Riga is both the capital of Latvia and the country’s largest city. Set on the Gulf of Riga, which is a bay of the Baltic Sea, the Latvian capital entices travelers with its city center – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The architecture around town reflects the entire history of Riga, from its founding in 1201 AD to the modern day. Coincidentally, no other city in Europe has a larger collection of Art Nouveau buildings. This is explained by Latvia’s financial and demographic boom at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, which is when the Art Nouveau style reached its zenith. Despite its historical appeal, Riga is very much a cosmopolitan city, and for those who are interested, it offers a healthy nightlife scene. Other reasons to visit include the city’s fun summer music festivals and its interesting museum and art gallery exhibits. Also, the warm season brings opportunities to relax on area beaches, such as those at Jūrmala.
Even if they plan on spending the bulk of their time in the countryside or in such smaller cities as Sigulda and Cesis, most Latvia visitors end up in Riga for at least one day. This has something to do with the fact that Riga has the largest airport in the Baltic states and is also well-linked by rail and road. Of course, there is plenty to see and do in and around the capital, in which case ample time spent exploring the city is encouraged. Delightfully, the Riga hotels offer something to fit a wide range of tastes, and since this is one of Europe’s most affordable capital cities, travelers should also have little trouble finding something that fits their budget. If budget isn’t an issue, the Grand Palace Hotel is worth keeping in mind. This 5 Star gem is situated in the historic Old Town of Riga and is widely considered to be the best hotel in Latvia. Another example of a tantalizing Riga luxury hotel is the Dome Hotel & Spa. Lodging searches certainly don’t have to end there, as Riga boasts numerous hotels of considerable quality. Should you need help finding a place to stay in Riga once you arrive, the city features several tourist information centers. These centers, which are also found in other parts of Latvia, are most often advertised with green tourism information signs that are hung outside the office.