The Freedom Monument in Rīga, Latvia

Best Places to Live in Latvia: 10 Cool Cities for Expats + Nomads

Latvia is one of the most affordable places to live in Europe. It’s also very easy to live here while only speaking English. It’s full of beaches, rivers, and lakes, so it’s perfect for those who love the water.

However, it’s not vastly populated and unemployment rates have been rising, so jobs may be hard to find. Also, it can get very cold in the winter.

Latvia has nonetheless become popular with expats and digital nomads due to its natural surroundings, lower tax rates, and friendly citizens.

Don’t know where to start? Well, here’s some of the best places to live in Latvia.

Tip: Here’s some more cities to live in Europe.

Best Places to Live in Latvia for…

  1. Expats: Jelgava
  2. English Speakers: Rīga
  3. Digital Nomads: Kuldīga
  4. Solo Travelers: Cesis
  5. Couples: Jurmala
  6. Groups: Daugavpils

Top 10 Places to Live in Latvia

1. Rīga

  Best Place to Live for English SpeakersAerial view of Rīga and Daugava River

Cost of Living: $$$

Rīga is the largest city in the Baltic region and most of Latvia’s population lives here. It’s also the capital of the nation and it’s known for exquisite Art Nouveau architecture. It’s got all the benefits of a capital while being close to nature, as it’s located on the shores of the Daugava River.

There are many options for areas to settle down, but we recommend Purvciems as a fantastic suburb for families or the Quiet Center for working professionals.

Tip: Public transportation is the easiest way to get around Riga, so make sure to check out this site for transport schedules.

Who Would Like to Live There: English speakers & job-seekers

Pros:

  • Culturally diverse
  • Fantastic restaurants & nightlife
  • Best city to get jobs

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Can get overcrowded
  • Lots of competition for housing

2. Jurmala

  Best Place to Live for Couples

View of Jurmala Beach

Cost of Living: $$$

Jurmala is a calm resort town with beaches and spots for those who pursue an active lifestyle. With a population of roughly 54,000, this town is a lot less crowded than Latvia’s major cities. It’s located in a beautiful area on the Gulf of Riga and offers tons of natural beauty and peace of mind.

Tip: Rent will set you back around €450 – €650 per month depending on how close you are to the center.

Who Would Like to Live There: Couples & retirees

Pros:

  • Very safe
  • Very clean air
  • Beautiful town

Cons:

  • Rent is more expensive
  • Highest taxes
  • Quiet in winter

3. Jelgava

  Best Place to Live for Expats

View of river and bridge in Jelgava

Cost of Living: $$

Jelgava is the fourth largest city and former capital of Latvia with a population of around 61,000. This is understandable as the city is full of history and culture.

Jelgava is also a university town, home to Latvia University of Life Sciences and Technologies. It’s a hub of six motorways and five railway lines, so it’s no surprise that Jelgava is one of Latvia’s industrial centers.

Tip: Zemgale is a good suburb to live in and it’ll cost you between €190 – €360.

Who Would Like to Live There: Expats & students

Pros:

  • English is well known
  • Public transport is affordable
  • Lots of cultural offerings

Cons:

  • Might be lonely
  • Outdated apartments
  • Higher energy consumption = higher costs

4. Liepāja

  Best Place to Live for Job-seekers

Liepāja's Northern Forts

Liepāja is a port city on the Baltic Coast in West Latvia. It’s known for its beach and nightlife, so it’s perfect for people who enjoy a vibrant lifestyle. It boasts a fantastic climate year-round.

Liepāja is also a great place to find work, as a lot of skilled labor is needed here. Sports are important to the city: it was the first to acquire the title of “European City of Sports”.

Tip: Liepāja is one of the closest towns to Sweden. So if you visit, check out these cities to live in.

Who Would Like to Live There: Job-seekers & active types

Pros:

  • Fantastic beach
  • Friendly people
  • Affordable food

Cons:

  • Very windy
  • Busy summers
  • Winters are very cold

5. Cesis

  Best Place to Live for Solo Travelers

Aerial view of Cesis Old Town

Cost of Living: $$

Cesis is a peaceful town of about 18,000. It has a very historic feeling to it through its castles and well-preserved wooden-panel and red-brick buildings. It’s perfect for those who want a more relaxed lifestyle and it’s considerably more affordable than its counterparts.

