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The middle child of the Baltics is also perhaps the wildest and most wonderful of the three. It comes dressed in rolling pine forests and misty woodlands that seem to go on forever. In the east, Vidzeme is dominated by the beautiful wilds of the Gauja; a land of crumbling Templar castles, curious neo-Gothic fortifications, carved river canyons, cliffs and verdant valleys of chestnut and fir. The west is represented by the great Kurzeme, its pretty coastal villages opening up to picturesque towns such as Kuldiga, Ventspils and Liepaja. Then there are the remnants of Russian tsarist power and the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth in Zemgale (Latvia has been unfortunate enough to have been invaded by many a neighbour), making their impact with the Rundale Palace and the courtrooms of Jelgava. Latgale rounds up the geographical regions, where its local foods such as K?ocka and Gu?biš??ki fortify its status as the gourmet stronghold of Latvia.
At the capital Riga, Latvia tour guides help travelers unravel the Germanic city’s architectural gems, all whilst partying in the Old Town’s music clubs, wondering at some of Europe’s most elegant Art Nouveau architecture, and souvenir shopping on Skarnu Street. Then in the summertime the Jurmala Riviera beckons, complete with romantic mansions and shimmering, yellow-sanded beaches alike.