Latvia has something for everyone, from large city sophistication to true rural warmth. In this Baltic jewel, you may explore old castles, hike through breathtaking landscapes, and relax on kilometers of beaches. Riga, Latvia’s capital features an astonishing collection of medieval buildings, colossal cathedrals, and cobblestone pathways. The many sunny squares dotted with beer gardens and street cafés that throb with the international cacophony of residents and visitors are the greatest. Latvia’s coastline is more than 300 miles (500 kilometers) long, with some of Europe’s most gorgeous, if not unusual, beaches. The Baltic shore is lined with quiet white sand beaches and eerily gorgeous pine trees. Take a trip in the woods to get close to the Latvian heart. Forests encompass over 45 percent of the nation and are home to a wide variety of animals, including lynx, beavers, and birds of prey. Emeri Nature Reserve, a wide stretch of woodland and bog near Jrmala, and Gauja National Park, northeast of Riga, are the ideal sites to stroll tree-dappled pathways. Leafy walkways go between the remnants of three castles and down the Gauja River from Sigulda, the gateway to Gauja. The cuisine scene in Latvia is inspired by surrounding nations such as Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Poland, Germany, and, of course, Latvia’s Baltic sisters – Lithuania and Estonia. Flavorful beef dishes, smoked and pickled fish, and pelmeni are popular on the Latvian menu (a tortellini-style meat dumpling). Seasonal harvests, such as wild mushrooms, berries, sorrel, and nettle, can lend particular styles and tastes.