National Geographic names Riga top destination of 2014

  • 2013-12-05
  • From wire reports, RIGA

Global nature magazine National Geographic has named Riga on its list of the 20 most recommended travel destinations for 2014.

''Riga’s cobble stoned streets seem lifted from a fairy tale—and perfectly suit the little-known charm of this Baltic capital. The often uneven paths, so easily negotiated by stiletto-heeled locals, twist between medieval timber-frame houses through the city’s old town, ending at the grand but asphalt boulevards, which feel transplanted from Paris or St. Petersburg,'' the magazine writes.

The special article goes on to write that ''along these streets, the architecture chronicles the city’s complicated history, from ornate merchant guild buildings dating to Riga’s days as a key port of the Hanseatic League, to a brick tower built by the 17th-century ruling Swedes, to glorious art nouveau facades and wretchedly drab iterations of Soviet ideology. Through centuries of foreign rule, Riga’s undeniably Latvian spirit never waned.''

''Now, with more than 20 years of freedom under its belt, Riga is racing to make up for lost time. Many of the city’s 800-plus art nouveau buildings gleam again, including the theater where Mikhail Baryshnikov got his start. Wine bars and designer lattes are not only trending, they’re practically commonplace. The central market, housed in former zeppelin hangars, keeps up a roaring trade in forest mushrooms and blackberry jam. While restaurants elegantly update Latvian home cooking (fresh fish and cloudberries),'' the article points out, and goes on to give various travel tips on where to go, what to see, where to eat and what to do in the Latvian capital.

''With the European Union’s designation of Riga as a 2014 Capital of Culture, the city is set to reclaim its title as a crossroads—proudly cobble stoned—of the continent,'' ''National Geographic'' points out.

Watch a time lapse of Riga here