Lonely Planet, the popular series of tourist guidebooks, has listed Latvia among its Best in Travel 2016 countries. Latvia ranks fifth in this top

It’s taken Latvia 25 years to shrug off the fetters of Communism, but this Baltic treasure looks ready to shine for its silver anniversary.

The country is resuscitating ancient traditions, restoring crumbling castles and manor houses hidden in its pine forests, and transforming its once stodgy cuisine into cutting-edge New Nordic fare.

Seductive Riga, meanwhile, has built on its reign as a European Capital of Culture with improved infrastructure and a round of renovations as its population continues to grow,” read the announcement on the Lonely Planet website.

Visiting historical buildings (“Hundreds of crumbling castles and manor houses – from medieval to Rococo”), grabbing a bite at the restaurants (“that are of such artisanal heights that they would truly give Copenhagen a run for its money if Michelin were paying them more attention”) and visiting museums like the former KGB house, as well as taking in the capital’s wonderful architecture (“the clutch of coveted Art Nouveau façades, of which the city has over 700”) are listed among things to do in Latvia.

Interestingly, visiting the pirts – a hot birch sauna – is listed as Latvia’s most Latvian tradition, and is said in the description to qualify as a “life-changing experience”.

 

Lonely Planet is the largest travel guide book publisher in the world.