European beach holidays haven’t always been just about the Mediterranean. A century ago, the resorts along the Baltic Sea were just as likely to attract the Emperors, Duchesses and celebrities of the day as anywhere on the French Riviera. Indeed an awful lot of Europeans still spend their summers on Baltic shores. As well as endless white-sand beaches, the region offers grand spa resorts, laidback fishing ports and lashings of evocative history. And yet it remains off the radar to almost everyone except those who live in its immediate hinterland, leaving the coast relatively free to develop its own unique, local personality.
It’s still a ravishingly attractive amalgam of Neoclassical villas, spindly piers and sandy beaches dotted with Strandkörbe – the sheltered wicker seats that have become something of a German seaside cliché. Most spectacular of the beaches is at Prora, a broad bay famous for the gargantuan, never-finished, Nazi-era holiday complex that stretches for some 4.5km behind the shore.
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There’s nothing much here save for the scattered houses of the local village. Here you can find some of the best things to do in Latvia to enjoy nature: perfect terrain for lighting campfires, watching sunsets and going for long meditative walks.
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Top image: Łeba beach © Pawel Kazmierczak/Shutterstock.