A 20-kilometre string of small seaside resorts lining the Baltic coast west of Rīga, Jūrmala was originally favoured by the tsarist nobility and later drew tens of thousands of holiday-makers from all over the USSR; it continues to be a popular beach resort today. Its wide, clean, sandy beach is backed by dunes and pine woods, and dotted with beer tents and climbing frames. It pulses with sun worshippers during the summer, especially during the week-long music festival in July.

Jomas iela, the pedestrianized main street running east from the station square, teems with people and has a number of excellent restaurants and cafés, as well as craft stalls and art exhibitions. A few paths lead to the beach from Jūras iela, north of Jomas iela. The beach aside, Jūrmala’s attractions include the wonderful new interactive Jūrmala City Museum which charts the town’s history as a popular beach resort. Upstairs is reserved for excellent temporary art and photography exhibitions. Another Jūrmala gem is the “Inner Light” art gallery at Omnibusa iela 19. Local artist Vitaly Yermolayev specializes in the use of eerie glow-in-the-dark paint. Near the beach,  you’ll find the Dzintari, an open-air, 2000-capacity concert venue which hosts regular music events in the summer.