Posted: 05/02/2021

Winter activities in Latvia

If you are wondering what to do in Latvia in winter or is Riga a destination for those, who seek for unforgettable winter activities then you shall read this article to find how many great winter activities in Latvia one can do. Although there are many Riga winter activities and many things to do in Riga in winter this article includes all winter activities of Latvia.

In this article, you will find multiple topics related to a winter weekend getaway in Riga, such as:

  • Unique winter activities in Latvia;
  • Top 10 skiing tracks of Latvia;
  • Winter hiking in Latvia;
  • What to wear when snowmobiling in Latvia;
winter in riga latvia

What to do in Latvia in winter

Believe us, there are many things to do in Riga in winter. We have collected as many diverse and unique things to do in Riga as we could but we are sure there are more great and fun winter activities in Riga of which we might forget.

Husky Dog sledging

This is great entertainment for the whole family, spending holidays in Riga. There are several places in Latvia where you can enjoy husky dog sledging and some are very close to Riga. One of the most popular husky dog sledging places near Riga is in the Ogres Zilie Kalni Nature Park, just 40 min drive from Riga. That is where you will meet not only Siberian huskies and Alaskan malamutes, but get a unique opportunity to visit the national park with the chance to walk up the watchtower, which offers a wonderful view. All Huskies and Malamutes have been rescued from shelters and are always very happy to meet people who love animals and want to cuddle and play with them.

More information about Riga husky dog sledging you can find here


husky sledding riga winter

Bobsleigh

This unique bobsleigh activity is just an hour's drive from Riga. The Olympic bobsleigh can reach speed up to 105 km/h and is available to anyone who has reached the age of 16 and has no medical problems with his/her back. However, if you find Olympic bobsleigh too fast, Soft Bobsleigh with a speed of 75 km/h and Skeleton Bobsleigh with a max speed of 80 km/h are also available. In summer, it is possible to ride a summer bobsleigh, which reaches a speed of up to 70 km/h. The bobsleigh rides are among the most booked tours from Riga.

More information about Riga bobsleigh rides you can find here


winter bobsleigh in riga latvia

Ice go Karting

Riga Ice go-karting is only a 40-minute drive from the centre of Riga. If there has been a persistent cold without thaws, then you have the opportunity to do the winter go-karting on a track, built on a frozen lake. If the ice is not thick enough, but there is a durable snow cover, then it is possible to go winter go-karting on a track covered with snow.

More information about ice go karting in Riga you can find here


winter in riga latvia ice go karting

Ice Quad biking

Riga Ice quad biking is only 30 minutes away from the centre of Riga. There are two quad bikes available and they can develop speeds of up to 75 km/h. The Riga quad biking track is made on a frozen lake. Quad bikes have an automatic transmission, so they are especially comfortable to ride.

More information about Riga winter ice quad biking you can find here

Sauna/hot tub

There are several saunas in Riga, both in the centre of Riga, where they are mainly located in the basements of multi-storey buildings and in the suburbs of Riga where they are more as a part of guest house complex with a small swimming pool located indoors, next to the sauna and a hot tub located outdoors, next to a guest house. For a more rural and authentic experience, we suggest checking saunas, located in Latgale (the Eastern part of Latvia). The presence of water is vital for the perfect experience of a sauna. Most of the saunas outside of Riga are located next to a river, lake or a pond, whereas in Riga city centre the saunas will mostly come in a combination of a swimming pool. The whole sauna ritual dates back to the ancient times and has always been connected to nature, thus some sauna experts do not see the saunas of Riga as authentic and true experience due to the absence of `live` water which comes from a river, lake, or even a pond (comparing to a swimming pool). That is why Red Fox Tours have come up with the solution of finding the most authentic experience of Sauna in Riga city centre which also has the same style hot tub as you would find in all rural saunas of Latvia.

