Latvia is bordered by Lithuania, Belarus, Russia and Estonia, and has the Baltic Sea lapping against its western seaboard. Book one of our holidays to Latvia and discover the cities and towns of this fascinating country.
Latvia's historic capital, Riga, lies on the Daugava River which flows into the Gulf of Riga. The city's boulevards are thronged with art-nouveau buildings topped with copper-coloured roofs and adorned with delightful detailing.
Vecrīga is the historic heart of the Riga and its many highlights include Riga Cathedral, which is thought to be the biggest medieval church in the Baltic States. Within this wonderful place of worship, you'll be struck by the intricate beauty of the stained-glass windows. Its late 18th-century Walcker organ has more than 6,700 pipes and the sound that emanates from it fills the Cathedral with a rich, transcendent majesty. Building started on the Gothic-Romanesque-Baroque delight that is St Peter's Church in 1209. Ascend to the tower for spectacular 360° views of the city.
A late 19th-century lighthouse marks the point where the Baltic Sea meets the Gulf of Riga in Kolka. This small village is home to the last remaining Livonian, a dwindling Baltic Finno-Ugric race. The pace of life is slow, making it perfect for relaxing as you look out to the sea and watch migratory birds, swimmers and fishermen cast their nets.
Situated on the north-eastern coast of Latvia, Ventspils has its share of beautiful beaches. The Old Town's spidery streets spread before you, seemingly inviting exploration with the certain chance of discovering a historic building. Ventspils Castle dates back to the late 13th century and impresses with its defensive walls, tower and courtyard.
Jūrmala is perfectly positioned between the Gulf of Riga, Ķemeri National Park and the Lielupe River. The white-sanded Blue Flag beaches of Majori and Jaunķemeri are wide and long. Ķemeri National Park is populated by 300-year old pines and a wealth of wildlife.
Situated on the southern fringes of Gauja National Park, Sigulda is a town rich with history. From the ruins of 14th-century Krimulda Castle to the neo-Gothic Sigulda Castle, whose main towers provide sensational views of the Gauja Valley, there is so much to admire.
Basteja Pasāža is a handsome arcade whose boutiques sell high-end goods, while Galerija Centrs is Riga's oldest mall, dating back to the 1920s. And Origo has a vast choice of shops on its three floors, including a supermarket.
Madam Bonbon has shoes to die for, while ZoFA makes your shoes for you in a studio behind the shop. Bibliophiles will enjoy Robert's Books an English-language bookseller that also holds 'meetings of minds' and special events including readings and concerts.
Probably Riga's best restaurant, Bergs, has a great choice of food and wine which tastes all the better in its relaxed and elegant environment. For delicious local cuisine that comes in big portions, cosy eatery Skroderkrogs in Ventspils is a good bet. Dine on the terrace at 36.Line in Jūrmala for delightful coastal views while enjoying quality seafood.