Riga, the capital of Latvia, is the biggest city in the Baltics. Because a number of countries have occupied the area, Riga features a diverse mix of cultures. Since gaining its independence in 1991, the city has flourished and an increasing number of travelers head here every year to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, historical sites, and revitalized energy. Arts, culture, and entertainment have been steadily increasing, as a result of Riga's Art Nouveau Center being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Dining, shopping, and a buzzing nightlife in Riga have also taken hold. For outdoor enthusiasts, there are plenty of activities to enjoy in the area's scenic landscape including hiking, horseback riding, Riga golf, diving, and skiing. Riga spas are also a big draw for travelers looking to relax and revitalize while culture lovers are bound to be impressed by the Riga opera.
Here are a few additional suggestions of things to do in Riga:
-The Old Riga: This part of the city showcases exquisite surroundings that blend architecture from several different centuries. Highlights include a number of majestic churches and structures, a handful of tiny, romantic cafes as well as the sparkling Daugava River.
-The Sun Museum: This is the only museum in Europe created to honor the Sun.
-St. Mary's Dome Cathedral: Originally completed as a bishop's church in 1270, this impressive structure showcases a large organ that encompasses more than 6,700 pipes.
-The Freedom Monument: This work features a woman who holds three stars in her hands. These stars symbolize the three regions of Latvia: Courland, Livland, and Lettgallen. Though these regions have different histories and hail from different countries, they have all been inhabited by the same people.
-The Riga Castle: This big, yellow building is the official residence of the country's president. Visitors are not permitted to go inside, but there are a number of museums and other castle structures that are worth seeing nearby.
While summer is the most popular time to visit Riga, you won't be disappointed by the wide array of activities available in any other season. Luckily, vacation rentals are plentiful in Riga year round, so be sure to book a condo or an apartment in the city center or a beachfront villa for your next getaway.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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