Latvia is considered to be a heart of the Baltic States. There are no high mountains or deserts in Latvia, but Latvia still has a lot to offer to tourists, coming to this wonderful country: tree-covered hills alternate with grain-fields and pastures of the flatlands and massive forests, picturesque riverbanks, cliffs and crags in which the water has carved caves. A great many of lakes sparkle at the bottom of hills. There are also very many things that you can experience only in Riga – the unique spirit of medieval Riga and the Art Nouveau District, the taste of Latvian national cuisine and the beautiful and smiling people in the streets. Once you are in Latvia you should definitely visit Sigulda, with its Turaida Castle and a sea resort Jurmala. Though Jurmala is located only 20 km from Riga it will surprise you with fresh pine air and excellent service SPA hotels. Visit a masterpiece of Rastrelli – Rundale Palace and many small towns with their unforgettable charm.
Latvia is located in Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania
Official name: Republic of Latvia
Territory: 64589 km2
Population: 2,29 million
Capital: Riga is the capital of Latvia and it lies on the banks of the River Daugava, just inland from the Gulf of Riga on the coasts of the Baltic Sea.
Largest Towns and Cities:
Rīga, Daugavpils, Liepāja, Jelgava, Jūrmala, Rēzekne and Ventspils.
Climate: maritime; wet, moderate winters
The official language: Latvian (Russian, English and German languages are widely spoken).
Religions: Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian Orthodox
Independence Day, 18 November (1918); note - 18 November 1918 is the date Latvia declared itself independent from Soviet Russia;
4 May 1990 is when it declared the renewal of independence;
21 August 1991 is the date of de facto independence from the Soviet Union.
Latvian national currency is the lats (LVL), 1 lats consists of 100 santims.
The tour ecompasses the most significant sights of Riga and begins along the central boulevards of Riga, enjoying the view of the City Canal parks, the Bastion Hill, the Powder Tower, the Latvian National Theatre, the Fine Arts Museum, the Art Nouveau buildimgs of the beginning of the century, the Freedom Monument, University of Latvia, the Opera House, the Daugava River with its bridges and Passenger Terminal. In Old Riga you will see the Dome Cathedral, the Church of St. Peter, the old Guild Houses, the Swedish Gate, the architectural ensemble Three Brothers, St. Jacob's Church, the Parlament House, Old Riga Castle, and view the many wonderfully restored buildimgs, now housing cosy restaurants, cafes, bars and souvenir shops.
Open Air Museum
The Ethnographic Open-Air Museum is one of the show-pieces of Latvia's cultural heritage, founded in 1924. Situated 10 km from Riga centre in a pine forest on the banks of Jugla Lake, the museum consists of some 90 traditional rural buildings: farmhouses, windmills, fishermen's huts and churches that have been assembled here from the four provinces of Latvia: Kurzeme, Vidzeme, Latgale, Zemgale. During summer weekends folk dancing displays and concerts are held in the museum premises. Pre-booked meal opportunity in the museum pub Priedes Krogs.
Enjoy a splendid full-day outing into Zemgale, the "bread basket" of Latvia. Drive through the town Bauska (66 km south of Riga) and visit the ruins of Bauska Castle (15-18th cent.).The highlight of the tour is Rundale Palace (18th cent.), the most beautiful baroque palace in Latvia. The palace is an outstanding example of the early work of Italian-Russian architect Francesc Bartolomeo Rastelli who also designed the famous Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. The professionally renovated palace interiors are decorated with authentic 18th cent. furniture, paintings and china. The most impressive are the Golden Hall, the White Hall, the bedroom of the Duke of Courland Johan Ernst Biron. The palace boasts a beautiful French-style park. Pre-booked meal opportunity in the palace restaurant.
One of the most picturesque towns in Latvia-Sigulda, often called the Latvian Switzerland, is located about 50 km from Riga in the Gauja River valley. Sigulda is situated in the Gauja National Park and is known as the most popular tourist and leisure destination as well a famous winter sports resort in Latvia because of its bob-sleigh track and the down-hill skiing routes.
A full day tour to the heart of Vidzeme-the beautiful Latvia Hanseatic town, located about 90 km from Riga. In Cesis enjoy a stroll through narrow streets and feel the amiable small town atmosphere. You will see the 13th century Order of Knight's Castle and the soaring Gothic tower of the 13th century of Church of St. John. Visit the local History Museum dispalyed in the New Palace and enjoy a walk in the Palace park. Short drive through the countryside will take you to the picturesque Gauja River banks at the highest sandstone cliffs in Latvia-Erglu Klints.