The Riga hot tub is a real countryside style wooden tub with hot water in it. The water is heated by a stove which is built in a hot tub and gets heated by wood. There are no water streams or bubbles one can find in jacuzzies. When it comes to `live` water what can be better than Daugava, which is the biggest river in Latvia and from the ancient times has been considered as a `river of destiny`. In summer you can rent SUP or kayaks to make your Riga sauna experience even greater. In winter, when a river gets frozen, the owner of a sauna cuts a whole in ice so everyone brave enough can dip into the water, the temperature of which is +1/+3 degrees. You can bring your food and beverages to a sauna and there is even a chance to make a BBQ on a site. Oh…and did we tell you that the sauna itself is built on a platform which is on the water, so from the door of the sauna it is just 3 meters and you can dip into a Daugava river.

More information about sauna and hot tub in Riga you can find here


winter in riga latvia sauna

Curling in Riga

Welcome to the only curling hall in the Baltic States. There are 2 lanes on-site. Riga curling hall has professional instructors who will not only explain the rules and basics of the curling game but also show you how to play. Riga Curling hall is a great place for entertainment not only for groups of friends but also for families and work teams.

More information about curling game in Riga you can find here


winter activity riga curling

Winter hiking trips in Latvia (Kemeri National Park, Gauja National Park and more)

The two most popular hiking destinations in Latvia are Kemeri National Park and Gauja National Park. Both National Parks are great destinations for your winter day tour from Riga.
Gauja National Park is the largest among the National Parks in Latvia and has many hiking options as well as great towns to visit – Sigulda, Ligatne, Cesis, Valmiera.

The highlight of Kemeru National Park is the Great Kemeri Bog and the boardwalk of it which becomes magnificent during a snowy winter. When planning your day trip from Riga, you can check the routes Red Fox Tours has made. There are three different Kemeri day trips for you to choose from. For those with a limited time, we offer to visit a gem of Kemeri National Park. The Great Kemeri Bog is located 50 min drive from Riga Old town and there is also a chance to visit the park during sunrise or sunset. Another option is to combine The Great Kemeri bog with a visit of Jurmala beach resort which stands out with a beautiful and well preserved wooden architecture from early 20th century and gorgeous white sand beach. The third option is for those who are ready for an intense day exploring the diversity of what Kemeri National Park has to offer. That means the visit of the Great Kemeri Bog (1.4 km OR 3.4 km long), the trail in Black-alder Swamp (600 m long), the Forest trail (600 m long), Sloka Lake sightseeing tower, the Sloka Lake Nature trail (3.1 km long) and a trail of Witches Swamp (800 m each way).

More about the Kemeri National Park tours you can see here

The Kemeri Boardwalk trail gets busy during the weekends, especially if there is snow and temperature is a few degrees below zero. Another option which is less visited by locals and tourists is a Cenu Mire walking trail. It also is made from wooden planks. The five-kilometre Cenu Mire trail is circular and allows you to explore as much of the swamp as possible. A section of the trail leads along with picturesque and small islands that are rich in Skaistezers Lake. There is a small area for visitors to sit, take a breath and enjoy the view.
In half of the trail, there is an approximately 12-meter-high observation tower from which you can get a better view of the surroundings and a completely unexpected object - the outline of the old road. The Cenu Mire is crossed by a road built during the First World War for the needs of military equipment and army transport. It used to be called Novgorod road, today it is still called "War road" or "Riflemen Road".

More about the Cenu Mire tour you can read here

Another great walking trail outside of Riga is a Lielie Kangari walking trail that can be combined with the Riga husky dog sledging because they are not too far from each other.
Please keep in mind that the wooden planks in Kemeri Park, Cenu Mire and Lielie Kangari can be slippery not only on a raining/wet days but also in winter if there is a thaw or the surface of boardwalks gets frozen.


