Where is Riga?

There is one ‘Riga’ outside the borders of this planet. However, since space tourism is not so well developed right now and I’m not sure that the small planet which got the name ‘Riga’ way back in 1971 has anything to offer you, I welcome you to land back on Planet Earth and open the map of Europe.

Before we find out where is Riga, we have to clarify where Latvia is (we are back on Planet Earth – no places out of reach now). Some people will tell you that Latvia is a country in Northern Europe, others will say – Eastern Europe. Great! Excited by the North?  Want to know what life is like in Eastern Europe? Perfect! Latvia is a country in North-Eastern Europe, along the shores of the Baltic Sea. Finland, Sweden, Germany, Poland – all share the same sea with Latvia. On the other side of Latvia, you might get lost looking at the huge mass of Russia, so get back to the left side of Russia, where it has the border with Baltic States – Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania. Here we are – in the middle of 3 Baltic States you see one country called Latvia.

Where is Riga? ‘The City of Inspiration’, ‘The Capital of the North’, ‘Nordic Paris’ – these are other names for this city.  In Latvian, its called Rīga – with a long ‘i’.  In other languages you will find this city as Riqa, Рыга, Рига, Ρίγα, Riia, Ríge, Ryga, Riika… That’s the city founded way back in 1201, and celebrating it’s 810th anniversary this year.

The biggest city in Baltics, one of the oldest cities in Europe, the main industrial, business, culture, sports and financial center in the Baltics – Riga is located in the heart of Latvia – next to the Baltic Sea (Gulf of Riga). You can reach Riga by airplane – the biggest airport in the Baltics is located here. Little Baltic sea cruises have become quite popular to reach Riga from Nordic countries. From Russia, for example, it’s quite easy to come by train – you will get out right in Riga city centre.

Of course, all roads in Latvia lead to Riga and it is not only because Riga has always been the capital city. It has a lot to offer: from medieval Old Town to Art Nouveau architecture, famous opera, sparkling night life, arts and adventures. Did you know that this year Latvia was chosen from a pool of 160 candidates in the third annual survey as one of the Top 10 countries for adventure travel? Have you heard that Riga is included among the Top 5 European cities for summer travel? While the capital of the neighbour country Tallinn (in Estonia) is the reigning European Capital of Culture 2011, Riga is getting ready for 2014 when it will carry this title. Riga is where the magical Riga Black Balsam was made more than 250 years ago and definitely the best place where to taste it.

If you were initially searching for the planet named Riga and wanted to go there, I would strongly advice you to change your plans – let the space tourism develop – the city called Riga (in Latvia, Baltic States, Europe) is getting more and more popular every day, and it’s not without a reason. Where is Riga? If you are on Planet Earth, Riga is close and within easy reach!

Written by Kristine Fedotova author of Your Friend in Riga

Slider & Title image courtesy of Roy Marvelous

Our Guest Blogger

Every now and again we like to give other people the opportunity to write for us. We find this keeps our posts fresh and also allows us to stay in touch with the people that matter to us….. you. Recently we were on the search for some new members of staff when we came across Kristine, a young and passionate blogger that has her own blog called  Your Friend in Riga. Having read her posts we felt that she was equally passionate about her home city as we were, therefore we decided to ask her to begin guest blogging.

So far we have not been disappointed, so we would like to introduce Kristine to you all…happy reading and don’t forget, if you are passionate about your city and would like to express this through video and or blogging then please don’t hesitate to get in touch at graham@traveloutthere.com.

How to deal with illegal parking in the Baltics

Cycle count lanes in the Baltics are slowly popping up everywhere, however this seemingly new development is catching out drivers in the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. People here are used to some pretty chaotic driving and the prospect of now looking out for an increasing number of cyclists will no doubt cause a few more headaches. We all know that stopping to fix a slipped chain in a cycle lane is deemed offensive let alone parking your car in one.

In Vilnius, Lithuania that is precisely what happened. The Mayor of Vilnius and keen cyclist Arturas Zuokas took matters into his own hands when he came across an illegally parked car;

Mayor Arturas Zuokas in an armoured vehicle which is crushing a car in central Vilnius

Ok, so its all for a bit of publicity but also a serious warning to drivers who park in lanes reserved for cyclists. As the Baltics look at ways of preserving and showing their historic cities, without clogging up the streets with endless tourist buses its becoming clear that the use of bikes and other “green” transport such as Segways are becoming more and more popular…sorry car people this mean one thing, more cycle lanes and as a result less street parking, it might be time to buy yourself a little push bike for that short trip to work, if only for the summer months. You can reads the full story from BBC News here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14380367