Terrific Talsi, Another Jewel in Latvia’s Crown

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Last year I visited medieval Kuldiga and proclaimed it the cutest town in all the land. But little did I know that Latvia’s Kurzeme region is brimming with fetching towns and villages. My latest crush is Talsi, a picturesque hamlet of about 9,000 nestled among nine hills and two lakes. Comfortably reached via a two-hour bus ride from Riga, Talsi’s charms remain woefully undiscovered. I only learned about the place from a photo that popped up in my Instagram feed.

Talsi Latvia

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Talsi Latvia

old architecture of talsi latvia

While not as historic as nearby Kuldiga, Talsi’s 19th century wooden architecture, cobbled streets, and white stone church are certainly idyllic. Not to mention the area’s natural beauty! Visitors can stroll along the Talsi Lake promenade, a wooden walkway built around the lake in 2013. Locals were certainly putting it to good use on a sunny but brisk March afternoon!

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Talsi Lake Promenade

Talsi Latvia

Talsi has long been an artistic hub, and the town’s first cultural center opened its doors in the early 1900s. Today, the culture house and adjacent music school form the Talsi Creative Yard – a work and exhibition space for local artists, photographers, musicians, actors, and weavers.

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Weaving center inside the Talsi Creative Yard.

For a more in-depth look at the town’s artistic heritage, I headed to the Talsi District Museum which is spread over two floors of the beautifully restored 19th century manor house of Baron von Firks. Informative displays cover everything from Latvian history and culture to local building techniques and the natural world. Descriptions are only in Latvian, though some of the staff speak English.

Talsi District Museum Latvia

Talsi Latvia Museum

Latvian handicrafts

One of the region’s best restaurants, Martinelli, welcomes guests to the Old Town in rustic Latvian style. My lunch of mushroom barley soup and pork cutlet with mushroom sauce was excellent and the service was warm and friendly. It was easy to see why everyone I spoke to recommended the place! For those wishing to stay the night in Talsi, Martinelli doubles as a B&B with three comfortably appointed guestrooms.

Martinelli Restaurant Talsi Latvia

Trudging up the steep steps of Church Hill, I caught the scent of freshly baked cake. Following my nose like a bloodhound, I soon arrived at Konditoreja “Piena seta,” – or Confectionery “Milk court.” Even though I was still stuffed from lunch, the aroma wafting out of this shop proved irresistible and I picked up several treats to enjoy on the bus ride back to Riga. I also bought some wheels of herbed cheese made right next door at the Talsi Dairy. Finding a gleaming factory in the heart of the Old Town was definitely a surprise, but apparently it has been churning out golden goodness for over 80 years!

Piena Seta Talsi Latvia

Since my Baltic guidebook had precious little on Talsi, I picked up local maps and recommendations from the helpful women running the Talsi Tourist Information Center. They made sure I was able to find every noteworthy place in town and even arranged for a taxi to take me back to the bus stop when I was running short on time. The cherry on top of an already sweet day: the taxi driver himself, who waited unobtrusively to ensure I got on the right bus. If you’re visiting Riga, I highly recommend taking a day trip to Talsi!

Talsi Latvia

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Tell me: Which charming Latvian town should I visit next?

12 thoughts on “Terrific Talsi, Another Jewel in Latvia’s Crown

  1. Thanks for the lovely glimpse into one of my favourite towns (I’m from that area, you see). Just one slight remark – it’s Baron von Fircks in the original (Firks is allowed only in the local lingo).

    • Thanks, Valdis. I’m happy you enjoyed the article! You are from a very lovely area. Are there any other cute little towns I should visit?

  2. What a wonderful small town. I’m so envious of all your adventures.

    • Gorgeous, indeed! I’d love to get a traditional costume, but can’t justify the cost. Though maybe if I attend the next song festival… 🙂

  3. id love to suggest a place in latvia for your to visit next but youve seen 100x more of the country than me! what a beautiful little place talsi is! added to my neverending list 🙂

    • I’m currently planning a road trip through Kurzeme so your list is about to get even longer, I’m afraid! 🙂

  4. Looks lovely! I like a good mix of museums, food, and sightseeing. I really enjoy your posts about the smaller towns and cities in Latvia. I would love to go back and see more of the country someday!

    • Thanks, Julie! I highly recommend renting a car and driving through the towns and villages in the countryside. You’ll get such a unique glimpse of Latvian culture!

    • The Latvians are a very artistically inclined bunch! It amazes me how many of these small towns have craft centers. And I hope to visit them all!

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