Riga is the largest city of the three Baltic States; it is a charming and sophisticated place and is growing in popularity as a city-break destination. Trams hurtle along the city’s wide boulevards passing many interesting Art Nouveau-style buildings, as well as the occasional reminder of post Soviet rule buildings. Through the narrow cobbled streets of the Old Town, which dates back to 1201, you can marvel at ancient buildings such as the Riga Dome Cathedral, along with the Three Brothers houses and Rīga Castle, where the Latvian History Museum and the Foreign Art Museum are also located. Afterwards relax with a Latvian beer in one of the many pubs, some of which may have live music as the Latvians are known for being very musical.
Latvian hot spots include a visit to the medieval castle in Cēsis, the rapids on the River Gauja and the beaches on the ‘Baltic Riviera’. The Baltic coastline has unique white sandy beaches stretching for 500 kilometres, amongst biosphere reserves and national parks. The most popular beaches are Liepāja, Ventspils and Jurmala. Jurmala is just a half hour train ride from Riga with more than a little hint of the Mediterranean. Latvia is also a great place for unpolluted air, beautiful hills, forests, sprawling countryside and interesting villages.
Latvian is the official language, Russian, English, German and other languages are also spoken. Latvia has a maritime climate with wet, moderate winters. Summers are warm, and sometimes cloudy in Riga, with an average temperature of 17 degrees Celsius, and an average winter temperature in January of minus 4 degrees.