Recommended, 2024

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Latvia - Beautiful country on the Baltic Sea beach

Small but fine is the state in the heart of the Baltic. A destination for many discoveries.

The Hanseatic city of Riga has a city center with beautiful Art Nouveau buildings, which were preserved almost intact
Photo: Latvian Tourism

Just over one and a half hours flight from Berlin is a beautiful holiday country on the Baltic Sea, which seemed almost forgotten. Because Latvia was behind the Iron Curtain for a long time and was therefore difficult to reach for western tourists. But fortunately, that changed in 1991 with independence. Today, the small Baltic country, which is almost as big as Bavaria, is a great destination - especially for nature lovers and fans of historic cities! We are particularly impressed by the capital Riga. The former Hanseatic city was founded in 1201 by the Bremen archbishop. Therefore, in front of the cathedral is still a monument to the Bremen Town Musicians. To get a first overview of the city with its 730, 000 inhabitants, we take the lift to the lookout tower of St. Peter's Church. From lofty heights, we enjoy the view over the river Daugava, the medieval old town and the green suburbs. On foot we stroll to the old town hall square. Here is the Blackheads House from 1334 to admire. Outside and inside, it is richly decorated. It was destroyed during the Second World War and rebuilt from 1995 to 1999. Now it is the heart of the protected as a UNESCO World Heritage old town.

But also the new town with the 800 flowery Art Nouveau houses is beautiful. The food in Riga is really tasty: In the old town you can find bars, cafes and restaurants, where you can enjoy the hearty Latvian dishes. Especially Blinys we did, small pancakes with fish or meat and sour cream. The next day we want to the Baltic Sea. Therefore, we take the public minibus (about 50 cents) to Jurmala, 20 kilometers away. No wonder that the name translated into German means "beach", because of it there are at least 32 kilometers. The pine forests reach to the beach and you have plenty of room for yourself. After an extensive sunbathing we stroll through the district of Kemeri with its beautiful Wilhelminian style villas. It seems as if you have been transported back to imperial times for more than 100 years. The Kemeri National Park, which was founded in 1997, is famous for its colony of rare black storks.

But Latvia's nature is almost untouched at all. Almost half of the country is made up of dense forests with wolves, lynx and even some bears. We also enjoy the city and nature in the 13, 000-inhabitant city of Kuldiga in the heart of the former Kurland. At the gates lies Ventas Rumba, which is Europe's 240-meter widest waterfall. In the city we are charmed by the partly well preserved, partly crooked wooden houses from the 18th and 19th century. Nature and culture: again a typical Latvian mix.