National Geographic Traveller (UK)

Weekender: Latvia

Discover unspoilt beaches, waterfalls and fine dining in the Baltic hinterland


Latvia’s breathtaki­ng geography and colourful cultural patchwork are enough to tempt any traveller seeking unknown adventures. In the cosmopolit­an capital, Riga, Baltic and Nordic sensibilit­ies meld with the village-like atmosphere of the Old Town, while grand monuments stud the Soviet-built boulevards. But head west out of the city and the hinterland hits you almost immediatel­y. Forests of oak, birch and linden come right up to the road, the sound of folk songs drifts over wildflower meadows, and white storks soar overhead en route to nests in the highest branches of native pine and spruce trees.

You’ll get the landscape largely to yourself here — little wonder, in a country with only two million citizens. When driving through this western corner of the country, the coast is never far away, and summer days are long and bright, giving you even more time to enjoy the unspoilt, golden-sand beaches that look out across the Baltic Sea towards Estonia and Sweden. It’s easy to cover a good swathe of it in a weekend, and — even better — it won’t cost the world.

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