Riga is the capital and largest city of Latvia. It is located on the Gulf of Riga, at the mouth of the Daugava River. In ancient times, Riga was an ideal choice as a Hanseatic seaport. Today, Riga is a great place for beach vacations in Jurmala and other resorts. Apart from the pristine white sand beaches, another major draw for visitors is Riga’s massive collection of 800 art nouveau and wooden buildings. Get a car for hire in Riga so that you can go beach hopping, take architectural tours, and explore the city at your leisure.
You can start with the historic center of Riga, which is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site. Get a car for rent in Riga and head for Boulevard Circle, a focal point for any cultural or architectural tour of Riga. Landmarks you will see in this area include the Monument of Freedom, National Opera, National Theatre, University of Latvia, and the National Art Museum. A drive down Elizabetes, Alberta, and Strelnieku streets is the best way for you to see the city’s art nouveau buildings. If you go down Daugavgrivas Street, you can see many 19th century wooden buildings. Another popular attraction is the Three Brothers residential complex in Old Riga, which is basically three buildings from different centuries built in differing styles.
Old Riga with its mind-boggling array of famous landmarks, deserves a separate tour of its own. Start with Dome square, where you will find St. Mary’s Cathedral aka the Riga Dome from 1211. Next up is Riga Castle, along with the St. Peter’s Cathedral, St. John’s Cathedral, St. George’s Cathedral aka the White Stone Castle, and the Convent Yard of the Holy Ghost. Apart from the aforementioned Three Brothers complex, you may also want to take a look at the House of Blackheads and the House of Dannenstern.
With more than 300 miles of coastline dotted with beautiful sandy beaches, Riga is a huge draw for tourists looking for Baltic Sea beach resorts. During the summer, resorts such as Jurmala (25 minute drive on the A10/E22 from Riga to Majori) are packed to the rafters with locals and tourists alike. If you head north instead, the best beach is at the fishing village of Vecaki. A little bit further ahead, you will bump into another pristine beach at Garciems. The beach at Saulkrasti is almost 10 miles long, so it is a good place to go if you want some time alone on the beach. Another choice is Vakarbuļli, a popular blue flag beach.
You can drive to inland destinations such as Sigulda near Gauja National Park, or follow the Daugava River to Salaspils and Ogre. But none of these can rival the pleasure of a coastal drive along the Gulf of Riga. Book your car rental in Riga right now and plan long drives along the coast in both directions, with stops at Tuja, Engure, Kolka, and Salacgriva.
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