Since independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 Latvia has become the most popular Baltic travel destination.
After a lovely breakfast at your stunning Art Nouveau Riga hotel, travel to the hidden Soviet-era bunker at Ligatne. After lunch in the midst of serene Gauja National Park, continue to sandy Vecaki Beach for a relaxing afternoon swim.
To finish off an exciting day, enjoy a sumptuous dinner in a romantic square in the historic center of Riga, followed by, perhaps, a memorable experience at the Riga Opera.
The capital Riga is characterized by its many small cozy squares, with an impressive array of good restaurants, bars, cafées, museums, and galleries.
Cobblestoned alleyways? binds the city center together, as they have since the middle ages, and it is all surrounded by the old moat, outside which lies in the modern city.
Riga is also famous for its treasure of almost 800 buildings erected ? in the architectural style of Art Nouveau, by some referred to as Jugend Style, built by grandmaster architect Mikhael Eisenstein around the turn of the twentieth century.
Area: 25,000 sq mi / 65,000 sq km squeezed between Estonia to the north, Lithuania to the south, Russia to the east, and Riga Bay, part of the Baltic Sea, to the west.
Geography: A typical Nordic landscape, dominated by dense forests, and fertile fields to the south.
Population: 2,2 mio. inhabitants, of which 62% are Latvians, approx. 26% Russians, and approx. 8% Belarussians? and Poles, in addition to a few percent of others.
Capital: Riga with approx. 700,000 inhabitants.
Climate: Continental climate with great variations in temperature during summer and winter, due to the close proximity to Russia and Siberia. Best time to visit is May to September.
explore latvia’s attractions
The lovely squares & art nouveau of the capital
THE MIDDLE AGE ATMOSPHERE
Its intact Soviet bunker
latvia: a brief introduction
The diocese was established in 1201, and Latvia was soon integrated into the Hanseatic League. The sixteenth century was dominated by the reformation and Russia’s expansion toward the Baltic Sea during the rule/reign of Ivan the Terrible, but the country fell into the hands of Sweden during the seventeenth century. Peter the Great reclaimed Riga from the Swedes in 1710, while the city kept its trading privileges.
Following the abolishment/reversal? of the serfdom in 1819, the city attracted farmers from the countryside, which contributed to Riga becoming the world’s largest forestry harbor for wood from the Russian/Siberian Forests. For a brief period of time, between the two World Wars, Latvia again became independent. During WWll it was occupied and “freed” repeatedly/several times? by the Nazis and by the Red Army.
Until 1991 Latvia was a part of the Soviet Union. The Paris of the North has now regained its composure and offers visitors a warm welcome. In 2004 Latvia became a member of both the EU and NATO. From 2008-10 it suffered during the financial crisis but has now fully recovered, since 2012 with annually growing financial surplusses.
In 2014 Riga was European Culture Capital, which was also the year when Latvia adopted the Euro. A vast majority of the population also speaks Russian, while most young people use English as their second language.