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Freed from the shackles of the Soviet Union, Latvia emerged onto the tourist scene at the beginning of the 21st century, at the same time as Estonia and Lithuania. Visitors are starting to discover this tiny country of 2 million inhabitants and forests and lakes, surrounded by the Baltic Sea. Most have already grown to love its capital, Riga. This major Baltic port, with more than 800 000 inhabitants – totally out of proportion to the rest of the country – boasts magnificent Art Nouveau architecture and entertainment worthy of any major European capital. Riga is a destination for short breaks and enjoys a dynamic cultural and commercial life, stimulated by its new-found status as a Western metropolis. In the summer, its residents move en masse to Jurmala, Latvia’s main tourist resort. Temperatures in the region of 30°C lend its sandy beaches a touch of the Côte d’Azur…
The remainder of the country is reminiscent of Latvia’s historical heyday, set against a backdrop of unspoiled nature. To the west, the castles of Courland are reminders of the country’s former German and Polish domination. The Liv Coast is home to tiny, unspoiled, fishermen’s villages. In the North, Vidzeme region offers a perfect combination of Latvian landscapes: its lakes, forests and river (the Gauja) offer perfect opportunities for hiking, canoeing, kayaking and horse riding.