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Latvia Travel guide

Kuldiga landscape General view of Riga Jurmala beach
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Latvia : Michelin's recommendations

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Twenty years have gone by since this little state became separate from the Soviet Union. After a painful transition Latvia eventually acquired the European status of "the good pupil" in the Baltic trio. But this former fiefdom of Prussian knights, a thousand times fought over, has remained an enigma to visitors.

Although Christianity is widespread in this land of legend, it has never completely wiped out a certain fondness for ancient pagan rites. Latvians, who call themselves "the singing people", still burst into song to celebrate the sun and the seasons to the sound of the kokle (a box zither typical of the Baltic countries). Gutmanis and Victors, its mysterious caves in the Gauja Valley, have fostered original folk tales peopled with gnomes and magic.

With the highest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in Europe, Riga invites you to stroll down its cobblestone streets and windswept boulevards, and to enjoy its first-rate nightlife. During its short but long-awaited summer, tables and chairs invade Cathedral Square, turning it into a huge open-air café. There's something for everyone here, from modern bars to old establishments with a Soviet flavour where the price of vodka is absolutely unbeatable.

Monuments like the Baroque Rundale Palace, nicknamed the "Latvian Versailles", and Aglona Basilica, an important Catholic pilgrimage site, are definitely worth a visit. On the Baltic seacoast, beaches, dunes, forests and hillsides dotted with vineyards await you.

Latvia - See all cities and regions

Latvia : Must-see towns and regions

  • Riga

    Riga is a captivating place. A stroll through the atmospheric city should take in both the historic centre and the modern town, a mixture of Hanseatic houses, Art Nouveau buildings and important churc...

  • Jurmala

    Tucked away among the pine trees on the south coast of the gulf of Riga is Jurmala, Latvia’s premier resort which has drawn those in quest of seaside and spa holidays for over a century. Whether visit...

  • Not far from the Russian and Belarusian frontiers, Daugavpils on the River Daurada has something of the Little Russia about it, on account of its history, architecture and largely Russian-speaking pop...

  • Turaida

    On the banks of the River Gauja, Turaida is steeped in history. Its 13C brick castle is today largely restored, and makes for a pleasant conclusion to a stroll taking in traditional artisans’ workshop...

  • Kuldiga

    With its little streets lined by wooden houses along the River Aleksupite, the romantic character of Kuldiga cannot fail to charm visitors. Its floral gardens, old mill, mound on which a feudal castle...

  • Ventspils

    A seaside resort with fine Art Nouveau buildings, a neo-Classical old town laid out around a busy square on which stands the town hall, and everywhere little pockets of well-kept greenery… Ventspils k...

  • Sigulda

    This picturesque town on the banks of the River Gauja has a well-preserved medieval fortress, and draws tourists seeking a relaxing holiday plus lovers of winter sports. Sigulda is the gateway to the ...

  • Liepaja

    A town on the Baltic Sea with a long sandy beach, behind which lies a verdant park and a resort of fine villas, Liepaja is a charming place in transition, with restoration work being undertaken on its...

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