It hosts the Cesis Town Festival annually, which is a great way to immerse yourself in Latvian traditions.

 Tip: An one-room apartment will set you back between €180 – €250.

Who Would Like to Live There: Solo travelers & job-seekers

Pros:

  • Great amenities
  • Great for employment in IT, teaching, or healthcare
  • Commuting to Rīga is easy

Cons:

  • Can be very rainy
  • Festivals can make it very overwhelming
  • Can be quiet

6. Kuldīga

  Best Place to Live for Digital Nomads

A church in Kuldīga

Cost of Living: $$$

Kuldīga is known as “little Venice” due to the Venta River which flows through it. It’s home to Europe’s widest waterfall, the Ventas Rumba, which is 817 feet wide.

It’s another town that’s known for its fantastic architecture and has a well-kept historic district. Metro Coworking is a great spot for digital nomads to get work done.

Tip: Latvia offers a Digital Nomad Visa, if you are from an OECD nation.

Who Would Like to Live There: Digital Nomads & solo travelers

Pros:

  • Calmer area to live
  • Slower pace of life
  • Fast and cheap internet

Cons:

  • Small population
  • Hard to find jobs
  • Old buildings = less insulation

7. Daugavpils

  Best Place to Live for Groups

Aerial view of the city Daugavpils

Cost of Living: $$

Daugavpils is Latvia’s second-largest city. It has a diverse population and many parks. It’s a city perfect for those who want to relax as it’s situated on the banks of the Daugava river. his area was part of the USSR, so many of the inhabitants speak Russian — be prepared to either learn the language or at least have a few keyphrases memorized.

This city was the birthplace of Mark Rothko, so make sure to visit the Mark Rothko Art Center to see his magnificent art.

Tip: One-room apartments in Daugavpils range in cost from €100 – €130.

Who Would Like to Live There: Groups & young people

Pros:

  • Beautiful surroundings
  • Affordable cost of living
  • Lots to do

Cons:

  • Fewer safety measures
  • Far away from rest of Latvia
  • Very cold on average

8. Sabile

  Best Place to Live for Small-town life

View of a road in Sabile during autumn

Cost of Living: $

Sabile is located west of Riga and has a much smaller population than the others on this list. It’s home to only 1,300 people, so it’s perfect for those looking for small town life. Sabile is quite an old town, originating in the 13th century.

It is also home to the northernmost open-air vineyard, so it’s no surprise that Sabile hosts a Wine Festival annually in June.

Tip: Visit the Abava Valley to understand the history of Sabile and see some old burial sites.

Who Would Like to Live There: Wine lovers & retirees

Pros:

  • Fantastic area for wine lovers
  • Cheaper living
  • Good weather

Cons:

  • Very small town
  • Not as many shops
  • Hard to find jobs

9. Valmiera

  Best Place to Live for Families

Aerial view of Vanšu Bridge in Valmiera

Cost of Living: $$

Valmiera has a lot to offer such as beautiful architecture, many parks, and good options for young families. It has a fantastic schooling system and Latvian language classes can be taken to improve your life here.

If you choose to invest in Valmiera, you could qualify for real estate discounts. It’s also home to the Livonian Order Castle, where one can learn about the history of this area.

Tip: Monthly rent will cost you an average of €350.

Who Would Like to Live There: Families & expats

Pros:

  • Proximity to nature
  • Improved infrastructure
  • Lots of job opportunities

Cons:

  • Not much to do
  • Locals may be wary
  • Difficult to find housing

10. Sigulda

  Best Place to Live for Nature Lovers

Sigulda Castle Gate

Cost of Living: $$

Sigulda is a beautiful town located in the Gauja National Park. This is one of Latvia’s more touristy areas due to its scenic offerings. It also has castles, which details how life was in medieval times.

Sigulda has become increasingly popular due to its proximity to Rīga and its high quality of living. There are also a lot of hiking paths and many outdoor activities.

Tip: Use the cable car to get across the Gauja River.

Who Would Like to Live There: Nature lovers & history buffs

Pros:

  • Very walkable
  • Fantastic amenities
  • Growing business area

Cons:

  • Can get touristy
  • Can be cold and windy
  • Lots of very old and cold buildings

 

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