Rather than just going to the same place in Spain or France, I have been travelling around Europe finding the best holiday locations out there.
Our journey took us to a less than usual holiday destination in Northern Europe, Riga, the Capital of Latvia, and a city with a beach a short train ride away, glorious sunshine and good food.
We decided to explore the luxury Latvia had to offer, first stop was the Gallery Park Hotel, which is the only hotel in Riga to be nominated as 5 star superior luxury hotel. It certainly was that and so much more.
As we landed in Latvia the sun was setting around us and we walked through and out of one of the worlds tiniest airports in a matter of minutes, to thousands of red and green taxis. Certainly confusing but take heed and follow the advice we were given makes sure you travel in the green taxis. A 15 minute drive at a very affordable price of 11 Euros and we had arrived at the splendid, Gallery Park Hotel, walking through the enormous iron gates to the foot of the magnificent building, we were immediately overwhelmed by it’s grandeur.
Welcomed by a number of charming hotel staff we were whisked to the top floor, to an enormous room, more modern than the rest of hotel which had a Victorian theme. Our room was spacious and stunning with a perfect view of Riga’s starry sky. With a lot to pack in, our schedule was tight, so it was straight to the Skyline bar on the 26th floor of the Radisson Blu hotel, to see Riga in its entirety. With an absolutely incredible view, yummy cocktails and music to dance the night away to it should make it onto your bucket list of things to do in Riga.
An early night beckoned, as we were determined to make breakfast at the Gallery Park, and it certainly didn’t disappoint, with everything from fruit to a full English we were treated to the 5 star luxury we had been promised.
Our whistle stop tour was off again, stepping outside to glorious sunshine we saw the true soul of Riga with a marathon in full force, it was almost like being in London for a moment. To old town we headed the heartbeat of the city, for a spot of sightseeing and shopping. It became clear that this little city had the sole of one far greater. Shops were similar to the UK, with chains such as H&M, ZARA, and MANGO, but if you are a savvy shopper and like to explore there are plenty of independent shops, where you can pick up a bargain, even a vintage shop where I bought leather 80’s jacket for 1 euro. If you know me you will know I could shop for hours, so I had to drag myself away from old town, and to our next challenge, which was to cycle to the forest.
This is where probably and for the only time in your life, you will miss the Boris bike. As to hire a bike you have to set up an account on the Internet. Simple enough but a little time consuming- for about 5 Euros you can hire a bike for the day and cycling is simple and safe as you have to ride on the pavements, perfect for a novice like me. If you have the time the forest is well worth a visit, as it is only about a 45 minute ride away and gives you the opportunity to see the whole of Riga. When you get to the Forest and then the lake you will find the most idyllic and funky cafes perched on the side of the water, serving cocktails, burgers and playing the obligatory chilled reggae. Now, we felt like we were really on holiday.
Back at the hotel and it was time to experience more of Riga, this time the nightlife. We headed out to an incredible club called ‘First’ which was totally unexpected, narrow mindedly you always think everything is better at home, but this club had the style of a London club and the setting of one from Monaco, but it was just missing a little vibe, however for one night only it again is well worth a visit.
Sunday morning and it was time to go to the beach, the part of the journey I was most excited about. A ten-minute walk from the hotel to the train station and we jumped on a train that took about 30 minutes to reach the beach town of Jurmala. Jumping off the train it was like stepping back in time, as crossing the tracks was the only option.
We were finally there and it was breath taking and impossible to imagine that just this morning we were in the hustle and bustle of a city and we were now going to enjoy the luxuries of white sand and blue sea. Riga well, it was a truly wonderful experience, there is no place better than the Gallery Park hotel, it epitomises luxury in every way and will truly enhance your Riga experience. So perhaps its time to look outside the box and travel to somewhere new, we certainly recommend it.
Where we stayed: