If you are planning a holiday to Latvia, you are probably looking at visiting the capital Riga. The city is known for its cafe culture, nightlife and Art Nouveau architecture. You can spend your days wandering around the museums and marvellous parks and your nights in the many bars that are open seven days a week. 25 kilometres west of Riga is Jurmala which is made up of several beach resorts. Its worth a visit even just for the day, so you can walk along its beautiful white sandy beach or go hiking in the forest.
You can fly into Latvia with budget airline Wizz Air from London Luton Airport and arrive in Riga in just under three hours. Ryanair and airBaltic also fly from most UK airports.
Some hotels in Riga run shuttle buses from the airport, but if your hotel doesn't, you can pick up a bus that runs on average every 15 minutes from outside the terminal. The town centre is 11 kilometres away from the airport and traffic permitting it will take you under 30 minutes. Taxis are also available if you aren't staying in the centre of town.
You can't fly directly to Jurmala but it is close enough to Riga for you to be able to continue your journey from there. It will only take you 30 minutes on a bus from the Riga International Airport. If you are staying in Riga and only want to spend a day there, you can get a train from the mainline station in town which runs a regular service that also only take 30 minutes.
To get a great hotel deal in Latvia it is advisable to book before you travel especially if you are planning to stay in Riga over the weekend. The city is a party town and it comes well and truly alive on Friday and Saturday nights as may people descend on the town to enjoy the nightlife.
Walking tours are a great way to see Riga. You can book these at the main tourist office in the old town, but if you really are on a budget, there's no harm in doing it the old fashioned way - armed with a guide book and a map.
Latvian cuisine is based around hearty meat and fish dishes. You can sample these at affordable prices at a number of reasonably priced places located around Riga. Look out for the Lido chain of restaurants, don't be put of by the fact it's a chain, they are meant to serve up great food. If you are staying in Jurmala you will find restaurants aplenty, the competition to win diners over is high, so you will find eating out is more than affordable.
Updated 22nd May 2013
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