Riga's Freedom Square holds perhaps Europe's richest store of Art Nouveau architecture.
to the north, Lithuania
to the south, Russia
to the east, and the Baltic Sea on the west, the former Soviet
province - and today a proud member of the EU - is one of many Eastern
European countries enjoying a thriving tourist boom.
cosmopolitan pleasures and architectural wonders of its capital,
Riga, Latvia is also a land of spectacular wild and natural beauty,
seen in its abundance of lakes,
rivers and nature parks.
And, of course,
no summer trip would be complete without an excursion to Latvia's
pristine beaches, lying along a sea coast that winds 200-plus
miles along horseshoe-shaped Gulf of Riga and the Baltic Sea.
is by far the most visited city in all of Latvia, and where most
travelers first set foot inside the country for a fascinating
look at Latvian history and culture.
Two of the
more popular districts include the Old
Town and nearby Freedom Monument area for a trip back in time
to visit ancient churches and guild halls combined with an eye-popping
mix of beautifully preserved early 19th century Art Nouveau architecture.
Also don't miss a colorful walk around Riga Central Market, the biggest in Latvia and one of the largest in all of Europe.
stunning contrast take a walk around the residential area (just
outside the city center) chock-a-block with gray Soviet-style
from Riga during the summer might include a dip in the Baltic
Sea eight miles out of town by train at Vecaki Beach, or take
the bus to tour the gardens and historical exhibits at the
richly decorated Rundale Palace which once served as a countryside
retreat for local Russian nobility.
For nature in the wild, there's a tour of Gauja National Park which remains one of Latvia's most popular summer family destinations.
More about Latvia travel & tourism around the Web:
Welcome to Latvia - The official guide with helpful information on what to do, where to go and how to get there including photos, event calendar and suggested itineraries, hotel and lodging search.
Latvia travel guide - Wikitravel - Good overview of Latvian history and culture with information on major attractions, how to get
around, plus practical travel advice and safety tips.
Latvia Travel - Lonely Planet World Guide - Fast facts, feature attractions, when to go, how to get there plus maps, typical travel
costs, photo galleries, and special features on Riga, Gauja National Park, Cape Kolka, and more.