Latgale is often referred to as the land of blue lakes, it remains Latvia’s most untouched area with ancient forest, unique culture and its own language.
Latgale is Latvia’s easternmost region, bordering Russia to the east, Lithuania to the south-west, and Belarus to the south. It shares more borders than any other region in Latvia and this influence has helped to shape everything from the region’s culture to its food and even religion. Exploring Latgale is guaranteed to tick plenty of boxes, with nature being a huge part of the region’s tourism.
Daugavpils, Latvia’s second city, is home to over 80,000 people. Due to the cities proximity to the Russian border (120km), the city is predominantly Russian speaking, retaining its own character and identity.
Other cities and towns to visit in Latgale are Rēzekne, referred to as the heart of Latgale, Krāslava, and Ludza, which features the ruins of a Livonian stone castle (first mentioned in 1433).
If visiting urban areas isn’t your thing, then you will be very pleased to know that Latgale is a nature lovers paradise. From untouched, ancient forest to pristine lakes that carry tales of myth and legend. Latgale is home to the largest concentration of lakes in Latvia, with many of them interconnected, perfect for a kayaking holiday with friends.
Away from the forest and lakes, you will find the Daugava river and the Daugavas Loki nature park. Featuring the Adamova nature trail that winds along the river, the trail will take you through gullies to the Adamova Castle Mound and beyond.
The region of Latgale is rich in culinary culture, with many recipes handed down from generation to generation. Latgalian Šmakovka or moonshine as it’s better known is famous all over Latvia.
Other regional foods include ‘Kļocka’ or cottage-cheese fritter, and Guļbišņīki, essential fried potato balls stuffed with smoked meat and onions. Another staple of the Latgale region is Buļbu Bļīni or potato pancakes and Asuškas an oblong, small white bun served up with milk and sweet cream sauce. There is also a hearty pie that remains popular to the area, Slokatnis is made with rye flour and is filled with smoked meat and onions.
It’s fair to say that most Latgalian food is designed to fill you up and add a few layers of fat to help you in the cold winters. But heavy foods are not all, Latgale is a region with a close bond to traditional farming methods, sample cheeses, honey and herbal teas, try your own hand at baking rye bread and enjoying homemade berry wine.
Dining out in Latgale is always a delight, with homestyle restaurants serving up local cuisine and local takes on international dishes.
Latgale is packed full of things to do, from nature trails to art museums, there is something for everyone. Black sauna
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