Latvia is a mystical destination that abounds with varying landscapes. One can wander through the cobblestone alleyways of the capital city, stroll along a stretch of beach over 300 miles long, or explore the dense pine forests covering nearly half of the country. In the Baltic region between Lithuania and Estonia, Latvia is the perfect country to visit during any of the four seasons. Admire Riga's notable art nouveau architecture, its medieval Old Town and open-air museums, and incredible local food and music. Relax in a sunny square in town and enjoy beer gardens and quaint cafes. Enjoy the abundance of mostly untouched forests that will appeal to nature and photography lovers alike, giving those a peaceful escape from bustling towns and cities.
Sitting along the banks of the Baltic Sea and often referred to as the "Paris of the North," Riga is Latvia's historic capital city. This cultural epicenter is home to many museums, concert halls, castles, cathedrals, and much more. In addition, the capital is well known for its iconic Art Nouveau architecture found throughout its medieval Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and the true heart of Riga. Travelers can stroll along the Old Town's cobblestone streets, admiring the well-preserved buildings around every corner and enjoying the charming cafés, rich history, and cultural atmosphere. Other staples of Riga include the Swedish Gate, Riga's Castle, the Monument of Liberty, St. Peter's Church, and the Dome Cathedral, home to one of Europe's largest organs!
- Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau architecture is an iconic part of what makes Riga, Riga! This artistic style can be seen in about a third of all buildings in Riga, making the capital city home to the most Art Nouveau architecture in the world. Most buildings were constructed in the early 1900s with ornate designs, arched doorways, and elaborate geometric forms. Art Nouveau was the first example of modern design and even extended beyond exterior architecture. This intricate style can also be seen in furniture, silverware, porcelain, and clothing.
- Ethnographic Open Air Museum
Located on Lake Jugla and a short distance from Riga, Latvia's Ethnographic Open Air Museum is one of Europe's oldest and largest open-air museums. Many of the museum's items on display are in pristine condition due to being collected pre-war. At the museum, guests can witness the similarities and differences between the lifestyles of locals in the various regions of Latvia. Visitors will gain insight into traditional Latvian farmsteads, see examples of blankets woven by the elderly, understand how Latvians made a living throughout the centuries, see how locals historically decorated their properties, and so much more! The museum is home to over 100 timeless buildings built between the 17th century and the early 1900s, including churches that display the different faiths present in Latvia.
- Gauja National Park
The Gauja National Park, also known as the "Switzerland of Latvia," stands as Latvia's oldest and largest national park, boasting natural springs, deep caves, picturesque views, historical monuments, and incredible biodiversity. Established in the early 1970s, the park extends over 300 miles, protecting the most breathtaking parts of the Gauja Valley. Sitting in the heart of the park is the grand Turaida Castle, built in the 13th century as a residence of the Bishop of Riga. The castle allows guests to journey inside and enjoy the sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. Some of the park's major highlights include sandstone outcrops, towering cliffs, and large caverns waiting for exploration.
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