Rīga is the largest, liveliest and most cosmopolitan of the Baltic capitals, with a great selection of accommodation to suit any budget and a wide variety of world cuisine. A heady mixture of the medieval and the contemporary, the city has much to offer architecture and history enthusiasts in the narrow cobbled streets of Old Rīga and the wide boulevards of the New Town, where beautiful examples of Jugendstil Art Nouveau architecture – “music in stone” – line Strēlnieku iela and Alberta iela. The city also has all the trappings of a modern capital, with efficient and affordable public transportation, excellent shopping, and a notoriously exuberant nightlife.
Old Rīga (Vecrīga), centred around Cathedral Square (Doma laukums) and bisected from east to west by Kaļķu iela, forms the city’s nucleus and is home to most of its historic buildings. With its cobbled streets, medieval buildings, narrow lanes and hidden courtyards, it gives the impression of stepping back in time. To the east, Old Rīga is bordered by Bastejkalns Park, beyond which lies the New Town (Milda). Built during rapid urban expansion between 1857 and 1914, its wide boulevards are lined with four- and five-storey apartment buildings, many decorated with extravagant Jugendstil motifs.