Riga, Latvia, Europe. View across the Daugava River showing St Peter's Church and Akmens Bridge.


The Baltic's most cosmopolitan capital, beguiling beaches and a unique firewater

Since becoming a member of the European Union in 2004, Latvia has enjoyed a bumpy ride of boom and slump, although the decision to adopt the Euro in January 2014 seems to point to a measure of stability in future. The Soviet occupation left the country with a large Russian minority population, and it remains a place divided by language and culture – Rīga in particular is a strikingly bilingual city, although all road signs and public notices are in Latvian. And although it’s the boisterous capital to which most visitors are attracted, to experience the true spirit of Latvia you’ll need to head into the spectacularly unspoiled countryside, with its lakes, forests and sandy beaches.

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