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Reviewed on 3 Aug 2020
Despite enduring over seven centuries of foreign rule, the Baltic Republic of Latvia has maintained its identity across the years with its folk music, stunning landscapes and fairytale-like cities. The country is famous for its four National Parks, home to some of the densest virgin forestland on the continent. With hundreds of miles of undeveloped coastline too, Latvia’s immaculate white beaches and seaside hotels are perfect for a spot of sunbathing, while the country’s cities uniquely fuse the best preserved medieval architecture in northern Europe with a contrasting flavour of distinctive Soviet design.
Riga — Situated on the Latvian coast, the capital - and UNESCO World Heritage Site - Riga dazzles with its Gothic architecture. It is home to a range of sea sports, has its own race track and hosts the Latvian Opera and Ballet – all of which, no doubt, contributed to the city’s status as the European Capital of Culture in 2014. Book a hotel in Riga to experience all this.
Daugavpils — Settled on the banks of the Daugavpils river in southeastern Latvia, Daugavpils is Latvia’s second largest city. Book a hotel here and experience Daugavpils’ renowned unique range of architecture, heavily inspired by Russian styles, prior to and during Soviet rule. It is also a hub of contemporary art, with many works by abstract expressionist Mark Rothko.
Liepaja — A coastal city on the western edge of Latvia, Liepaja combines 19th century wooden houses with Art Nouveau buildings and soviet-style structures. Whatever you plan to do when you book a hotel in Liepaja, don’t miss the magnificent gilded cupolas of St. Nicholas' Orthodox Naval Cathedral – a true legacy of the tsarist rule.
Jurmala— Jurmala is defined by its brightly painted 19th century wooden houses and its beach of white quartz sand. This small resort town is ideal for an affordable beachside getaway with its seaside hotels, and even boasts a family-friendly water park. The town hosts the annual New Wave pop singing competition and the Jurmala International Piano Competition.
Explore the range of things to do in Latvia’s striking historic capital, Riga, with a private panoramic city tour with transport. You’ll gape in awe at the 14th century Riga Castle and discover the fascinating House of Blackheads, where the medieval Hanseatic League of merchants made their headquarters. The Latvian countryside is also one of the most undeveloped in Eastern Europe, boasting miles of virgin forestland in Gauja National Park, the oldest, largest and arguably most breathtaking of Latvia’s four National Parks.
Get a taste of Latvian cuisine in Riga’s delectable dining district, or find somewhere a little quieter in one of the country’s quaint and quirky towns. Although it might be a surprise in this mountainous northern region, Latvian wine is earning itself quite a reputation in Eastern Europe. Why not try a tipple for yourself with a visit to the small town of Sabile, which is home to one of the world’s northernmost vineyards? For something more family friendly, take the kids to Riga Zoo, or the nearby Kronvald Park, which offers twee wooden boats and a peaceful esplanade stroll. Whatever the purpose of your visit, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Latvia.