Welcome back to Beautiful Spaces—a series of posts in which I talk about the apartments, hotels, hostels, & B&Bs we stay in all over the world. It all started in 2013 when I realized that my contentment on the road is directly connected to how much I love where I’m living…and so made a commitment to find beautiful spaces to call home along the way.
Several (though not all) of the below spaces offered me complimentary or discounted stays in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.
As you may already know, this autumn, I took a couple weeks off from work and walked up the coast from Riga, Latvia, across the border into Estonia.
By day, I tightened my backpack on and walked. Along sandy beaches. Through pine forests. Along railroad tracks. Up staircases on small beachside cliffs. Across small rivers. Over cheerfully painted bridges.
And by night, I slipped into hotels and guesthouses, B&Bs and campgrounds to rest and eat and hope that by morning the ache in my feet and shoulders would subside so that I could do it all again.
If you, too, are thinking about doing an adventure in Latvia (whether by foot, by bike, or via less physically trying transport), here are a few of the best places I stayed along the way – four from the Latvian countryside and one at my final destination in Parnu, Estonia.
I. Love. This. B&B. Great breakfast. Gorgeous, bright, spacious room. Pretty grounds. And did I mention the great breakfast?
The location is along a major highway, so this is a good stop if you are driving from Riga to Tallinn (or vice versa). And just 10 minutes away on a nice little trail you’ll find the hotel’s sister restaurant – a converted goat barn that now serves up high-quality local meals.
Guest House Karle
When I arrived at Guest House Karle, I was beat. A five-hour hike had turned into me getting lost and wandering for over eight hours. It was later than I’d hoped. I was starving and exhausted. And what an incredible relief if was to walk into this incredibly comfortable space.
This stunning guest house sits right across the street from the beach, with three levels of rooms overlooking forest, yard, and sea in the distance. Downstairs, a little cafe is where you’ll grab your breakfast. Upstairs, rooms are spacious and comfortable. I was upgraded to a top-floor suite with an adorable alcove with windows all ’round.
The best thing about this place, though, is the owner. When Luna and I limped up and I asked about where I could find some dinner, even though the cafe doesn’t normally serve food, she offered to whip something up for us. Catfish for Luna and chicken for me. Then another whole catfish for Luna with breakfast.
We felt deeply cared for and deeply grateful, and I loved everything about our stay.
You can learn more about the guesthouse and book here. Rooms start at $43 per night.
Hotel Plavas, Ainazi
The room was cute – with a cozy loveseat and a big bed, good Wi-Fi and plenty of drawer space. And, even better, a good restaurant sits on the ground floor. The restaurant is a bit pricey for Latvia, but it’s also much higher quality than anything else nearby. And the only downside to the rooms is that you can hear some of the restaurant noise (though not enough to really bother me and not very late into the night).
To book, visit Hotel Plavas’ website.
Porto Resort, Lilaste
For something more rustic, tucked away in Lilaste and surrounded by Latvian forests (with plenty of trails for those here to hike), try Porto Resort. Rooms feel distinctly cabin-like, with wood paneling and plaid furnishings. While clean, the place was also older, with frayed spots on the carpet and water marks in the bathroom. But it was comfortable nonetheless and felt a little like being at a childhood camp.
A massive restaurant sits on the ground floor and serves basic staples like chicken caesar salad and waffles. And out back you’ll find the lake – a peaceful glassy surface broken up by reeds.
Don’t expect a luxury experience here. The place feels rustic and lived-in. But if you like that feeling (I sometimes do), it’s a nice place to stay.
Kurgo Villa, Parnu, Estonia
About two blocks from the ocean and a 10- to 15-minute walk from Parnu’s super charming center, the hotel is well-located and peaceful.
I was given a room facing the back of the property, with huge floor-to-ceiling windows that let in lots of light even on gray days. There are also rooms in another building with small outdoor patios and balconies that would be nice in summer.
The two downsides to this otherwise comfortable space were:
A. It’s right up against a stadium. One night during my stay there was a very loud soccer game going on, complete with blaring music. It ended a little after nine, so hopefully that’s the norm, but if noise is going to bother you, I’d ask about a room that does not face the stadium.
B. The windows in my room didn’t open and with all the sun coming in during the day, even though it was autumn and quite nippy outside, it got very warm in the afternoon. I’m guessing the window thing is not an issue with all rooms, but it’s worth asking about if you’re booking here.
The breakfast was also rather sad, so even if your reservation comes with breakfast, you may want to plan to have breakfast elsewhere.