winter in riga latvia

Dinamo Riga ice hockey game

Ice hockey is one of the most-watched and visited sports in Latvia and Dinamo Riga is the home team of Riga and the only team of Latvia playing in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL). The KHL consists of 23 teams which are divided into 2 divisions – East Division and West Division. East Division includes 10 teams of Easter Russian (Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Magnitogorsk, Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg to name a few), a team from Kazakhstan (Astana Barys) and a team from China (Kunlun Red Star). Teams of West Division includes main teams of Moscow (Spartak, Dynamo, CSKA), St. Petersburg, as well as one team from Finland (Helsinki Jokerit), Belarus (Minsk Dynamo) and Latvia (Riga Dinamo). Dinamo Riga team consist of many hockey players of National team of Latvia as well as players from such countries as Canada, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Russia. The KHL regular-season starts at the beginning of September and goes until the end of February when the Play-Off starts. If Dinamo Riga gets into a playoff tournament, you can be sure that the home games will be also in March. The Championship ends in April. Every season Red Fox Tours attends ice hockey games and welcomes you to join. It means you will be picked up from your hotel/accommodation and driven to the Ice hockey Arena, the home arena of Dinamo Riga. You do not need to worry where to get the tickets, as they are already included as well as a glass of beer for each person. The Red Fox Tours host will explain not only the main rules of the game but also gives more up to date information regards the current situation with the Dinamo Riga, the opponent's team and the situation in Standings. The great thing about the ice hockey games is that we know the Schedule of the season by the end of August, so you can easily plan and book a visit of Dinamo Riga hockey game for up to 6 months in advance.

If you want to have everything sorted and get the most of Dinamo Riga hockey game, more info here


ice hockey riga dinamo

Folkreiss championship

Folkreiss is a motorsport discipline that belongs to the so-called low-cost or popular motorsport category. Popular races have been taking place in Latvia since 2009 as a discipline established by the Latvian Automobile Association (LAF). The fixed price for the Folkreiss car is € 950. The owner of a Folkreiss car is prohibited from refusing to sell a Folkreiss car if the car has a buyer who has requested to buy the car. If the owner of the Folkreiss car refuses to sell their car, the LAF Cross Commission fines him € 950. Further participation in LAF competitions is prohibited until the fine has been paid.
There is a Folkreiss Summer Championship and Folkreiss Winter Championship. The best part in it is that the competition of Folkreiss is held on a circuit track and since the value of each rally car is worth of no more than € 950 you will see a lot of car crashes, especially in winter when a track is covered by snow and ice. If you want to experience the feeling of Folkreiss driver (apart of crashing the car) you can book winter rally here.


winter in riga latvia

Winter rally (Volvo 740)

Winter rally with Volvo 740 cars will give you unforgettable memories and a lot of adrenaline. This unique activity is available all year round but the most fun it is in winter when the track is covered by snow. There are a total of 4 cars available and 2 people can be in each. The track is located a little be more than 1-hour drive from Riga.

Book your winter rally now


winter in riga latvia

Skijoring

Many people would ask what is skijoring?
Skiing (from Norwegian: skikjøring - "skiing") is a sport that involves competitions on the snow. The skier is pulled by a motorcycle, snowmobile, car, horse or dog on either snow or ice. In Latvia, the most popular type of skijoring is when a skier on slalom skis is pulled by a "solo" motorcycle, which is tied to a rope attached to the motorcycle and which can reach speeds of up to 100 km/h. Sounds crazy? Well….we even have a championship made for it with 10-11 stages every year. If maybe you are not yet ready for such competition it is always fun to watch and support.


winter in riga latvia skijoring riga

Skiing behind a horse

Almost like in a wakepark but more exciting- with skis in the snow, pulled by a horse. If you don't think you can ski, you can also try a sledge or an inflated tube. But don't worry in advance, the owners say, this is also suitable for absolute beginners. The venue is near Adazi, half an hour's drive from the centre of Riga.


winter in riga latvia

Ice skating

An indoor ice skating rink is located in the Akropole shopping centre, just a 10-minute drive from the Riga old town. After skating, you can dine in one of the restaurants or visit the Apollo cinema which also is located in the Akropole shopping centre.

The problem with outdoor ice skating rings in Riga is that they very much depend on the weather. In warm winters the only options for ice skating in Riga are the indoor ice halls and ice skating rinks. If the temperature in Riga stays below zero degrees, there is an outdoor ice rink next to the Riga Congress Hall. It is available to visitors for free, but those who do not have their equipment can rent it as there is also a rental point by the ice rink. Besides, every year an artificial ice rink is operated next to the Riga Secondary School No. 84, but if the weather conditions are suitable, a natural ice rink is also available in the Daugavgriva Secondary School in Riga, in the regional sports centre "Sarkandaugava", in the regional sports centre "Kengarags" and in Riga Sports and Recreation Park which is located at Uzvaras Park.

