Discover Latvia Tours took our family of four (two adults, two teenagers) on a private, bespoke tour of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia over two days. The itinerary was tailored to suit our needs and interests, with our guide, Rihards, instrumental in the planning stages. He suggested interesting sights off the beaten track, and closer to the travel date communicated regularly with us regarding the finer details.
When spending two full days in a car ‘one-on-one’ with a guide, you want someone like Rihards driving you around. Intelligent, interesting and very pleasant to be around, it was easy to forget we were on a ‘tour’ with Rihards. It felt as though we were being driven around by a friend.
Over the two days, our tailored tour included:
Day one - hotel pick up in Riga, traveling to Salispils Concentration Camp (18km southeast of Riga). The memorial building (an impressive concrete structure) was built by the Soviets in the late 1960s. The informative displays depicting use of the camp during WWII have recently been installed and are very well done.
It was a moving experience, and was particularly beautiful set against the snowy background. Well worth a visit if time allows.
Second stop on day one was the Hill of Crosses in Lithuania. Rihards dropped us off at the main entrance, leaving us to explore the site at our own pace, then waited for us beside a church on the other side.
This place would be awe inspiring at any time of year, but the deep snow made it a truly magical and picturesque experience. (Being Aussies, snow is a huge novelty for us).
On the way back to our hotel we stopped for coffee and cake at a pretty riverside cafe. (Again, very pretty blanketed in white.)
Day two - hotel pick up in Riga to visit a secret Soviet bunker (Padomju Slepenais Bunkurs). It was a fascinating experience. Kept top secret until 2003, it’s as though the Soviets just upped and left the bunker overnight, leaving everything behind - a real time warp! Our bunker guide was a Mexican expat, living in Lithuania, and an expert on the Soviet era - quite a combo! He was passionate about the bunker’s history and shared his knowledge in an energetic and enjoyable way.
Rihards then drove us to the Sigilda bobsled track. This is where Rihards local knowledge and tour organisation really came in handy - the bobsleigh facility is not always open and Rihards kept track of this for us in the days leading up to our visit.
As far as the actual bobsled experience goes, all I can say is Wow Wow Wow!!!! It was a once in a lifetime experience - especially for a sandgroper from Perth, Western Australia!
From there, Rihards drove us to Tallin, Estonia, stopping at another gorgeous cafe along the way before delivering us safely to our next hotel.
Thank you so much Rihards for all your help in organising this very special experience for us, and for your friendly company along the way. We had an amazing time and thoroughly enjoyed every step and kilometer of the journey!
Your expert driving through all that snow for two days while chatting to us about every topic imaginable was very impressive!
Visited December 2022