Latvia’s capital Riga - the largest and most cosmopolitan city in the Baltic States - was founded on 1201. With its handsome integration of medieval and contemporary architecture, Riga is considered the world's best collection of the Art Nouveau!
Although Latvia is a small country located on the Baltic Sea, it has an ancient traditions and a long history dating back to early 9,000 BC. Latvia is an interesting travel destination because of its wide range of leisure and business travel opportunities. You can enjoy your trip to Latvia in variable ways – city sightseeing tours in Riga historical centre, romantic travel in SPA hotels all over the country, or family holiday in the guest houses on the countryside of Latvia. Riga offers different ways to make your city break unforgettable – great restaurants, pubs and clubs available right in the centre of the city. Dating back to early in Riga’s history the city has served as a major trading port and a crossroad between Western Europe and the East that’s why it’s still very popular between business travelers as well.
If you are interested in history you should visit the castles located in different places of Latvia. In Bauska region which is close to Lithuania border you can find marvelous baroque example - Rundale Palace and the pearl of classicism - Mezotne Palace. Meanwhile on the other side of Latvia you can find one of the most majestic castle ruins in the Baltic States – Cesis castle ruins. This is just a brief overview of a surprisingly wide array of castle architecture, spanning from early 13th century up to beginning of the 20th. Come and explore the heritage of Latvia history!
For nature admirers Latvia proposes the serene Gulf of Riga, the open Baltic Sea, nature parks, rivers and lakes with beauteous forests on the shores. Latvia is situated in Europe's mixed forest zone. Its geographical position and the presence of the Baltic Sea determine its natural diversity. Here you can find oceanic as well as continental species and many rare and protected plants. The main type of vegetation is forest alongside marshlands as well as many biologically valuable meadows. Latvia has a large population of predator including hares, red squirrels, elks, foxes and wild boars. Around 200 different bird species have chosen Latvia as their nesting territory, including sea eagles, black and white storks.
For travelers willing to have a relaxing holiday Latvia offers wide range of health rehabilitation, outdoor recreation and SPA centers. The most popular place for SPA holiday for sure is Jurmala – the largest resort city in the Baltic States.
When planning your trip to Latvia don’t forget to check out the information about different cultural and entertaining events. This could be a chance to enjoy the real Latvian traditions. The most popular are The Midsummer Festival (June 24 – 26) and The Folk Song Festival which takes place in Riga once in every five years.
GENERAL FACTS ABOUT LATVIA
Population - 2.2 million people.
Total Area - 64,589 square kilometres.
Capital - Riga (875,000 people).
Time Zone - (GMT+2) but practices Daylight Savings Time from the last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October. This puts it 3 hours ahead during these periods.
Location - Latvia lies in Eastern Europe and shares its coastline with the Baltic Sea & the Gulf of Riga. It shares land borders with Lithuania, Estonia, Russia & Belarus.
Brief history of the Republic of Latvia - The Republic of Latvia was founded on November 18, 1918. It has been continuously recognized as a sovereign state since 1920 despite occupations and rule by the Soviet Union (1940-1941, 1945-1991) and Nazi Germany (1941-1945). On August 21, 1991 Latvia declared the restoration of its de facto independence, re-established international diplomatic ties, and joined the United Nations. Latvia joined the WTO in 1998 and in 2004 became a member of the European Union and NATO.