If you want to combine ice skating with a glass of wine and dinner, then the Lido Leisure Centre can be your best bet. The Lido outdoor ice skating in Riga is located just next to a large wooden log restaurant which has its beer brewery, so after the ice skating, you can have local Latvian cuisine and a glass of beer or wine.


ice skating in riga latvia

Snowmobiling

In winter, you can get an adrenaline rush by conquering steep mountains not only by skiing or snowboarding but also by snowmobiling! A snowmobile is an individual vehicle for driving on snow and ice. Equipped with a two-stroke or four-stroke internal combustion engine, there are single and double snowmobiles available in Latvia. While snowmobiles are quite expensive, they are becoming more and more popular in Latvia. There is one snowmobile track near Riga but since there must be much more snow comparing to how much needs Riga husky dog sledging activity, the Riga snowmobiling is available roughly in one out of five winters. If you are looking for snowmobiling outside Riga, look at the regions of Vidzeme (North-central part of Latvia) and Latgale (Eastern part of Latvia), where there is more snow in winter. Snowmobiles outside of Riga are obtained by leisure centres, guest houses for the entertainment of guests and also families.
The snowier the winter in Latvia, the closer to Riga you can arrange the snowmobile rides. Riga snowmobile tours are available even at the 30 min drive from Riga city centre. But, as we mentioned, these Riga snowmobile tours are available only if there is a lot of snow in Riga region.

Less than an hour's drive from the capital, Riga, there is a sports and entertainment complex that offers a fantastic and exciting adventure - a winter snowmobile safari in central Latvia. Guests are offered a group ride on a two-seater snowmobiles accompanied by a professional instructor. The Snowmobile itinerary is specially designed and customized to ensure every guest has a safe and emotional adventure.
A snowmobile ride begins at a specially prepared starting point where, under the guidance of an instructor, all the necessary technical and safety instructions for the correct and safe driving of a snowmobile are carried out. The further route of the trip leads through a snow-covered fairytale forest that borders with the pride of Latvia - the Gauja National Park. Also, the snowmobile safari participants are given a chance to experience one of the highlights of this trip - the crossing of the ice-free Ligatne river.
After crossing the river, you will drive to the ancient Livu sanctuary, the ancient Springšļu cemetery from the IX-XII centuries - an archaeological monument of national importance.
Continuing the route, the participants of the snowmobile expedition head to the area of the recreation complex, where the most attractive and brave members of the expedition can test their strength and skill in skijoring. Skijoring is a sports activity where a skier rides, by holding a tow, attached to a snowmobile.

What to wear when snowmobiling
If you plan to do snowmobiling in Latvia, you have to pay a lot of attention on what to wear. It is necessary to have a winter hat, gloves, scarf, and warm winter boots, winter jacked and skiing/snowboarding pants. It does not matter do you plan to rent a snowmobile in Riga or outside of Riga. These rules are the same for any snowmobiling in Latvia.
We suggest booking a snowmobile tour in Latvia to immerse yourself in the magic of winter and enjoy a unique ride behind the wheel of a snowmobile. A ride with snowmobiling can become one of your favourite winter sports.


snowmobile in riga latvia snowmobiling

Rides with inflatable winter snow tubes

Rides with inflatable winter snow tubes are an attraction for adults and children where special snow tubes are used to slide along a special track. In most of the winter parks, after the ride, the tubes get pulled up the hill with you sitting on the tube. And some of the winter parks can also offer these rides in the evening since the trails are illuminated. If you choose to visit the one which is located in Mezaparks (the park in Northern part of Riga) please be aware that on weekends it can be very busy, thus expending the longer time you wait in a queue to be pulled up the track.


winter in riga latvia

Top 10 ski resorts in Latvia

Ski resorts of Latvia are placed alphabetically. Please check the websites of Latvian ski resorts with more up to date information before you visit as during the season the ski centres can be closed and open multiple times depending on weather conditions.


best skiresorts in riga latvia

Lielais Golgats (located 140 km from Riga)

The length of the Lielais Golgats is 320 m, the difference in altitude is 61 m. It is equipped with the Doppelmayer anchor lift. The slope itself is relatively steep, with variable terrain and a wide braking track at the end of the route. At the foot of the hill, there is a café-bar "Gaizins" with a large selection of food and drinks.

