, Latvia – Paris of Eastern Europe – and will be the European Capital of Culture 2014 Latvia - Paris of Eastern Europe - and will be the European Capital of Culture 2014 - Baltic Travel Company Baltic Travel Company
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, Latvia – Paris of Eastern Europe – and will be the European Capital of Culture 2014 , Latvia – Paris of Eastern Europe – and will be the European Capital of Culture 2014

Baltic Travel Blog

Latvia – Paris of Eastern Europe – and will be the European Capital of Culture 2014

Posted on October 11th, 2012.

Holidays in Latvia vary greatly, from coastal holidays along the 500 km of unspoilt, white, sandy beaches, to city breaks; both ancient and modern. There are also activity holidays in the magnificent hills and along wild nature trails or peaceful country holidays in the beautiful National Parks. With such a wide range of options you can choose the ideal way to fulfil your wishes and interests.

Latvia is located on the eastern shores of the Baltic Sea, in the middle of the Baltic States, and was an ancient trading place for Vikings and Greeks. It is roughly the same size as Ireland and is home to 2.3 million people. Of the three Baltic States, it is probably the most culturally diverse. This diversity is most prevalent in the capital city of Riga, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with an 800 year old history. Many visitors come to Riga for its Jugendstil (German Art Nouveau) architecture, the beautifully restored old town and its growing renown for a dazzling nightlife. Riga has firmly re-established its reputation as a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that rivals Prague (but without the tourists!) and in 2014 will be the European Capital of Culture.

, Latvia – Paris of Eastern Europe – and will be the European Capital of Culture 2014

Riga is by no means Latvia’s only place of interest for Latvian holidays. To escape the city for some relaxation, Latvians head for Sigulda, one of Latvia’s most beautiful cities, whose slogan is ‘Breathe Freely’. Often referred to as ‘Little Switzerland’, it is less than 1 hour from Riga and is an ideal day trip. The historically rich town, with its winding streets, dominated by castle ruins and untouched nature, such as the Gutmanis Cave (from where you can take a cable car over the river valley), won’t disappoint. Enjoy a leisurely nature hike in the picturesque national park, ski or snowboard in the surrounding hills or the more active can try the bobsleigh track or bungee jumping. Just a little further than Sigulda lies Cesis, one of the oldest and most typical Latvian towns.

Here visitors can explore the ruins of the Livonian castle followed by a walk along the winding foot paths of the castle grounds between the ponds and exotic plants. The town itself retains its medieval layout of small lanes, crossing unique squares, edged by red roofed buildings, roses and lilac bushes. For coastal and spa holidays there is Jurmala, the pearl of Latvia and the Baltic’s premier spa resort town, which lays claim to the longest beach on the Northern side of Europe. Just 15 miles from Riga, it has 20 miles of white, sandy beaches edged by vast pine forests. Jurmala offers an array of relaxation and health programmes, seawater and mineral water pools, beach cafes and activities. Picturesque, wooden, summer cottages, built over 100 years ago, are located just over the sand dunes, from where you can enjoy the flora and fauna of the region on one of the many nature trails. Those looking for culture are catered for by Jurmala’s six museums, including one of Latvia’s open–air museums. Whilst you’re in Jurmala be sure to visit Dzintari Forest Park with its various activities and do say hello to the turtle statue on the beach.

Approximately 1 hour south of Riga lies the Bauska region near the Lithuanian border. The region is famed for its castles and palaces. Not to be missed is Rundale Palace with its baroque gardens, built in the 1730’s as a summer home for the Duke of Courland and created by Francesco Bartolomeo Rastrelli; who designed the Winter Palace in St Petersburg. Another popular destination is Bauska Castle, built in 1443 but following its desertion was ransacked for its bricks. The four towers of the castle have recently been restored and the fortress ruins, along with the castle’s central tower viewing platform, are now open to the public. For those fortunate to time their trip right, the annual “International Early Music Festival” takes place at Bauska Castle and Rundale Palace in July.

As you can see, Latvia has a lot to offer. It’s not just a city break destination, but also a beautiful, cultural and exhilarating country, for those with more time, to fully explore.
Read more: https://www.baltictravelcompany.com/latvia-holidays/

Author: Alison McArthur


Join our newsletter

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