CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Riga’s City Hall Square; an art nouveau building; Central Market; the Old Town PICTURES: Shutterstock

In the Old Town, the Hotel Gutenbergs (pictured, above) is spread over two historic buildings. One used to be a printing house, which accounts for the loose theme of engravings, books and the Gutenberg Bible. Doubles start at €59.

The Radisson Blu Latvija Conference Spa & Hotel is a much more modern, business-centric affair. Its 26th-floor Skyline bar offers some of the best views of the city (pictured, below). Doubles from €63.

wide range of Latvian and Belgian craft beers plus a big selection of single malt whiskies, it has a fine terrace to hang out on as the sun sets. In the summer months, the Old Town is effectively turned into an island by a canal that loops round to the River Daugava. Several boat cruises operate along that loop – for most of them it’s an informal system of rock up, pay and depart whenever there are enough people. There’s also a ring of parks surrounding the canal,


Osprey Holidays offers two nights’ B&B at the five-star Grand Poet Hotel from £330 per person, including flights from Gatwick departing March 5, 2021.

Regent Holidays offers three nights at the Hotel Hanza from £495, based on two sharing on a B&B basis with private transfers and Air Baltic flights from Gatwick.

34 19 NOVEMBER 2020

which are perfect for picnics and idle strolling in the daytime and make fruitful ground for spotting beavers by the water’s edge in the evening. But Riga’s beauty extends to the architecture, and north of the Old Town is the Art Nouveau District, where the most impressive of Riga’s 800-plus art nouveau buildings cluster. Viator sells art nouveau walking tours focusing on this, with the giddy highlight being the buildings of local architect Mikhail Eisenstein. These are gloriously over the top, with fake floors, curving nymph-esque heads, toadstool-shaped windows and dashes of Egyptology. For those wanting to know more about the style,

the Art Nouveau Museum is housed inside one of the area’s most lavish buildings. Look for the squirrel on the outside and the staggering spiral staircase inside, before delving into the touchscreen information on how art nouveau took hold in Riga. Essentially, the style became cool just as the city was booming. There’s also a period apartment kitted out with outrageously beautiful art nouveau furniture.

33Art nouveau buildings feature nymph-esque heads, toadstool-shaped windows and dashes of Egyptology

If it’s a sizzling hot day, however, you may be better

off heading to the beach. Around 35 minutes from Riga by train, the Jūrmala coastal strip has various beaches catering to different tastes. On a summer weekend, you’ll find the rest of the city has decamped here too.

TW travel advice travel advice

Latvia requires visitors from a country with high Covid-19 rates (more than 50 per 100,000 over 14 days) to self-isolate for 10 days on arrival, and complete a form within 48 hours before

entry. Check the FCDO website for UK travel restrictions, and the Latvian government’s site ( for latest entry requirements.

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