Mazais Golgats (located 140 km from Riga)

The length of the Mazais Golgats is 310 m, the difference in altitude is 54 m, it is equipped with an anchor lift, with which you can get quickly and easily to the top of the mountain. This trail is particularly popular with lovers of quiet skiing and nature. Ski and snowboard instructors are available.

Milzkalns (located 70 km from Riga)

Milzkalns is one of the most popular ski resorts in Latvia, where the most stylish fans of outdoor activities meet. This is the cosiest and friendliest vacation complex where the whole family can enjoy the fun of winter.

11 slopes of different lengths (up to 320 m) and different levels of difficulty, on which both beginners and real ski and snowboard gurus will feel comfortable. For your convenience, they have equipped the mountain with 9 modern lifts - 3 anchor lifts, 5 telescopic lifts and 1 cable car.

Ozolkalns (located 90 km from Riga)

The longest ski and snowboard routes in Latvia are on the outskirts of Cēsis city. That is where the Ozolkalns Ski park is located. The relief of the slopes remains as natural as possible, which gives the impression that you are really in the mountains. The longest paths reach 500 m, the difference in altitude is 80 m. There are five routes in Ozolkalns - for professionals, amateur skiers and children. The tracks are well lit.

Rāmkalni (located 40 km from Riga)

The Rāmkalni ski slope has two 200 meter slopes, one of which is fast and sporty, while the other is flatter and more suitable for children and beginners. The ski slope is suitable for both skiers and snowboarders and is equipped with a practical "anchor" lift. Lift tickets can be bought at the ski rental shop (at the top of the hill). In addition to the convenience for skiers and snowboarders, equipment rental is available on the top of the mountain. It is possible to rent a complete set of skis or snowboards or just part of the equipment.

Rēķu Hill (located 176 km from Riga)

Rēķu Hill offers a great wide slope suitable for both beginners and advanced skiers. The ski slope is equipped with a buggy lift from the Italian company Leitner. The length of the track is 380m, the descent is 60m.

Riekstukalns (located 38 km from Riga)

Riekstukalns is the largest ski area in the Baltic States and is located near the village Baldone, 40 km from Riga. It will take around 40-50 minutes by car from Riga city centre. There you can enjoy winter pleasures not only on weekends but also on weekday evenings. The ski slopes of Riekstukalns are suitable for experienced skiers and snowboarders as well as for those who have just started learning these winter sports.

The Sigulda City Trail (located 56 km from Riga)

The Sigulda City Trail, also known as City Hill, is the youngest environment for winter sports enthusiasts: active lifestyle, athletes with high goals and vacationers. The City Hill's pricing policy is friendly and as pleasant as possible - for children, schoolchildren, pensioners, athletes and residents of Sigulda. For your convenience and well-being, there is free parking, equipment rental, shop, cafe and toilets. The Sigulda City Hill is steep thus not so much recommended for those who have never done alpine skiing before.

Viešūra Hill (located 136 km from Riga)

Viešūra Hill offers several ski slopes - from 100 m for children and beginners to 400 m, which are also suitable for skiers who like longer uninterrupted skiing:

1. The extreme border cross track for tricks and professional training, which is accessible to everyone;
2. A 200 m long track with a steep descent for those who enjoy the speed;
3. A 400 m long track for those who want to enjoy more relaxed skiing;
4. A combination of an average slope of 350 m in length - a combination of thrill and calm skiing;
5. Children's skiing slope with a length of 150 meters, which will be a very long and exciting descent for children as the slope is equipped with animal figures and a belt lift;

Zagarkalns (located 90 km from Riga)

"Zagarkalns" offers 12 slopes with different levels of difficulty that are connected. Long and smooth slopes are available as well as more dynamic slopes with steeper sections and sharp turns. The complex is home to the largest professional ski training school in Latvia, so it is the best place to learn to ski and snowboard.

The Ski complex "Zagarkalns" has all the necessary equipment rentals, cafes and all other services necessary for the ski base so that visitors can enjoy their peace during the day.