipitous escarpments to exploring ancient caves, we share the best things to do in Gauja National Park, Latvia

Over half of Latvia is covered in forest with northern Latvia and particularly the Gauja Valley home to some of the country’s most stunning arboreal scenes. I spent a few days exploring Gauja National Park, the country’s oldest protected area, and found an adventure playground ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.

Bogshoeing in Latvia: silly but outrageously good fun

Peter bogshoeing in Ķemeri National Park, Latvia

Bogshoeing in Latvia? Nope, we hadn’t heard of it either. But the wetlands of Ķemeri National Park are more than a bog-standard destination

It’s a cliché I know, but travel never ceases to surprise me. I’ve hiked all over the world – from high-altitude treks in Nepal and Pakistan to remote expeditions in Greenland and Norway – so when I was invited to the tiny Baltic nation of Latvia with its highest point just 312m (1,024ft) above sea level, I wasn’t expecting to find much in the way of expansive wilderness. But, despite its size, Latvia devotes a substantial amount of space to nature and outdoor pursuits.

Hiking in Latvia: where to find the best trails

Boardwalks through ĶemeriSanga Park/Shutterstock

Hiking in Latvia is an ideal way to explore a land of peaceful lakes, fairytale forests and exceptionally unspoilt countryside

Latvia is perhaps best known for the cosmopolitan city of Riga. Beyond the clamorous capital, however, lie delightful small towns like Cēsis and Sigulda that offer hiking, cycling, canoeing and myriad other outdoor adventures.