Latvia is part of the Baltic nations – three small but well-formed lands squeezed between Russia, Belarus and the Baltic Sea. Like its neighbours Estonia and Lithuania, Latvia has developed a reputation as a great value travel destination, while still retaining an "off the beaten track" appeal.
Most visitors opt to check out the ancient capital Riga. Hints to the city's past as a trading centre are apparent in buildings such as the intricate House of the Blackheads, which housed a merchants' guild.
Riga's Old Town has an air of historic European charm about it, and the whole area has been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are plenty of al fresco restaurants and cafés, and sensible proprietors often provide heaters and rugs for when the temperature drops. It does get chilly in winter, but snow brings out the best of Riga and Town Hall Square is home to some fine Christmas markets.
A youthful nation with a sense of history, Latvia is well worth a visit!