Pine-fringed beaches, bogs, wetlands with therapeutic mud, medieval castles and winding valleys would definitely not have been a list I rattled off, if asked to think of Latvia. Yet this is what I came across the moment I ventured outside Riga. Further reinforcing the notion that to see a country’s true beauty, you need to venture outside its capital city. This certainly was natural beauty I never expected to find. The best part? Most of it is an easy day trip from Riga.
Because of its geographical position, Latvia has always been interesting to a number of people. As a result, it’s had many different rulers over the last 8 centuries. Partly due to this, Riga’s architecture ranges from wooden buildings to Art Nouveau, and Modernism to Gothic – depending on which part of the city you’re in. I expected the city to be pretty grey and very ex-Soviet, but was quickly corrected. It looked more like Paris, Vienna or some part of Scandinavia. The vibe of the city, the culture and its people seemed far more Northern European than I would have expected. Here’s what I did in my few days in Riga before I explored other parts of the country.